Tag Archives: Social Justice

What is the difference between capitalism and socialism?

Over 100,000 Venezuelans pouring into Colombia from the Venezuela in order to buy food
Over 100,000 Venezuelans cross into Colombia in order to buy food

(This photo H/T Prager University)

One country that has done a good job of implementing socialism is Venezuela.

Here is an article from March 2013 from Slate, a web site that strongly favors socialism. The headline is “Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle: The Venezuelan leader was often marginalized as a radical. But his brand of socialism achieved real economic gains”. The author is “a senior writer for the International Business Times”.

He writes:

Chavez became the bugaboo of American politics because his full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism at once represented a fundamental critique of neoliberal economics, and also delivered some indisputably positive results. Indeed, as shown by some of the most significant indicators, Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving.

What did Chavez do, precisely, that caused the Venezuelan economic to boom? Well, he nationalized private industry and redistributed wealth from job creators and entrepreneurs to the poor.

As The Week correctly put it, while “Chavez’s policies of redistribution and nationalization of oil assets endeared him to Venezuela’s working class” and produced many laudable results, the country’s “oil-centric economy has taken away resources from other areas that are badly in need of development.”

OK, so that’s pretty much what the Democrat party wants to do in the United States as well. Nationalize the energy sector, nationalize health care, etc. Let the government take over the private sector industries in order to eliminate “inequalities”. Raise taxes, and redistribute the money to the low income people via social programs, also known as welfare.

So, how does it work? Is socialism really an “economic miracle”?

Here is the latest from Venezuela, as reported by CNN Money. (H/T William)


Venezuelans cried at the sight of fully-stocked supermarket shelves in Colombia.

Pregnant women, children and even elderly Venezuelans crossed into Colombia on Sunday after the border was temporarily reopened, allowing them to buy basic foods and toiletries — rare commodities in their home country.

Tearful Venezuelans had gone weeks without basic food items like milk, flour and toilet paper. It’s a sad but common part of daily life today in crisis-ridden Venezuela, a country that has the world’s largest proven reserves of oil. Colombian officials estimate that about 100,000 Venezuelans crossed the border.

Venezuela is expected to dive deeper into the abyss this year, according to new projections published Wednesday by the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF forecasts Venezuela’s economy will shrink 10% this year, worse than its previous estimate of 8%. It also estimates that inflation in Venezuela will catapult to 700% this year, up from the earlier guess of about 480%.

“Venezuela’s economic condition continues to deteriorate,” says Alejandro Werner, chief Latin America economist at the IMF. The estimates for growth and inflation are the worst worldwide.

The numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. Venezuela is deep into a humanitarian crisis — people are dying in ill-equipped hospitals and many live without basic food items. Venezuela can’t pay to import goods because its government is desperately strapped for cash after years of mismanagement of its funds, heavy spending on poorly-run government programs, and lack of investment on its oil fields.

[…]It’s all even more tragic given that despite Venezuela’s oil abundance, its state-run oil company, PDVSA, is broke. Venezuela’s oil production fell to a 13-year low in June, according to OPEC, of which it’s a member.

That’s what you get when you let the government take over the free enterprise system, or even when you just stifle the free market with burdensome regulations and high taxes. That’s what socialists in Venezuela did. That’s what the Democrat party would do. They’re  two sides of the same coin.

Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager put out a good video recently explaining the problems with socialism:

Why would anyone prefer a system that encourages some people to feel entitled to what other people create and earn? We want a system that is focused on serving your neighbor – not stealing from them.

Arthur Brooks

If you would like a very brief introduction to capitalism, also known as the free enterprise system or the free market system, then you can watch the videos below, featuring Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute.

Here is the first one, which explains the myths that most Americans are taught about capitalism in school and in the culture:

An important advantage of capitalism is that it lifts people out of poverty. The poorest people in America live much better than the wealthy in Venezuela.

And the second video explains what capitalism offers to individuals for their fulfillment, which socialism does not:

Earned success makes people happier, which is at least as important as the wealth benefit.

We can compare the results of each system by looking at where it’s been tried. Capitalism lifts people out of poverty – all the people in the society who are willing to work are lifted out of poverty. Even the people who can’t work in a capitalist society enjoy the benefits of charity from their neighbors – when people do well, they give more money away. Socialism drives those who work and those who don’t work into poverty, and eliminates charity. No one has anything to share when everyone is poor.

Related posts

Are Campus Crusade and IVCF still Christian? Or are they just leftists?

Eagle eggs are protected, unborn babies are not
Eagle eggs are protected, unborn babies are not

The latest news is about IVCF’s rejection of the pro-life cause.

Here is an article from Touchstone magazine.

It says:

Happy New Year, Everyone! Urbana 2015 ended on January 1, 2016. Urbana is a triennial major Christian (mostly Evangelical) student missions conference in St. Louis, Missouri, sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (“InterVarsity”), primarily for college and graduate students.

[…][O]ne of the speakers prominently featured at Urbana was the “Rev.” Michelle Higgins. “Rev.” Higgins is the director of Faith for Justice, an advocacy group in St. Louis (she also serves as worship director at South City Church). Ms. Higgins is active in the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the St. Louis area.

[…]“Rev.” Higgins… described the pro-life movement as merely “a big spectacle.” In her remarks, she said:

We could end the adoption crisis tomorrow. But we’re too busy arguing to have abortion banned. We’re too busy arguing to defund Planned Parenthood. We are too busy withholding mercy from the living so that we might display a big spectacle of how much we want mercy to be shown to the unborn. Where is your mercy? What is your goal and only doing activism that is comfortable?

[…]Government statistics estimate that more than 16 million black babies have been murdered in the womb since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, a number quite a bit larger than the number of unarmed black men killed by police.

Not to mention the racist origins of Planned Parenthood, which was born out of the eugenics movement. Keep in mind that Christians are supposed to speak out against premarital sex, and for taking in unwanted children – that’s what the early church did. But at IVCF, we have women telling us that Planned Parenthood’s views on premarital sex and abortion are not to be challenged. The Bible is wrong, and Planned Parenthood is right. Because feelings.

Its often the case that the pro-abortion activists like to slander pro-lifers for not caring about women and not caring about children after they are born. But it’s not true of course, and you can read the reasons why in this Public Discourse post.

Campus Crusade, too

Previously, I wrote about how conservative professor Mike Adams is annoyed with Campus Crusade, let’s see why.

He wrote his first article to complain that campus clubs like Crusade don’t take stands on obvious moral issues like abortion.

He wrote:

Several years ago, a good friend of mine named Dave Sterrett gave a pro-life speech to a Campus Crusade chapter at a state university in North Texas. He was invited to speak by a student. During the middle of his speech, he was arguing that the unborn are fully human and have souls by quoting from the Gospel of Luke. His talk was clearly Biblical and not political in nature.

Nonetheless, when the Campus Crusade director arrived, he rudely shut the speech down.

The Campus Crusade director told Dave to come out in the hall after he shut down his talk. The Crusade leader then began to yell at Dave and told him, “I don’t know what your deal is talking about this issue. Get your books and get out of here.” He went even further calling the headquarters of Crusade, which then demanded an apology from Sterrett.

Shortly after I wrote about the incident, several members of Campus Crusade contacted me – but not to apologize for their mistreatment of Dave. They emailed to admonish me for writing about the incident – even though I did not call out the university or the chapter director by name. The fallout from the incident was revealing. It shows how far some campus ministries will go to avoid controversy – and that they often consider themselves to be above reproach.

The original incident was also revealing. The censored speech was not political so the problem cannot be that Campus Crusade is not a “politically-based” organization. The speech was morally and Biblically based. Does the rejection of the speech mean that Campus Crusade is not a “morally-based” organization? Or does it mean they are not a “Biblically-based” organization?

Of course it doesn’t. The incident merely shows that Campus Crusade has become a “comfort-based” organization. In other words, an over-riding priority is avoiding topics that might make people feel uncomfortable.

Here is the second article. He writes about how Crusade made a deal to remove Christian elements from a gathering in order to get government funding, then writes about this lady who stood up for free speech:

Subsequently, at the very school where Campus Crusade traded its religious freedom for student government funding, there was a lawsuit over a campus speech code. One of the plaintiffs was a fine Christian woman who fought to overturn a speech code that was being used to suppress conservative speech and which also posed a grave threat to religious organizations.

After she sued, homosexual groups erupted in anger – falsely claiming that she was defending “hate speech” by opposing the speech code. They defamed her, physically threatened her, and verbally abused her –all in the name of tolerance and diversity.

This time, Campus Crusade did not remain neutral. They weighed in. But, unbelievably, they weighed in against the Christian woman and in favor of those defending the speech codes.

This is the part I really think is important:

Right after these unfortunate events unfolded I became embroiled in my own First Amendment lawsuit. In part, because I stood in unity with Christians and defended them against illegal policies, I was denied a promotion at my school.

With the support of numerous Christian organizations, I eventually won the seven-year legal battle. Two Christian legal firms paid my legal bills and countless other Christian ministry and policy groups publicly backed me. But one Christian organization remained conspicuously silent. Of course, I am speaking of… the Crusade formerly named after Christ.

For seven long years I heard not a single word of public support from a single member of Campus Crusade. When I won the case, I was deluged with calls and emails and handwritten letters from Christian leaders all across America.

But I heard not a word from Campus Crusade for months in the wake of the verdict.

Then, in mid-July, the final terms of my settlement were reached. It was reported in the local news that I would get a raise and a check for back pay while may attorneys would get a sum of $615,000. On August 1, 2014, I received the check from the State of North Carolina. On August 2, just 24 hours later, one of the local directors for Campus Crusade wrote me the following:

“Hey Mike. I hope your summer is going well. Would you be interested in having coffee with me next week so I could talk to you about joining my ministry support team?”

After I received that audacious email, I searched through my archives and read every single email correspondence I had received from that director over the course of seven years. There was no offer of prayer support in any of those emails. Nor was there any mention of the legal ordeal I was going through. He simply ignored the suit until the terms of the settlement became public.

In other words, your ministry and its leaders were never interested in unity. They never offered support in public or even in private. They only sought to profit financially from those who win battles Campus Crusade chooses to avoid.

The reason I am linking to this is because I experienced this kind of behavior from IVCF and Campus Crusade as an undergraduate and later as a graduate student. They opposed the introduction of apologetics at every point, and they were both anxious to embrace the secular left, especially radical feminism, global warming alarmism, gay rights and socialism. It was depressing. If I were a student today, I’d head straight for the College Republicans and Ratio Christi if I wanted to get anything useful done. In fact, I started this blog partly as a way of discussing issues from a Christian point of view because I could not get anything done in IVCF and Campus Crusade.

I would not give money to IVCF or Crusade or any Christian missionary / relief organization  right now. I would only give to individual chapters of Ratio Christi, and then only for specific lectures or debates. You have to watch your money like a hawk, because a lot of these leftist Christian do-gooder organizations have no Christian worldview based in the Bible.

Darrell Bock and Eric Chabot discuss the challenges of campus ministry

A conflict of worldviews
A conflict of worldviews

My good friend Eric Chabot did an episode of the The Table podcast, which is the culture podcast of Dallas Theological Seminary. Eric does campus ministry at Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in the United States. He has a frontline view of the challenges that Christians face on campus, which is a battle I am so passionate about.

Here’s the podcast:

The MP3 file is here.


  • 00:15  What does a typical RC meeting look like at Ohio State?
  • 02:44  Key social issues facing Ohio students
  • 05:30  How do you engage with the same-sex issue on campus?
  • 11:01  How do you engage with political issues on campus?
  • 13:08  How do you engage with social justice issues on campus?
  • 16:19  How would you describe the Christian environment on campus?
  • 18:33  Advice for parents considering Ohio State for their child

I give this podcast and the discussion my highest recommendation. It’s so practical, and so different from what you hear in church from pastors who seem to be totally unaware of how worldviews conflict on the university campus. This podcast is practical and hands-on.

There is also a transcript (PDF).

I just want to excerpt a few questions to get you interested enough to listen:

Dr. Darrell Bock:

Ok. Well, that’s the intellectual background. Let’s move on to the other questions I told you we were going to discuss. The social pressures of campus? This, and I’ve done a handful of these interviews, in fact I think you’re the 5th or 6th campus that we’ve done.

We’ve done UCLA, UC Irvine, California, San Diego, A&M and Princeton, and the interesting thing is that as we move from campus to campus and I go to social issues, that – those kind of are more varied than the intellectual stuff. The intellectual stuff seems to be pretty consistent from campus to campus.

But the social challenges really are a reflection of the environment of the campus itself and certain emphasis are tied to certain campuses. So, what are the social challenges that students face in terms of their walk at Ohio State?


Dr. Darrell Bock:

Ok. Well, let’s turn our attention to the final two questions that I want to be sure and get through, and that is you’re giving advice – let’s start with parents – you’re giving advice to parents. They’re thinking about, you know, sending their kid to Ohio State.

What do you regard as the, as keys for the preparation of that student that a parent should be thinking about? Perhaps in particular, thinking about their junior and senior years, they’re getting ready to think about college and the way you prepare a student for college and the choices and the freedom that they’re gonna fall into. How do you, what advice would you give to parents?


Dr. Darrell Bock:

Ok. This may seem like a related question, but I do think the demands are slightly different and that is what advice do you give to youth leaders and to pastors as they are preparing kids who are going through their church programs for university?
And here, I sorta have in mind what kinds of things would you hope a youth leader who’s dealing with high school students, what kinds of issues do you hope that they’re dealing with and treating so that the student is prepared for the campus experience?

That’s why I focus so much on same-sex marriage and politics on this blog. We really have to explain to young people why natural marriage is best, and why the free enterprise system is best. We are seeing now the challenge that the combination of same-sex marriage and big secular government (socialism) poses for religious liberty.

How schools of social work stifle conservative views in the name of diversity

Here’s a great story from The Weekly Standard. It’s hard for me to slice it up so I can make the point of the article, but I’ll try, and if you like it, you go read the whole thing.

The author Devorah Goldman says this:

“I can’t have you participate in class anymore.”

I was on my way out of class when my social welfare and policy professor casually called me over to tell me this. The friendliness of her tone did not match her words, and I attempted a shocked, confused apology. It was my first semester at the Hunter College School of Social Work, and I was as yet unfamiliar with the consistent, underlying threat that characterized much of the school’s policy and atmosphere. This professor was simply more open and direct than most.

I asked if I had said or done anything inappropriate or disrespectful, and she was quick to assure me that it was not my behavior that was the problem. No: It was my opinions. Or, as she put it, “I have to give over this information as is.”

I spent the rest of that semester mostly quiet, frustrated, and missing my undergraduate days, when my professors encouraged intellectual diversity and give-and-take. I attempted to take my case to a higher-up at school, an extremely nice, fair professor who insisted that it was in my own best interest not to rock the boat. I was doing well in his class, and I believed him when he told me he wanted me to continue doing well. He explained to me that people who were viewed as too conservative had had problems graduating in the past, and he didn’t want that to happen to me. I thought he was joking .  .  . until I realized he wasn’t.

[…]Two hundred thirty-five master’s programs in the United States are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which requires schools to “advocate for human rights and social and economic justice” and to “engage in practices that advance social and economic justice” as part of their curricula. As Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), points out, the CSWE standards act as “an invitation for schools to discriminate against students with dissenting views.”

Lukianoff discovered the abusive culture fostered by CSWE after several students complained about their treatment in social work programs. Emily Brooker, a Christian student at Missouri State University’s School of Social Work in 2006, was asked by her professor to sign a letter to the Missouri legislature in favor of homosexual adoption. When she explained that doing so would violate her religious beliefs and requested a different assignment, she was subjected to a two-and-a-half-hour interrogation by an ethics committee and charged with a “Level Three Grievance” (the most severe kind). Brooker was not permitted to have an advocate or a tape recorder with her at the ethics meeting, during which she was told to sign a contract promising that she would “close the gap” between her religious beliefs and the values of the social work profession. At the risk of having her degree withheld, Brooker acquiesced.

Bill Felkner, a student at Rhode Island College’s School of Social Work, was instructed to lobby the Rhode Island legislature for several policies he did not support. In addition, RIC’s policy internship requirements for graduate students included forcing students to advance policies that would further “progressive social change.” When Felkner accepted an internship in the policy department of Republican Rhode Island governor Don Carcieri’s office, he received a letter from Lenore Olsen, chair of the Social Work Department, informing him that he had violated their requirements and could no longer pursue a master’s degree in social work policy.

[…]And so I sat, zombie-like, through the strange and sad reality that is groupthink for two long years. In a publicly funded school in America’s greatest city, I was censored, threatened, and despised by my teachers. I left school after graduation feeling that something had been stolen from me. I wanted to go back and argue with my teachers some more, ask them, for example, whether a description of Reagan’s economic policies as “nightmarish” in a textbook could be considered unbiased in any context. I wished I had stood up more often for my white male friends in class, asked people if they really believed that Band-Aids that were not exactly fair and not exactly dark in color were racist. Realizing that I had been awarded a diploma in part because I kept my opinions to myself was deeply unsatisfying.

Conservative students need to be aware that they are likely to face discrimination in social work programs on campus, and probably in many other programs as well. They will either have to silence themselves or change their views to be in compliance with secular leftist ideology. What’s even scarier, though, is when students who are raised in traditional evangelical homes go off to college and swallow secular leftist values uncritically. It always shocks me a little when I meet students who were raised in a married home with two evangelical parents and they tell me that they vote for Democrats. I just had a conversation this week with a young woman who claimed to be pro-life and pro-marriage who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. She is studying journalism, and I would bet that there are no conservative professors in her program. She told me that she voted for Obama because of environmentalism and Obamacare. She also expressed preference for big government over small government.

It’s definitely something to be aware of – the lack of critical thinking and respectful dialog in some of these programs. I’m going to be giving her a list of conservative news sites to read, like The Stream, The Weekly Standard, The Daily Signal, and so on. I wonder if she has ever read a conservative economist or journalist before… I’ll find out.

If you insist on going to programs that are more ideology than marketable skills, then expect to have to keep your mouth shut all the way through in order to graduate. And then after you graduate, whenever you get the chance, vote for smaller government, lower taxes, and more academic freedom laws that protect a diversity of views in the classroom. I also recommend donating to legal groups who defend basic liberties, such as Alliance Defending Freedom.

New CBO study: top 40% of earners paid 106.2% of net income taxes collected

CNS News reports on a new study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).


The top 40 percent of households by before-tax income actually paid 106.2 percent of the nation’s net income taxes in 2010, according to a new study by the Congressional Budget Office.

At the same time, households in the bottom 40 percent took in an average of $18,950 in what the CBO called “government transfers” in 2010.

Taxpayers in the top 40 percent of households were able to pay more than 100 percent of net federal income taxes in 2010 because Americans in the bottom 40 percent actually paid negative income taxes, according to the CBO study entitled, “The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2010.

[…]When the the negative 9.1 percent in federal income taxes paid by those in the bottom 40 percent is subtracted from the 109.1 percent paid by those in the top 60 percent, federal tax revenues net out to an even 100 percent.

[…]The households in the bottom 40 percent of income—which on average paid negative federal income taxes—were on average receiving many thousands of dollars in what the report calls “government transfers.” These transfers included, among other things, benefits from unemployment insurance, Medicare and Social Security, as well as from means-tested programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), and Medicaid.

“Government transfers increase income in all groups, but those increases, both in dollars and as a percentage of market income, are larger for groups with lower market income,” says the report.

According to the CBO, households in the bottom quintile received an average of $22,700 in government transfers in 2010 (including $14,300 in payments from Medicare and Social Security and $8,500 in payments from other government programs); and households in the second quintile received an average of $15,200 in government transfers (including $10,300 in payments from Medicare and Social Security and $4,900 from other government programs).

Now I have been reading articles like this one in National Review by James Pethokoukis, which talk about Obama’s rhetoric about “income inequality”. And I think that when the President goes on a rant about how much he wants to fix “income inequality”, you have to keep in mind what he is actually fixing. He thinks the people who earn the most need to be taxed more and he thinks that the people who earn the least need to be given more benefits. That’s what he is trying to fix.