The Rise and Fall of Socialism in America
The Socialist Party of America was founded in 1901. It received support from trade unionists, progressive social reformers, populist farmers, and various immigrant groups. But it never did well at the polls, particularly in presidential elections. And its staunch opposition to American involvement in World War I resulted in a large number of defections.
The best showing ever for a Socialist ticket was in 1912, when their candidate, Eugene Debs, received 901,551 total votes, or 6% of the popular vote. In 1920 Debs ran again, this time from prison, and received 913,693 votes, 3.4% of the total.
Socialism rebounded in the 1930s during the Great Depression under the leadership of Norman Thomas, but President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policies, which introduced America to Welfare-Statism, prevented Socialism from gathering much steam. Later, the party’s opposition to American involvement in World War II cost it much of its support.
The party stopped running presidential candidates after 1956 when its nominee won fewer than 6,000 votes. The party decided, instead, to focus its efforts on educational programs. In the early 1970s the party splintered into three main groups, and the original party changed its name to Social Democrats, USA.
The Resurrection of Socialism in America
It was therefore startling to most people when Newsweek magazine proclaimed on the cover of its February 6, 2009 issue that “We Are All Socialists Now.” As proof, the magazine pointed to the fact that the U.S. government had already — under a conservative Republican administration — effectively nationalized the banking and mortgage industries. The writer of the cover article then asserted, “Whether we want to admit it or not…the America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state.”
How can this resurrection of Socialism be explained? It relates to the rapid secularization and paganization of American society in recent years, especially since the election of President Barack Obama in 2008.
Socialism always flourishes in a secular society. And the reason is simple. Here’s how Robert Knight of the American Civil Rights Union explained it in a recent article: “…Socialism goes hand in hand with abandoning God and worshiping the idol of an ever-growing government.”1
And that’s how United States Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont, an openly avowed Socialist, won more than 12 million votes in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries — by promising that government would become the National Nanny by providing every need. He promised free college, free health care and another $10 trillion in federal spending. When considering such reckless promises, Robert Knight asks, “What’s not to like if you view government as an ATM machine for all your needs?”2 Or, to put it another way, “Who needs God when government will supply everyone’s needs at someone else’s expense?”3
The Competing Systems
There are really only two types of social organization — collectivism and individualism. In the 20th Century, collectivism took many forms, such as Socialism, Fascism, Nazism, Welfare Statism and Communism. The alternative system, and the only one compatible with individualism and freedom, is Capitalism.
Collectivist systems like Socialism rely on state power to forcibly redistribute wealth. These systems amount to legalized theft. C. Bradley Thompson, who is a professor at Ashland University and a staff member at the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs, has summarized Socialism brilliantly as a ruling system that “uses compulsion and the organized violence of the State to expropriate wealth from the producer class for its redistribution to the parasitical class.”4
Defenders of Socialism always try to present themselves as compassionate people who care for the underprivileged. They characterize Capitalism as a dog-eat-dog system that produces inequities, with great disparities between the rich and the poor. Thompson responds to these arguments as follows:5
Yes, there are winners and losers in Capitalism. The winners are those who are honest, industrious, thoughtful, prudent, frugal, responsible, disciplined and efficient. The losers are those who are shiftless, lazy, imprudent, extravagant, negligent, impractical and inefficient. Capitalism is the only social system that rewards virtue and punishes vice.
Thompson then sums up his whole argument against Socialism by saying, “Simply put, Socialism rewards sloth and penalizes hard work, while Capitalism rewards hard work and penalizes sloth.”6
The Need for Common Sense
The young people who are swarming to Senator Sanders’ support are a spiritually bankrupt generation who view government as God. They are also a greedy generation that desires “free stuff.”
And they are obviously ignorant of economics and are hard up for common sense, for one of the facts of life is that there are no free meals. Thus, if government gives you a “free” education, you will spend the rest of your life paying exorbitant, confiscatory taxes to cover the cost of that education and the “free” educations of those who follow you. I guess the problem with common sense is that it is not very common.David Reagan: I guess the problem with common sense is that it is not very common. Click To Tweet
Some liberal Christian spokesmen have tried to defend Socialism on the grounds that the early Church in Jerusalem practiced Socialism as described in Acts 2:44-45:
44) And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common;
45) and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.
Yes, the early Christians, who were severely persecuted, banded together in communal groups to help defend and support each other, but that is a far cry from Socialism. The key here is that they shared their goods of their own free will. No one forced them to do so.
In like manner today, I give a lot of my income to many ministries, churches and social welfare organizations that provide food, clothing and even lodging to poor people. But I do so willingly as an expression of my love of Jesus. No one forces me to do so.
Again, the Socialists utilize the power of the State to force people to give to others through policies that result in a forced redistribution of income. And that is theft, pure and simple. Their desire is to make people dependent on the State because such dependence, in turn, will provide the Socialists with ever greater power over people’s lives.
One interesting thing in this regard that I have noticed over the years is that when Socialist politicians are forced to reveal their income tax returns, they never show any significant donations to help the poor. No, these “compassionate” liberals want to help the poor with your money and mine — not theirs.David Reagan: Compassionate liberals want to help the poor with your money, not theirs. #capitalism Click To Tweet
Insights About Socialism
Rupert Murdoch, the British media mogul, recently gave a speech about the virtues of Capitalism. In the process, he made a very insightful comment about Socialism:7
Socialism is a form of feudalism. The Lord is the State and the Aristocracy which rises up around the State…The serfs are the same people who have always been serfs throughout history. Socialism doesn’t save anyone from working for the company store. Government just becomes the company store.
Winston Churchill always had a pithy way of presenting profound ideas in brief statements. Here’s what he had to say about Socialism as compared to Capitalism: “The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of misery.”8
One blogger, who chooses to remain anonymous, has this to say about the morality of Socialism:9
Socialism is immoral at its core [because] it requires an acceptance that the government owns you, that when the rubber hits the road, you are simply a number, and that if you are more productive than most other people, you will be replaced as a cash cow to be milked for what some group of Statists consider “The Common Good.”
History attests to the fact that people are always willing to surrender their freedoms for the promise of security. That is exactly what Socialism does. Beware!
1) Robert Knight, “Embracing the Socialist,” www.washingtontimes. com, February 14, 2016, page 1.
3) Ibid., page 3.
4) C. Bradley Thompson, “Socialism vs. Capitalism: Which is the Moral System?” http://ashbrook.org, October 1993, page 2.
6) Ibid., page 3.
7) Nick Sorrentino, “Socialism fails because it is largely immoral in its denial of fundamental freedoms,” www.againstcronycapitalism.org, April 22, 2013, page 2.
8) Anonymous, “On Taxes and Socialism,” http://waronsocialism.com, page 4.
28 CommentsLeave a Comment
I feel sadness and fear over the trajectory of this nation.
Peer Pressure from Junior High and High School is the origin of Socialism. Everyone be alike or you will be destroyed.
You say that socialism is immoral at its core. Capitalism can also be immoral if the wealth is not honestly earned and if it is earned only for the comfort of the rich. If God has blessed you, you have a moral responsibility to help those in need. Perhaps if the wealthy capitalist also has Christian values they would ask themselves, “How much do I really need? How many homes do I need? How much should I spend on cars, jewelry, clothing, when we know there are ill-housed, cold, hungry people. The answer to poverty is not Socialism but Christian capitalism. As John Wesley said, in effect, earn all that you can so that you can give all that you can to do the most good as you can. Don’t attack the rich for being rich, attack them for how they use their wealth.
Awesome answer. This statement:
“Yes, there are winners and losers in Capitalism. The winners are those who are honest, industrious, thoughtful, prudent, frugal, responsible, disciplined and efficient. The losers are those who are shiftless, lazy, imprudent, extravagant, negligent, impractical and inefficient. Capitalism is the only social system that rewards virtue and punishes vice”.
Is an outright lie. Many hard-working people are being suppressed by our secular form of capitalism, and many shiftless, lazy, immoral people are prospering in the same system.
Why “attack” the rich for how they spend their money? The issue here is “freedom,” and a capitalist system is most compatible with a free society. The foundation of Christian principles is the reason why our country is free in the first place, but convincing the ungodly, who happen to be rich, of this truth will never take place if we do not speak the truth in love. Keep in mind that there are many ungodly poor and middle class people as well. I just don’t like the thought of attacking people; perhaps you miswrote the true motive of your thought. Here are some scriptures for you. Notice that Jesus gave the Rich Young Ruler freedom of choice in Luke 18:18-27. Also read, The Parable of the Unjust Steward: Luke 16:1-13; and Matthew 26:11. I love reading Matthew 13:45-46, The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price.
I pray every day that America will have a great revival and turn away from the direction it is going. We need to turn to Jesus our only hope.
Dr. Reagan quotes Robert Knight: “…Socialism goes hand in hand with abandoning God and worshiping the idol of an ever-growing government.” I recently heard Rabbi Daniel Lapin say that the world’s first attempt at Socialism was described in Genesis 11. We know it as the story about the Tower of Babel. In that time, those people were striving toward a one-world government. A government that governed all of them equally and would control their lives and their work and supply everything they needed. They all spoke the same language, and they not only wanted the tower to be a stairway to heaven, they wanted to use it as the center of the world, and all of the world’s people. God took one look at it all, and stopped it cold. He confused their language and scattered everyone all over the world into about 100 different groups. The Rabbi said that God wanted to separate all of us into smaller groups, like countries and states, plus as we journeyed, we could develop individual lifestyles, and as Dr. Reagan might add, worship God instead of worshiping the tower.
Patent nonsense!! Shows absolutely no knowledge of history. In the UK, one Prime Minister said that the Labour Party owed more to Methodism (John Wesley) than to Marxism. The fact is that Christians believed that the Bible encouraged setting up hospitals, schools, care for orphans. America’s so-called individualism is a con trick leaving a significant number of the population with NO health care. That’s just one example. Jesus a capitalist – you’re having a laugh!
Are you going to believe what a misguided politician says about a Christian denomination? God doesn’t advocate stealing someone’s wealth to pay the way for others. Fallen, imperfect humans will continue to tax us into poverty…until we are all poor and miserable. Perhaps you should study the history of the Russian revolution. Another helpful study would be about Stalin, and how he changed the minds of the young with Marxist education policies; and the historical fact that he destroyed churches and was a godless tyrant.
Why do we blame peer pressure and the schools. Parents, you are still the most powerful influence in your children’s lives. It’s this simple. Say to your kids, pre-teens, teenagers, “We are Republicans and capitalist”. Something amazing happens, they will take what you said on faith and it’s what they will be.
This article is vintage David Reagan. It shows his prophetic and political background in great harmony. I really enjoyed the article.
Excellent article. Desperately needed in our churches which are being invaded by socialist ideas under the guise of aiding the poor, downtrodden, and needy which shifts our focus away from the great need of sharing the Gospel. Only God’s gift of salvation is totally free. And it was paid for on Calvary. Thank you for the article.
Tragically this country is at a tipping point in this next election. Socialism is being pushed by the liberal left but it is also the government system that will be of the One World Government. Globalists have been pushing socialism for years. Our previous president was a big pusher of everything going in that direction in this country.
If socialism is evil, why was it practiced in the early church? Also, what Bible basis do we have that supports capitalism, which has become the American idol god?
Wayne, the answer to your first question is in the article. I’d say the answer to your second is 2 Thes. 3:10.
You totally missed the point. Reread the article. The early church did not use coercion nor were they compelled by a spiritually wicked governing system.
Socialism reminds me of the saying …
“2% of the people think, 3% think they think and 95% would rather die than think”.
This world of ours is so very diverse, and extremely complicated. It is not possible for us to fully understand the different people on this earth: their belief systems, religions, education, economics, families, needs, problems, disabilities, etc., etc. Almighty God created all of us, everything we need, and all that we own now. The Father also gave us His Son, His Word, the Holy Spirit, and provides our needs. It is the non-believers, the greedy, the selfish, the killers, the murderers, the rapists, the atheists, drug dealers, the wicked, power hungry, cruel, and the evil, etc. That is where all of our problems lie.
“And they are obviously ignorant of economics and are hard up for common sense, for one of the facts of life is that there are no free meals. Thus, if government gives you a “free” education, you will spend the rest of your life paying exorbitant, confiscatory taxes to cover the cost of that education and the “free” educations of those who follow you. I guess the problem with common sense is that it is not very common.”
– This is true, since America doesn’t want to go full socialist, and common sense would dictate that the situation’s much more nuanced than a simple case of an apparent orphan being saddled with paying for “those who follow you.” No, “those who follow you” are your own family members, friends, and those you care about, as well as those you don’t, as per Matt 5:46. The point there, of course, is also that sharing the burden of paying for education, not being buried in crippling loan debt allows children more mental and financial freedom to contribute to the community in positive ways. So, I’d argue is that common sense isn’t the only thing lacking – objective, equitable, and righteous judgment is, too. That particular topic requires a good deal more of it.
As for the taxes being exorbitant, that’s not always the conclusion Independents (those not brainwashed by either political side) come to when comparing countries, of course, and sometimes, those who’ve actually lived in other countries and compared everything from taxes to education to healthcare seem to prefer the other countries’ methods, so that issue’s debatable, both in practice and resulting benefits. As said, an honest, unbiased conversation lacking in knee jerks would be nice in defining the pros and cons, of which there ARE both.
Still, what’s interesting is that so many claim to believe in a religious text that features a collectivist society focusing on group over individual, but so many who self-identify as believers actually want anything but. But we Americans have higher levels of lead and PFAs in our water than other countries do, too, so that might explain the general response, among other backward ways of thinking this country leads in.
The usage of Acts 2:44-45 to defend it, and the response is valid. Alternatively, though, they could stick to Matt 22:17-21 (give what’s required, and stop making an issue of it) and the likes of Leviticus 19:9–10, since the giving of some of one’s harvest is required. Of course, one can always go against the Lord’s command, but as with anything else, there will be consequences. Which, well, definitely explains the present state of America’s going up in flames.
But, that mention of tax returns is… interesting. They want to help the poor with our money, not theirs? Do they live in another country, from which their money won’t be affected by their policies, and work remotely as America’s politicians? And when did it become a requirement for one’s main method of helping the poor to be one that shows up on one’s taxes? Matt 6:5 would make one assume Christianity isn’t built upon the idea that one should be focused on showing how they’re helping others (out of fear of being criticized by those whom, for some reason, are paying attention to that), as opposed to simply doing it. Especially in a country where some rich people give the impression that one motivation for their “giving” is tax benefit.
Regardless, one thing is for sure: with all the squabbling about taxes and “taking things,” it has become very clear that even if it is true that socialism thrives in a secular society, it is just as, if not more so, clear that the love of and worship of money has, in no way, diminished in a religious one… and whether one thinks socialism is immoral or not, the Bible’s quite clear that the love of money is. As a Bible-believing Christian, looking around at the collective of America, from start to present, if anything, religion has seemed to increase it, along with the Bible’s warned increase in god complex and self-righteousness among those with terrible fruit. But as mentioned, this is expected – the majority of the population, religious included, doesn’t make it in Revelation for a reason, after all.
As foretold, what’s deeply entrenched is a vile mixture of religion and politics, and it’s particularly potent in America when one examines the country’s history, where “taking things that rightfully belong to others” – from basic human rights and respect, to daily wages, and the very land they’ve always lived on – is just fine, and often religiously defended as divine providence that requires neither repentance, nor reparation, as long as those such are being stolen from, is the “correct” group.
That’s not even mentioning the cognitive dissonance that has to be purposely maintained by the well off in the society, so that those who aren’t will continue in its lack of history and nuance, ignoring that the country’s always had forms and shades of socialism implemented when and where it wants to, and that a certain group of the population only starts complaining when it looks like it’s beginning to benefit the “undesirable” groups too much. But, going back to that love of money and hatred for taxes… sadly, having and acquiring what money one can, and being concerned with giving up as little as possible “by force” in taxes will certainly play its part in keeping a person preoccupied when the mark’s required to buy and sell with it, won’t it?
The maintained discrimination, strong delusion, and overall hypocrisy present in America (and it cannot be stressed enough – it’s religious) are exactly why it’s in the thick of receiving the judgment that it is. Perhaps with socialism in the future, sure, but indisputably through the placement of our present administration of antichrist and its “I am the chosen one” lying wonders, first. Mind you, this administration isn’t unique in having antichrist traits, as that’s the case with each administration (all have had their shades of overt and covert evil; this one just seems to delight in having more of it overt).
When it all boils down, this country’s history shows most of its Christians too often miss the forest for the trees… and often the trees as well, because they’re too busy recounting the money in their wallets to make sure no one’s taken any, and keeping up (shallow, lukewarm, whited sepulcher) appearances. A genuine review of Matt 19:20-24 is important in these times.
I’m horrified at the number of posts advocating or defending Socialism, the committed enemy of Christ who murdered over 100 million people in the 20th century.
Amen! Socialism/Communism is an evil ideology. Saul Alinsky was the Devil’s poster boy! Deception from the Father of Lies has permeated our society and culture from all directions. We are definitely in “the last days,” and we must pray fervently for our children, nation, and leaders as we do all that we can within our sphere of influence to evangelize the lost, and to tell the truth about the evils of Socialism. We are in danger of losing our God-given Bill of Rights. Ephesians 6:10-13
I agree. Socialism only succeeds if the people are deceived.
The goals of socialism is also to deceive the evangelical Christians, to make them doubt the word of God and to deceive even the elect.
Thank you Dr. Reagan for this article. I’m going to send it to my daughter.
As we can see by the failures of other countries who’s government is socialism, deception leads to disaster, not freedom, equality, or prosperity. Socialism abolishes private ownership, control over one’s healthcare, and choices. Socialism is based on state ownership of the Capitol. The Government becomes the sole power, not the will of the people, the democracy of the people to chose what’s best for them is totally destroyed.
the Bible is the only standard of truth. Evaluate all other opinions in light of its teachings.
Remember, People tend to believe the lies that reinforce their own selfish, personal beliefs, and not the truth and honesty which God has taught us. We need to be careful about the input we allow to form our beliefs with TV, media, music movies and the worldly influence.
Does life in an atheist society, without God, look like Freedom?
Socialism is the theory of planning, and controlling the economy, free market, and making government the sole power, NOT the PEOPLE. Socialism abolishes private ownership control over healthcare and other personal choices and is based on STATE ownership.
Capitalism is based on an economic system of private ownership, the individual runs their own life, and makes their own decisions….. NOT the government.
Socialism originates from Satan.