Home > Politics > Socialism, Morality, Churches and Rights OH MY!

Socialism, Morality, Churches and Rights OH MY!


I’ve been switching between reading Austrian EconomicsMachiavelli, and a massive history book on the crusades and I had a conversation with a socialist friend of mine that crystallized a realization for me.

Government and Morality are not a good mix. During the dark ages in western Europe we had the Catholic Church trying to enforce morality by forcing people to church with the threat of being burned alive as a heretic (for those that didn’t go willingly).

Regardless of how people feel about religion – the moral impositions put in place are good for all of us (things like “don’t kill”, “don’t steal”, etc). Morals like these are easy to enforce because we can all immediately see the benefits of them, but the Church started imposing other requirements that were not so obvious like “We have all of these murderous knights and barons. Let’s have them go kill Muslims – if a Christian is going to kill someone it is better that it not be another Christian”. This is the part where morality and government don’t mix. When government decrees something it is not a choice anymore. People started going on crusades as a means of going on pilgrimage.

Modern stuff: so Church is now out of vogue. In the US we have a lot of talk about “Separation of Church and State”. However, we see a lot of the same things – don’t kill, don’t steal, etc; but now we see new things arising. It all has to do with what you think of when you hear the word “Creator”. In our declaration of independence is stated:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Now, most people think of God when they see Creator in that context, but another possibility might be to see the act of being born as the Creation and therefore it would be implied that a mother conveys these rights to the child. In other words, just being born is enough to be given these rights.

However, most people like to appeal to a higher power of some kind from time to time, and socialists have put in place “government” as their higher power. After all, it is the supreme law of the land. The problem comes when we start thinking about rights. If government is the higher power and the origin of rights, then government can make any noun a right – no matter how ridiculous.

Here are some examples:

  • Having a roof over your head could be a right
  • Being healthy could be a right
  • Having a job could be a right

Here are simple explanations of why these are ridiculous:

  • With freedom to pursue happiness, this is a non-sequitur, but making it a right means you have to buy a house.
  • Your own personal choices decide your health, but making it a right means that you can violate your own rights – just like committing suicide is illegal.
  • If left alone, the market will provide this, as it always has since humans stopped being hunter/gatherers, but by making it a right companies must incur losses that cause them to go out of business by hiring people and not being able to fire them when necessary.

Government is unwilling to let go of the power to define what people can have, because by defining these things and creating mechanisms for their dispensation, the government quietly asserts control over these things. By extension, the government assumes control over anyone who uses these things. The government becomes all powerful – involved in people’s lives at every level.

Just like the Catholic Church in the medieval and dark ages. We aren’t burning people at the stake yet, but we are imprisoning people.

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Categories: Politics
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