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Secretly I’m a Communist

October 6, 2011

I love communism. Its guiding principle is absolutely sound: each person’s job is necessary for the proper function of society, so why should one receive more compensation for it than another. However, there’s this annoying little thing that gets in the way of communism ever working in this world. That thing is people. More specifically, that thing is the utter depravity of every human heart. Even more specifically the problem is this vice called “Greed” and his big brother, “Self-centeredness.”

The problem communism attempts to address is scarcity. Scarcity means that no matter how many goods we produce, we are never going to be able to completely satisfy mankind’s hunger for stuff. There just aren’t enough material resources available to us. However, we can and do completely satisfy the material hungers of a few. There are a very small number of people in the world who have more than they could ever possibly want. Communism wants to redistribute the world’s wealth so that each individual experiences the same amount of scarcity. Basically with communism nobody’s desire for stuff will ever be completely satisfied, (except in the minds of the most hopeless optimists) but there will be nobody who has significantly more than others, so the lust for more stuff will be mitigated.

This is where the unfortunate negative characteristic of the human heart come in. You see, communism only works if everybody continues to produce at a capacity similar to their output in a capitalistic system, but the only reason people produce so much under capitalism is because they are motivated by greed. In capitalism most everything somebody produces belongs to him, but in communism everything he produces belongs to everyone. This means that while in a capitalist economy of 100 people, if one were to produce $1 worth of goods, he would have earned 1$, in a communist economy the producer’s effective income would be $0.01. The incentive to be productive is significantly less.

So while there is nothing wrong with communism’s guiding principle, it can’t function in a world motivated by personal gain, and we know from the Bible that mankind won’t be perfected until Christ’s second coming, therefore functional communism is unfortunately impossible on this Earth. We’ll have to find another less systematic, more caring way to look after the less fortunate.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2011 1:44 pm

    true. the human nature is also why communist countries always end up in dictatorships.

  2. October 6, 2011 2:57 pm

    I’m gonna have to disagree with you here bro. I understand what you are trying to say, but I really don’t think communism is Biblical at all.

    • October 6, 2011 7:52 pm

      Could you explain?

      • October 6, 2011 10:47 pm

        i agree with Mr. Keeton. Communism is based on the teachings of Karl Marx. It is purely atheist in nature.

      • October 6, 2011 11:37 pm

        Certainly, but just because a thought is developed by an atheist doesn’t mean that it isn’t at its root prompted by the conscience. God can speak through the work of those separated from Him just as He speaks through His children. Our job is to test the words and works, not to test the person.

  3. October 6, 2011 11:27 pm

    Communism didn’t work…it fell flat on its face. Equality will never be a reality…some people are simply more intelligent than others and they should be rewarded for their efforts. I do think capitalism has taken a wrong turn and we have problems that are too complex to discuss…but communism is certainly not the answer. Although I do believe Karl Marx got one thing right…the human being is starting to become merely a commodity.

    • October 6, 2011 11:34 pm

      If you’re trying to start an argument with me, I think you didn’t read my post very well. The dream of Communism, that everyone be without need, is a beautiful one, but I agree that it’s entirely untenable. Given that practical reality, arguing over whether in some metaphorical utopia where it would be possible is somewhat pointless.

      • October 7, 2011 12:47 am

        I like your Gravatar. I am not trying to argue with you…I myself write many dreamy ideas…but “needs” must be filled…once that is complete…then we move on to greater visions and purposes. The goal shouldn’t be to just fulfill our needs…for then we have not gone beyond our fellow animals.

      • October 7, 2011 5:31 pm

        Thank you! I really think it shows off my good side.

        And I agree completely with what you’re saying. The difference between capitalism and communism in an ideal society (read: impossible society) is that while capitalism encourages each individual to pursue his own dream, communism encourages the society as a whole to pursue its dream. Either way, a vision is being pursued. Of course, in real terms, unless God is the root of that vision, it’s worthless.

  4. October 7, 2011 12:41 am

    I am going to have to disagree with you, and agree with Adam Keeton on this one.

    I am guessing that you were thinking of Act 2:45 when you were writing this: “45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” This is different from communism. The believers gave when there was need. From this verse, there is no indication that they pooled the available resources and lived in a commune. Instead, they took care of those who were facing hard times. They helped when they were able.

    This is a different spirit than that of communism. Communism is forced equality, oppression and an elite, controlling government. Christian sharing does not condemn the difference in salaries. It is okay for people to be rich. But we should all, rich or poor, care for those who need help. We should care for members of our community as well as strangers. While the verse from Acts specifically talks about material giving, other non-material interactions are just as important. Such as treating people with dignity and love.

    I understand that some isolated ideas of communism such as the “equality” and “shared wealth” might sound appealing. However, in reality and even in an ideal world, I do not think that communism reflects Christ-like behavior.

    • October 7, 2011 12:58 am

      Also, the entire idea of communism is based on the spirit of jealous and envy. People don’t like it when others make more money than they do. Communism offers the opportunity to take away the wealth of the rich. What is more malicious than an envy motivated political movement to make everyone poor?

      Of course, it is not advertised that way. Everyone wants wealth, and the “stealing from the wealthy and giving to the poor” sounds fair enough. But stealing is never fair and allowing greed to guide actions is never wise.

      • October 7, 2011 5:25 pm

        I’m sorry: I think you’ve misunderstood. This post in its entirety is an attempt to argue against communism. The first paragraph is noting that in a very specific set of circumstances impossible on this Earth, communism might be an efficient way to organize an economy. I had considered including a paragraph near the beginning addressing the misconception that the early church practiced communism in Acts, but it didn’t flow well.

        Also, I’m afraid that you’ve fallen prey to the popular demonizing of communism. The Soviet Union was not by any measure what Karl Marx had envisioned. His vision was of a completely democratic state. (Yes, democracy and communism are not antonyms) His entire vision was simply the reduction of scarcity’s effects. That is very different from a state where the elite oppress the masses, telling them that their best interests are kept in mind; ideal communism is completely distinct from Soviet Communism.

        Here’s one more way of looking at the issue: in an ideal communist economy there is no theft from one class by another class, for there is only one class. Each person works, and each person earns. Communsim recognizes that each person’s job is necessary for a properly functioning economy, and so it sees no need to reward some more than others.

        Does this help you understand for what I argue?

      • October 8, 2011 1:17 pm

        On the contrary, I have not misunderstood. I understand that you think that communism, in an ideal world would work perfectly. I also understand that you realize that with humanity’s fallen nature, communism could never work in the current world.

        I am familiar with the ideals of communism and how it strives for equality both socially and economically. I understand that the Soviet Union’s communism was not a working example of ideal communism.

        However, while I understand, I still do not agree.

        Even in an ideal world, I do not think communism is fair. Some jobs are by nature more demanding than others, some jobs require more training, and some require more skill. For each to be regarded as equal is unfair to the worker, even though almost all jobs are all necessary for society to function.

        Christianity is not similar to communism nor is heaven (a sinless world) similar to communism:

        Even though all who declare with their mouths and believe in their hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord are saved, their rewards in heaven will not be equal (Romans 10:9). Those who are saved will get into heaven, but the rewards they receive there are dependent on their works:

        ” 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.” – (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)

        We will each be judged for what we have done and rewarded accordingly.

        Even though we are all different and have different roles to play, there is a sense of equality in value (1 Corinthians 2:12-31). But while we are all valuable, we do not all earn the same rewards.

        Communism desires everyone to be equal in everything, regardless of hours worked, skills, or quality of work. Christianity is not like that. An ideal life wouldn’t be like that.

        If the purpose of your post was to simply point out that the perfect country was an island with no one on it, I would not have argued the point. However, you claimed that communism in a perfect world would reflect Christian ideals and with that I do not agree.

      • October 9, 2011 3:09 pm

        sorry, for some reason, i wasnt getting the email updates saying people were commenting on this. my bad. but susan is right. she basically said all i was going to say, so i wont beat a dead horse.

        please dont be discouraged by this. keep posting. i know, as a blogger myself, how sad it can be for people to misunderstand what you say. really, truly do understand. i have had to stomp out a few fires myself. keep blogging. keep posting. you are doing great. just remember to get a broader perspective when you deal with controversial topics. i understood what you meant, but it didnt come out that way.

  5. Paul E. Newton permalink
    October 10, 2011 10:38 am

    Adam,

    I agree with Susan. I would add another thought to the mix for your consideration: If communistic principles were God’s ideal, why would the nation that He called out for Himself not have included some of these ideals in a workable way? Read the Law of Moses and you find that personal property and care for those less fortunate are balanced in a market-based economy, not a communistic one. I understand what you state you were trying to express, but I do not believe that communism (even in the perfect theoretical sense) is compatible with the whole counsel of scripture. I love you, brother!

  6. Aaron Anthonis permalink
    October 22, 2011 7:46 am

    Some scattered thoughts on the subject:

    Communism is a scary word for most people. It’s often difficult to detach onesself from the historical evils associated with it.

    It doesn’t help that there is this widespread misconception that capitolism as a system somehow finds more favor in god’s eyes than other systems of government.

    I think people sometimes arrive at this conclusion because of the relative prosperity this country has seen over the last hundred-some-odd years. To try and interpert an omnipitent being’s motivations based on the movements of little green pieces of paper over such an insignificant time period seems a bit silly to me.

    It could be that I am completely wrong in thinking that anyone has made this assumption, in which case I am just rambling…

    Perhaps a more accurate representation of what you are looking for is communal living, wich is basically just communism on a smaller scale I suppose.

    Adam, it’s encouraging that you are using your intellect to examine ideas on your own terms. Keeping an open mind and learning not to dismiss less popular ideas based on other people’s estimations of them is important. Keep it up.

    -Aaron

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