Thursday, June 04, 2009

To each according to his need -Karl Marx gets religion

To Each According to Need - Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

"The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need." (Acts 4:32-35)

The Acts of the Apostles describe the Christ-like spirit of the first days of the Church. Acts 4:32-35 accounts for how the community provided for the material shortcomings of its members. How marvelous this scripture is to set side-by-side with the resentment of the tea partiers...

It's notable that the title, "To Each According to Need", while taken from Scripture, has also been used by others to justify coercive government programs which confiscate private property supposedly for the "common good".
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." -Karl Marx

These programs view citizens not as virtuous and generous individuals ready to voluntarily assist others, but as greedy "haves" from whom revenue must be squeezed to support the "have-nots".

The author acknowledges,
"It would be mistaken to read the text's argument for possessions "in common" as in some way equivalent to our contemporary notions of political ideas such as socialism."

Very true. Yet the author does not seem to let this fact enter his thinking when he directs his contempt toward "a pathetic and mean-spirited outpouring of resentment" by thousands of citizens at the recent "Tea Parties". Their offense? Many attended to demonstrate their opposition to super-sized government programs that perpetuate poverty and dependence, depleting the resources of the many while failing to effectively meet the needs of the few they claim to benefit. How dare they oppose ever-increasing deficit spending for social programs that are based on the false and unchristian premise that private property should be managed not by its owners, but by the state, and must be forcibly redistributed by politicians! How mean-spirited to insist on one's right to act as responsible stewards of the fruits of one's own labor!

As government spending increases and our taxes increase, this right of private ownership of property is increasingly denied. And as government takes a larger and larger portion of our income, we gradually lose the ability to support families, and provide help to those causes and individuals that conscience and discretion show to be most in need of our help. Can government do this better than the individual? Should government be permitted to usurp this responsibility?

The early Christians willingly donated money to the Church, which used it to assist the poor according to prudent Christian principles. Why do some Catholics now argue that this responsibility to care for the poor should be fulfilled primarily by the state? Why should the biblical model of voluntary alms for the poor, administered by the Church according to right moral criteria, be overturned in favor of morally flawed, wasteful government programs that depend on coercive taxation instead of willing generosity?

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    Just put up an item on

    and as I was concluding the writeup found Marx echoing in my mind and googling it I found your item.

    You make good points


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