For those of us who care about politics... too much.
Should a Spiritual Person Become a Socialist?
Mar 3, 2020
I have many friends who consider themselves spiritual who are now supporting socialism and socialist candidates. Until just recently, socialism was anathema and totally unacceptable. Has something changed? Some no longer consider me to be a friend, even though my views haven’t changed.
Enlightenment VS Socialism
This discussion is coming from the point of view of one on the path toward total enlightenment. So, the question becomes, is socialism enlightened? After all, it promises to treat everyone the same with no special interest groups as well as justice for all.
My friends talk about economic and social justice and how its unfair for some people to be rich and live in mansions while others are homeless and starving. If one takes from the rich and gives to the poor, isn’t that what Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed talked about Some think that socialism will mean better treatment for those who are different from us ethnically, economically, sexually or any other way. Others conflate socialism with social media. It is good to help others who need it. We should all be charitable, no matter our circumstance. Since our country is based on capitalism and some people are racist, some think it should be dismantled and replaced with a pure socialist regime, which they think is more fair and promotes equality in income and social programs and opportunities.
Personally Finding out About Socialism
Socialism is many things, from total communes to totalitarian regimes. It works well in a small group where all the individuals are on the same page spiritually and philosophically. Issues can be ironed out and decisions made easily since there are only a few people involved. Dissent and lack of funds can be worked out. It is the “Three Musketeers” philosophy of “One for all and all for One.” We take care of each other equally, even if one contributes more than another and some cannot contribute at all. In other words, a “loving family.”
Can Governments be charitable?
As a governmental policy for hundreds of millions of people, if not billions, it is much different. It has been tried with the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Colony, Russia, China, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, among others. These societies obviously went wrong somehow, leading to a rich ruling elite and widespread poverty among the general population. In addition, those who were not in support of the ruling elite were jailed, ‘reeducated,’ or killed as traitors. History is clear here. Governments are in the business of managing and organizing large masses of people. It is necessary for these people to be in alignment with both each other and their government. Those who violate the law must be dealt with, whatever the law is.
Are the Scandinavian countries good socialist role models?
I have visited Denmark and it is not a socialist country. It is capitalist with a lot of money and a heart. The population of Denmark is about six million. Norway is smaller, yet, like Denmark, has a robust social safety net. Other common characteristics include a very cold northern climate, relatively homogeneous ethnic population, and very generous tax income from North Sea oil revenues and seaport taxes. If the population increased significantly, the benefits would have to decrease, as they try to match spending to income. Sweden and Finland recently had to do this when benefits became more generous than they could afford. Check it out.
The Rights of the Group VS Individual Rights
At the core, socialism is the philosophy that the needs of the whole outweigh those of individuals. Individuals have no personal or private rights as their stuff can be taken at will in the name of the needs of the collective. It is not unlike Star Trek’s “The Borg” in many ways. It sounds like “We are all One” in spiritual philosophy. Similar, yes; the same, no. In practice, socialism works better in small groups than large ones. Large groups or countries have too many people with too many ideas that conflict. All people think they are correct in their way of thinking and it is normal to want others to think the way we do. It is the “right thing to do” in our opinion. It is our job to “correct” wrong thinkers. This dissonance is common in large countries. Socialism seeks consensus with little tolerance for dissonance. It is more important to be right than it is to be happy. It is the right of the group to squash out opposition by any means necessary, expelling them one way or another, small or large group.
Socialism = Equality = Justice
With socialism, it is OK to take from others who have earned “stuff” to give to others who do not have as much. It works if the receiver is grateful and the giver gives in a loving way. When it is perceived as “stolen” from someone, it generates anger and bitterness. The equality of socialism often means a “leveling down” is needed to prevent hard workers from getting too much, in the name of social or economic justice. The government has to know what is going on and have the ability to make the changes needed, so individual rights and privacy are gone in the name of the rights of the group. Of course, as with all societies in the history of mankind, any restrictions on the general population do not apply to the ruling class bureaucrats, “nobility,” and rulers, whatever they are called. They exempt themselves from their own laws because they are “special” and nobody can make them. Promises of equality under the law made at the beginning never seem to last very long, as circumstance arise that force desperate compromises. Humans are not equal in any perceptible way, yet we often long to be treated as if those differences did not exist.
Who Supervises Those Who Make the Rules?
In other words, supporting socialism means more taxes since the money doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to the society as a whole. The ruling class will make the decisions on how to spend it. You will have no individual rights, per se, unless it benefits the collective… or the leaders.There will be few, if any, incentives to step out and do more than anyone else, as they will not be rewarded and often criticized as one trying to be better than others. Creativity is stifled and not rewarded for the same reasons. Spirituality and religion are often not tolerated because they foster “differences.” All of the above can be good, if all is done in LOVE. In republics governed by law, people who abuse the system can be thrown out; in socialist totalitarian system, the ‘beloved’ leader often consolidates power and cannot be thrown out or refuses to leave.
A Kibbutz in Israel: An Example of How Even a Small Socialstic Group Works
Collectives were self-sufficient for a time in Israel. I once visited and stayed overnight at the Kibbutz Lavi near Golani Junction, Israel. We were offered a two-hour discussion of the history of the place after supper.The kibbutz, founded by “youngsters who were transported from Germany to England as part of the “Kindertransport” and were educated in the Brit ChalutzinDatiim (Bachad) movement” in 1949. At first, they were self-supporting, but now they depend heavily on a subsidy from the Israeli government and have to sell agricultural products and furniture as well as run the living quarters as a hotel. People are allowed to leave the kibbutz and new people are allowed in, after a screening process. The original motivations of “freedom in a new land” have morphed to more modern and practical ones. It was indicated to us that one of the problems they have had is that members are not willing to do without and want more and more of the same things they see on TV or the internet. There are about 170 familes with 250 children, according to Wikipedia. There were 273 kibbutzim in Israel in 2017; for more info, check here. This is as good as socialism gets. The large majority of Israeli’s are capitalist.
Steal It or Earn it
There are two main ways to get stuff in this temporary physical world: earn it (by paying for it) or take it from somebody else who has what we want. Most of the ancient “hunter-gather” society was the “take it” kind. When society grew to where there wasn’t enough to gather from the earth or steal from others, we started to farm, to grow our own food. That meant building cities, shelters and storage for what we grew. It meant using creativity to produce more for more people, to trade with others for stuff we wanted but didn’t have, instead of stealing. We depended on each other, respecting differences in order to build and maintain relationships. We are social beings and depend on each other. One big difference in the various systems is how we get the things we need and want in life.
Capitalism is all about Encouraging Earning a Living
Capitalism is a direct outgrowth of how to deal with the needs of large groups of people. One must harness the ability of all people, not give them stuff they could get for themselves. Creativity, an innate divinely inspired ability is valued and rewarded. It gives incentive to individuals to benefit from their own hard work, providing food and stuff for others to buy. People’s skills, ingenious ideas, and labor are all valued and put to work. When all or most are working together, with the incentives of freedom, it is mostly a self-adjusting system. Because people are different and have different life experiences, results vary. Working hard to earn a living and saving for hard times is at the core of a system that encourages self-determination, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the right to pursue happiness.
Capitalism is Popular Even if It isn’t Perfect
Capitalism is the most popular because it is voluntary, the most creative and more people do better with in than socialism. Capitalism generally works to protect individuals, the customers of each other. Spirituality is not only tolerated but thrives in a free market of goods and ideas. It frequently levels up the playing field, not down. People with money buy more stuff than those who do not have much money. People who have freedom of religion gradually become enlightened faster than those deprived of open discussions of our Source, spending a lot of their time just making a living. Some criticize capitalism and the United States and other republics because they are racist and had slaves at the beginning. Trouble is, the entire world is racist in some ways, even today: people like their own culture and are suspicious of others they do not understand, especially if some of those who are different try to take advantage of them. The thing is, human nature is flawed. We think we are special and others are not. Too often we think it is OK to take stuff from other people, in part because we don’t like them. It is people, not the system that determines individual behavior. Any attempts to create a “heaven on earth” has to deal with human nature, those who will not go alongs. Capitalism has the advantage of having a system of laws widely administered to hold back the excesses of individuals and cannot be changed unlesss the elected officials change them, a fairly involved process. Socialist systems can be changed on the whims of people like Maduro, Castro, Putin, Xi Jinping, or Kim Jong Un. There are no meaningful votes there.
Questions to Think About Regarding Socialism in the United States:
Can 330-million+ people ALL agree and join in Love with all others?
- If not, will dissidents be FORCED to comply? Will they be allowed to voted socialism out if they don’t like it? Do promoters of revolution tolerate dissent or opposition?
- What if electing a Socialist of any kind leads to that person taking power (through executive orders) and single-handedly transforming constitutional institutions to suit the new revolutionary order?
- History records that socialists have used “reeducation” camps, mass arrests, jailing and executions for ‘traitors’ who prefer the constitution as founded and individual rights.
- What about guns, the owning and bearing of which is a constitutional right? There are more guns than people and most will not give them up peacefully. Millions of Americans have ancestors who fled totalitarian societies and value their constitutional freedoms and keep guns in case a socialist does try to take over. Historically socialist countries have confiscated weapons forcibly and become police states.
- Religion is blamed for more wars than any other reason. Will spirituality and or religion be banned in favor the government becoming the source of all Good? What about people who will not give up their religious views? Is this happening already?
Can we afford all of the things socialists are promising everyone?
- Financial “goodies” (health care, green environment, social equality, reparations for slavery, etc.) are being offered as an incentive to Socialism, to the tune of about $90-trillion+, given that the US is also $20-trillion+ in debt. What will we do when we run out of money?
- Historical answers in socialist countries that run out ofmoney include confiscatory taxes, hyper-inflating the currency, taking people’s “private assets” like retirement funds, investment funds, land, etc. After that, then what?
Are Many Proponents of Socialism Hypocrites?
- Condemning their opposition for things they themselves are doing or have done (projection)?
- Criticizing opposing individuals personally (politics of personal destruction), but won’t engage on policy issues?
- Minimizing their own faults and mistakes, but maximizing those of others? Will they make up charges if needed?
- Promoting love, tolerance, and diversity, yet hating those who oppose them or disagree, doing whatever they can to destroy them (Trump, conservatives, anti-abortion proponents). Do they demand that their opponents work with them when there is something they want, yet decline to work with others if they oppose the legislation?
- Are some people loyal to their party no matter what?
We All Want to Become Enlightened
Enlightenment is the spiritual decision to see our Creator and our Oneness despite the physical illusion of individuality. “Heaven on Earth” is NOT a physical possibility. Neither Capitalism or Socialism are perfect. However, we do have to deal with this imperfect, flawed world as best we can. Jesus and Buddha were not political figures and their examples were along the lines of dealing with government, no matter what kind.
However, typically, only one -ism has worked long term and has worked to heal itself from some of its most egregious flaws. It has gotten better. Every example of the other has gone down hill into totalitarianism, persecution against religion and equal poverty for all. Some say socialism can be fixed; truth is, every proponent of socialism says the same thing, but human nature has not been reversed, at least in the physical world. Be careful what you wish for… the truth is, one can become enlightened in either system, even in death camps. Enlightenment means loving our neighbors now even if they are going to kill us, steal from us, or whatever, deciding that LOVE is All There Is. (See Jesus' Easter experience.) Enlightenment means loving others who don’t like our sexuality, our skin tone, where we came from, our lack of money, whatever. Some governments make it easier, but many of us will not change unless circumstances force us to! Others of us benefit from a quiet meditative life with a relatively tranquil political scene. As a politiholic, I tend toward the later.