Is the Apparent March Toward Socialism Inevitable?

Jan 22, 2021 by David Fowler

Is the Apparent March Toward Socialism Inevitable?
On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul said of President Biden, “I think most importantly, what we have to hear is that he’s not going to radically transform the country into some sort of socialist dystopia.” I submit that years ago he, along with the rest of us, should have thought more deeply about the direction we have been heading for a while.
I believe we are engaged in an inexorable march to socialism. Its roots, which I will momentarily layout, were planted in France in 1789, and, predictably, its branches, along with the fruit it bore there, have spread across the Atlantic to our shores. And while I am not saying that the root of socialism cannot be destroyed or that socialism will hereafter be our lot in America, we must appreciate what the root is to know how to exterminate it.

What Is at the Root of Socialism and Who Nurtured the Soil in Which It Grew?

The root of which I am speaking is an individualism that grows in the soil of a society that on the whole denies the being and nature of the creating God revealed in the Bible. I believe this soil has been cultivated by large swathes of modern evangelicalism and then applied by the U.S. Supreme Court to shape our law.
Before evangelicals howl at me, and others wonder how individualism could beget socialism, let me first explain the contributions made by evangelicals and the Supreme Court to our situation. Then I will tie this into how individualism inexorably leads to socialism.
If you are an auditory learner, you may want to listen to the January 14th podcast entitled, Defining the Social Question, on God, Law & Liberty.

The Contribution to Socialism Made by Evangelicalism

From what I see, the emphasis in evangelicalism, beginning in the 20th Century, was primarily and exclusively on the salvation of the individual soul, helping people escape Hell and gain Heaven.
In the older form of the evangel (good news), individuals were saved by and placed by God (1 Corinthians 1:29) into a mystical union with Christ as the head to which we relate, collectively, as one organic body so that we might know God, see the glory of God in the “face” of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6), and come to understand that we exist for the sake of the glory of God to which all history is pointed.
Everything in the older evangel sought to focus on God and on keeping the glory of God, His will and prerogatives, as the defining paradigm, because it was “from Him, and through Him, and to Him” that all things exist and are directed (Romans 11:36; see Acts 17:28).
It seems to me that the emphasis in evangelicalism today is not so much on God and His will and prerogatives as it is on the individual who, in the final analysis, must choose to be saved, leaving the suddenly not-so-omnipotent-and-sovereign God whose omniscience is reduced to only foreknowledge, having to look into the future to see what each of us is going to do. With this view of God and salvation, God has to first see what our will in regard to our salvation is going to be in order to decide whether we should be given grace (or more grace) by which we can then be finally saved.
Either God is the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2, NKJV), which puts all the focus on God, His will, and His prerogatives and roots the glory that attends the Christian’s salvation entirely in Him, or we must inject ourselves into the process in a way that allows an otherwise impotent God to finish what He presumably started (compare Philippians 1:6 and 1 Thessalonians 5:24); we have to allow Him permission to finish. This denial of any secondary causation does preserve the will of the individual, but at the expense of any antecedent will of God.

The Contribution to Socialism Made by the U.S. Supreme Court

Given the form of evangelicalism that began to dominate in the 20th Century, it is not surprising that our view of law began to conform to an individualistic man-is-autonomous view of the world. Twenty-eight years ago, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, he wrote: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” This worldview dominates the law that shapes our present-day thinking. It gave us same-sex “marriage” twenty-three years later.

How Individualism Leads Inexorably to Socialism

Abraham Kuyper explained this link in a speech given in 1891 at the First Congress for Social Action. It was entitled Christianity and the Class Struggle. He wrote this:
[The] individualistic character of the French Revolution is only a derived principle.  It is not the root principle, from which it borrows its dynamic. For … the root-principle is this God-provoking ‘ni Dieu, ni maitre,’[1] or, if you will, humanity emancipated from God and his established order.
From this, he went on to say that if we reduce society to nothing more than an aggregation of individuals, with no real organic existence, no longer living before God based on His Will and prerogatives in regard to our existence and if we are “cut off” from a “horizon” that “provide[s] a prospect for ultimate justice, rich reward,” and the “prospect of eternal life,” then we are “impelled to seek happiness on earth and thus in earthly things.” This, in turn, “create[s] a sphere of lower drives, in which money [becomes] the standard of value . . . .”   
This individualism and this drive for using things as the measure of ours value have no room for some to have more things and thus, more value, than others. There no longer remains any belief in a God who superintends our lives and station in life in a manner that directs them to His own ends for His own glory and in which thought we can be content. But this understanding of God is not egoism as we think of egoism, because it would be, in a sense, “beneath” God to make something other than His own absolute perfections the objects of His actions.
Thus, Kuyper summed up the basic situation as follows:
Our society is losing touch with Christ; it lies bowed down in the dust before Mammon, and from the relentless goad of the most brutal egoism, the very foundations of the earth stagger, as the Psalmist would complain (Ps. 82:5, 11:3).  Every tie-beam and anchor of the social structure is disturbed; disorganization brings demoralization; and in the increasing wantonness of some contrasted with the steadily growing want of others, one detects something of the decomposition of a corpse rather than of the fresh bloom and muscular strength of sound health.
I could say more on this subject, and I will soon release an expanded look at Kuyper’s assessment and its relation to our time in book form. It is comprised of a series of lectures I gave to a meeting of Lutheran ministers about two years ago. However, I suspect the foregoing to be enough “radicalism” to digest for today.
If the subject interests you, and particularly if you want to know what hope and purpose look like if nothing changes to alter this immediate grim forecast, listen each Friday to “Hope and Purpose” on the God, Law & Liberty podcast.

[1] French for “no God, no master.”

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. 

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