Football Players or Pirates?

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I don’t believe in complicating economic discussion more than is necessary. The Bible requires some form of capitalist society in the basic commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.” This command presupposes the institution of private ownership — private property as a divine institution — and sets up a fundamental protection against assaults on the right to own property. It does this in just the same way that the prohibition of adultery presupposes the institution of marriage. If marriage is just a “social construct” that our laws can redefine or abolish, then the same goes for adultery.

Common objections against this view usually take the easy shots, but unfortunately for their case, they are not the relevant shots. Why argue against the idea of private property as such, when you can always point to someone sinning with their very own private property? They own something, and their stewardship of it does not answer to God the way the Bible requires. What about that? So much for your capitalism . . .

But actually this is like arguing for the abolition of marriage because some husbands are jerks. How does that follow? The issue is not whether people can sin with private property, but rather whether private property is a sin. The Bible teaches that it is not a sin, and so socialism is unscriptural. Socialism is therefore a sin.

The capitalist argues for certain rules of the game. It does not follow from this that he has to root for every team in the league. Another way of saying this is that the capitalist is pro-market, not pro-business. I can love the game of football, and not root for the Oakland Raiders.

Think of it this way. When evil occurs in the socialist system, and God judges that evil in the last day, does anybody go to Hell for the sins committed? Are people held responsible, and who are they? Yes, they are, and the people held responsible are those who are sitting on the top of the system, taking other people’s stuff. The socialist honchos are judged for being socialists. They are judged for applying the rules of the game which they think they have invented.

When evil occurs in the capitalist system, who goes to Hell? There is judgment for those who worshipped Mammon, and who played dirty, who pursued their little greedies, and so forth. The owners of the evil factory in the Disney movie who want to build their very latest smoke-belcher on the neighborhood kids’ playground, which playground they obtained by illicit means, will get their comeuppance. Sure. But no one is judged for applying the basic rule of the game — respect the property of others — because that rule is God-given. People are judged for breaking the rules, or manipulating them, and not for having them.

The rules of capitalism are like the rules of football, and we ought not to be upset that one of the teams is named the Buccaneers. And we ought not to be upset that on this team named the Buccaneers, there is the occasional foul. We just roll with that, and throw a flag when necesssary. Compare this with socialism, where the ruling class is a bunch of buccaneers. So this is the basic economic choice before us. Shall we as Christians side with the football players or with the pirates? Life is simple if you just think about it for a minute.

Further, because capitalists don’t believe in having someone at the top controlling everything that happens, another reason there is no judgment for what happens at that level of capitalism is that there is nobody there. Will God judge the cabinet minister who is responsible for extracting moonbeams from ditch water? No, because there is no such cabinet minister. In the capitalist system, people are leaving one another’s property alone. Who could you judge for that? Judgment would only be possible if God had required us collectively to make sure we did not leave one another’s property alone. And, as we have seen, “thou shalt not steal” takes care of that possibility.



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