Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

There is a fine old clip of Phil Donahue (remember him?) interviewing the great economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006). In this clip, Donahue trashed capitalism and free enterprise by trashing the obvious greed involved in their success.

Friedman gives it right back by challenging Donahue to name a form of government anywhere on earth and at any time that was not based on greed.

Further, he points out that all of those systems – save capitalism and free enterprise – feed on greed to sate the appetites of a select few at the very top (the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Cuba and Venezuela come to mind in contemporary times) with very little trickling down to the regular folks.

I wrote an article back in the 1990s – of limited circulation – applauding the clever use of greed, a natural human condition, by capitalism and free enterprise, to distribute the most wealth to the most people. This continues to be true.

Socialism, totalitarianism and other such forms, including those found in the European Union, have continued to oppress the masses to this very day and keep them from reaching their full potential.

Now, a couple of weeks ago, I stated that Jesus seemed to compartmentalize government from Christian faith. Many people do not, so the rest of this column is for you.

In another video I saw recently, it was pointed out that in order to believe in and adopt socialism, one has to violate at least three of the Ten Commandments. These include: No. 10, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, wife, servants, animals or anything else; N0. 8, thou shalt not steal; and finally, No. 1, thou shalt have no other gods before me.

If you listen to any socialists (and if you have not figured out by now, I view socialists, most Democrats and the Left to be one and the same), the very first words out of their mouth are to compare the theoretical what someone else has to lack of material goods possessed by the theoretical poor person. (“Look at all they have. They don’t need that. They must share it with others.”)

So, you must covet what someone else possesses or stand in as a proxy for your theoretical poor in order to adopt this attitude. We see proxies doing this all the time (Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi and on and on and on). It is a violation of the 10th Commandment.

Thou shalt not steal, No. 8, we cloak in nice words – the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS is nothing but organized theft perpetrated by a few on the many. And, as I have stated before, it is done at the point of a gun.

Most scofflaws of the tax system surrender before guns are drawn, but believe me, if you resist to the point that guns need to be drawn, the IRS will not hesitate to do so. It is theft by an organized and supposedly civilized entity. We saw what lengths elected politicians will go to in bending and enforcing the IRS rules in the curious case of Lois Lerner, obviously instructed to punish taxpayers not in agreement with the party in power, during the Obama administration. Fortunately, no guns were involved.

Commandment No. 1, thou shalt have no other gods before me, is violated every time we think the government can be the solution to our problems.

God clearly points out that he and he alone is the solution to our problems. The Old Testament is full of examples, time and again, where people thought they could solve their own problems and failed. We live in such a time once again today. However, as I remarked a couple of weeks ago, Jesus was agnostic toward governments in his day, but governments in his day were the old simple totalitarian greedy kind. I don’t think today’s sophisticated governments indicate that we should treat them any differently than Jesus did. We just need to recognize that our wholesale personal government dependency looks strongly like a violation of the first commandment.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, an online commentator to this column brought up Matthew 6: 1-7 (1. “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2. ‘So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4. so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you’” …).

Now, I have been careless a couple of times over the years in pointing out the example of personal giving. I point this out for two reasons. First, to make sure that no one misunderstands and thinks that while I do not approve of the current government system of redistribution of wealth (socialism) that I also do not think that we are absolved of any obligation to help those less fortunate than ourselves. And second, I have said these things to share the joy of giving – I have discovered giving is much more fun than earning and want to share that revelation with others far and wide.

But to wrap this all up, the example of the widow’s mite does a great job. Found in Luke 21, it goes like this: “1. And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2. and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3. So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4. for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.’”

We all need to be more like the widow.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press.