Social Justice and Scripture: Untie the Knot Pt.7

What questions does the free-market view face?

Alexander cuts the Gordian Knot

Here are the normal objections:

•    What will happen to the kids who can’t afford school?
•    What about all the poor and aged? How will they survive?
•    Isn’t your version of a society rather harsh to the needy? How can we let them suffer?

First, let’s differentiate between two discussions.

One is how the world should be. Another is how to get there. I’m not in favor of stopping the aid that people are currently depending on. I recognize the great challenges of shifting a society away from a welfare economy. My discussion is focused on what could be—and ought to be—some day.

Second, let’s make sure not to misrepresent the viewpoint.

When I advocate a free market, I’m not recommending that poor people, students, and the elderly be cast out on the street. I support alternate ways of funding (and controlling) the provision of their needs. My position is that we should not be funding these good purposes by coercive means.

Let me concretize my view:

If a college student wants to go into debt and work two jobs on top of his schooling in order to pay for an expensive medical treatment for his grandmother, he should be able to make that choice for himself. But I do not support a system of taxation which effectively relegates college students to this role, as ours does. I don’t want to make your son sacrifice to pay for my grandmother’s doctor visit. Why should he be required to, and who could be in a position to decide what should be required of him?

Though the advocates of “social justice” often portray themselves as the generous ones, in reality they are demanding that other people be generous. This is not true generosity.

As to the question of how much to spend on healthcare for the elderly, it is a matter for individuals and families to decide. Because decisions about values always involve tradeoffs, and because values vary between individuals, no good answer can come from a central planner or an economic dictator.

If I had the option to prolong the end of my life by six months at the expense of making someone else wait several more years before getting married, buying a home, or having a child, would I do it? Of course not. But that is what our tax system accomplishes (See Rooseveltcare for more details).

I don’t need to argue about the terrible economic and social consequences of socialism.

The damaging economic effects of entitlement programs, subsidies, and handouts have been thoroughly demonstrated and witnessed (see The Cato Institute, the Objective Standard, or the news). My purpose is to argue the moral and biblical case for freedom. Socialism is not merely wrong because it does not work. It does not work because it is a system of injustice.

Here’s what you can expect in the coming discussion.

I will try to persuade you that Scripture’s justice is not “social justice.” According to Scripture, justice means keeping your own property.

To support this view, I will examine John Frame’s Scriptural case for capitalism.

Then I will spend more time exploring the following questions:

  • How significant is this topic?
  • To what extent do faithful, biblical Christians disagree?
  • Why do we disagree, and what can unify us? And is it worth the effort?

In this series:

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