In the Parable of the Talents we learn that diversity is woven into the fabric of creation. We see that Jesus does not distribute or reward talent equally. His concern is with how we use our talents. His greatest reward goes to those who invest their talents shrewdly. This reward structure appeals to our basic nature. If you will excuse me, it was how he created us. We respond to incentives. Capitalism, not crony capitalism, is a system that rewards entrepreneurs and investors for being good stewards of capital. Of course, when we are not good stewards of capital, we fail. In other words, people who make bad investments or who don’t serve their neighbor well aren’t going to stay wealthy for long. The free market assumes rule of law and maximizes prosperity by incentivizing individuals to put the needs of their neighbor before their own. The only way I can make a dollar is by first determining how to serve my neighbor.
That being said there is much we can agree with our friends across the aisle as we shrink “the gap” by placing our focus on the immoral causes of income inequality that are inconsistent with our highest law.
If we focus on the gap we miss the solution and become part of the problem.
It’s not about “the gap.” It is about consistently upholding the great ideas that attracted the world’s poor to our shores. It is about upholding individual liberty, limited government and free markets. It is not about legislative compromise. We cannot compromise an absolute. Theft is always wrong. I believe it was one of God’s ‘Top Ten’ for a just society. A homeowner never compromises with a burglar. The burglar does not have a valid claim or value. To offer even a single item of silverware would not be a compromise but a total surrender of principle. Compromising with a burglar establishes a new principle of unilateral concession as the homeowner must give up his principle. If we agree on principle then we can compromise on detail. If we agree on the principle of private property we can compromise on the price I sell my car. These ideas have been lost as state government has subsumed self-government and family government and our character.
Ultimately the problem is not in Sacramento or Washington. The problem is in our own minds and with our own education and morals. If I dare say, the problem is with our character. Unlimited government has destroyed our character and other governments self, family and church.
The First Thanksgiving
As we prepare for Thanksgiving we remember the pilgrims. Half of them died within four months of arriving at Plymouth. To describe their standard of living as poor would be understatement. Governor Bradford tells us they endured three years of near starvation—and then decades of abundance. The reason for the abrupt turn? They recognized how God organized the social order. They recognized a serious production problem and turned from a collectivist approach that ignored property rights to one which held them up. They decided to organize their community in a way that recognized their Maker and how each was created. Despite being a very religious people the statist system had corrupted them and made them slothful and jealous. The new system gave them ownership and encouraged their industry.
Our first Thanksgiving should, therefore, be interpreted as an expression of gratitude to God, not so much for the great harvest itself, as for granting the grateful Pilgrims the perception to grasp and apply the great universal principle that produced that great harvest: Each individual is entitled to the fruits of his own labor. Property rights are, therefore, inseparable from human rights.
If man abides by this law, he will reap abundance; if he violates this law, suffering, starvation, and death will follow, as night the day.
This is the essential meaning of the two great Commandments, “Thou shalt not covet” and “Thou shalt not steal.” If we care about our neighbor and the poor we would do well to uphold these principles with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
Next time a friend, legislator or professor attempts to address income inequality without framing it in its proper context please make sure they are making a proper distinction between its just and unjust causes. If we truly care about the poor we need to vigorously remove all obstacles and tenaciously hold to our great ideas. We need to be old fashioned when it comes to principle and make sure that all men are treated equally under the law.
Read the entire five part series, starting with Part One…
Eric Andersen is a member of the Central Committee of the San Diego County Republican Party and is the Co-Founder of the Republican Liberty Caucus of San Diego County and im2moro.com. He is a former Rock Church Citizen of the Year.