It seems to be little more than casual news when riots break out in Athens, Paris, London, or some other socialist haven. Greeks riot over austerity; we huff. Francs mob over retirement age; we chuckle. Most recently, London students riot over the threat of higher tuition; we snore. We snore right through the glass breaking and all. But we really should listen up, for there’s a deep biblical lesson in all this.
It seems commonplace to many, I guess, that Europe is a Continent of adolescent children who throw things and break stuff, writhing in tantrum, when they don’t get their way. They have a common phrase over there: “Crazy Americans.” We could reciprocate, but choose to ignore.
But few have seemed to put two and two together. All the news reports surrounding such riots over minor economic matters only reveal the obvious: socialism itself is by definition mob rule. It is the most powerful organized and collected interests in society leveraging government force to sate their lusts. To do so they extract wealth from other members of society, divvy the loot among themselves, and stuff their gullets.
Socialism is the political embodiment of plunder. It is the denial of the rule of law, private property, individual liberty, and therefore of Christianity. Worse yet, however, it is often the denial of the rule of law, property, and Christianity in the name of the rule of law, property, and Christianity.
This system of government-backed piracy unleashes at least two important aspects: the lust of the mob, and the police-power of the mob.
The lust of the mob manifests the depravity of man: rebellion against maturity, responsibility, and honesty. The curse of the fall—the thorns and sweat—are, consciously or not, assumed to be overcome not through godly ethics, but through political policy. That is, through man’s legislative fiat, not God’s—man’s law-order, not God’s. This is one more attempt by fallen man at salvation by law. By passing laws limiting work hours, price controls, minimum wage rates, etc., the mob proclaims itself freer of the need to work, build, plan, save, sacrifice, etc. It decrees itself, by fiat, entitled to greater income, more leisure, greater power. This is fallen man’s futile proclamation that he is free, and free indeed. But it hides the fact that this alleged freedom must be imposed on others by force of government. It is not “free,” but “free at gunpoint.”
Who shall pay?
But eventually, someone has to pay the bills. So the rich get soaked, or the whole of society gets soaked through taxation, or the future generations get soaked as inflation robs them of the value of their money and savings, or a all of the above. Without incentives, people quit trying to achieve. They quit producing as much as they would in a free market; then general productivity declines; then national living standards decline; then the State prints and borrows to maintain its promises; then the debts start to get called. Someone has to pay those bills. You can’t just legislate them away indefinitely.
Eventually, someone, somewhere, must sacrifice, work hard, and produce. Eventually, those unnecessarily receiving an unnecessarily generous dole must take some cuts.
Today, such cuts are called, “austerity.” But austerity means backlash from the lustfully entitled mob. The conversation goes like this:
“We need cuts.”
“Yes we do.”
“Who will take the cuts?”
“Not me. You take the cut.”
“No, not me. You take the cut.”
Someone has to decide where and when cuts will come. But when suggestions are announced, people revolt. When they are pushed, the police-power of the mob comes into play. By “police power” here I do not mean the state’s official police. I simply mean the mob’s own power, mob violence. The mob riots, burns, shatters, breaks, murders. The message: “Not me. You take the cut.”
Let us review this scenario in the a select few of such events:
Not too long ago, the Greek national debt threatened to sink the entire Eurozone currency, and this endangered the good will of the whole European Union (a socialist political organization self-consciously and officially symbolized by a divine rapist, Zeus, who in mythology raped “Europa,” the namesake of today’s victim). Massive debts burdened by state employees’ unions, pensions, and other entitlements, was simply unsustainable (a problem intensely real in America now, too, just not talked about much).
Austerity was announced. People would have to cut back. The proposal was for a mere cut of 7 percent for public sector employees’ bonus pay, cuts in extra bonuses called “holiday” bonuses, a few percentage-point tax increases here and there, and a freeze on automatic increases for state pensions. These cuts were planned to last only two years. It was a terrible sacrifice!—temporary cuts of no more than seven percent, most no more than two, and that only in marginal pay of bonuses. The main portion of salaries and pensions were untouched.
In response to this modest proposal, Greece, the alleged cradle of western civilization and philosophy, exploded. A Greek mob of unionists rioted, tossed Molotov cocktails, burned down a bank, and killed three people including a pregnant lady.
Not much was different in France, however, although fickle French socialism moves its radicals to erupt over matters much less austere. Two main groups have rioted in 2010: labor unions and students. Labors unions went on strike and rioted over government mandated increases in retirement age. French students riot because, well, they’re French students.
The French simply want their socialism. Remember, in 2005, they voted against a European Constitution because it was not Marxist enough in favor of French entitlement.
But the bills, like all socialist bills, come due. Someone had to pay more, or someone had to take a cut. In the absence of anyone more to milk, modest cuts are proposed.
In this case, the cuts took the modest and common form of raising the retirement age. French president Nicholas Sarkozy, with nerves of steel, signed into law the brazen step of raising the minimum age requirement for government-sponsored retirement by a ghastly two years. Poor hapless French workers could no longer eat cake at 60, they must wait until 62.
Imagine these oppressed workers toiling in such a slavish environment that mandates they work a draining 35 hours per week. Under such unremitting toil, these poor peasants receive on average only 40 paid vacation days per year. They now have to bear the added opprobrium of enduring their burden an extra two years. Two more years before going from a government-funded workers’ paradise to a government-funded retirees’ paradise. Salt in the wound!
Strikes and even riots broke out all over France, especially with vandalism in the wealthy town of Lyon, and suburbs of Paris.
The Greeks have it even rougher. They get only 37 paid days a year.
British austerity beats both. The UK mandates for its poor huddled masses only 36 paid holidays.
In the teeth of such bestial abandon of capitalist exploitation, poor Brit students did as any sane and self-respecting individual would: they stood up against outrageous reform measures. Parliament announced a plan to cut public debt by $128 billion, targeting publicly-funded higher education. The plan was to raise student fees at public universities to the equivalent of an exorbitant $14,000 per year—still less than the average ride at an American state university (imagine going to Oxford or Cambridge for the price of, say, in-state tuition at West Virginia University).
The thought of paying one’s own way to college was too much to bear. British students rioted violently, bashing the conservative party headquarters in London, breaking glass, injuring people.
“Not me. You take the cut.”
A note from the home front
In a letter to Supreme Court Justice Thomas Johnson, dated June 12, 1823, Thomas Jefferson praised the American system of representation, Constitution law and amendment: “[I]t has been the peculiar wisdom and felicity of our constitution, to have provided this peaceable appeal, where that of other nations [of Europe] is at once to force.”
Despite a few nuances in the style and justification of force applied, not much has changed. We must also acknowledge that we, too, have a legacy of resistance, protest, and in some cases riots in our own country, despite Jefferson’s note. And yes, while the majority of our modern riots have been over racial and police issues (or, in some cases, in celebration of a home-team championship), don’t deceive yourself into thinking we don’t have unions or other groups that would strike over even minor austerity measures, as teachers’ unions did in Milwaukee in 2011.
But such strikes and minor riots tend to highlight the same underlying point: they are mostly, if not exclusively, from groups based on leftist ideologies, i.e., various forms of socialism.
As I wrote in God versus Socialism:
Socialism is the belief . . . that stealing is acceptable as long as another man or group of men says so. Socialism believes in theft by majority vote, or theft by a majority of representatives’ votes in Congress. Socialism is the belief that it’s OK to steal from your neighbor if you do it by means of the government’s gun. Socialism places man, and ultimately the State, in the place of God. Man becomes owned by other men, instead of by his Maker. Socialism is an entirely humanistic, God-denying, God-usurping belief. (p. 9)
We see merely the logical extension of this plundering group of men in these European and socialistic mobs. When they cannot sate their lust through Congress, Parliament, the State, they bypass law and go straight to the source—the lusts and power of the mob. This is socialism incarnate. It is unredeemed and satanic.
The Christian has so much more to offer. The vestiges of Christian federalism still restrain our system, even if Courts and lawmakers have long-since abandoned the ideal; and even if socialistic interests—pensioners, private-public corporate deals, labor unions, social security, agricultural subsidies, the military industrial complex, and the pharmaceutical-medical-insurance-industrial complex—have torn at the seams of the system for decades. We still have a slim view of the path back to peace and freedom, should we have the will and integrity to take it.
While many people are, today, placing far too much hope in the incoming president, whose policies will in many ways be just as socialistic, if not more so, than the current one’s, there is still tremendous Christian capital in the red counties of America. There is still hope for rule of law, private property, and Christianity in this nation. It will take a sweeping, organized move of he pulpits, initiated by a revival, but it is there. Pulpits and Christians must bend toward God, and anticipate a type of austerity which we can only accept with the help of the Holy Spirit. We will need to be ready to received criticism and correction leading to sacrifice.
We pray for a better day when God in His Providence will give us even better opportunity, and must we plan and prepare for that day to come. Christian political “activists” avoid violent mob action as it is a direct sell-out to socialism and a denial of Christianity.
It is time to be truly crazy Americans.