Am I my brothers keeper?

Most of us who have gone to Sunday school or have been brought up in a Christian setting have heard this story time and again. Cain in a fit of jealous rage killed his brother Able, and when God confronted him he responds with the famous question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The second man to have existed killed his only brother out of pure envy for the blessing, love and wealth God had bestowed upon him. Because of this sin, God marked him for all to see and cast him out to wander the Earth alone and cursed as the father of murder. However, in my opinion, biblical scholars are wrong in this regard. They have mislabeled him. Cain should instead be called the father of Socialism.

Suppose for a moment you were to attend a town hall meeting, and during that meeting, a motion was put forward to start a new tax. The proceeds of that tax would be put towards giving a monthly stipend to the unemployed and homeless in your small town. You disagree and think the money could be spent on improving the roads, paying teachers more or put into job training for the unemployed instead of giving them money without stipulations or consequences if they squander it. You are shouted down for being, “cruel,” and aren’t given a chance to present your argument. The majority vote against you and you are now required to pay a tax that you don’t believe in that won’t pay for anything that benefits you but others. Because it was democratically and thus legally decided, you cannot dispute the outcome and will be fined or imprisoned if you refuse. That is Socialism.

Tyranny comes in many forms. The two most widely know are the tyranny of the majority and the tyranny of the minority: either mob rule or wealthy elite rule. Neither is fair, and both oppress the individual. Majority rule or mob rule is not merely the largest group of people coming together to exert their will on the government. To be more exact they are enforcing their will on everyone that isn’t part of their tribe and forcing others to submit to their norms, behaviors, and views. The tyranny of the minority, however, is a small and powerful elite who believe you can’t be trusted with governing yourself or your affairs. Revolutions and movements led by socialists or Marxists always start with a majority and end with a powerful minority. The names may change, but the outcome remains the same. The many pay for the few to reign over them and decided their rights for them. No consent necessary.

Bill Gates has never held up a bank with a gun in his life nor has Elon Musk crept into anyone’s house and forced them at gunpoint to buy his cars. Even Donald Trump has never threatened others with violence or death to buy his buildings or vodka and steaks for money. All these men and the other entrepreneurs on Wall Street and Silicon Valley have only ever offered goods and services in exchange for cash. Yet Jeff Bezos is the devil incarnate for being the wealthiest man in the world and continuing to grow his business empire using his acumen. I do not say these men are all virtuous or good men. However, they have all amassed a fortune and maintain it, inherited it for some, by the free exchange of goods and services we have all paid for freely. Today it is a sin to have so much when others have so little. Many who have so little and a few who have plenty believe that their wealth should be taken from them and redistributed to those who need it more and they who have so much are evil for not having done so already. That has become the standard of the day.

Who has the right to say who has too much and who has too little? Who has the right to take away the hard earned property and money of those who have toiled for it and created it? Many in this country are starting to say the government does. In many ways they already do. Social Security and Medicare is something we all have to pay into so long as we claim income and pay income tax. Despite the fact that we were never individually asked if we wanted to have or contribute to either. Refusing to do so results in fines or prison. Even though the government borrows money from that pot to pay for other things and regardless of the fact that it will be financially insolvent by as early as 2030, by law I must pay into it so long as I claim an income. I could die at 45 from any number of things and spent 27 years of my life paying into something I could never benefit from. Is it wrong to have state-funded medicine, education or unemployment? No, so long as I decide if I want my money, the fruit of my labor contributed to it. It is only fair and more so just if I can decide for myself.

The question I put forth is this, is it right to require me to take care of everyone else? Is it right to make you care for me? If yes, then why should either of us work, struggle and strive for anything better if someone will always take care of us? There’d be no need to go to Mars, cure cancer or cross the street because someone will look after us and take care of our basic needs. We would own nothing and owe everything to everyone. Our choices would ever be our own, and our words would never be allowed to be uttered for fear of offending. Life only has purpose and meaning so long as there is struggle and failure. So long as we can create our own meaning and keep the fruits of our work. So I ask you plainly, am I my brother’s keeper?

Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.

– Alexis de Tocqueville

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