Am I A Christian or a Conservative?
The Holy Bible has a lot to say about temporal(earthly) economics. It tells us how the rich stay rich, how the poor stay poor, how the poor get rich, and how the rich get poor. The Proverbs of Solomon serve as a handbook for temporal success as a human being. It also serves to identify reliable markers that pave the path to poverty. I expend massive amounts of energy to check my tongue when anyone suggests that Conservatives are worldly hedonists, and liberals are the true Christians who humbly submit to the teachings of Jesus Christ. This isn’t because I take it as a personal affront to my ideological worldview, but rather because it troubles me to see the Holy Scriptures twisted into such an offensive manner.
In response to the question, “Are you a Christian or a Conservative?” I answer with a resounding YES! This, of course requires us to define our terms. For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll take for granted the core conservative values of the complete sanctity of human life at all stages, and individual liberty to pursue happiness. Rather, we will focus on the economic implications of Conservative values. First, Conservatives believe that economic success is superior to economic subsistence. Second, we believe that anyone who generates personal wealth is the sole proprietor of that wealth. Finally, we believe that philanthropy is a personal moral virtue. Touching the definition of a Christian, we need simply suggest that it is one who adheres to the complete teachings of the Holy Bible.
Conservatives advocate for an economy that rewards hard work and fiscal frugality. While many of us are timid to declare the implication of this competition-driven model, the Scriptures are not so gentle. “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.“(Proverbs 10:4-5) If the words of a man imbued with divine wisdom are not sharp enough, consider the words of Paul the Apostle, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (II Thess 3:10) It is explicitly clear that God’s system of economics rewards hard work and frugality, and punishes the slothful. We strongly believe in policies that allow the diligent to find more than a disappointing subsistence on the fruit of someone else’s labor. Our objective is ALWAYS to divert resources to the truly needy. If an able-bodied man is unable to find work, a Conservative will try to put him to work, rather siphon resources from widows and orphans.
This leads to the second economic implication of a conservative worldview, the personal right to the fruit of one’s labor. This means that policies that confiscate resources from the productive will always be met with hostility and extreme scrutiny. The necessity of taxes is something only the most extreme conservatives will argue, and by then, we are well into the realm of anarchism. In fact, most often, the argument isn’t about the taxes themselves, but rather what happens with the tax revenue. On this point, we have little conflict with Scriptures, as they are relatively silent about government redistribution beyond the scope of maintaining the religious class of priests, and arguably a standing army. However, we do have a precedent that God expects workers to be fairly compensated. In His law, he states, “Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.”(Lev 19:13 KJV) This concept is reiterated multiple times in scripture.
Now, we affirm the final implication of conservative ideology, the moral virtue of philanthropy. Note that the scriptures explicitly advise us of three protected classes: Widows, the fatherless, and strangers. Another time, I’ll go into my opinion of what these look like in today’s era, but it’s enough for us to acknowledge that there are those that God expects us to care for. Some would convince us that we fulfill our duty by advocating for policies that confiscate resources from the productive forcefully. To the contrary, the scriptures are perfectly clear that any philanthropy extracted by force is no gift at all. Paul the Apostle had this to say on the subject of giving. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”(II Cor. 9:7) Relegating the care of our needy to a government bureaucracy is no virtue of Christian piety, but rather a civil decision to improve our nation’s quality of life. The scriptures command us to maintain a heart of compassion for our needy, and warns us against developing a calloused heart towards them. “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.” (Proverbs 14:31)
It is safe to conclude that socialist policies actively erode at a Biblical baseline that insists all able-bodied men pursue productive activities. This isn’t to say that there is no value in public policies that support our needy. Contrary to popular belief, most conservatives are strong supporters of public assistance programs. We find our resentment rooted in the calloused disregard for the truly needy, by those who unnecessarily exploit the system. We acknowledge that there are significant challenges, as decades of leftist policies leave many of our poorest without the basic discipline, fortitude, and character necessary to compete in our economy. The Conservative wants to create environments of success, not subsistence. We want our workers to enjoy the fruit of their labor. We want our community to share the personal joy of contributing to meeting local needs. Bee Indee!
P.S. -Part of me wonders, with all this renewed focus on the teaching of Jesus Christ, how they feel about this:
“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” – Mar 10:6-9 KJV