Category: Progressive

Socialism

Socialism


I think it’s good we all get to know this stuff, but I am particularly thinking of my American Cousins as I write.  Particularly the Christian Right wing so called.
The term socialism was first introduced by Henri de Saint-Simon (1760-1825), the French social theorist also credited with the advent of Christian socialism and what would later become labelled as “utopian socialism.” The term itself refers to a collective mode of production and political economy.

Socialism’s roots go far back beyond Marx’s works. Church’s actually led the first socialist movements. The US gave birth too many of Socialism’s key concepts. 


The original Socialistic concepts date back to 1700s and influenced even the founding fathers of the US. You find many of them embedded in the Constitution and in laws passed over the years. Prisons for example were one of the first major socialist contributions to society. Before prisons came about, people generally were publicly punished with physical punishments, financially punished or executed. There was not much in between.

The first prisons date back many years. Socialists in the early 1800s made major penal reforms in the US which quickly spread to the rest of the world completely redefining crime and punishment. That is an example of early Socialism in the US and its predating Marx.


There are things that puzzle me about my American Cousins, and I love the USA. But from a Jesus Follower perspective, I want things that are good for people so I cannot understand why as a Jesus follower I would not want to promote Health Care for everyone at the point of deliver, I want people to be as healthy as possible, whether they can afford it or not.


Then again, another area, I want people to be housed, I don’t want them to be homeless, even if they cannot afford it. How can we help them?


Yes I know that when it comes to government enforcing these things that where the problems start, why is that, well much as people don’t like to hear it we are as people not intrinsically good, rather we are selfish, self-serving, and we tend to look after number one, us!


If you look at History when Christians are in control of the levers of government we have not done very well, but does that mean I should forget Biblical commands to Love Justice, (Matt 12:18 Luke 11:42 Gal 5:22:23.) If government of whatever ilk try’s to put in place things that do good, help people, give justice, welcomes strangers amongst us (Exd 22 and Exd 23.)  Surely as a follow of Jesus I would want to support such action.  

Likewise when people are being unjustly treated, marginalised, poor and denied the means to help themselves by government policy should I not cry out against such things?


The problem is we like to read the parts of Scripture that we like.  So we would like to put things on one side such as (Matt 19:24) concerning the rich man, or (Acts 4:34 on, having all thing in common) and I often hear Christians say such things as well that was then, this is now, you cannot do things like that now.  Why not, is that part of scripture we don’t like?


I often hear people say, why should we support free loaders, or as my Mother in law used to say why don’t those people get a job.  Sorry but that really is uneducated.

On frequent visits to Kenya, another country I love, I have often asked leaders what do you need.  They will say things like more crusades, more meetings, and more preachers. I look around and think no, what you need is more jobs. I see loads of people who want to work, need to work, would work hard, sitting waiting trying to find work, are they free loaders.  

We need to understand that often the way society is structured means that the opportunities you are given are not just or righteous, the poor are often not poor because they are lazy or free loaders, or unwilling.

Please there is a lot of other reasons way beyond their control that put them in such positions.  And if the follower of Jesus can change their position for the better be that by influencing government policy, or direct action to help, then God calls us to do it. To quote Jim Wallis – A Budget is a moral document.

And a bit more Wallis to end The Biblical prophets do hold their rulers, courts, judges, landowners and employer accountable to the values of fairness justice and even mercy, evil and sin is in the concentration of power, politics and economics need to be held accountable to Justice especially in the protection of the poor.

Fair outcomes not necessarily equality should be the goal of governments.


Socialist or whatever, let those who follow Jesus cry out for His values in His world.


Adrian Hawkes
W.830

Refugees: the current issues – is there a solution?

Refugees: the current issues – is there a solution?

I was privileged to have been able to speak at the United Nations on the subject recently. The reality is that this is the worst refugee crisis since World War Two; actually, in regards of displacement and movement of people, it’s worse. According to UNHCR there are currently 59.5 million displaced people in the world at the moment.

In the UK there is a lot of anti-immigration press, telling us how many “illegal people” there are and the fact that they are taking jobs, school places, and homes. This has created a great deal of tension and distrust.  Many of the figures quoted are not true, and when you look at real figures from reliable sources you find that the story is very different.


There is another story too, that is not being talked about much and that is one that needs to be brought to Europe’s attention. In Europe, UK, Germany, and Italy particularly, there is a need for young workers who pay tax. The reason being that in the UK and other European countries the indigenous populations are getting older.  Most of us have things like state pensions, paid from taxes.  When these were originally introduced with a male retirement age of 65 and female retirement age of 60, life expectancy was between 68 and 69, very different to today predictions. The current life expectancy in the UK is heading towards 100 years. Who is going to pay for all those retired people? Whose taxes will fund it? We need the refugees’ help to do that.  Politicians don’t have very much to say about this.

FENCE ON CLIFF TOPS

Fences on Cliff Tops

Often times when we make new laws or change old ones, we are not thinking of the consequences unseen up the road.  We would do well to do so; even when those decisions or laws are made with the best intentions in mind.

Early on in the UK, a law was brought in to make tenancy of rented housing more secure.  The good reason for it was that some people were being put out of their rented house for very little good reason.  However, the unforeseen consequences were that for a period it actually created homelessness. People were reluctant to give others a room in their house if they thought they would turn out to be a bad tenant.  That of course was not the intention, but that was what happened.

I wonder, as I look at recent changes in legislation in the USA and the UK, if we are heading for unforeseen circumstances that we will not like. Of course, from a legislation point of view it may have been done for good reasons like equality and freedom, but are we really sure of the outcomes?

I don’t know, but I do wonder what our new freedom so called, our new equality so called, the removal of fences if you will; I wonder what they will bring up the road.  I wonder if they will have good or bad effects on our society.

Progressive Humans

Progressive Humans

A few of my friends have commented on this subject of late, which has set me thinking.  Every so often we have this flash of how progressive we are today, how clever we have become and how sorry we feel for those older or past that did not have our knowledge and so progress, and oh how civilised we have become.

I think that was the sort of zeitgeist around 1913 particularly in Europe and then of course came World War One 1914 – 1918 with all the civilised countries of Europe and then the world trying their best to annihilate each other.

Then of course the talk was that this was the war to end all wars, we would then become civilised. The progress of the humans could continue, we know so much better than those throughout history our forefathers and the like.  The dream was of course shattered by World War 2 1939 to 1945 with its mayhem and destruction and inhumanity to mankind by very ‘civilised progressive humans’.

Progressive Humans

Progressive Humans

Progressive Humans

A few of my friends have commented on this subject of late, which has set me thinking.  Every so often we have this flash of how progressive we are today, how clever we have become and how sorry we feel for those older or past that did not have our knowledge and so progress, and oh how civilised we have become.

I think that was the sort of zeitgeist around 1913 particularly in Europe and then of course came World War One 1914 – 1918 with all the civilised countries of Europe and then the world trying their best to annihilate each other.

Then of course the talk was that this was the war to end all wars, we would then become civilised. The progress of the humans could continue, we know so much better than those throughout history our forefathers and the like.  The dream was of course shattered by World War 2 1939 to 1945 with its mayhem and destruction and inhumanity to mankind by very ‘civilised progressive humans’.

It doesn’t take long for things to settle down, and I would guess that there was positivity in the 50s and certainly, there was ‘peace and love man’ in the 60’s and we are back were we started, the accident of the universe allows us to get better and better, we after all know so much more than those who went before.  Yes we have access to information at the touch of a button, we can get it on the internet, not that we always remember what we learnt or even had the wisdom to use what we know, but surely we are getting so much better, so much more civilised?  Perhaps we should not mention the Stalin regime, or Pol Pot or maybe Iraq, Syria, Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia Herzegovinian, do I need to say more?

As I think about the propensity to think that we are so much cleverer, wiser, knowledgeable than those who have gone before us, they didn’t know much did they, very superstitious, often using God to explain those things that they did not understand, at least that is what some would have us think. I am reminded, as I think about this ‘clever us now’, of an argument or was it a discussion between C. S Lewis that he relates in one of his essays.  The question is put that how silly it would be to imagine that if there is a God he would be interested in this tiny place Earth, of course the argument goes, in history they looked up and saw the sky and they did not know how large it was therefore it could seem that the Earth was the centre of the universe, now of course we know better.  I imagine Lewis pulling a book off the shelf and reading as follows, and perhaps saying “is this the sort of thing you mean?” and reading from the book he has pulled “in relation to the distance of the fixed stars Earth must be treated as a mathematical point without magnitude” “is that what you mean?”  I am sure the protagonist would reply “yes, that’s just what I meant, that’s what we now know”. Then Lewis checking, as if he needed to, saying “Oh this is from Almagest, Book one Chapter five and it was written by Ptolemy 2,000 years ago, so they obviously knew that then!”

I can hear the protagonist saying, “Well what about the nonsense of the virgin birth then? We certainly know how children are produced, and maybe Joseph didn’t understand”.  “That would be strange,” Lewis may have replied, “for then I wonder why if Joseph did not know the normal course of pregnancy he would record that on discovering his wife’s condition he was ‘minded to put her away’  Mathew chapter 1 verse 19.

 We really must stop thinking that those ancient people did not have knowledge were stupidly ignorant of normal processes of life and therefore were duped by what the Bible would list as miracles.

So are we really progressive humans, infinitely more knowledgeable, wiser and definatly more civilised?

Adrian Hawkes

W696

Edited By: Gena Areola