Jesus & Santa Are Socialists (Merry Christmas!)

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I usually try to stay away from internet memes. They’re usually a horrendously bastardized version of something attempting to be a critical thought.¬†Rarely do I find a meme that I agree with. And when I do, it really isn’t all that funny.
I can make a meme out of that! But I won’t.

What I want to do here is address this silly image because it has a larger, more ‘meta’ problem.
Here she is:Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 4.22.10 PM
The sentiment behind this is clear.

Those who express some form of charity are obviously socialist in their thinking.

Now… I know this is a meme. But it is expressing a fairly common perspective that I genuinely don’t understand. Where did people get the idea that any time someone expresses charity, it is an expression of socialism? In fact, all 5 of the people in this picture… the ones who are supposed to be our socialist heroes, are actually representing voluntary charity. Voluntary interactions being, of course, one of the cornerstones of a libertarian view of proper charitable giving.

  • Jesus did what He did, not because He was coerced by someone outside of Himself, but because of His love for humanity. Voluntary.
  • George Bailey was a good dude who didn’t think he was doing good enough, but when the angel showed him what his life would be like without him, he realized that his life was actually pretty great. But why was it great? Because Bailey was a good dude, not because he was taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor. Voluntary.
  • Ebenezer Scrooge did not use the government to redistribute wealth, but was inspired by his experience to act charitably. Voluntary.
  • The Grinch went from being an anti-christmas angry fella to a happy, charitable giver because of a (literal) change of heart. Voluntary.
  • Santa is not taking toys from the rich and redistributing them to the poor.
    • But I don’t know where he gets all the money to pay the elves. Perhaps they are interns?
    • The quality of his toys shows that he needs some competition, but who can compete with free?
    • Clearly there is some kind of crony capitalism going on here (lol)

None of these voluntary givers are expressing a socialist ethos. I’m not suggesting that voluntary giving is impossible on socialism, but this meme is showing examples of voluntary interactions and passing them off as socialism. It is amazing how people associate literally any form of charity (as in, being nice) with socialism. One major aspect of a socialist ethos is that wealth is redistributed via state taxation. Whether or not this is a good approach is something I plan on addressing in upcoming posts, but that’s not important for this post.

Jesus, George Bailey, Scrooge and the Grinch are¬†all examples of voluntary interactions, which is a cornerstone of libertarian political philosophy. This doesn’t mean they’re all libertarians, but it does mean that they’re not promoting socialism.

Ps. I don’t plan on using memes as blog fodder very often.

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