I read someone today who said that Jesus must have been a socialist, because he didn’t seek profit, which is the hallmark of capitalism. Instead, gave away his time, energy and skills to those who could not pay. Since he didn’t have a profit motive, he must have been a capitalist. QED. It was a classic case of conflating socialism with generosity.
Socialism is, in fact, the opposite of generosity because it removes human morality and decency from the equation. There’s a reason study after study shows that liberals donate less to charity than conservatives do. The liberals have placed themselves entirely in government’s hands: the problem of the poor has become someone else’s problem. The fact that we all pay taxes, which the government uses to fund the poor, isn’t charity, it’s central planning predicated on wealth redistribution.
The Victorians, who were wellsprings of one sentence wisdom, used to say “charity begins at home.” The giving impulse of charity must start within us, as it did within Jesus. In a totalitarian, or even semi-totalitarian (i.e., socialist) state, nothing is allowed to come from within. All goes to and flows from the government.
In a capitalist society, people have the wherewithal to give. And in a healthy capitalist society, they have the moral impulse to give. Jesus wasn’t a socialist. When he said “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s,” he fully understood the separation between our spiritual and moral impulses on the one hand, and the dictates of a state on the other hand. Ideally, the people’s adherence to both Caesar and God is a mutually beneficially system, with a humane state allowing humans to go about their business, and a social and moral structure that encourages those with the most to reach out, without state coercion, to help those with the least.