Politics

The Gospel According to Edwards

One of the distinguishing characteristics of politicians is their seemingly endless reserve of gall.

At no time do they resist the temptation to tell people how to live their lives, or to pass judgment on what others believe, say, or do in their peaceful interactions with others. This tendency could be passed off if it weren’t for one other trait of politicians: their drive to translate their conceit into statute.

It appears that during this presidential election cycle, no one is more driven in that regard than former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. Edwards, who was once blessed with the uncanny ability to speak to the dead in court as a way to woo jurors, recently surpassed himself by tapping none other than Jesus Christ.

Speaking to an interviewer from the website Beliefnet.com, the leftist sage and luminary stated, “I think Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs… I think he would be appalled, actually.”

One really ought to feel grateful for his insight, after all, it’s not every day that we can hear what Jesus thinks of the appallingly low level of personal giving, the shockingly meager amount of tax dollars assigned to federal and state domestic spending programs, and the callous way we disregard our neighbors. It’s not as if Jesus can be called into a congressional hearing to lobby for more Section Eight housing before a panel of drowsy congressman and the C-SPAN lenses. Sure, many of us would love to see Christ come for a visit some day, but in the mean time, at least we have John Edwards to list his complaints.

Certainly, Jesus must know that George W. Bush’s 7.1% average annual increase in domestic discretionary spending was the highest of any U.S. President in the past 40 years ; that, according to the Organization for Economic Aid and Development, the United States government leads all 22-member nations in the amount of money it grabs from taxpayers to hand out around the world. Jesus must be aware that the U.S. pays far more than its “share” of plundered tax revenue to the objectively corrupt United Nations; and Jesus probably has an idea that Americans subsidize the national defense of many countries including, but not limited to, Japan, Indonesia, Israel, and South Korea to such an extent that this “aid” has totaled more than $91 billion since 1950 (excluding Iraq and Afghanistan) and that our government has made the productive people in our country, not theirs, pay for it .

According to Jesus, by way of John Edwards, this kind of plunder is only a good start.

You see, Jesus is really a one-world, utopian socialist, all that blather about the virtue of seeing the individual come to embrace God, of letting the individual make decisions for himself, was merely rhetoric in an ancient political campaign. Forget the biblical commandment “thou shall not steal,” what God really meant was “thou shall not steal, unless said theft is sanctioned by the majority or their representatives in government. If you have any trouble with the numbers, just ask John Edwards.”

Edwards seems to have a firm hold on a new Christian virtue, and, apparently, it’s all based on what nineteenth century economist Frederic Bastiat sarcastically and adroitly called “legal plunder.” As long as the government says the seizure and redistribution of wealth is acceptable, the taxpayer best not protest. According to Edwards’ new gospel, the God-given rights of the individuals who comprise the productive society of a nation are irrelevant. Caring and charity are not reflected by individual volition, they are quantified on balance sheets full of government numbers reflecting faceless cogs in a taxpaying machine. One does not show virtue by exercising his own ethics, by showing his ownership of himself, and by freely choosing where to spend his money. He reflects “the good” by accepting the false notion that true caring can be fixed in a dollar amount that is determined by politicians in Washington. This so-called “charity” will then be funded by a small cadre of tax victims who had very little or no say in the matter, and Edwards will claim we all “care.” Such a view of Christian ethics seems to be so similar to the ideas of atheist Karl Marx, one wonders whom Edwards has been channeling in his spare time.

If he had channeled Enlightenment economist Adam Smith, he might have gotten a different idea. He might have picked up on the fact that it is “selfishness” which drives productivity, the very productivity Edwards wants to bleed to satisfy his notion of what is sufficient “charitable giving.” He also might have been exposed to the insight that when a man works in a free market to satisfy his own “selfish” needs, he must fulfill the needs of others, or, as Smith explained that “by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”

Edwards might have been more open to the fact that this very productivity is what has allowed Americans to help so many citizens of other nations, be it through the more affordable products we have made and invented, or the work we can provide to foreigners, or the direct financial aid that recently shot us past the former number two, England, in quantitative monetary charity per capita. We also provide unquantifiable and often unnoticed methods of assistance, such as offering our time to help neighbors.

These unnoticed charitable and productive traits don’t sit well with socialists for whom the ends justify the means. Candidate Edwards wants people to think he “cares more” than other politicians, and so the facts must go unreported and the U.S. Constitution must be ignored. For John Edwards, it isn’t real help unless it is invented, manipulated, run and promoted by the government using the “ill-gotten” gains of capitalists.

It’s a shame Edwards is so busy trying to look noble with other peoples’ money and attempting to justify his Marxist notions with half-baked ideas of “what Jesus would think.” If he gets his way, the same productive free market machine that allows people to inexpensively print and give away the Bibles Edwards likes to thump, the machine that lets people of all religious and non-religious stripes devote free time to helping their neighbors, will be sabotaged, and no amount of slick spiritual legerdemain will restore it.

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