I’ve heard this argument before.
Nature of the beat

But mostly I’ve found the argument unconvincing.
  1. He was certainly not a supporter of the Romans (kind of obvious)
  2. He was reviled by the Jews (again, kind of obvious)
  3. He did not support the Roman system of tax collection (outlined how those who collected taxes on behalf of the Romans could do so without sin)
  4. He did not support the methods by which the Temple (aka religious government) supported itself. (flipped over tables)
  5. All instances of charity which were recorded were individual, from the Apostles moneybox to the poor
  6. Criticized the Temple Rulers for storing up wealth for themselves

That ought to be enough to convince anyone that his views on charitable giving were individualistic and not collectivist. I have always been of the opinion that any believer who stands in front of the Throne of Judgement and is asked “what did you do for the poor?”, and answers with nothing more than “well, I voted to support wealth redistribution and larger social welfare systems” is going to have a very warm and toasty afterlife.

Now, you’re correct, that doesn’t rule OUT the notion that he wouldn’t have supported a well managed collectivist/governmental welfare system, but I hardly think that one such as exists in the US, where 98% + of every tax dollar goes to something other than social welfare, would qualified as “well managed” from the standpoint of the needy.

I completely agree that he would stymie existing political parties.

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