Russell Moore’s Pragmatic Critique of Socialism Does More Harm than Good

Cody Libolt
Jun 21, 2019 · 5 min read
Via Youtube

It happened.

Russell Moore gave his position on socialism. Here’s the video.

Russell Moore does not speak truly about what socialism is.

  • Contra Moore, a government safety net is socialistic.
  • Social security is socialistic.
  • Medicare is socialistic.
  • And — roll your eyes if you must— The Tennessee Valley Authority is socialistic.

Dr. Moore does not see this.

He argues socialism only exists when the state “controls the means of production.” What he does not see is that to control distribution is eventually to control production. This fact is understood by glancing at the American healthcare industry and education industry. In this country, which tiny fraction of our economy does the state not already control? Or at least regulate to a degree unseen even in the mixed economies of Europe?

The second half of the video is a little better.

But Moore’s foundational error shows throughout. He seems to think the problem with socialism is that it is “an ideology, rather than a prudential understanding of the way the world works.” To translate: “Socialism is wrong because it names its principles — Follow me instead.”

  • Human flourishing? Are there limits on what means may be appropriate toward your ends?
  • Human dignity? As determined by the state theologians?

What kind of reforms does Russell Moore have in mind?

Will it be reforms of the kind he conceded would be called “intrusive,” by some, but “generous” by others?

  • Moore made a not-so-subtle comparison between Donald Trump’s populism and Adolf Hitler’s populism.
  • Moore showed an equal revulsion against the far left and the far right, setting up a moral equivalence between the perpetrators of bloodshed and the advocates of economic liberty.

Of highest concern, Russell Moore seems not to be able to explain *why* socialism leads to bloodshed.

Is it because it comes from an ideology? Meaning: from a defined, integrated set of principles about the ends we ought to pursue?

What of taxes?

Adherents to the teaching of Christ will understand his argument that taxes, even unjust taxes, are still to be paid. We pay so as not to unnecessarily give offense to the unbeliever. We do this in light of our heavenly mission (see Matthew 17:27).

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