My kids were coloring the other day and their cache of crayons was getting low, consisting mostly of worn down nubs and broken pieces. So their mother got out two new boxes of crayons and added them to the cache. She returned to check on them a few minutes later only to discover that they had broken all of the new crayons so that everything in their cache would be essentially the same.
This is what I think of when I think of the false narrative of power and powerlessness that drives the political exploitation of poverty in this country. Everywhere I turn I hear the regurgitation of this Marxist philosophy that views the world through the lens of economic haves and have-nots and assumes that the average person is incapable of real success not due to the lack of opportunity but because those in power have stolen success from them. In reality adherence to this philosophy steals the opportunity to succeed by crushing the human spirit under the weight of a deterministic system that clothes itself in the vocabulary of Community all the while stratifying the society into two groups – the aristocracy and the rest of us.
The political exploitation of poverty by the aristocracy is not about setting people free from oppression, it is about leveraging influence so as to shift power from one set of elitist hands to another. Furthermore, the fact remains that you can not tweak a free system without far-reaching repercussions. Every regulation and every act of legislation to force employers to pay employees – whether wages or benefits as in the case of the Affordable Care Act – results in the total cost of living increasing exponentially; thus counteracting the stated goal of such increases.
Of course, the Statist answer to this is for the aristocracy to assume control over all business, an irony considering that while touted as progressivism doing so would actually be the serfdom of the dark ages revisited. For history has proven over and over again that no matter how little or how much these aspirations of equality may draw men up from poverty, they do so at the cost of personal freedom and the solidification of a stratified society divided between the common man and the elitists who exert absolute control over their lives (Hayek, The Road to Serfdom).
What we need now is for the Followers of the Way of the Cross to stop aligning themselves with political parties and humanist ideologies (Colossians 2:8). We who are the Ekklesia of Messiah must lead by example, seeking wisdom by embracing knowledge and compassion, rejecting the rhetoric of oppression and revolution. We must return to individually-sovereign community-orientated interdependent entrepreneurship; remembering that the dignity of Man is derived directly from the Imago Dei and that it is only He in whose image we are made that can sanctify our work, giving us peace and prosperity when we join His Work and walk in His Ways (Genesis 1:26-28).
To put it another way, the utopian vision of human progress inevitably ends with a bin of equally broken crayons. But the Divine vision of human progress ends with a beautifully diverse array of broken and whole crayons, each useful and valuable. The process is messier, longer and harder but ultimately it results in actual equality and true freedom (Galatians 5:13-14).
The time has come to choose whose assumptions about Life we are going to build our lives and society on…