Best / Worst Political System?

This morning I was thinking about the different political systems there have been in recent history, and how they strongly demonise each other.

I’ve noted in the past how those who oppose Obama have expressed their dislike of him by calling him a socialist, or a communist. Those terms clearly have strong negative connotations in America, and have been used BECAUSE of those connotations rather than as an accurate identification of his political stance or actions.

It would surprise me if the same situation wasn’t happening in other parts of the world, with the term “Capitalist” being used as a term of denigration where communism has been the dominant political foundation.

That practice of demonization wouldn’t be the only similarity. It seems to me that ALL political systems lead to the same destination, even if they have a different way of getting there. They all end up benefitting a small elite group with incredible wealth, while condemning a large group to extreme poverty. The stability of the system relies upon the majority of citizens being caught somewhere between the two, closer to the bottom end, but with the hope of getting closer to the top.

Capitalism or Communism (or any other political “ism”) – the end result is the same.

Is that surprising?

It shouldn’t be.

Israel had the best form of government possible, with a King who ruled them with complete justice, and His law took care of everyone who kept it.
Provisions were even set up to reset the nation’s economy every 50 years, so that no one could build up obscene amounts of ongoing wealth at the expense of others.

But Israel wanted a different King and they failed to follow the law of the ultimately just King.
God was that King and He gave them what they wanted: a man to rule over them. But He also warned them what would happen when man ruled over man.

The Lord said to Samuel…”you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.”

Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”

(1 Samuel 8)

The same thing will always happen no matter what the name given to the ruling political system, no matter how man attempts to change things for the better.


8 thoughts on “Best / Worst Political System?

  1. This is an excellent reminder. Thank you for that. Someone recently said to me, and I don’t know specifically why this person did say at this time, something about the second king (in a way “third” based on what you just said), David; “That’s the best you could do, God?” I reminded him of the first (“second”) one he’d forgotten. [In general, he often speaks skeptically about God’s fairness or hiding, then vascilates to believing in God. And it’s always stunning and ironic that he looks at things this way considering things he’s done in life.]

    As for there always being an elite because of a government of any form or name, it might be true. I’m not completely sure. It is apparent it’s usually the case. If we don’t have a king or dictator, I think there is the possibility of doing better. Possibly in similarity (though not the same thing), what happened on a daily basis “on the ground” within Israel before the call for an earthly king is somewhat enigmatic. There were judges, and they had to be chosen. There were laws, and they had been handed down; put forth by Moses.

    And then there were prophets and priests. Again, these people made statements and judgments and rules. So, how that would compare to what we do now is difficult to imagine. At the same time, government is necessary for populations of people. What I am sure of is that no matter what, nobody is going to get rid of all crime and danger and so forth. So, we shouldn’t expect a prime minister or president to be that [*]”solver god.”

    Also, while types of government can create elite classes more or less directly, especially with something like a king, also with straight up unfettered capitalism, others get implemented with corruption from the outset even if the idea is theoretically positive. Soviet communism was implemented originally with a lot of subterfuge (to put it mildly). But something put in place with relative hope has to be maintained with eyes open.

    [*] Here is where we need balance. Since everything won’t be fully solved, do we then say we don’t do anything or we have no government (because “government IS the problem”)? Do we push for anarchy? This will not correct for anything. Besides resulting in chaos of itself in real time at least in the long run of more than say one generation (and partly because of the besides), there will be people trying to take over or advantage.

  2. Hi Marleen, “no Government” is clearly not the answer, but equally no system of Government should be viewed as THE answer either, (until Jesus returns to establish HIS Government on earth).

    But the issue is not just about Governments and politicians – but political ideologies. Totally contradictory ideologies tend to lead to the same destination, where an elite class prosper through the exploitation of others. That is the case with both Communism, Capitalism, and everything beyond and in-between.

    I’ve recently seen a documentary by Michael Moore called Capitalism: A Love Story, that looks at the events leading up to the financial crash of recent years.
    I’ve also been reading some articles by Naomi Klein that have a similar theme. Both Moore and Klein say a lot of worthwhile things showing how Capitalism isn’t working for the majority of people; that it only benefits a few. And yet in the West we’ve been conditioned to accept the inequities because we’ve been led to believe that its possible for anyone to join those who prosper if only we work hard enough or apply ourselves more diligently.
    That ingrained (vain) hope can stop us seeing the lack of difference between the outcomes of both Capitalism and communism.

    While both Moore and Klein expose the lie of capitalism, in my opinion they fail to offer a viable alternative. I believe that’s because there isn’t one, at least not a lasting alternative to bring true justice and equity.
    NO matter what political system is adopted it will always be tainted by the weaknesses of the men and women involved. Occasionally it may work well, but eventually someone will come along to spoil it again: just as Israel (and Judah) had the occasional good King, there were far more who “did evil in the sight of the Lord”.

    Sadly many professing Christians in the west (especially in America) tend to closely align themselves with a political ideology that hides its corruption under a thin religious veneer.

    While we live within this world, while we are affected by its politics and can also see the effects on those around us, we can’t distance ourselves from political matters. But that doesn’t mean we choose and embrace political ideology as if that ideology was God given. Instead we can address individual ISSUES and make a difference to those around us through a Spirit-led response to those issues.

  3. A reason I brought up anarchy and the quote about government being “the problem” is that there are large trends in American culture that include, along with zealous rhetoric about capitalism, sentiments and insistent policy leanings in voting blocks (as to where the U.S. IS headed) even when not in exposed wording (which when spelled out seems less attractive but is the same thing) like the gleeful idea to shrink government “until it’s small enough to drown in a bathtub.” The problem therein isn’t only the rhetoric. I know you’re not ani-government, but that largely is what is going on in Christianity here (they don’t think it through and are anti and pro simultaneously). It is quite possible (and likely, now, after years and decades going down a road that has become predictable) that they are being “played” — almost led by the nose. Its time to wake up. What we have isn’t awesome, but better than purposely crippling it with stubbornness and defunding. We aren’t just capitalist, by the way, as you know. So we aren’t pure capitalism (thank God). Israel, in Bible times, after putting God on a backburner could only hope for less than what God really wanted. But God still appealed to them and told them to wake up (within their placeholder but asked-for situation). I don’t say that to indicate America is God’s newly-chosen, nor Christianity incarnate or anything like that; just that we are all (for sake of discussion, all of us in “the west” and for freedom) ideally doing what we can to have orderly and loving societies.

    I brought up the Soviets because that appears to most to be proof communism is pure evil, but modern Israel began with communism (and most Christians wouldn’t say that establishment was bad, although most are unaware it happened). And the things Israel were to be accountable to do in Bible times sure don’t amount to the hands-off (and, disjointedly, hands-on) approach Christians hide behind in the politics of the God-and-country (and my country and me above all almost always) Christian. Further, a pipedream that if only religious people could get the government to leave them alone to run their own mini-cultures… [which some pretty much do and some do a little] (within, of course, a secular and pluralist government that provides some cover for them) can also actually still not result in any cleaned up and better society (sub-society) or example(s) of the right “ism” or “acy” to put in place that can be rested in. Nor can a fanatical fairy tail of a full enforced Christian America save us from ourselves. I don’t know where the drive comes from to think we (those living now) in all of history will be the ones who get it just right — except arrogance, that or ignorance of history. But I do think history shows us we are better off not imposing religion. Yet we do want history, including that of religion, taught. [I don’t, however, know about the first King with clarity as to governance; I don’t know what could have been going on if Jesus hadn’t, as we see historically as to time frame, he hadn’t, come to earth incarnate as Messiah yet.]

    I do see and agree with your observation and concern about the tendency that any ideology can be bent in implementation (especially under eyes that aren’t watchful) and almost always is bent — such that it IS “necessary” for there to be the underclass and the aspiring (or maybe not aspiring but comfortable) middle class… and “necessary” there be a fawning upon the awesome rich people and a disdain for the poor (who must be immoral or lazy or something — and now it’s not out of vogue to go with stupid or losers or disabled… or whatever keeps you/them from projecting dominant power [which God would, surely, within the positive thinking health and wealth of the “gospel” give you if you weren’t a sinner that God is punishing]. That fawning and so forth is part and parcel with a king, not an ideology bent from its shape. I agree that we can’t arrive at a definition, even, for an ideology that would be THE ideology and stand-in for (or as) godliness. Yes, Soviet communists had elites (although they weren’t supposed to). We also have elites, who don’t always get there by outstanding merit (contrary to theory). They get there (while the less ruthless get trampled down) by the government getting “out of the way” (an ideology here for hyper-pro-capitalist Christians) and maybe by combined variations this way and that over time (sometimes called cycles, but I think it’s more complicated than that) of government getting in the way and then government going AWOL (stepping out). For instance, Glas-Stiegel was pulled out from under people. Also, as you suggested, some people start out with a lot but take credit as if all is even.

  4. A different way I used to look at it, sort of the same thing, is that in the ideal world or heaven on earth, the different kinds of government would all work at the same time. Theocracy, democracy, socialism, something like (but better than) capitalism (a word we tend to use as a stand in for the idea of being productive and working but which isn’t exactly that); what the “King” would want would also be what the majority (or all) the people would want, and everyone would take care of everyone. Of course, that wouldn’t include fascism and other things.

  5. I should probably follow up and say my reference to fascism isn’t a statement on Donald Trump while he and that word are in the news right now [and, yet, my saying that is not meant to say Trump isn’t talking like some examples of fascism past]. There are other aspects of fascism that largely amount to what you have pointed out are features of societies that emerge within most settings (over time) and have to be watched out for. [Trump may be an example of the range of meanings, but I wasn’t trying to comment on him in that post.]

  6. It wouldn’t surprise me if Trump became God’s judgement upon Obama-hating “christians” who have blindly thrown their support behind the extreme republicans. It may seem ludicrous (at least to those outside the US) that Trump could become President, but it seems no less ludicrous that he could even remain as a viable republican candidate.

  7. I found this at another link from a page you linked to in a later topic:

    I also can’t help but remembering of abbot and trump that 1) abbot winked at the statement of a citizen who said she (unhappily) worked in phone sex to make ends meet; 2) trump has said he would like to be dating his daughter if she weren’t his daughter because she’s so attractive.

  8. An excellent article. I’ll add it to the links in my post about Abbott and Trump.
    As you may know, Abbott was recently dumped as Prime Minister by his own party, and his current outbursts have all been contrary to the course being taken by the new Prime Minister (the leader of the party to which Abbott belongs).

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