Russell Moore bashes socialism's 'faulty view of human nature'

Russell Moore
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, speaking about the problems of socialism in a video posted to YouTube on June 18, 2019. |

The Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President, Russell Moore, recently denounced socialism, saying among other things that it has a “faulty view of human nature.”

In a video posted to his YouTube channel on Tuesday, Moore declared, “I hate socialism” and critiqued the economic system that advocates for government control of the means of production.  

Moore said someone can be a Christian and support socialism, adding that the Bible does not endorse a specific economic system as being the best.

Nevertheless, Moore said that socialism was problematic in that it does not take into consideration “human depravity” and thus holds “a faulty view of human nature.”

“Nobody who has a clear-eyed view of human nature would say that the market is morally neutral or that everything the market does will be morally right,” he said.  

“But if we have a clear-eyed view of human nature, we would also say the state is not exempt from that. And what happens in socialism is that the state tends to become nearly all-encompassing in dealing with the economic aspect of life in a way that just doesn’t work.”

Bernie Sanders
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Poor People's Campaign Moral Action Congress in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 2019. |

According to Moore, this failure occurs because socialism tries to see things “through a purely economic lens,” going back to Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.

“It hasn’t worked,” said Moore. “It doesn’t mean that there aren’t reforms that are needed within capitalist systems or non-socialist systems. That’s all true and sometimes socialism can diagnose some things.”

“Because of that, it can seem attractive to people. But I think it’s only attractive to those who have never seen it really up close.”

Moore noted that various parts of the Bible acknowledge the existence of private property and that various calls to charity are focused on private actions rather than state-compelled actions.

“Even in the Ten Commandments, ‘you shall not steal.’ In order to steal, there has to be a connection between what you have and what you don’t have,” continued Moore.

“Some people will say, ‘look, you’ve got the early church. They’re sharing their resources.’ Yes, but this is not state action, this is voluntary. The work of the Spirit within people who are forming a counterculture.”

Recently, socialism has been gaining more acceptance in American society. For example, a Harris Poll from earlier this year found that nearly half of millennial and Generation Z Americans said they would prefer to live in a socialist nation.

The same poll also found that 73.2 percent of millennial and Gen Z respondents agreed that the government should provide “universal health care” and 67.1 percent agreed that the government should provide free tuition for college.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an avowed Democratic Socialist, offered a surprisingly strong primary challenge to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election cycle.

Earlier this month, Sanders offered a defense of Democratic Socialism, stating at an event at George Washington University that “economic rights are human rights.”

“Over 80 years ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped create a government that made transformative progress in protecting the needs of working families,” said Sanders.

“Today, in the second decade of the 21st century, we must take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion,” Sanders proclaimed. 

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