Tag Archives: Benjamin Franklin

Bill Lockwood: The Evil of Socialism

by Bill Lockwood

Socialism in its original form was defined as “government ownership of the means of production.” This is why the Soviet Union confiscated all business, factories, and farms while murdering millions of dissenters and resistors in the process.  However, aside from that classical definition, socialism has always referred to the redistribution of income and properties in the pursuit of equality—whether through the progressive income tax or various institutions of the welfare state.

Our Founding Fathers were well aware of socialistic redistribution and the collectivist drift toward the left by growing government. They all warned against it as an evil that burdens society. Samuel Adams, for example, pointed out that the founders had done everything in their power to make socialism unconstitutional.

The Utopian schemes of leveling [re-distribution of wealth] and a community of goods [central ownership of the means of production and distribution], are as visionary and impractical as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional.

Thomas Jefferson warned against our modern welfare state. “If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.” Jefferson rightly pointed out the immorality of it simply in the fact that it is unjust for one generation to pass on the results of its extravagance in the form of debt to the next generation. Our current debt of about $20 trillion is almost entirely owing to our socialistic quagmire of government taking care of people.

Jefferson added, “…we shall all consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves; and consequently within what may be deemed the period of a generation, or the life [expectancy] of the majority.” Plainly, to pass on debt to the next generation, which is part and parcel of socialism, is itself immoral.

In Jefferson’s second inaugural address in 1805, he observed that the redistribution of wealth was a violation of the basic and fundamental right of mankind. “Our wish … is that the public efforts may be directed honestly to the public good,…equality of rights maintained, and that state of property, equal or unequal, which results to every man from his own industry or that of his fathers.”

In other words, there never will be financial equality among members of a society because wealth and the accumulation of goods is the direct result of one’s own industry—or that of his fathers, as Jefferson put it.

He went on to point out that:

to take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to everyone of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.

Such things as the income tax and the infamous “death tax” come to mind as examples of violations which the sage of Monticello had in mind.

Benjamin Franklin wrote on this topic at length. He told one of his friends in England why America would not adopt a welfare state. “I have long been of your opinion, that your legal provision for the poor is a very great evil, operating as it does to the encouragement of idleness. We have followed your example, and begin now to see our error, and I hope, shall reform it.”

A summary of Franklin’s views on welfare is as follows: (1) Compassion which gives a drunk the means to increase his drunkenness is counterproductive. (2) Compassion which breeds debilitating dependency and weakness is counterproductive. (3) Compassion which blunts the desire or necessity to work for a living is counterproductive. (4) Compassion which smothers the instinct to strive and excel is counterproductive.

Providing the means to increase immoral actions; breeding debilitating dependency; blunting the desire or necessity to work; smothering the instinct to excel—sadly, this is an apt description of America today. Such is the destructive nature of socialism. Franklin added:

To relieve the misfortunes of our fellow creatures is concurring with the Deity; it is godlike; but, if we provide encouragement for laziness, and supports for folly, may we not be found fighting against the order of God and Nature, which perhaps has appointed want and misery as the proper punishments for, and cautions against, as well as necessary consequences of, idleness and extravagance? Whenever we attempt to amend the scheme of Providence, and to interfere with the government of the world, we had need be very circumspect, lest we do more harm than good.

Would that America had paid closer attention, not only to the advice from our founders, but to the structure and prohibitions of the law of the land—the Constitution—which made wealth redistribution illegal. But who studies the Constitution today? Certainly very little in public schools, if at all. And who reads the founders any more?


2 W. Cleon Skousen’s summary in The Making of America, p. 219.

God, Not Gun Control

God, Not Gun Control “Is there no virtue among us?

by Bill Lockwood

The liberal secular world consistently misses the prime causes of our cultural disarray. Once again this lack of understanding is displayed in the aftermath of the Stephen Paddock mass shooting in Las Vegas, NV. Democrat leaders around the country did not let the blood dry from that massacre before they were calling for more fixes from Washington, D.C. They refuse the real issue.

Leading in this willful ignorance is Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. “The reason we don’t have gun safety measures in the United States today is because of the [National Rifle Association]. And we will defeat them.” That which blocks Sen. Murphy is not the NRA, but the 2d Amendment of the Constitution itself. Will you defeat it, Sen. Murphy?

Greatly exaggerating his power he continued: “We have it in our power to curb gun violence and save lives. It is that simple. Congress is complicit each day it fails to act.” He added that gun violence is a “uniquely American problem.”

Curtailing citizen gun ownership has always been on the Democrat/Socialist agenda. This is the reason that before investigations are even conducted into motives or causes they fly to assault the 2d Amendment.

Erasing God

To put a more accurate point on the liberal agenda, gun violence is not a uniquely “American” problem, but a uniquely modern American problem. Early America experienced no such acts of horrific senseless violence. Citizens were not mowing each other down in the town squares. Yet, from the 17th century through the colonial period not only did every male member of the community own a firearm, but they were expected to be a part of the regular militia!

Laws in Virginia in 1623 forbade its colonists to travel unless they were armed. In 1631 the same colony required the citizens to engage in target practice on Sunday and “to bring their pieces to church.” Target practice would be after Sunday dinner. In 1673 the laws of Virginia provided that a citizen who claimed he was too poor to purchase a firearm would have one purchased for him by the government.

In Massachusetts, the first session of the legislature ordered not only freemen, but also indentured servants to own firearms and imposed a fine upon those who were not armed. Examples from other colonies could be added (W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of America, 696).

What a difference two centuries make! But be careful to note that the difference is not between America and other nations, as Democrats are wanton to do; but between modern America and our historical roots. What exactly has changed?

Our nation has spent the better part of a century eliminating God from the public square, the classroom, and public discourse. Entertainment has virtually mocked and blasphemed God. Families are dysfunctional and the number of fatherless homes has dramatically increased since the 1960’s. Humanistic evolution and its valueless world order has replaced the Bible and we today are eating the fruit of those choices. In the wake of family and societal breakdown an increasing number of sociopaths and psychopaths wander our secular society. A predictable result.

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Gordon Wood, in The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, stated, “The eighteenth century mind was thoroughly convinced that a popularly based government ‘cannot be supported without virtue.’”

James Madison added,

Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical [fantasy] idea.

And George Washington, the Father of our Country, warned us,

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education … reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

Again, in his Farewell Address Washington advised that our freedom depends upon two “indispensable supports”—religion and morality. He, of course, referred to the Christian religion.

Until God is once again acknowledged by our culture-including the public school classroom– no amount of laws, no number of legislative fixes will make a people safe whose manners have become immoral, corrupt and vicious.

Bill Lockwood: Obama’s War Against Freedom of Speech

Internet Giveaway: Obama’s War Against Freedom of Speech-“Hate,” like beauty, is the eye of the beholder. “

by Bill Lockwood

The danger is real. The threat is imminent. Under Barack Obama’s direction the United States is set to give up control of the internet to a world body controlled by other socialists such as himself. Obama’s Marxism is not the armchair sort where he simply cogitates about philosophies of life while puffing on a pipe. “Street-organizing” is called such for a reason.

As these lines are being composed Barack Obama, as has become his modus operandi, via the back door, is seeking to curtail freedom of speech. His proposal is to end the U.S. government’s oversight of the internet domain name system by turning it over to a world body called ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) composed of 162 nations. These nations, composed of dictatorships of the communist or Islamic brands, such as China or Iran, will certainly curtail the precious freedoms long-cherished by Americans.

The Left argues that this “danger” outlined above is overblown. No entity would ever “censor” the internet, we are assured by the globalists. As Senator Ted Cruz observed on the floor of Congress recently, “A representative of Iran is already on record stating, ‘we should not take it [for] granted that jurisdiction is already agreed to be totally based on U.S. law.’” Unbelievable. More unbelievable is the fact that this does not cause Barack Obama to even pause in his internet giveaway. He pushes it onto the fast track.

Further, as Cruz pointed out to the Senate, leading technology companies in the United States have already agreed with the European Union to remove ‘hate speech’ from their online platforms. Giant U.S. companies  are currently in the process of “censoring speech” that is deemed unacceptable. “Hate,” like beauty, is the eye of the beholder. Those who have Twitter or Facebook accounts know that this is already occurring.

Freedom of Speech

America has had a long history of cherishing the precious freedom of speech, the free flow and exchange of ideas. Our framers of government fought long and hard that they and we might enjoy this God-given freedom, which had been stifled throughout the governments of history.

Probably the most significant figure of the Founding period in America is Thomas Jefferson. As were all of those remarkable statesmen called Founding Fathers, Jefferson was a fierce lover of freedom. At his First Inaugural Address (1801) the Sage of Monticello admonished future generations, in memorable phraseology, to carefully guard the Freedom of Speech.

The diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation.”

The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.”

Elsewhere Jefferson rightly connected the freedom of speech with religion. “…Insomuch that whatever violates either throws down the sanctuary which covers the others” (Kentucky Resolutions, 1798).

Benjamin Franklin warned: “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.”

Is it the case that this ‘principal pillar of free government’ is near evaporation? Will tyranny indeed be erected on its ruins? Marxist Obama does not cherish this freedom; the liberal establishment does not desire a free flow of ideas. Placing the forum of the internet into globalist hands assures us that tyranny is in the offing.

Back to Homepage

War on the Poor

War on the Poor

by Bill Lockwood

When Benjamin Franklin visited London in 1766, he observed that the “British Welfare Act” actually had the opposite effect. Instead of assisting the poverty-stricken, government welfare in point of fact had exacerbated it. “There is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent,” he noted of the British. “The day you passed that act you took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to industry, frugality and sobriety, by giving them dependence on somewhat else than a careful accumulation during youth and health for support in age and sickness…Repeal that law and you will soon see a change in their manners. St. Monday and St. Tuesday will cease to be holidays.”

Unfortunately for America, from the Progressive Era forward, we have purposefully ignored sound biblical principles regarding work and money, not to mention the Constitution. Eighteenth-century Europe which Franklin witnessed, therefore, has been more than duplicated. Our streets are now filled with the young and the restless who are constantly threatening to erupt—many of whom, it would be safe to say—are beneficiaries of government hand-outs. We are paying for our own demise.

How has our government waged a war, not on poverty, but on the poor themselves? Which sound principles of human nature, found in the Bible, have we set aside? What can be done to rectify the situation?

Poverty and Government

The general biblical principle is as follows. “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:6-11).
Poverty is a direct result from laziness. This is the general rule. “The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor” (12:24). Behind the political divisions in our once-great nation there lies an ethical law. The slothful descend into pauperism or servitude. Is this to say that every situation of poverty is self-inflicted? No. There are many cases for which the poor need to have provisions from compassionate people. But the government is the last machine that effectively supplies this. As Clarence Carson long ago wrote, government force intervening in these situations most frequently distorts reality and obscures which actions would be most economical (War on the Poor).

Consider the following principles.
• Poverty Itself is Not Evil. God warns that most frequently it is affluence which offers more dangerous temptations and pitfalls than poverty. One can read about this in 1 Timothy 6:19-21. Many have deliberately chosen poverty. Witness number of religious persons throughout history who, for one reason or another, have taken vows of poverty.
• Poverty is a Signal. Giving an aspirin to one who has a viral disease may make that person feel better, but it does not alleviate the real cause of the sickness. So also, throwing money into poor neighborhoods or families alleviates symptoms, but does not cure the potential problem. It may be that there is too much “folding of the hands.” Poverty may indicate that someone is wasting resources instead of saving them. It may indicate that someone is producing something for which there is little need, such as a young musician who spends an inordinate amount of time on his guitar instead of making ends meet. Poverty in these cases is a good thing because it teaches one to re-allocate his/her resources and efforts.
• Government Distorts the Signals. Instead of allowing individuals who foolishly spend their time and effort pursuing non-productive areas to suffer the natural consequences of these decisions, the government skews the signals.  The prime motivating factor that causes one to make better decisions is lacking what one needs. But the confiscation and re-distribution model disallows people to feel what they need—motivation. If passing grades are “given” to all students—as is now being done in most quarters—the motivating factor (poor grades) to study harder is removed. Thus, we have an “entitlement” generation being developed in schools and entering into society at large. Incentive to production, whether grades or wealth, is being nullified today in America. Tattoo parlors and The Lottery would probably go out of business if we allowed people to feel the consequences of their own foolish decisions.
• Poverty Cannot Entirely Be Abolished. Jesus himself said, “the poor you have with you always” (Matt. 26:11). The Council of Economic Advisors to President Lyndon Johnson (1964) disagreed with Jesus. “There will always be some Americans who are better off than others. But it need not follow that ‘the poor are always with us.’ In the US today we can see on the horizon a society of abundance, free of much of the misery and degradation that have been the age-old fate of man” (Carson, 30). President Obama thinks our Lord got it wrong and that the president’s ipse dixit can fix it by “closing the wage gap” and forcing businesses to pay for the non-skilled workers, which they may or may not need. Streets are filling with Bernie Sanders supporters who ignorantly suppose that not only is health care a “right” but that college education should be free.

Some may read the above lines and suppose that I am NOT for aiding the poor. Nothing can be further from the truth. However, from a constitutional and biblical standpoint this is to be handled at a personal and church congregational level. And, even then, the New Testament demands that churches distinguish between those who really are in need from those who might take advantage of the system. Read 1 Timothy 5 for some of these instructions.

In the end, Thomas Chalmers, the Scottish minister and political economist of the 19th century may have summed up America rather well. Examining the English experience of his day he commented, “State aid had been a mighty solvent to sunder the ties of kinship, to quench the affections of the family, to suppress in the poor themselves the instinct to self-reliance and self-respect—to convert them to paupers.” It appears that we cannot learn from history. Only by returning to sound biblical principles can America hope to survive.

Back to Homepage