It’s sometimes difficult to watch or read certain political commentators anymore. The term "economic inequality" is thrown around in political discourse as if being financially successful is somehow a crime.
When I was a child, my father taught me that there are three ways we can accumulate money. We can:
1. work for it.
2. have it given to us.
3. steal it.
He went on to explain to me that the first two ways are completely acceptable. The third one is not. Apparently everyone isn’t as fortunate as I have been to have the father that I do.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard or read people justify stealing from one person to give to another. And far too often they do it in a way that vilifies those who they advocate stealing from. Their justification for the theft is always in the name of finding a remedy to "economic inequality" through taxation. And worse yet, they tout themselves as compassionate in doing so.
What these folks apparently don’t realize is that it makes no difference whether an individual, group, or government confiscates wealth from a person; it’s all theft and violates a most basic tenet of a civilized society– "Thou shalt not steal." It doesn’t even take a religious person to understand the value of such a teaching.
What they also don’t realize is that "economic inequality" is a reality of life. And admittedly so, it’s often a painful one for some. Nevertheless, true compassion does not exist in stealing from your neighbor or even in employing the government to do your stealing for you. True compassion exists in the voluntary sharing of what you have with others. The former is far too often destructive to all those involved. The latter lifts, emboldens, and often empowers all involved.
The increased desire among us to remedy "economic inequality" through taxation is indeed troubling. Not only is it troubling, but it is destructive to our society. In fact, it is evidence of a deteriorating society.
Former Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson – who was a religious man himself – once taught this important principle:
"The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment."
Again, while Secretary Benson’s quotation is Christ-centered, the underlying principle can be accepted by all, whether religious or not.
Our society will be all the better off when we shun theft, embrace true compassion, and realize that the true villains are not those that earn their money; but it’s those that steal it. Because, like it or not, taxation is theft.