By Bryan Fischer
The president’s new appointee to head up the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is Dr. Donald Berwick, who is an unabashed socialist in his political philosophy.
Said he in 2008, “Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane, must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition re-distributional.”
Now by the redistribution of wealth, Dr. Berwick is not speaking of the voluntary redistribution of wealth prompted by the compassion and generosity and open-heartedness of American citizens.
This voluntary transfer of wealth is honored in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and served as the template for America’s public policy on responding to the poor until the early 1900s. Until little more than a century ago, America looked almost exclusively to private charities funded by individual and corporate generosity to get help to the neediest among us. And Americans, inspired by the values of Christianity, have continued to be the most generous people on the face of the earth.
As Luke writes of the first century community of faith, “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need” (Acts 4:34-35).
There was nothing coercive about this process. In fact, when Peter publicly rebuked Ananias, as recorded in Acts 5, he made it explicitly clear that Ananias’ sin was not that he held back some of the proceeds of the sale of a piece of property but that he lied and claimed to have donated it all.
Said Peter, “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal?” (Acts 5:4).
But Dr. Berwick is not here talking about compassion or generosity, and he most certainly is not talking about anything voluntary. He is talking about the involuntary, coercive redistribution of wealth, where money is taken at gunpoint from the wallets of some citizens and transferred to the pockets of other citizens. This is nothing more than theft under color of law.
You may think the use of the phrase “at gunpoint” is exaggerated. But if you were to refuse to cooperate with this involuntary transfer, it wouldn’t be long before people with guns and badges would show up at your office to collect you and place you behind bars.
Such an involuntary transfer of wealth is nothing more than “legalized plunder,” to use Frederic Bastiat’s colorful and poignant phrase.
It makes the transgression of the eighth commandment – “Thou shalt not steal” – the foundation for official government policy, and turns it from a vice into a virtue.
Thus Berwick’s philosophy is fundamentally immoral and sub-Christian and an approach to public policy unworthy of a Christian nation.
And yet this is the man our president has chosen to supervise health care for our nation’s seniors. And it is almost certain that Dr. Berwick was chosen because of, not in spite of, his socialist views on the forced transfer of wealth.
Bottom line: since the days of FDR we have stopped looking to the Judeo-Christian tradition for our inspiration for public policy and turned instead to socialist philosophers for our ideals. We have turned from Moses to Marx, and it is not a change for the better.
Self-Educated American contributing editor, Bryan Fischer, is Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association, and is the host of the daily ‘Focal Point’ radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association. ‘Focal Point’ airs live from 1-3 pm Central Time, and is also simulcast on the AFA Channel, which can be seen on the Sky Angel network.