I posted a response from one Robert--not our friend Robert--and replied to it, but despite the manifest silliness, I'l put it and my reply so that our intentions are not misunderstood. It is a good example of the incompatibility of Christianity and Marxism.
"Good grief. Do you not know any poor people? Have none in your family or circle of friends? This kind of uncharitable judgment (defining an entire class by its worst members) I expect of gays and atheists toward Christians and of agitators toward whites. Can we avoid such uncareful and unhelpful modes of thinking here?"
Ah, I love those words "Uncareful and unhelpful." Even more, "here." Let me translate. Uncareful means a mode of reasoning with which someone is not familiar, unhelpful means uncomfortably true, and "here" means someone else's column, website, and organization that should be devoted to what the critic wants to say rather than to what interests the proprietors and writers.
Christians have an obligation to practice charity, but as a long line of Christian thinkers, including Saints Paul, Augustine, and Thomas have pointed out, our means are not inexhaustible. Thus our first charitable obligations are to people to whom we are naturally connected--as in family and friends--and then to the most spiritually worthy.
The confiscation of half the income of middle class worker in order to subsidize lives of vice and crime has nothing to do with charity. It robs the Christian of the capacity and incentive to be charitable and degrades the recipients of welfare and makes them slaves of the government that buys them with our money. Worst of all, the welfare state employs and empowers an army of worthless drones--social workers, administrators, daycare workers, and counselors--who prey upon human misery and suck the vitality out of the workers.
A little less affected outrage, please, and a bit more rational reflection might keep this Robert from making a fool of himself.
Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.