We have come to discuss Proverbs, 22:16 – “He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.”The question asked was how anyone can justify oppressing the poor and giving to the rich, and it was asked, specifically, of, “…the right wing…” The implication is very clear that the person who framed the question believes the right wing oppresses the poor. I maintain that this is a false assumption – a straw man. It is a question so phrased as to presume the answer in the very asking. “Have you stopped beating your wife?” The question says, “You do this evil thing, and I want to hear you justify it.” I will not answer that question directly, but rather address the presumptions upon which it is based.
The discussion springs from this question: “So what does the right wing say about this…and how do they justify it? It’s quite simply stated right?”
Oppression is injustice, and it is a bad thing. Injustice is the opposite of justice, and I think most people would agree that justice is a very good thing. (Though an awful lot of folks would fail to see its virtue when it is applied to them.) Justice, in broad terms, means people get what they have earned – what they rightfully have coming to them, whether good or bad. The Bible very clearly and irrefutably enshrines justice as one of the chief virtues of a man, a king, or of a people.
How are the poor in America oppressed? They are protected by the law as much as any man. True, there are situations in which political power or corruption have denied justice to the poor, but as often as not, the rich fall victim, as well. Think about it: would a thief rather rob a poor man’s hovel or a rich man’s mansion? In fact, this is an eternal principle of politics, that once the tiger of corruption is loosed, it cares not whom it devours. In fact, the only way one might increase his riches by oppressing the poor is to usurp their labor - they have no material wealth to steal – and forced labor is called slavery, and slavery was abolished in America for many years. It has seen a resurrection in the last few years with the avalanche of criminal trespassers across our borders, who have brought with them the barbarous practices of their native lands.
Anyone who proposes that the poor of America are slaves is deluded or a liar, and I find it bitterly ironic that so many who hold that very premise are the same ones who have thrown open the gates to the invading slave traders, and have, by legislative bullying, blocked the gates open
In fact, the poor in America are better off than what passes for the middle class in much of the world. They eat more meat, live in bigger houses, dress better, get better educations, have more protection of the law, and, most significantly, have more opportunity to leave the ranks of the poor.
Remember that last clause.
For the moment I will pretend that the phrase “the right wing,” has any meaning other than a bigoted slander of a set of the American population who disagree with the questioner. I will take it to refer to those who reject the forcible redistribution of wealth by the government, and to those who reject the premise that idleness’ claim to wealth trumps that of labor. If you can’t tell by the phrasing, I’m a right winger.
Our position is simply this: that the person who does the work, whether it is manual labor, organizational labor, or creative labor deserves to keep whatever wage comes from that labor. We believe that charity is a great virtue. Many of us believe it is a commandment from God. We believe that charity consists of an individual human being deciding, of his own volition, to share his wealth with another, and that sticking a gun in someone’s ribs, taking his money, and giving it to someone else is not charity. The man with the gun gives nothing, and has no claim to virtue. We are accused of saying that some people are inferior to others, but in reality it is the man with the gun who says, in the most forceful and inescapable way, that station is his decision, and his alone. He will decide who is inferior to whom, and will enforce his whim with the armed power of the state. This man is a creature of the left.
Our view is expressed in Ecclesiastes, 5: 18, 19 – “Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.
“Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour: this is the gift of God.”
It says, “Every man.” It doesn’t say the rich or the poor or the middle class, and sure as blazes doesn’t say the bureaucrat. Every man.
We are admonished by the Scriptures to labor, from Genesis statement that, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…” to the Savior’s observation that the “…the workman is worthy of his meat.” At the same time, we are commanded to take care of and sustain the poor, weak, lame, old, and the widow. Over and over, the virtue of charity is extolled in the Scriptures. Charity. Not surrogate theft.
In fact, if there were no rich, from whence would come any charity, at all? First Thessalonians 4: 11, 12 says, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
“That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”
Look at that: “…that ye may have lack of nothing.” If the rich are brought down, can it be said they lack nothing? If their labor goes for naught, and is expropriated by some random, whim-driven entity for the benefit of some random others, it may fill the lack of today, but from where will the lack of tomorrow be filled? A reference to a goose and golden eggs is inevitable. If there is nothing to gain by labor, who will work?
Go back to that reference to opportunity. If it becomes the law of the land that we will crush any man who amasses enough wealth to be called “rich,” what opportunity is there for the poor? The opportunity to work their guts out, only to one day become a pariah and be banished from that drooling, obese and false god called society? The opportunity to say to their children, “We have enough to eat, but tell no one. Pretend to be hungry, or they will declare us rich and take it all back?”
Oh, no! There’s no oppression in that, is there.
So to the questioner I would say, yes, it is quite simply stated, and I would dearly love to hear the left wing justify their program of consistent oppression. Let them justify robbing our children of their inheritance of opportunity and hope. Let them justify ripping the very bowels out of the dreams of men and women who want nothing more than to live their lives and care for their children. Let them justify mortgaging an entire nation and its posterity for generations to the greatest violators of human agency in all history. Let them justify their belief that one man’s desire to keep the fruit of his mind and body is vile, while another man’s desire to take that from him is virtuous. Let them justify poisoning the minds of generations of our children with the belief that to keep one’s wages is covetousness, but taking another’s wages is not.
I will close with Saint Luke’s story about Jesus. “And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak unto my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
“And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
22 Sept., 2012