Milton Friedman vs. Karl Marx
By: Jonathan Harris
Over the past couple weeks I've had the privilege of going through two books with opposing meanings. The first is called Free to Choose by Milton Friedman, and the second is the class work The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. I would encourage everyone to read both seeing as they are well accepted as legitimate and influential by both sides, and seeing as how they both do an excellent job explaining their contrasting views. To me the interesting thing to note was that communism is built on the total anti-God assumption that humans themselves have rights, but that those do not come from a divinity. Although some arguments in favor of Christian social justice are used in the Manifesto the even semi-read Christian will see right through it. In fact, the intention of Communism is much more than the inhalation of private property (a very anti-biblical position in and of itself) but the destruction and reversal of every aspect of orderly society. The family was said to hold the proletariat down, the distinction between countryside and city was to be demolished, and the cultural and religious distinctives were tools the bourgeoisie used to manipulate the proletariat. It is secular humanism at its worst. It is important for us as Christians to understand what the ideas of the manifesto were, how they are popping up in our society (both socially and economically), and why they are flawed. Any theory contrary to human nature and nature's God will fail. The free-market on the other hand, although not argued by Milton Friedman in Christian terms, is obviously a very Christian concept. As I went through Free to Choose I couldn't help noticing the inherit assumption of man's dignity and individual worth as the Bible describes it. We have skills (specialized advantage), we are moral (charity), we are prone to corruption and self interest (why communism doesn't work, and why even an evil man can be harnessed by capitalism for noble causes), we have private property (though shalt not steal), etc. Friedman, although a libertarian, builds upon a biblical premise defending capitalism on every front. Included is information on the Great Depression and how it was government that failed not private enterprise, freedom of education and why federal involvement is killing learning, the environmental factor and how the free market is preferable to regulation, and many other "problems" posed to proponents of freedom. I strongly urge everyone to pick up a copy of both so both sides can be understood equally. Come to your own convictions through comparison with God's word.