Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Redistribution of Income

In the discussion between Sen. Obama and Joe the Plumber, the Senator mentions spreading the wealth around. Joe was concerned that if he successfully bought the business and did well, his reward should be keeping this newly earned wealth.

Sen. McCain and other Republicans pounced on this, hinting that Sen. Obama was suggesting the socialist principal of The Redistribution of Income. (Heaven forbid!!!)

Now, up to this point, I've reflected on much of the libertarian side of my views, but not the socialist side. I have to come clean and say it proudly:

I believe in the Redistribution of Income!

You see, part of my beliefs come from what may be called a Christian Socialist view. If we go to the Bible in the Acts of the Apostles, we read how the early community cared for each other and distributed the proceeds of their wealth according to each one's needs (Acts 2:45). This is my basis for my belief that I am called to redistribute portions of the income I receive, being a fairly well-paid professional, for others with needs greater than my own.

I have come to believe that my earthly things are not ultimately mine to possess. Rather, they are gifts given that I might use for myself and others.

Now, most Libertarians may think I'm crazy believing it this. Many who call themselves Libertarian are attracted to this political viewpoint because they don't want government telling them what to do, they don't want to pay taxes (or pay as little as possible), and their possessions (home, land, wealth, etc.) are theirs and no one should tell them what to do with it.

To that I have three replies:

1) Though I believe in the Redistribution of Income, as a Libertarian, I don't believe that the government or anyone else should force anyone to follow this course of action. My belief comes from faith and only those so called through their own faith or beliefs should follow in the path of Redistribution of Income.

2) Not all Libertarians are of a self-centered view that precludes caring for others. For example, the "Libertarian Girl" ( cares for people and hopes for an end to poverty.

3) Finally, if one really believes in the fullness of liberty, then each of us are entitled to our own views. And in a free society, those who wish to voluntarily redistribute their wealth to the less fortunate, should be free to do so.

So, in conclusion, as a Libertarian and Christian Socialist, I proudly admit: I Believe in the Redistribution of Income!


  1. I am also a libertarian socialist. I agree with you about our need for a wider distribution of wealth, and that the government should not be re-distributing money artificially, through taxation. I feel that ideally, wealth should be distributed through the free market, which also needn't be capitalistic. Once the market attains equilibrium, capital will be more equitable.P.S. Since you are a christian, as well as a libertarian socialist, have you ever heard of the distributist Catholic Worker's Movement?

  2. Responding to RedKnight's comment: Yes, I've heard about the Catholic Worker's Movement, and of Dorothy Day (one of the founders, I believe). Up here in Boston, Kip Tiernan who was influenced by the Catholic Worker movement founded Rosie's Place, a shelter addressing emergency and long-term needs of homeless women. Kip is like one of old testiment prophets who regularly "afflicts the comfortable while comforting the afflicted." Much of my political/religious outlook is influenced by this activist apporach to the social justice teachings of Jesus. Unfortunately my life doesn't always match up to the life and works of Dorothy and Kip.