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September 28, 2011


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Steve, yes, the quote at the top sounds very much like something I would say.

Of course, you know that I also value private property. At the same time, I recognize that we do not gain our property solely by individual effort. "Property" exists only within the context of a social contract. Unless we prefer the state of nature (Steve, we do not), we must surrender some portion of our wealth to ensure the security of the remainder of our wealth. Those who accumulate and enjoy more wealth should pay a larger amount for the greater utility they get from the protection of the social contract. Since inequality is inimical to a civil society, we must to some extent mitigate (not eliminate, but mitigate) inequality in wealth through redistribution. That doesn't have to be direct payments from rich people to poor people. That doesn't have to mean expropriating Hugh Hefner's mansion and turning it into efficiency apartments for 100 low-income workers. It can mean using some portion of the wealth for the top earners to create public works that benefit everyone. Deciding what proportion of wealth we put toward enforcing the social contract and redistributing wealth for the common good is open for debate. However, we cannot take porperty rights as an absolute. We must surrender some portion of our wealth to make society work. That's not anti-biblical covetousness. That's practical community building. I'll wager that, to the extent Jesus would have bothered with such political discussion, he would have agreed.

Steve Sibson

Cory, your argument is from the viewpoint of the giver. Coveting is from the viewpoint of the taker. Even if it is one penny, it is still coveting.

True Christians will take care of those who can't take care of themselves. Others have to be forced to with a governmental Social Contract. There is a difference.

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