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Chrysostom on Communism.

by Cyrus Wardly

In keeping with my last half dozen posts here on the microblog I found another timeless and actually more relevant today than even in his own time quote from the golden mouth of John Chrysostom. He writes the following on the subject of communism and did so a few thousand years before it was called communism.

Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require armed men to come and seize the rich person’s gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of the tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm. Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again. Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold from the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people’s hearts first – then they will joyfully share.

Bolded emphasis added by myself.

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