“And I will give children to be their princes, and the effeminate shall rule over them.”- Is. 3:4
For some reason, Jesus never said this about elections. There are plenty of reasons why He never said such a thing, but one is that Jesus’ followers were to set a brilliant example of just the type of program that social conservatives and libertarians need to embark upon right now and it doesn’t matter who is in power via elections to work. As the Apostles spread out to preach the Gospel Acts shows life in the first Churches to be a mix of communitarian living and performance of works of mercy both inside and outside of the community. The Church exploded in the Empire and by the time of Julian the Apostate’s rule Christians were known so well for providing what we would call today “social safety nets” that central to the Emperor’s plan to reinstate paganism was the idea that he would provide charity and out compete the Christians. Despite the backing of the Imperial treasury and official state support, Juliancare failed.
What made the social program of the Apostles so successful are exactly the reasons why private enterprise tends to be more successful at delivering services compared to the government. Charity was provided directly to the needy by motivated workers through a process that was voluntary engaged in for mutual benefit from funding to distribution. Because those distributing alms were directly concerned with where they came from (themselves or their fellow community members, who were brothers and sisters in Christ), there is a powerful feedback system in place to hamper fraud by both recipients and distributors. After all, the first example of a Christian using funding sources inappropriately didn’t end so well for Judas.
Conservatives and libertarians who oppose the mentality so prevalent today of “seek ye first the Federal Government,” need to better present alternatives to today’s problems. No one really can say that our health care system or the mess that is health insurance is either economically efficient or just. Healthcare is a mess. The poor face horrible choices every day in this country when it comes to treatment. Countless babies are murdered because the poor are told that they will not be able to afford to care for them.
We must face this reality. The problem is that the medical field is highly specialized and highly regulated keeping out competition to a large degree. It doesn’t seem likely that we can have free clinics and hospitals starting up as happened in the middle ages to solve the problems. More likely to succeed (although, I fully expect the Feds to move to stamp this out too) is the mutual aid solution: health sharing programs. These are programs where members share the medical costs of other members directly. If I were to incur a bill, then the program would split the bill’s total up and ask other members to send me money to pay off the expenses. It is not insurance and there is no absolute guarantee that any expense will be covered. As far as I am aware, all such programs are ministries of Christian groups and driven by the mentality of the early Christians of sharing each other’s burdens.
Needless to say, with Obamacare coming down the pike, membership in such groups has soared. More are being created, but it seems that the law prevents any new groups from forming, which poses problems for any future expansion, especially if a group wanted to start up that was unable to agree to the religious tenants of existing programs. Of course, this is intentional. The State cannot stand competition whether it comes from the family or from groups such as these which show that we do not need the government to live or to help improve our fellow man. Mutual aid societies in the spirit of the first Christians seem a perfect way to go…and for now, they’re legal.