After soundly defeating powerful incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens) in a Democratic primary in June, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—a self-described democratic socialist—has become something of a national political celebrity. Young, passionate, and unabashedly far-left, Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow travelers seek to continue the efforts made by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to move the Democratic Party (and, if they gain power, the entire nation) in an ever-more-radical direction.
So what exactly is democratic socialism? According to WORLD magazine, Discovery Institute Fellow Jay Richards calls democratic socialism “‘a movement in which a population gets more and more accustomed to [dependency]… Rather than focusing on how we create value and wealth for ourselves and others, we focus on how we confiscate the wealth of other people… The more the population is in that confiscatory mode, the more dangerous it gets.’”
Many conservatives oppose socialism—democratic or otherwise—because socialist regimes have displayed appalling disregard for human rights and freedoms and have driven nations into poverty and suffering (Venezuela is one recent example). Christians, however, should oppose democratic socialism because it conflicts with the Scriptures. Instead of rewarding hard work and accomplishment, democratic socialism rewards slothfulness and resentment; democratic socialists support taking resources and wealth away from those who have earned them and redistributing them to those who have not. The Lord commands us not to covet (Exodus 20:17) and to work for our daily bread (Proverbs 14:23; II Thessalonians 3:10; II Timothy 2:6). Furthermore, democratic socialism embraces a mindset of dependence on a large, powerful government. This dependence is misplaced, as no humanly-instituted government will ever be perfect or worthy of trust. Psalm 62:5 says, “‘My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.’” As believers, we depend on the Lord—not on any human construct.