To answer the question I floated on Wednesday … the GOP does indeed appear to be pacing itself in the oppo drops for the Georgia Senate runoffs. On Thursday, Raphael Warnock told MSNBC’s Joy Reid that he was sick of accusations that he was a crypto-socialist. By the next day, the Washington Free Beacon published this silly Warnock sermon from 2009 in which the now Democratic nominee insisted that socialism is supported by the Scriptures, and that socialism is already a way of life. Why not socialized medicine, too?
Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock is battling accusations that he has embraced socialism, something he has dismissed out of hand. “It would be funny if it weren’t sad,” Warnock told MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid on Thursday.
But Warnock’s denials appear to conflict with a 2009 sermon in which he argued that socialism is supported by Scripture and compared socialized health care to such run-of-the-mill government services as police protection.
Warnock, who is locked in a tight Senate race against Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler, argued that the New Testament says church members should have “all things in common.”
“You don’t solve the problem simply by calling something ‘socialism.’ There are some things that we have in common,” Warnock said. “We don’t ask people to buy their own police protection, their own fire protection. We decided long ago that we ought to pool our resources and pick up everybody’s garbage so that free enterprise can take place. There are some things we have in common.”
Actually, we all didn’t “pool our resources” on garbage collection. I live in a community where we individually contract for that service, and it works just fine. I pay them directly, and they respond to me directly — or they lose my business. The reason we pool resources for police departments is because law enforcement involves coercive use of force, on which the government has a monopoly (for good reason). That’s not “socialism” — it’s the alternative to anarchy, examples of which are playing out in cities where “abolish the police” has become the new mantra. Let’s not forget that this new mantra comes courtesy of Warnock’s and Democrats’ progressive allies, too.
Speaking of coercion, it’s amusing to hear Warnock deride “folks talking as if they knew what they’re talking about” while referencing Acts 2. That wasn’t socialism either, despite the preaching we hear about it, because it was an entirely voluntary arrangement. Acts 2 describes a commune, not socialism; there was no coercion applied at all for the sharing of goods between the members of the church. Acts 2 became the model for monastic living, not governance. Socialism uses the coercive force of government to seize and redistribute goods, which is opposite the spirit and the reality of the small-scale cooperative model in Acts 2.
Even the more contemporaneous example given by Warnock is wrong. People lined up to get an H1N1 swine-flu vaccine in 2009, but the vaccine existed because of free enterprise, not socialism. Private-sector pharmaceuticals developed it, and its distribution went through both governmental and private-sector channels. More people probably lined up in Walgreens outlets than Department of Health offices for that vaccine. The vaccine to COVID-19 will exist because of private enterprise too, although accelerated by government support through purchase incentives (which isn’t socialist either, but isn’t a great model except in emergencies).
If one wants a communal, public-sector response to a health crisis, we can use the CDC’s botch job on testing for COVID-19, for which we are still paying a price. If we had a socialized-medicine approach where government controlled pharmaceutical development, we’d wait years for a vaccine, if not decades. Private-sector competition drives innovation; socialist systems don’t innovate and are forced to steal technology instead, as we saw with the Soviet Union and now with China.
Not only is Warnock wrong in 2009, Warnock is being a hypocrite in 2020. And probably still wrong as well if Warnock was being honest, as his denials on this point can likely be described as “funny if it weren’t sad,” too.
The GOP seems quite prepared for a runoff against Warnock, and they’re not yet out of ammunition, either. It’s as if they sandbagged Democrats into nominating him so that the GOP and Kelly Loeffler could turn Warnock into a punching bag for two months. Democrats should worry what else the GOP has gleaned from Warnock’s long trail of sermons and speeches … and perhaps no one should be more worried than Jon Ossoff, who’s essentially chained to Warnock at the hip now.