The Enemy of What is Right

Observe the setup in this story:

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’
(Matthew 20:1-7)

Note that only the first group of laborers had a contract with the landowner, a specific amount for wages for the day’s work.  Moreover, a denarius was the going rate for a day’s labor, so the landowner was not being unfair in the amount he had negotiated with these workers (i.e., despite what your college professor says, he was not exploiting these men).  All the rest were simply told they would receive what was “right.”

“So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius.
(Matthew 20:8-10)

The plot thickens as the landowner then pays everyone equally, although not all gave an equal amount of work.  The primary point, though, is that those who had an agreement with the landowner received exactly what they agreed to.  No more and no less.  Now if you’ve been edjamacated in our current public school system or are a recent graduate of one of our finer institutions of “higher” edjamacation, you most likely feel this is unfair.  How dare that landowner exploit those poor workers by treating them all the same?!?  (Wait, isn’t that the liberal idea?  Equal outcome despite unequal input?  Now I am confused!)  And that was, indeed, the reaction of the first group (they must have been way ahead of their time, as all progressives are!):

And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’
(Matthew 20:11-12)

So what is wrong here?  The only one’s with a “contract” got exactly that to which they agreed.  Their contract was fulfilled per law.  They were not cheated, but got exactly that for which they’d negotiated.  Those who’d worked less got more than they probably expected, but still, they had done some work.  Shouldn’t this have been a classic example of how liberal economics works…those who work hard support those who don’t?  Aren’t all workers entitled to a full day’s wages even if they didn’t actually work the full day?  Yes, this is exactly what so much of the current administration’s policies, and liberal education’s philosophy, reduce to:  those who work hard and thus earn more money must give more and more of that money to those who don’t.  Euphemistically, this is call “redistribution.”  It is symptomatic of big government socialism.  It is also more accurately known as, “Grand Theft.”

Jesus closes with this kicker that should knock down this false philosophy:

But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?
(Matthew 20:13-15)

The right to private property and the right to dispense it as one sees fit is here unabashedly stated point blank.  This includes the right to be charitable without being labeled as “unfair.”  And to challenge this right is categorized as “evil.”  Why?  Simply put:

“You shall not steal.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
(Exodus 20:15, 17)

The eighth and tenth commandments are broken by this philosophy.  Or said another way, no one is entitled to an entitlement.  Why not?  Because “Government,” the alleged source of such largesse, is actually not the real source; it does not create the funds it is dispensing.  It has to acquire them through things like taxation, um, excuse me, redistribution of wealth.  True workers must work not for themselves, but for others.  The dust bin of history has shown that to depend upon such altruism consistently is foolishly suicidal.  It depends upon a false view of man and so is doomed to failure (more on this in an upcoming post currently in the works).

For those interested in reading some more, try Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.  Although she does not write from a Christian worldview, her analysis of economics corresponds to reality to a significantly higher degree than any socialistic model.  Earlier this year Thomas Sowell wrote about this, and you can read my summary and comments on his analysis here.

The bottomline:  it is a dangerous departure from reality to depend upon the subjective idea of “fairness” when trying to discern right and wrong.  Objective metrics are necessary.  This is how the world truly works.  If you don’t believe me, try defying the “fairness” of the law of gravity.  Go ahead, I dare you!  After all, how unfair is it that birds can fly and you cannot!


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