A leftist friend claims recently that the left is more moral than the right. Whatever else might be said about the right and “values,” she points out, the bottom line is that the left cares more about the poor. She quotes Matthew 25 as her text:
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
But in fact, are leftists giving money to the poor? Or clothing them, or visiting them in prison? They are not. Instead, they are asking government to do it for them. This could instead be seen as a desertion of duty. If we, ourselves, give food to the hungry, clothes to the needy, care to the sick, comfort to prisoners, or money to charity, that is one thing. It is a very different thing to demand that everyone else be forced to instead.
Worse, such giving to the poor is expressly not supposed to be a political act:
Matthew 6:1-2: “Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”
So there is zero value, morally, to the modern left as a political position.
Of course, one might suppose that the means of giving is less important than the goal, of ending poverty.
But is this even possible? Marx thought so. But not the Bible. And Marx has been proven wrong.
Jesus says, “The poor you will have always with you.” If he is God, he ought to know. Poverty is apparently a permanent part of creation, barring the Second Coming.
Which, logically, it is. Poverty is relative to wealth. You cannot have one without the other. Nobody would realize they were poor except in comparison to someone else who is richer. Without that, the concept would have no meaning.
That being so, there is no way ever to get rid of poverty. The issue is to do our best personally to give when we see someone in need, no more or less.
And, for that matter, is it even desirable, beyond that minimum, to eliminate poverty? Jesus says, after all, “"Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20).
Again, we should assume he means what he says. The poor are ultimately more fortunate than the rich.
The reason is simple: as Jesus himself explains, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”’ (Matthew 6: 19-21). The poor will find it easier to make it into heaven.
Wealth does not obviously bring greater contentment—this is more than a maxim, it has been tested scientifically and broadly been found to be so. At the same time, is a source of worries and care.
The wise, therefore, in all times, have tended to actually avoid great wealth—from Diogenes through the Buddha. Many religious take their vows of poverty today. Poverty is freedom.