I often tell people that if I am a socialist (and I do think of myself that way) it’s not because of Karl Marx. I have read Marx – a little – but, good grief, he’s sooooooo dull. No. I’m only a Marxist if you mean Groucho, Harpo, and Chico. I tell people that I learned my socialism from Jesus, the Hebrew prophets, General William Booth (founder of the Salvation Army) and the novels of John Steinbeck – and I’m only about 20% joking.
Last night, a friend of mine tried to correct me. “You didn’t learn socialism from Jesus – because that’s not what he teaches. You learned how to love others from him.”
To which I said, “It’s the same thing.”
As I have come to understand it socialism is (or can be) a political expression of those biblical instructions to care for the poor, the outcast, the marginalized. Socialism is (or can be) a political expression of that biblical injunction to love my neighbor as myself. Socialism is love.