The Ten Commandments vs. Social Justice


The Ten Commandments and the Social Justice are the two systems for redistribution of individually created wealth aimed at making a better world for everybody, or Tikkun Olam in Jewish spiritual terms.

If we have two wealth-redistribution systems suggested for creating a better world for everybody, we have to figure out which system is better. The great majority would agree that a better world for everybody should be a just world. If it is so, the most important is to define what is just and unjust in both systems.

In the Judeo-Christian universe (observant and non-observant), the Ten Commandments and the entire Bible (Old and New Testaments), which is tailoring the Ten Commandments to various life circumstances, define justice and injustice. Those definitions are coming from the Higher Authority above us called God. We may disagree on the image of this Authority (God, Adonai, Supreme Power, Nature, Big Band, etc.) but not with the need for and the importance of such authority. This Authority unites all of us since, as the Bible declares, this Authority creates all of us as equals – in His image and likeness. If we are created as equals, the definition of justice and injustice, which is coming from this Authority, have to be considered just for everybody.

The guidance of this Authority for creating a better world, which is just for everybody, is clear and simple:

  • A better world, which is just for everybody, is the world where every individual has the opportunity to be an individual spiritual and material wealth creator in all areas of his/her life – family, community, religious institutions, employment, politics, social development, charity/mitzvah, etc. Moreover, to be personally responsible for the results of individual creative work.
  • The purpose of government is to secure the individual opportunities, not to impose on the individuals the government’s own ideas on social justice. The government has to legislate along the lines of the Bible – to strengthen individual families, to provide safety for families and communities, to keep forceful confiscation of wealth to a minimal level just needed to support a minimal government.
  • About 10% of the individually created wealth should be used for helping the less fortunate to enhance their individual opportunities through individual charity/mitzvah wealth transfer – not to enslave them in the welfare system forever.

In the secular universe, which might be even artificially observant, an elected or non-elected government defines what is just and what is unjust. Any human government, although necessary at some minimal level, disunites people. Why? Because any human government operates with one important goal in mind – to preserve its power at a next election cycle.

There is an established practice of how to preserve the power in this secular universe:

  • A government convinces the society that not all people are created equal, and therefore the role of a government is to be a sort of equalizer. To perform this role, a government finds a small group of wealthy individuals with a lot of individually made wealth but with a negligible voting power, and forcefully confiscates a significant part of their wealth.
  • Then, a government redistributes the confiscated wealth to a large group of less wealthy (most of them are not poor in a classical definition of this word) but with a decisive voting power. If the redistribution is correct, the government preserves its power.
  • However, such redistribution is unjust for the entire society. The wealthy individuals are unhappy – they think the injustice was committed against them. They believe so not because the money was taken from them – but rather because the money was taken forcefully without their consent on how much to take and how to redistribute. The injustice is committed as well against those who are receiving the redistributed money. It is so since the government decides what is good and what is bad for them – they are deprived the opportunity to make their own choices.

About Vladimir Minkov

Vladimir Minkov Ph.D. is a nuclear scientist, published author and writer. He is the co-author of "Nuclear Shadow Boxing", a scientific history of the nuclear confrontation between the Soviet Union and USA during the cold war and is the author of "The Jews and Their Role in Our World", which explores his personal journey to discovering Jewish identity. Having lost much of his family in the Holocaust and finding his search for spiritual development stifled in the Soviet Union, Vladimir migrated to the United States in the late 1970s.

Posted on August 15, 2015, in English-language posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. The establishment of a civil society necessitates a moral basis and order. To receive the 10 Commanments is to recognize such necessity and the grave consequences to disobedience and sin. To receive them is to act in the faithful walk of righteousness into SHALOM. To refuse them is to act in the vanity of arrogance into perdition.

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  2. You are right. I may add to this your thought the following: the refusal to treat the Ten Commandments and the entire Torah/Bible as the spiritual foundation of our God’s world paves the road for all murderous social systems such as Nazism, Communism, Sharia-ism …

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