She Got Everything Wrong: Work is Better than Checks

In the throes of the Cornonavirus shutdowns, some harsh economic and psychological realities are coming clear to some. For others, it is an opportunity for a new normal, forced on citizens by a group of self-proclaimed enlightened political progressives. Giant bail-outs, government enforced rising unemployment, and ticketing citizens for going to church, are, for some, not an opportunity to help workers and individuals do what is best for them, but an opportunity to increase the role of the Federal Government to irrational and destructive levels.

The now infamous Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was recently interviewed on She was asked about the upcoming election and her take on the current policies of President Trump. Beginning just after 26:00 mark in the video, it should become clear to the viewer that not only is her political philosophy unmistakable, but that it should also be repellent to people who understand how human nature works. She believes that the “normal” way of doing politics, including civility, just does not work anymore and we need to, in her words in the interview, start a revolution. That’s common Marxist fare.

What should be another level of distasteful to people are her comments on getting people back to work. She says, “only in America…does liberation mean go back to work.” She goes on to add that when people work a normal, or long, work week, they are enslaved. The implication, and the political philosophy behind such sentiments, is that governments should take up the mantle of provider for people so they are “free” to do anything and everything else but work.

This point of view gets both work and human nature wrong. In other words, she got everything wrong.

Work is far more than a means to a paycheck. Work has long been understood to be critical to a sense of meaning and accomplishment for people, as well as the means by which a community or nation takes care of itself. Did you know there is a formula for happiness? People who rate themselves as happier than others have four things in common: faith, friends, family, and meaningful work. Notice “money” isn’t on the list. Meaningful work may or may not make an individual a lot of money, but it does something much deeper – it fulfills one of the core longings of the human soul. Work means that I have a part to play in the lives of my family and neighbors. What I do is part of how daily life happens for my neighbors. What I do meets needs and wants in the lives of others, bringing them satisfaction. Work makes me part of something meaningful and larger than myself.

Government money cannot, and does not, provide the same thing. If I receive a check that covers my rent, food, and utilities, leaving me “free” to not work, everything listed above is taken from me. Receiving a check does not make me an important part of the whole, and it doesn’t bring my neighbor happiness through what I produce. AOC, and the Socialist/Communist philosophy she comes with, strips the human soul of dignity by fundamentally transforming our day-to-day lives.

Any economic or political philosophy that treats work as slavery is a ruse. They are trying to take from you one of the elements of your personal wholeness and ability to contribute and replace it with a false god.

The economist responsible for the recovery of West Germany after WWII, Wilhelm Ropke, once wrote that communism does not feed on empty stomachs, but on empty souls. A person without work not only relies on the largess of a government but becomes hollowed-out on some of the most significant levels of human existence. A government that tries to build perpetual reliance into its citizens, is replacing the fulfillment that comes from good work with checks. In an ironic twist, Socialists/Communists who critique Capitalism for being all about money are building a political philosophy that is all about giving people money.

In a not-so-stunning turn, this is also biblical wisdom. We were created to tend to the garden that God gave us, to steward it and take responsible control over it (Genesis 1:15). After humanity’s fall from the garden, the gift of work became a toil, but it remained a source of meaning and provision. We work to feed our family and community (Ephesians 4:28). Work is an antidote to theft (2 Thess. 3:10-12). The wise person is a smart and hard worker (Proverbs). And on the biblical story goes.

Any economic or political philosophy that treats work as slavery is a ruse. They are trying to take from you one of the elements of your personal wholeness and ability to contribute and replace it with a false god. Don’t buy it. Use your earnings to buy something useful.

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