Read Zechariah 14
Since the rise and subsequent defeat of senator Bernie Sanders there has been more discussion in America of the benefits of socialism than I have heard in my lifetime. I seem to recall that it was not that long ago when communist socialism was deemed public enemy number one in this part of the world, so it is a little surprising to me to hear socialism presented as a better option than our current system.
For much of my life I was taught that democracy was the best system of government in which a free society could function. It was, after all, a controlling British dictatorship that the American Colonies had to battle to gain independence and freedom some two hundred and fifty years ago. Then there was the threat of fascism led by a dictator named Hitler, followed by the Cold War that lasted several decades against communistic socialism, and through all this the people of the democratic free west seemed to have it better than any other place in the world. One has merely to study the patterns of immigration to see how people increasingly have been drawn to relocate to North America from other places in the world.
Is democracy really the best systems of government? Is that why America and Canada and other free democratic societies have seemed to prosper while other nations seem stuck in poverty?
In the final chapter of Zechariah the prophet describes a time when the earth will be ruled by a dictator, and that dictator will be Jesus Christ. As this time is described it seems to be a time when crime and rebellion will be punished, and loyalty and obedience will be rewarded.
And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one. (v. 9)
As I have observed world history as a casual observer (I am hardly a serious historian) I have observed that it is not so much the form of government that fostered a prosperous economy and a free people, as much as it is the character of the people who lead that system of government. In other words, if a leader is honest, humble, consistent, wise, merciful, and rules justly, it doesn’t matter so much whether this leader is the elected prime minister who works with congressmen and senators, or a king who inherits a kingdom and rules by fiat. Similarly, if a leader is corrupt, greedy, deceitful, merciless, and unjust the people he or she rules over will suffer regardless of what system of government it is they lead.
One of the advantages of the way America’s democratic republic system is structured is that the three branches of the government were designed to prevent one, or even several individuals from having too much control. As we are discovering, it is not a perfect system, and I suspect it will eventually collapse, but at this point it still seems to be one of the best systems of government the world has seen thus far.
The bottom line however, remains that the system is only as good as the people that make it work. Ultimately if corrupt leaders find their way into positions of power, the people will suffer.