By Jake Novak
Varney & Co. Senior Producer
Pop quiz time!
Here's the question:
Who was the first real socialist?
Karl Marx? Vladimir Lenin? Mao Zedong? Sean Penn?
None of those guys is even close.
Nope, the first real socialist was a young man named Cain.
No, not Herman Cain... just Cain from the Bible.
I know, I know, just about all of you have known Cain as the world's first murderer ever since your first day of Sunday school.
Where does the socialism come in?
Socialism, and its culture of entitlement, is what makes Cain so fascinating... and so dangerous. It is not his crime but the motive for it, that is the heart of the matter.
Getting to the bottom of why Cain kills his own brother Abel has preoccupied Rabbis, priests, and other religious scholars for literally thousands of years.
Of course, it's important to first go over the key facts in the case:
Abel and Cain both offer sacrifices to God from the fruits of their labor.
Abel offers some of the best of his livestock and God is pleased with that and accepts his offering.
Cain offers a mediocre potpourri of vegetables and grains from his lands. God is not pleased and does not accept Cain's sacrifice.
Enraged that his brother has succeeded and he has not, Cain kills Abel and, to literally translate the original Hebrew words from the Book of Genesis, he "stains the Earth with his brother's blood."
Jealousy is often the word used to explain why Cain killed Abel. And indeed the Hebrew name for Cain, "Kayeen," is derived from the Hebrew word "Keenah," which literally means "jealousy."
But what is Cain jealous of exactly? Does he crave God's love in and of itself?
I think you have to reject the idea that Cain commits an act that God abhors if he really cared so much about getting God's approval.
What Cain is jealous of is Abel's hard work, his willingness to take a risk, and mostly he covets Abel's success.
Cain may not like it, but he knows the life of a farmer relies on God's help. Whether he enjoys it or not, he will have to win the Lord's favor some way.
Thus, Cain hates Abel for "showing him up." By giving a middling sacrifice, Cain hopes that he will set an easy standard of low risk, easy reward from God. Instead, he learns from Abel's story that real work, risk and sacrifice are what it takes to succeed.
These are universal truths of risk, reward and meritocracy that the Bible introduced to the world and have been subsequently been embraced by many civilizations ever since, especially Judeo-Christian society.
But socialism has always attempted to cloud or even refute the idea of meritocracy. Its tenets hold that everyone is born entitled to a piece of the pie. There is really no need to work harder and taking risks to succeed, like the way Abel risks by sacrificing his best livestock, is totally out of the question.
And Cain's socialist sense of entitlement continues as the Biblical account progresses. Instead of learning from Abel's example and attempting to do better next time, Cain destroys his brother and tries to destroy what he stood for.
After God confronts Cain as a murderer and punishes him by banishing him to the ends if the Earth, Cain has the chutzpah to demand that God do something to protect him from strangers out in the world! Truly this is entitlement on steroids!
God decides to put the mark of Cain on his body that would act as a sign of God's protection but also of Cain's eternal status as a criminal.
Indeed the Talmud says that when Cain died, he was still considered to be so evil that the Earth opened up and swallowed his body whole. Only one other person was considered to be so evil to get the same treatment, and that was the rebel Korach who revolted against Moses in the desert.
It is crucial to understand why Cain is labeled as such a terrible criminal. He was a murderer, but the Bible is filled with murderers who did not come close to Cain's notorious status.
What made Cain so very evil was he not only rejected God's law, but he rejected the very IDEA of a work ethic that promised rewards to only those who were truly willing to give of themselves to get them.
Further, Cain doesn't just reject this rule, he violently rejects it and decides to punish and kill his brother for forcing him to face the meritocratic realit.
When our viewers watch things like the London looters, or the Greek protests and ask where the sense of entitlement comes from and where the supposed right to protest austerity with violence is derived there is really only one answer: socialism.
And from the earliest books of the Bible we learn that the most dangerous elements of socialism have been with us since the dawn of mankind.