ELEISON COMMENTS DCCLXXI (April 23rd, 2022) : MARXISM = RELIGION
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is an old saying, but it is not always true. Words can have on their own a withering power to destroy an opponent. First prize in this respect must go to the word “anti-semite”, but in recent times the word “racist” is giving “anti-semite” a run for its money. Where has this obsession with “race” come from, and why has it become so wicked to be a “racist” ? James Lindsay is a 43-year old American author and cultural critic of whom one would guess that he is of a generation which was born and bred in left-wing thinking, but which is beginning to come out the other side, as did in their time Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn. Lindsay has a clear explanation in two stages of how “race” has come to assume the disproportionate importance being given to it today.
In a first stage Lindsay shows how Marxism should rather be called Marxianity, because it is the sheerest of substitutes for Christianity. Lindsay says that this is very clear in Marx’s Notebooks from 1844, which are nowhere near as famous as Marx’s “Das Kapital” from 1867, but which may well be more significant and interesting. In a second stage Lindsay shows how the philosophic system of Marx, as a successor of the subjectivist Kant and the evolutionary Hegel, is in constant evolution, so that the Communist Revolution not only can evolve, but, as Lenin said, must evolve with the circumstances of the age. And it was another Jewish thinker, Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979), who in mid-20th century successfully argued that as lever for the Revolution the working-class was out of date and needed to be replaced – by race ! Hence the quasi-religious importance of race, as a means of continuing to turn the world upside down.
A religion for turning the world upside down ? Yes, that is Communism, recognised by Winston Churchill as “Christianity with a tomahawk”, by Pius XI as the “messianism of materialism”. In 1851 or thereabouts the English poet Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) heard in the surf on Dover Beach “the melancholy long withdrawing roar Of faith around the world.” And as Christianity receded, like the tide ebbing, so it left a huge emptiness in men’s minds and lives, which had to be filled with something, or, as Chesterton said, with anything, but preferably something at least seeming to be capable of fulfilling those needs of man that Christianity fulfilled. And this is what Lindsay says Marxism did and still does. Thus Marx was presenting much more than just a political and social theory. He was outlining a theology, a complete theory of mankind and human nature. Let us enumerate the various elements of Christianity to see how Marx replaces them —
Christianity has a God with a purpose and endpoint for this world, the being of which is real and stable (ontology), and knowable (epistemology). There is a kingdom of God obtainable in Heaven, but on earth the Garden of Eden was lost by original sin, with all consequent sins. However, there is a heavenly salvation from sin, both original and personal, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer.
Watch Lindsay himself on theepochtimes.com/james-lindsay-the-roots-of-the-new-race-marxism. See next week’s issue of these “Comments” for the second stage of his argument as to the roots of today’s “racism”.
The very heart of Marx is God being spurned.
When will this lesson by poor men be learned ?
Marxism has a theodicy, an explanation for evil. Why does evil occur? The original sin is private property. Through private property mankind is removed from Eden. Private property creates a division of labour, the wages of sin. Division of labour creates social relations of domination, exploitation and alienation. Some men exploit and dominate others. They create religion to justify their domination and exploitation.
Communism is the abolition of private property. The social relations become stateless and classless. They cease to be rooted in domination and oppression. At the end of history, we re-enter Eden. This is a faith. It has an ontology, axiology and epistemology.
Herbert Marcuse, in “Eros and Civilization” (1955) stated that humanity’s objective is to get back to the Garden of Eden. We do that by taking a second bite of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. This is explicitly religious.
Marx cast out God. What he put in God’s place was man. Man is no longer dependent on anything or anyone. Man has become truly independent and no longer needs God. However, the only way this “independence” can be achieved is if all men’s views are aligned which inevitably leads to collectivism and totalitarianism. Every man must become a socialist man.
Redemption in communism arrives at the end of history, the achievement of a perfect society. At the end of the communist rainbow is the Kingdom of God on earth, the communist utopia, where all men will think the same way.
As individuals, we can’t redeem ourselves. All we can do is take up the theory of Marxism and do the work. We may not reach the end of history and utopia ourselves. Only those who will live after the revolution will have redemption. However, we have a responsibility to be on the “right side” of history. If we are upholding the attempt to bring Marxism to the world, then we are with the “saints” – but there’s no full redemption, only more activism.