Communism: The Fearful Menace |
Communism is a social and economic doctrine and system based upon the theories of philosophic materialism and political totalitarianism advocated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, developed by Nikolai Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, and later by Joseph Stalin.
The basic theory was set forth in the "Communist Manifesto" (1848) of Marx and Engels; this book is not looked upon as the Old Testament of Communists. Nikolai Lenin (1870-1924) implemented the theory by actual revolution in 1917, in Russia; his writings and those of Joseph Stalin were considered the New Testament of Communists.
Karl Marx (1818-1883) upheld the theory of "dialectical materialism." According to the theory, the world has one reality: matter. Everything is based on matter, the various forces of which evolve into plant, animal, and man. Society is considered basically material, with purely material forces determining human destiny. Matter is shown as moving forward through a conflict of forces, called the Dialectic, towards a final struggle, called Class Warfare, to result in the establishment of the dictatorship of the laboring classes, the proletariat.
By this Marxian theory, with everything based on matter, there can be no God. With the consequent atheism, religion is taught as a delusion, called "the opiate of the people." On earth there is nothing of the spirit, and man is shown as merely another form of animal. The materialistic theory kills all standards of morality, the only basis for everything being the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In a classless society upholding collective ownership, the right of private property has to be abolished.
According to the theory, when the classless society is finally established, the earth will be a paradise. Then everyone will get what he needs, and everybody will work for the common good, according to his capacity. Men will be freed from all misery, with everybody working entirely for the common good, and all living is unselfish harmony. Finally there will be no more use for the State, and it will wither away. Everyone is urged to hasten the establishment of this classless paradise on earth, by using every means, for according to the theory, the end always justifies the means.
Under leaders like Trotsky, Lenin, and Stalin, Soviet Russia developed and put into practice the Marxian theory. In 1917 the despotic Czar was dethroned by the Provisional Government. Eight months later, in November, the radical wing (the Bolsheviks) seized power. came into power.
The Bolsheviks advocated the dictatorship of the proletariat. Beginning in 1918, the 4th year pontificate of Pope Benedict XV, the Bolshevicks started calling themselves the Communist Party. In 1919 the Third International, also called the Comintern, was formed in Moscow under Communist leadership. It called upon the proletariat of the world to emulate the Russian Revolution of 1917, to overthrow all "capitalist" governments. The Comintern was an international organization, formed for the purpose of establishing the proletariat dictatorship all over the world. By a change of tactics it was disbanded in 1943; however, it continued to operate as the Cominform, centered at Bucharest, but working under direct orders from Moscow until it's long-awaited fall in 1989.
Some results of this curse called Communism that consumed much of the 20th Century are:
Atheism and irreligion. In a purely economic order with no value except the material, there is no place for the spiritual, for an eternal life, for the Creator of that life, God. We only need to look at Communism in action, in Russia as well as in any other country under the power of Communism, to see this result.
Lenin wrote, "A class-conscious Marxist party must carry on propaganda in favor of atheism". Stalin in 1933 wrote, "The Party cannot be neutral toward religion, and does conduct anti-religious propaganda against all and every religious prejudice. Have we suppressed the reactionary clergy? Yes, we have. The unfortunate thing is that it has not been completely liquidated…" The Communists surely have done much to put principles into practice. We need consider only that from 1918 to 1920 the Soviets massacred twenty-six Catholic archbishops and bishops, 1200 priests, and 81000 minor clergy and Church employees.
Loss of morality. This is a natural consequence of irreligion. With everything based on matter, morality becomes meaningless, and man is looked upon as in the same class as the brute. Loss of morality could easily be seen in countries under the Soviet yoke, in public as well as in private life.
Lenin wrote, "We say that a morality taken from outside of human society does not exist for us; it is a fraud. For us morality is subordinated to the interests of the proletarian class-struggle." For Communism al moral standards are the product of economic conditions, economic forces become God. In the Communist State what "morality" can be seen" Let us recall the mock trials and bloody "purges" carried out. Everywhere there is cruelty, terrorism, starvation, immorality; justice and charity do not exist; comrades exterminate each other. In the beginning Communists derided marriage and the family as a capitalist invention for the preservation of property. Later, upon realizing the importance of family ties, they laid strict rules on divorce.
State dictatorship. Communism was to work for the establishment of a classless society where all men would be "equal," receiving "according to his needs." The State was to "wither away," and finally to disappear. To prove how false Communist theories are, in countries controlled by Communism, the State does not wither away, but instead becomes more powerful, a dictatorship. It is used as the instrument for imposing on the mass of the people the will of a small minority at the top. Was any Russian laborer every "equal" with Lenin or Stalin?
All authority is taken away from individuals, even from parents, and given over to the State. Man is made a mere cog in the Communist machine, the State alone having rights over anything. Marxism waged a war against private property owners as masters; in actual practice, the State in Russia is a more tyrannical master than any private owner can be. With Communism, man is for the State, not the State for man. The State owns everything except purely personal belongings. And in that State there are class privileges for the few at the top-for the workmen with high production records. Is this "equality"? Fidel Castro has proven there is no freedom as he clings to whatever vestiges of atheistic communism that still exists in this world.
Economic slavery. For the moment laying aside the spiritual aspects of the matter, let us consider the results of Communism from the economic point of view. Did Communism succeed in establishing its boasted ideal of an economic paradise on earth? We can only reply: Russia is a living example of economic slavery and they are still struggling mightily a decade after the fall of the iron curtain.
Next installment: part two of the communist curse.
For past installments of this catechetical series on My Catholic Faith, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH Archives
February 15, 2001
volume 12, no. 46
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH catechetics