Political Intimidation and Persecution

The recent personal attacks and invasive investigation of Joe the Plumbers personal life is a scary thing.  Joe the plumber represents the everyday American, striving to better his lot in society.  By sheer coincidence Joe the Plumber was able to ask an innocent question to the Democratic candidate for president that seemed to put Senator Obama on the spot.  Then all hell broke loose.

I can understand if the far left goes far in their vitriol when their candidate was put in an unsavory position, but when the mainstream media began to jump all over Joe the Plumber I actually got a bit concerned.  I’m all for the vetting of candidates and hard-nose journalism, but the vitriol and aggressive journalism being exerted upon the McCain campaign and their supporters is practically non-existent on the Obama camp.

Couple this with the latest attempt to take away the tax exempt status of Bishop Serratelli’s diocese by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and you see a glimpse of what an Obama presidency may bring.  Will Daley machine tactics be applied on a national scale with priests going to be investigated and prosecuted for preaching the sacrament of marriage is only between a man and a woman?  Will Christians sitting peacefully in prayer in front of abortion mills be arrested on the spot?  Will broadcasters and bloggers be prosecuted for exercising their freedom of speech?

Is this the beginning of the persecution of Christians?  Will we bravely face the intimidation and brownshirt tactics of an Obama presidency?  Will be willing to lose our jobs and reputation for standing up and defending our beliefs?  Will we be able to weather the possible tribulation that may fall upon us?

I don’t know.  It’s one thing to stand up and speak our minds in a free society.  It’s another thing under an Obama presidency that when we do exercise this right knowing that we may have to pay heavy fines and face possible jail time.  This is already happening.  Imagine what may happen if Senator Obama does win the presidency.  We face some pretty menacing circumstances.

(Pic: Pablo Davis)

56 Responses to Political Intimidation and Persecution

  • “I can understand if the Daily Kos, Vox Nova, and the nutroots community going ballistic that their candidate was put in an unsavory position…”

    “Brothers of Cain…”

    “With these thuggish Daley machine tactics being applied on a national scale are priests going to be investigated and prosecuted for preaching the sacrament of marriage is only between a man and a woman?’

    Tito,

    How long before your worthy contibrutors run away, with this type of stuff coming from their site’s founder?

    If you keep it up, I imagine a mass exodus soon….

  • Mark,

    Thanks for your prognostications.

    Where did I type, “Brothers of Cain…”?

  • Just a side note,

    Another TV station has been banned by Obama/ Biden

    http://www.breitbart.tv/html/206633.html

  • I agree that Sen. Obama’s campaign has not exactly been tolerant of dissent, and the treatment of Joe the Plumber by the media, more than the netroots, was disgraceful.

    That said, I think we need stronger evidence before we hit the panic button about Obama and our rights to free expression. The media and many of his supporters would quickly fall out of love with him if he began a ‘persecution of Christians.’

  • Mark,

    Thanks for the fraternal correction. Two out of three isn’t to bad for you.

  • “I call these folks crypto-Cain’s.”

    Sorry for my lack of precision in quoting. But did you cahange your original post? I seem to remember “brothers”…

  • Mark,

    That was from the “Catholics Switching to McCain” post I believe.

    Nope no brothers.

    But the other two were updated.

    Good eye.

  • I do think we are headed for a strong poersecution of Christians, most especially faithful Catholics who follow the teachings of the Church. Its the small things like the media’s unfiltered adoration of him, the attacks on Joe the plumber, the words of Biden about how we “won’t like what Obama does” after a crisis but that his supporters must stand by him, the folks who influenced his political thought, the messianic love by his followers, all little things that I think add up to something dark in our future.

  • Unbelievable that Tito would compare the “intimidation” of Joe the Plumber with the persecution of Christians. He is obviously clueless about real contemporary Christian persecution. Especially the kind actively promoted by the Republican party, especially Ronald Reagan and Bush I, throughout Latin America. His absolutely stupid comparison simply laughs in the face of the of the victims of REAL Christian persecution. Oscar Romero, pray for us.

  • Michael,

    Your one of the “Useful Idiots” that Lenin described.

    Are you talking about the “christian jesuits” that supported the Liberation Theology and the violent Sandistas Government? Which the current Holy Father condemned and his Great predecessor shook his figure at… aka Father Ernesto Cardinal.

  • Michael,

    Thank you for your charitable and constructive criticism.

    Especially asking for a non-canonized saint Osar Romero to pray for you.

    St. Maximillian Kolbe, pray for us.

  • Well, I disagree with Walter that something worthy of the term “persecution” will be officially inflicted on Christians by the US government at any point in the near future. I understand why people worry about it, but I think that the national belief in freedom of expression and religion is stronger than it is sometimes given credit for. (That, and I remember the unfulfilled prophesies of persecution under the Clinton administration.)

    However, Michael, you should get your facts straight. There’s no way that Romero could in any way have been killed with the support, tacit or otherwise of the Reagan administration, because he was assassinated in March 1980, eight months before Reagan was elected.

    So it would seem that his killing was the result of the REAL persecution of Christians supported by Carter — if that’s the argument you want to make.

  • Bret – No, I am primarily talking about the millions of innocent civilians, peasants, etc. who were killed by U.S.-backed governments. But I would include the many priests and religious who were killed by the same U.S.-backed policies, sure.

    If you think for one moment that these people deserved to die, whatever their political opinions were, you are no Christian. You can go to hell.

  • There’s no way that Romero could in any way have been killed with the support, tacit or otherwise of the Reagan administration, because he was assassinated in March 1980, eight months before Reagan was elected.

    I stated no such thing about Romero and Reagan. But if you want to sanitize the record of the Reagan and Bush presidencies with regard to Central America, good f–king luck.

  • Carter did support the same policies in Latin America. You are absolutely right about that. Romero was in touch with Carter repeatedly and Carter ignored him. Reagan and Bush continued and intensified those policies.

  • I don’t have any particular interest in sanitizing the Latin American policies of Bush, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, LBJ or JFK — but unlike you I don’t have an interest in overly demonizing them either. Much of the last fifty years of Latin American history is a succession of fascist thugs fighting communist thugs — with each side being thoroughly nasty people.

    US policy throughout the entire period was generally been one of trying to keep communists from gaining power (and thus supporting whoever opposed them) because of the way in which the USSR was using communist Cuba and communist militias in other countries to destablize the region.

    I’m not necessarily pleased with the people that US chose to support, but I see why it was judged to be the best of a bad lot at the time.

    Calling it religious persecution rather than a series of civil wars between fascists and communists is a real stretch, though. Generally attempted by those for whom passion serves as a substitute for thought. Speaking of which — I assure you that I can swear just as well as you can, but it adds little to conversation and if you can’t find more normal ways to express yourself I suspect that Tito will (quite rightly) delete your offending comments.

  • Calling it religious persecution rather than a series of civil wars between fascists and communists is a real stretch, though.

    Only if you ignore the fact that the U.S. gov’t explicitly targeted Catholic church leaders and liberation theology. Flyers in the streets of El Salvador reading “Be a patriot, kill a priest.” Romero, the N. American church women and the Jesuit martyrs were not mere “collateral damage” in a civil war. It was directly religious persecution.

    I could care less about whatever puritan language hangups you have.

  • I highly doubt that the U.S. government targeted Catholics to exterminate Catholics. Central America is 99% Catholic (give or take a couple of percentage points). So to claim that Catholics were targeted is a gross error in analysis.

    Your hyperbole to justify leftist positions painted in the blood of ancient martyrs does a disservice to their memory. It is unbelievably hebephrenic of you to do such a thing. No practicing Catholic would blaspheme the names of our ancient martyrs to promote your socialistic positions.

    Shame on you Michael I.

  • Pope John Paul II had a very clear idea of who he supported in Nicaragua.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9906E4D61439F93BA35751C0A960958260

    As for language, of course you are foul mouthed Catholic Anarchist. That goes with your whole anarchist shtick right?

  • puritan language hangups????

    I suppose I could swear with the best of them… did once upon a time.

    Just don’t find it to be a very credible mode of discourse or argumentation anymore.

    I.e. it has nothing to do with puritanism, but rather with charity, Michael.

  • -I could care less about whatever puritan language hangups you have.-

    Nice. Multiple times contributors made attempts to speak rationally with you and you responded with profanity and disregard for their input. I think an apology is in order.

  • Michael,

    That someone in El Salvador (at least according to you) thought it to the benefit of his cause to kill priests does not mean that the US was actively supporting persecution. And frankly, those liberation theology exponents who deliberately aligned themselves with communist militias bear some blame in what happened as well.

    Surely your worldview can handle the “nuance” of real world cause and effect?

    As for my “puritan language hangups”, I don’t think that David Mamet fans can generally be accused of having a puritanical approach to language. But the fact is that God gave us the power of language for a reason. Why misuse it? Unless your points are so weak that you cannot make them with ordinary language.

  • So Michael,

    “I am primarily talking about the millions of innocent civilians, peasants, etc. who were killed by U.S.-backed governments.”

    You must be refering to the abortion policy of the Democratic Party and the one proposed by Obama where millions die each year.

    I never said priests who supported Liberation Theology deserved to die, but they worshipped a false religion and need to be corrected. Even the movie “Romero” pointed that out; and our Holy Fathers did do that.

    Just because I don’t argue with the revolutionary methods, does not make Christian… it is not I who ignore the cry of the innocent when they are butchered and it is called choice.

    By the way, I surprise you believe in Hell; I thought it was empty or did not exist?

  • I.e. it has nothing to do with puritanism, but rather with charity, Michael.

    Good point, Chris. And one that gives me a needed twinge of conscience since I frequently use words which are not profane in the plain sense, but are uncharitable in that they are intentionally derisive.

    Which isn’t very good either…

  • I highly doubt that the U.S. government targeted Catholics to exterminate Catholics. Central America is 99% Catholic (give or take a couple of percentage points). So to claim that Catholics were targeted is a gross error in analysis.

    […]

    That someone in El Salvador (at least according to you) thought it to the benefit of his cause to kill priests does not mean that the US was actively supporting persecution.

    You simply don’t know the history. U.S. involvement in supporting the killing of Catholic clergy, religious and laity is documented. Many of the killers involved were trained in the United States at Ft. Benning. It’s undeniable.

    Tito, it has nothing to do with justifying “leftist” ideology. It’s a matter of being honest about history. Even mainstream Catholics own up to the fact that the U.S. government was behind the killing of countless Latin American clergy, religious, and laity. You are are you one who is blinded by ideology such that you refuse to come to grips with the history of your political party and your government.

    And frankly, those liberation theology exponents who deliberately aligned themselves with communist militias bear some blame in what happened as well.

    Liberation theologians did not align with any militias.

    it is not I who ignore the cry of the innocent when they are butchered and it is called choice.

    Nor is it I. I am not pro-choice. Been to the “March for Life” twice.

    By the way, I surprise you believe in Hell; I thought it was empty or did not exist?

    Hell clearly exists. You are living proof.

    I.e. it has nothing to do with puritanism, but rather with charity, Michael.

    The real profanity is all of you making excuses for the slaughter of millions of Latin American people by your own government. Shame on you.

  • -Hell clearly exists. You are living proof.-

    Hail and well met, good fellow! The day is yours!

  • “The real profanity is all of you making excuses for the slaughter of millions of Latin American people by your own government. Shame on you.”

    What you are really ticked about Catholic Anarchist is that your side lost. Politics in Central America has been a deadly business since the nineteenth century. In the 20 the century the internecine warfare took on the coloration of the great struggle between Communism and the West. Blaming the US primarily for political violence in Central America is to betray an astonishing ignorance of the history of the various nations. Without the intervention of the US there would still have been great violence within El Salavador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, with the additional atrocity of the establishment of tyrannical communist regimes modeled on Cuba. I think it is a very good thing that the US prevented that.

  • Dear Michael,

    It is you who are making the excuses… not realizing that the U.S. was at war with one the major threats to Christianity… Communism. And to sit there and say, that American Foreign Policy under the Reagan and Bush Administration was evil is ridiculous. It was under Reagan and Bush that the U.S. defeated one of the greatest evils of man.

    There are many calamities in war… and many innocent people die, and I am not excusing the killing of the innocent, but you are ignoring what was at stake. World domination by the Communist party. Our goal was to stop the evil of Communism; you could see it in the Soviet Union under Stalin; you could see it in China under Mao; you could see in Vietnam under Ho; you could see it in Cambodia under Pol Pot; you could see in Cuba under Castro; you could see it in Nicaragua under Noreiga…

    We were fighting a war for the very survivial of Western Civilization, and you want to play these games of moral equivalence or worse… we were evil…

    There were many mistakes in our foreign policies dealing with Communist, but most of those were under Democratic Administrations… aka Kennedy the execution of Diem; Johnson letting the Media run the Vietnam war; Nixon (Republican) who went to China and his silly policy of Detente; Carter who was just a plain disgrace.

    You can say what you want, but the plain fact is the Liberation Theologian aligned themselves with the Marxist… and there have been records of Jesuits stashing machine guns for the “People” aka Communists.

    As a side note, am I hell or in hell or both – I am going to go with neither. :)

  • Bret – Stop making excuses for U.S.-backed slaughter of Latin American Catholics.

    Blaming the US primarily for political violence in Central America is to betray an astonishing ignorance of the history of the various nations.

    I am aware of the various histories and the u.s.’s relationship to them. The u.s. sided with right wing military governments throughout Latin America in order to stamp out “communism.” The u.s.’s targets explicitly included Catholics throughout Latin America who took sides with the poor.

    To the rest of you who do not believe that the u.s. would deliberately encourage the slaughter of Latin American Catholics, look up the “Santa Fe document.” See also Penny Lernoux’s book Cry of the People.

  • You simply don’t know the history. U.S. involvement in supporting the killing of Catholic clergy, religious and laity is documented. Many of the killers involved were trained in the United States at Ft. Benning. It’s undeniable.

    Some members of right wing militias who committed horrible atrocities were trained, earlier in their careers, in the United States, but that hardly means that it was actively the policy of the US to kill Catholics for being Catholic. The US policy was pretty clearly one of opposing the Latin American communists, and I don’t think it’s any more accurate to say that the US aim was persecution of Latin American Catholics than it would be to say that FDR’s aim in allying with Russia during WWII was the persecution of Cossacks and Poles.

    You of all people should understand that one can consider a particular party to be the best one to win control of a party without endorsing some of the immoral actions of that party — after all, you say that you prefer Obama to be the next president of the US despite his support for the mass killing of the unborn.

    Liberation theologians did not align with any militias.

    I actually chose my words rather carefully when I said “those liberation theology exponents who deliberately aligned themselves” because although the people you consider to be legitimate liberation theologians may not have aligned themselves with political violence, there were certainly those priests who claimed to preach liberation who did align themselves with violent parties. Going from what I can recall off the top of my head: several priests were involved in the Sandanista government, despite express disapproval from the Vatican; Haitian Fr. Aristide (eventually defrocked) repeatedly celebrated the “necklacing” of his opponents: tying their arms, putting a gas-soaked tire around their necks, and lighting them on fire.

    In short, as Donald pointed out: Latin American politics have been soaked in blood for a long time. I in no way defend the actions taken by the anti-communist forces in the various countries down there, nor do I think that the US government’s choice to support some of the more extreme right wing militias was wise or right, but to claim that the US was engaged in persecuting or supporting the persecution of Catholics for religious reasons is hyperbolic, and to claim that the communist forces were in any way deserving of admiration (or support) would be equally if not more wrong.

  • Incidentally, for an added level of irony, one of the positions of the much despised “neo-conservatives” which I found and continue to find myself much in sympathy with is that it is not an acceptable position for the US to simply support the existing local faction most in keeping with US interests, even if that faction has a bad habit of imprisoning and torturing its opponents, but that the US should instead seek to promote liberal democracy throughout the world.

  • “By the way, I surprise you believe in Hell; I thought it was empty or did not exist?”

    So American Catholic officially condemns those who dare to hope that all human beings be saved….?

    Is Von Balthasar a scapegoat around here?

    Unbelievable.

  • So American Catholic officially condemns those who dare to hope that all human beings be saved….?

    Bret is not one of our writers, and to be honest I couldn’t tell what he was getting at with that sentence anyway — I think there might be a typo in it.

    But though I’m in no position to condemn anyone, nor do I seek to be, I do think that Dante had a much more accurate appraisal of hell than Von Balthasar — for what it’s worth.

    Looking around the world, it is incomprehensible to me that hell should be empty — my great aim is simply to assure that I don’t myself make it any more full.

  • Our friends on the left are so devoid of hope and joy, it is no wonder the seminaries are full of conservatives and bereft of liberals. The only liberals in the Church are some aging radical priests who have no following. In reading some of the liberal’s posts here, I can’t tell if it is your own words or Bill Ayres’ talking points. Your rants about Latin America are truly troubling. Some of the most conservative people I know are Latinos along with Africans and Asians. They don’t own anything. However, they would like to, but you guys know better than them. Talk about elitist. They want to succeed and achieve but you guys are so caught up on Marx & Engels, you aren’t allowing these folks to live their dreams. I would also refer you to the many statements of Eduardo Versategui. Talk about being poles apart and that guy came from real poverty. My friends on the left, the McCain-Palin ticket is hardly that conservative. Senator McCain is frequently under attack from talk radio for not being conservative enough. I will leave you with a couple of thoughts how would the mainstream media react if John McCain said, “the poor you will always have among you.” (Mark 14:7) What would the mainstream media say if John McCain or Sarah Palin retold the Parable of the Talents and told the one who wasn’t producing that he would be thrown in hell for not measuring up? (Matthew 25:14-30) What about Saint Paul’s words concerning one must work before one can eat? (2 Thessalonians 3:10.) I am curious as to your thoughts.

  • Mark,

    So I disagree with Von Balthasar on one issue, and all of sudden “he is a scapegoat around here.” Goodness gracious.

    Darwin,

    Michael told me to go to hell, so I was trying to be funny. I guess I was not successful. :)

  • Michael told me to go to hell, so I was trying to be funny. I guess I was not successful.

    That was my basic impression — but some people take everything in the world so seriously that you have to address them on their own humorless terms at times. ;-)

  • Bret,

    Who is it that you deem so incapable of (accepting) forgiveness?

    Your mother-in-law? ;)

  • I wonder how we can deny that persecution is coming when it’s already arrived in Europe and Canada. And we always seem to be just a few years behind those post-Christian nations in our rejection of God.

  • Michael,

    Thanks for your articulate response, it’s greatly appreciated.

    What Donald McClarey, Bret Ramsey, & Darwin said.

    :)

    Mark,

    What Darwin said.

    :)

  • Dave “Catholic Report” Hartline is rarely worth a reply, but here are a few points:

    Our friends on the left are so devoid of hope and joy, it is no wonder the seminaries are full of conservatives and bereft of liberals.

    1) Oh, I have as much hope and joy as I do hatred for the anti-Kingdom of death that you are pushing.

    2) I go to school with tons of seminarians. You characterization is wrong.

    The only liberals in the Church are some aging radical priests who have no following.

    Our of touch, obviously. Do you go to Mass? Are you a fallen away Catholic or something?

    Some of the most conservative people I know are Latinos along with Africans and Asians. They don’t own anything. However, they would like to, but you guys know better than them. Talk about elitist.

    Depends what you mean by “conservative.” If you mean “traditional,” sure. If you mean politically conservative, you’re quite wrong. Are you seriously saying that all Latinos, Asians, and Africans “don’t own anything”? It’s certainly elitist to lump them all together like that. Look, I live in one of the most diverse cities in the world. My colleagues here are from all over the world. I don’t need an education from you on how ‘they” feel or act.

    They want to succeed and achieve but you guys are so caught up on Marx & Engels, you aren’t allowing these folks to live their dreams.

    It’s funny that you think I sit around reading Marx all day. Truly funny.

  • Michael thank you for stating the true liberal agenda of keeping the poor down, that’s where the liberal elites would like to keep them, always have always will. I see you didn’t respond to Eduardo Verastegui’s comments did you? You should check out my interview with him. You guys are poles apart. Even Senator Obama hadnie things to say about President Reagan and yet you trash him. Talk about lbeing far left wing. Is it that funny to think you read Marx & Engels a lot? You state their ideals so often, I would have thought you read their works quite often. I need to get out in the world more, you say? My friend I have been to Latin America and Europe, I have relatives there. I am quite familiar with their views. As for my ecomonic status, I am the first to go to college in my family, actually only one of my four grandparents went past the 8th grade. My father is from Appalachia and I was a principal in a Catholic school there. I would love to see you spout your Socialist views to those folks, they would give you an earful and then some. My friend you need to get out of your latte liberal elite environment and see the real world, it might do you a world of good.

  • Michael thank you for stating the true liberal agenda of keeping the poor down, that’s where the liberal elites would like to keep them, always have always will.

    I agree with you about liberal elites. The key word, though, is ELITES.

    Is it that funny to think you read Marx & Engels a lot? You state their ideals so often, I would have thought you read their works quite often.

    Could you name some of them for me?

    I need to get out in the world more, you say?

    No, actually I didn’t say that at all.

    My friend I have been to Latin America and Europe, I have relatives there. I am quite familiar with their views.

    “Their” views? As if all people from Latin America or Europe think the same?

    My father is from Appalachia and I was a principal in a Catholic school there. I would love to see you spout your Socialist views to those folks, they would give you an earful and then some.

    Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the radical political history of Appalachia. Believe it or not — GASP! — there are socialists in Appalachia! Even in West Virginia, where I am from!

    My friend you need to get out of your latte liberal elite environment and see the real world, it might do you a world of good.

    Uhhh hhuhh.

  • Michael, I hope we can keep this civil. As for Socialists in West Virginia? Maybe a passing college lecturer who overstayed his welcome in Morgantown. Michael, the most liberal Democrat in West Virginia would fit into the mainstream of the Massachusetts GOP. As for the labor history of these radicals you mentioned, you left out the part about the folks from Appalachia throwing out the “Godless” radicals as they called them. As for the works of Marx & Engels, I did not take any Economics courses in Graduate School, but we did touch on Das Kapital in my Political Science courses. I understand the rudimentary parts of their thesis, but I am not an expert. I really don’t think you need to be to understand their theories and beliefs on human history, the acuumulation of wealth and the redistribution of wealth. I do not agree with their views that religion was devised to make us feel good. I also do not agree with their views that the poor need the elites to help them because they can’t do it for themselves. I am an optimist by nature and faith and I believe God gave everyone certain talents and abilities.

  • As for Socialists in West Virginia? Maybe a passing college lecturer who overstayed his welcome in Morgantown.

    Um, no, they’re everywhere in WV. Also remember that until the first (s)election of George W. Bush, WV was firmly a democrat state. There are even socialists in Super-republican Wheeling.

    I really don’t think you need to be to understand their theories and beliefs on human history, the acuumulation of wealth and the redistribution of wealth.

    If you don’t need to be an expert, then you should be able to talk about their view of human history and their theories regarding capitalist accumulation. I’m all ears.

    I do not agree with their views that religion was devised to make us feel good.

    That’s not quite what Marx said about religion. Try again.

    I also do not agree with their views that the poor need the elites to help them because they can’t do it for themselves.

    You got that right, at least. And that’s great. I don’t agree with them on that either. Nor do any of the so-called “Marxist” liberation theologians you love to hate. This is why I am an anarchist, not a marxist.

  • Michael I.,

    Watch that pride of yours buddy. Be kind and charitable.

    Your brother in Christ.

    :)

  • Michael, you seem to be questioning me on my comments that Karl Marx didn’t say religion was made up to make us feel good. Are you saying that Marx didn’t say, “Religion is the opiate of the people?” Now I am much better in basic conversational German than I am at reading academic texts, but I can dig that quote out to see if it is the right translation. Something tells me it is.

  • “Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.”
    Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

  • My point is that Marx did not simply believe religion was invented to make us “feel good.” His critique of religion is that it often functions as an ideological cover for and justification of injustice and that it is used in order to help people cope with their own oppression. And his critique is absolutely right. Religion often IS used that way. I’d have to look it up, but I believe he also talks about the revolutionary potential of religion to expose injustice.

  • Marx of course was absolutely blind to anything beyond the material world. One of the many fatal flaws in his philosophy is that true human happiness and contentment really has little to do with material possessions. That of course is the great truth that Jesus taught in his lillies of the field sermon. That is also why high priced shrinks catering to the wealthy do so well. Marx was a good stylist but his philosophy is a dead end.

  • One of the many fatal flaws in his philosophy is that true human happiness and contentment really has little to do with material possessions.

    If you think that Marx’s philosophy includes something about material possessions being the key to human happiness, then you have seriously misread Marx.

    There are obvious problems with Marx’s philosophy, and obvious ways that it is incompatible with the Christian worldview. But as a critique of capitalism, it is dead on. It’s important, I think, to understand what he is saying and what he is not saying before writing him off completely.

  • This reminds me of something a Mr. Ilyich Ulyanov delivered in a speech to advocates of the MORCPB on December 6, 1920.

    I can’t remember whom Mr. Ulyanov was referring to but it is apropos here.

  • “If you think that Marx’s philosophy includes something about material possessions being the key to human happiness, then you have seriously misread Marx. ”

    Marx was a complete materialist Catholic Anarchist. He believed there was simply nothing beyond the material. As his right hand Engels put it:
    ” The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men’s brains, not in men’s better insights into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange.”

    Once the working class had the means of production in their hands to satisfy their material needs, the dictatorship of the proletariat would reign and the classless society would result. That Marx was wrong about this, as he was wrong about most of his predictions regarding capitalism, history amply demostrates. I enjoy reading Marx for much the same reason I enjoy reading Freud: both men could write with style and verve, but as world views both philosophies have less to do with reality than a Bugs Bunny marathon.

  • But marxist materialism does not mean the same thing as the word materialism as we use it in conversation. It does not mean valuing possessions as the key to human happiness. That is, in fact, to get his economics completely backwards. His materialism has to do with his denial of the transcendent, not how he views possessions.

  • M.I.

    Correct

    Marx more or less posited a natural human telos, in which the human being is to become himself, in which his activity would beyond the enslavement in servile labour, hitherto historically necessary in order to subdue and tame external and internal nature, and virtually invariably exploited by the powerful or ‘haves’.

    This end, however, is not just to take pleasure in a crass ‘materialism’ as we commonly call it, but to actualize himself in the liberal–albeit immanent, not transcendent–employment of his creative energies in a world made (as much as practically possible) free of scarcity and serviilty.

  • I actually agree that there’s *some* validity to Marx’s critique of capitalism, but we shouldn’t be surprised that he’s own proposal was a failure… apart from its obvious faults as described (in part) here, it shares the same lineage with capitalism (Enlightenment liberalism/humanism). (Cf., e.g., Benedict Ashley, _Choosing a Worldview and Value-System, ch. 2)

  • …it shares the same lineage with capitalism (Enlightenment liberalism/humanism)

    Yes Marx’s own thought does.

    It’s important, though, to recognize the revisions and rethinking that marxism, neo-marxism, etc. has gone through. There is no one “marxism,” and marxists disagree about all sorts of things.

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