Secular Heavens Always End in Secular Hells

Monday, March 10, AD 2014

Michael Totten in a brilliant essay in World Affairs on Cuba explains why totalitarian states produce such Hells on Earth:



Totalitarianism is a radical departure from the standard-issue authoritarianism of men like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, the Chinese communists-turned-capitalists currently ensconced in Beijing, and the former Shah of Iran. Jeanne Kirkpatrick explained the difference in a landmark essay in Commentary in 1979.

“Traditional autocrats,” she wrote, “leave in place existing allocations of wealth, power, status, and other resources which in most traditional societies favor an affluent few and maintain masses in poverty. But they worship traditional gods and observe traditional taboos. They do not disturb the habitual rhythms of work and leisure, habitual places of residence, habitual patterns of family and personal relations. Because the miseries of traditional life are familiar, they are bearable to ordinary people who, growing up in the society, learn to cope, as children born to untouchables in India acquire the skills and attitudes necessary for survival in the miserable roles they are destined to fill. Such societies create no refugees.

“Precisely the opposite is true of revolutionary Communist regimes. They create refugees by the million because they claim jurisdiction over the whole life of the society and make demands for change that so violate internalized values and habits that inhabitants flee by the tens of thousands in the remarkable expectation that their attitudes, values, and goals will ‘fit’ better in a foreign country than in their native land.”

Communism isn’t the only ideology that produces such explosive results. Hitler’s Nazi regime did the same, as do radical Islamists when they seize power. Iran’s Islamic Republic regime triggered such an enormous refugee crisis that the Westwood area of Los Angeles (where almost a million exiles reside) is nicknamed Tehrangeles.

And you’re almost as likely to hear Spanish spoken in South Florida as English.

“There is a damning contrast between the number of refugees created by Marxist regimes and those created by other autocracies,” Kirkpatrick wrote. “More than a million Cubans have left their homeland since Castro’s rise (one refugee for every nine inhabitants) as compared to about 35,000 each from Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. In Africa more than five times as many refugees have fled Guinea and Guinea Bissau as have left Zimbabwe Rhodesia, suggesting that civil war and racial discrimination are easier for most people to bear than Marxist-style liberation.”

Paul Berman, in his masterful book Terror and Liberalism, wrote one of the best descriptions of totalitarian movements I’ve ever read. In a single paragraph he managed to describe fascists, Nazis, communists, and Islamists simultaneously and captures why so many ordinary citizens can’t coexist with them.

“Each of the movements,” he wrote, “in their lush variety, entertained a set of ideas that pointed in the same direction. The shared ideas were these: There exists a people of good who in a just world ought to enjoy a sound and healthy society. But society’s health has been undermined by a hideous infestation from within, something diabolical, which is aided by external agents from elsewhere in the world. The diabolical infestation must be rooted out. Rooting it out will require bloody internal struggles, capped by gigantic massacres. It will require an all-out war against the foreign allies of the inner infestation—an apocalyptic war, perhaps even Apocalyptic with a capital A. (The Book of the Apocalypse, as André Glucksmann has pointed out, does seem to have played a remote inspirational role in generating these twentieth-century doctrines.) But when the inner infestation has at last been rooted out and the external foe has been defeated, the people of good shall enjoy a new society purged of alien elements—a healthy society no longer subject to the vibrations of change and evolution, a society with a single, blocklike structure, solid and eternal.”

Go here to read the rest.  Totalitarian states are merely variants on heresies that have ever beset Christianity:  produce Heaven on Earth by taking up the sword.  Christ stated clearly that His Kingdom was not of this world, and the results of attempts by Man to produce utopia by force ever underline His statement.

4 Responses to Secular Heavens Always End in Secular Hells

  • The Apocalypse is not the only theological concept secularized by modern political movements.

    Alain de Benoist has pointed out that “Progressivism is born of the idea that history has an absolute beginning and a necessary end, and that it unfolds globally according to a divine plan… [U]niversalism is the natural expression of a religion that claims to manifest a revealed truth which, valid for all men, summons them to conversion. Modern political life itself is founded on secularized theological concepts.”

    He traces similar origins for his other two bêtes noirs, individualism and egalitarianism – “Individualism was already present in the notion of individual salvation and of an intimate and privileged relation between an individual and God that surpasses any relation on earth. Egalitarianism is rooted in the idea that redemption is equally available to all mankind, since all are endowed with an individual soul whose absolute value is shared by all humanity.”

    A Neo-pagan, Benoist concludes, “Christianity has unwittingly become the victim of the movement it started. In the history of the West, it became the religion of the way out of religion.” Actually, what he describes is a Protestant phenomenon that can be plausibly illustrated from Calvin and Beza to Rousseau and from Luther through Calixtus to Semler and Ernesti who undoubtedly influenced Hegel, who was such a formative influence on Marx.

  • Only an infinite God endows unalienable, civil, human rights. “The rights the state gives the state can take away.” from Thomas Jefferson. The state is finite having been constituted by finite man. Without transcendent and moral underpinnings of virtue and truth and Justice (and as superheroes say: the American Way) there is little the secular can do but pretend that they are the God WHO delivers Truth and Freedom. Every fallible man must trust in Divine Providence for the seed to germinate, the sun to shine and the rain to fall. Some might claim the authority to make the sun shine, but they are pretenders, prevaricators and devil worshipers.

  • Thank you Michael Paterson-Seymour.

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