Marxism: The Most Destructive Superstition

Wednesday, May 18, AD 2016

 

 

As we watch yet another Marxist nation, Venezuela, near complete economic collapse, it is a good time to recall that this is all occurring because so many intellectuals around the globe, including our current Pope, embrace, in part or in full, the nineteenth century superstition dreamed up by Karl Marx.  Presented ostensibly as a description of how economics and history works, Marxism in practice served as an excuse for tyrants and would be tyrants to create regimes that would impose regimes of slavery on populations that would put to shame every other form of tyranny dreamed up in the lamentable chronicles of human crime and folly.  Richard Fernandez in a brilliant post at PJ Media takes a look at the destructive power of Marxism:

 

A German friend once remarked that Hitler was only the second most destructive thing his country had unleashed upon the world.  Worse by far, he said, were the ideas of Karl Marx. The notion  an idea could be more destructive than fleets of bombers and Panzer divisions is a large claim but there is evidence in support of it.  John Walters says that in sheer destructiveness Hitler beats Marx only if you add the Kaiser’s war.  If you add famine into the equation, Marx beats Hitler, Tojo and the Kaiser put together.

According to a disturbingly pleasant graphic from Information is Beautiful entitled simply 20th Century Death, communism was the leading ideological cause of death between 1900 and 2000. The 94 million that perished in China, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Eastern Europe easily (and tragically) trump the 28 million that died under fascist regimes during the same period.During the century measured, more people died as a result of communism than from homicide (58 million) and genocide (30 million) put together. The combined death tolls of WWI (37 million) and WWII (66 million) exceed communism’s total by only 9 million.

It gets worse when you look at the … Natural World … famine (101 million). Curiously, all of the world’s worst famines during the 20th century were in communist countries: China (twice!), the Soviet Union, and North Korea.

Yet despite this unparalleled record of destructiveness Walters notes that Communism retains enormously good press. “According to a 2011 Rasmussen poll, 11% of Americans think that communism would better serve this country’s needs than our current system.” Its core ideas are popular with Bernie Sanders’ followers. Only 3 years ago Jeremy Corbyn, the current leader of Britain’s Labor Party, expressed satisfaction with the program of the Venezuelan Bolivarian revolutionists. He tweeted “thanks Hugo Chavez for showing that the poor matter and wealth can be shared. He made massive contributions to Venezuela & a very wide world.” David Sirota writing in Salon at almost the same time as Corbyn’s tweet fulsomely praised “Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle.”

Miracle: for there was no other word for it.
according to data compiled by the UK Guardian, Chavez’s first decade in office saw Venezuelan GDP more than double and both infant mortality and unemployment almost halved. Then there is a remarkable graph from the World Bank that shows that under Chavez’s brand of socialism, poverty in Venezuela plummeted (the Guardian reports that its “extreme poverty” rate fell from 23.4 percent in 1999 to 8.5 percent just a decade later). In all, that left the country with the third lowest poverty rate in Latin America. Additionally, as Weisbrot points out, “college enrollment has more than doubled, millions of people have access to health care for the first time and the number of people eligible for public pensions has quadrupled.”

How this “miracle” crashed down into ruin is something yet to be explained. Suffice it so say there is unexpectedly no food, no electricity, nor even gasoline in this oil-rich nation. In the ultimate irony “gasoline-making fluid catalytic cracking units … are currently down … with critics blaming shortages of spare parts, lack of maintenance, and a shaky electrical grid for outages and unplanned stoppages.” Looting is epidemic. Trucks are being swarmed by mobs on the highway. Army troops — crucial for regime survival — have been reduced to foraging to make up a meal. The Atlantic, hardly a right-wing publication, writes “Venezuela is falling apart”.

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10 Responses to Marxism: The Most Destructive Superstition

  • The allure of Marxism proves the reality of the battle between Jesus Christ and Lucifer for the minds of God’s children, redeemed or not. The battle is microscopic in nature in the inner realm of the hearts of every individual of living humanity. It consists of the struggle of Truth against Lies; and Lucifer’s lies are diabolically so very similar to Truth, just a few small degrees off the straight line to Heaven while avoiding all the hard parts of the straight narrow path. Lucifer’s best lies sound very much like Gospel Truth. A person can proclaim them boldly and sound very much like a Christian with a message of easy deliverance for the average person. An angel of light, the liar is, who presents himself as a humanitarian who cares only for the “People”. But somehow,mint jst never works.

    The Great Commission is intended for just such a task as this: changing the hearts and minds of billions of individual souls at the microscopic inner recesses of the heart that drive eternal destinies. It is NOT intended for great political movements or vast social causes, loved by U.N. bureaucrats. It is grassroots work that is individual and largely invisible but which alters the hearts and minds of humanity that starves demonic philosophies like Marxism and feeds true Christian communion.

    The battle is about whether reality is centered around God ….. or Man. The lies of this Age shine a bright light on Man, while God is obscured by clouds of lies and obfuscations. Our Commission is to turn the Light away from Man, on to the loving face of Jesus, Who since Eden has been the only point of human existence, and will continue to be until the end of time.

  • One small good thing that came from the recognition that Marxism is a superstition is Karl Popper’s philosophy of science. Popper was a Marxist for about two weeks in 1930’s Vienna, and quit in disgust after hearing one too many lectures on how “scientific socialism” would triumph. Popper realized that there was nothing scientific about Marxism, and he developed what probably is the best philosophy of science in response.

  • Don, this essay is really top notch. There is no arguing with the evidence.

  • Arguably, Nazism was nothing more than Marxism’s more-evil twin, a mirror image that substituted hyper-nationalism for Marxism’s [alleged] internationalism.

  • One point should be made: the anti-humanism of Stalin’s dictatorship was a very real part of the immensely wasteful battlefield tactics adopted by the Soviet Army during the Second World War. Soviet troops were thrown into battle with little regard for minimizing causalities. It can be argued that those deaths should be counted twice, once in Hitler’s column and once in Stalin’s.

  • Socialism is any form is Anti-God, Anti-Christ, anti-family, and anti-private property. It demands that everything be subjected to its dictates. Nothing outside the state, nothing against the state, everything subjected to the state, to paraphrase Mussolini. Some idiots will try to tell you there’s a difference between National Socialism (Nazism) and International Socialism (Communism), but their similarities are greater than their differences. Both are totalitarian systems of government that demand the absolute subjection all of society’s members and institutions to it’s dictates.

  • My only comment is this: Marxism is in a race with Islam for being the most destructive superstition. And at the end of the world, God will throw these two horns of Satan’s head into hell to burn forever and ever.

  • thank you for this post Donald McClarey. Absolutely great comments too.
    I just have this chilling memory of our newly elected Obama with that Venezuelan ‘man of the people” Chavez.

  • I maybe a bit cynical, but if I hear that someone promised big improvements, got them right off the bat, and then just as quickly took a nose-dive– my first question is who was collecting the statistics.
    It is really easy to massage data, even if you’re not willing to all-out lie. Infant mortality, for example– just adopt the definitions of a country that is stricter about declaring early deaths to be a miscarriage; we’re all familiar, here, with the way the US records anybody who shows signs of life after birth as a “child mortality” stat, while other gov’ts have much different definitions.

  • Pingback: GOD & CAESAR FRIDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

In Memoriam: Tiananmen Square

Thursday, June 5, AD 2014

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”

Thucydides

 

Yesterday, June 4, was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the brutal suppression of the pro-Democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.  Over 3000 of the protestors were murdered by the Communist government of China.  Tyranny won that round, but I have absolutely no doubt that Democracy will ultimately prevail in the Middle Kingdom.  When it does, the heroes and heroines of Tiananmen Square will be remembered and their murderers forgotten.

 

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Poor Misunderstood Marx!

Tuesday, March 29, AD 2011

Commonweal has an article by Marxist literary critic Terry Eagleton in which he argues that Marx was right in his critique of captalism.  Go here to read it.  Go here to read a post about the article which appeared on the Commonweal blog.  ( I will confess to having a very slight  grudging respect for Mr. Eagleton ever since his memorable, and scorching,  review which may be read here, of Richard Dawkins’ inane The God Delusion.  The respect is very slight and very grudging indeed, since Mr. Eagleton also wrote a bitter diatribe against John Paul II, which may be read here, after the death of the pontiff.  He also views the Catholic Church, the Church he was raised in, as “one of the nastiest authoritarian outfits on the planet”, which is rich coming from a Marxist.)

The Marx set forth in the article by Mr. Eagleton is unrecognizable to me.  The Marx of history was not some sort of democratic eurosocialist.  He was a hard core advocate of terror.  The quotations from his works and letters on this point are legion.  Here is a typical statement he made in 1850 in an address to the Communist League:

“[The working class] must act in such a manner that the revolutionary excitement does not collapse immediately after the victory.  On the contrary, they must maintain it as long as possible.  Far from opposing so-called excesses, such as sacrificing to popular revenge of hated individuals or public buildings to which hateful memories are attached, such deeds must not only be tolerated, but their direction must be taken in hand, for examples’ sake.”

From the same address:

To be able forcefully and threateningly to oppose this party, whose betrayal of the workers will begin with the very first hour of victory, the workers must be armed and organized. The whole proletariat must be armed at once with muskets, rifles, cannon and ammunition, and the revival of the old-style citizens’ militia, directed against the workers, must be opposed. Where the formation of this militia cannot be prevented, the workers must try to organize themselves independently as a proletarian guard, with elected leaders and with their own elected general staff; they must try to place themselves not under the orders of the state authority but of the revolutionary local councils set up by the workers. Where the workers are employed by the state, they must arm and organize themselves into special corps with elected leaders, or as a part of the proletarian guard. Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary. The destruction of the bourgeois democrats’ influence over the workers, and the enforcement of conditions which will compromise the rule of bourgeois democracy, which is for the moment inevitable, and make it as difficult as possible – these are the main points which the proletariat and therefore the League must keep in mind during and after the approaching uprising.

Nothing done by the Communist states that claimed Marx as their ideological father in regard to the suppression of adversaries and the use of mass terror to remain in power cannot find full warrant in the works of Marx.

Of course, Marx goes wrong at the very beginning in regard to his view of Man which is completely materialist.  In his A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Marx spelled out his view that religion was an illusion which deterred the revolutionary rage of the people:

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53 Responses to Poor Misunderstood Marx!

  • In addition, Marxism has been ineptly applied by run-of-the-mill megalomaniacs like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.

    Today, Glory-O!, we have geniuses like our messianic magic man Obama and Uncle Joe Biden doing it correctly.

    “All attempts to create Heaven on Earth have resulted in hell on Earth.” Camus

    Ah, hell on earth . . . OTOH they will make the evil rich miserable, too . . . Go for it!

  • Both Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Reinhardt Marx of Munich have suggested that Marx’s critique of alienation under capitalistic forms of economic production is largely correct, while of course maintaining that the Marxist solution, because atheistical and totalitarian in practice (if not necessarily in intent) is a non-starter. Likewise, Pope Benedict XVI quotes approvingly, though critically, the great Marxist philosopher Adorno in his excellent encyclical Spe Salvi; likewise, the phenomenology of labor in JPII’s Laborem Exercens is clearly influenced by some aspects of the early Marx’s thought.

  • Even Marx WJ could not manage the feat of being wrong all the time, although he did give it his worst efforts.

  • All powerful lies have to have at least a small amount of truth to them, otherwise no one would believe them. If there is a grain of “truth” to Marxism, it may be in its “critique of alienation under capitalistic forms of economic production.” Marx knew there was a problem and he did a fairly competent job of identifying what the problem was, but he was totally wrong about the solution.

  • Pope Benedict in Spe Salvi gave the best short analysis of Karl Marx that I have ever read:

    “After the bourgeois revolution of 1789, the time had come for a new, proletarian revolution: progress could not simply continue in small, linear steps. A revolutionary leap was needed. Karl Marx took up the rallying call, and applied his incisive language and intellect to the task of launching this major new and, as he thought, definitive step in history towards salvation—towards what Kant had described as the “Kingdom of God”. Once the truth of the hereafter had been rejected, it would then be a question of establishing the truth of the here and now. The critique of Heaven is transformed into the critique of earth, the critique of theology into the critique of politics. Progress towards the better, towards the definitively good world, no longer comes simply from science but from politics—from a scientifically conceived politics that recognizes the structure of history and society and thus points out the road towards revolution, towards all-encompassing change. With great precision, albeit with a certain onesided bias, Marx described the situation of his time, and with great analytical skill he spelled out the paths leading to revolution—and not only theoretically: by means of the Communist Party that came into being from the Communist Manifesto of 1848, he set it in motion. His promise, owing to the acuteness of his analysis and his clear indication of the means for radical change, was and still remains an endless source of fascination. Real revolution followed, in the most radical way in Russia.

    21. Together with the victory of the revolution, though, Marx’s fundamental error also became evident. He showed precisely how to overthrow the existing order, but he did not say how matters should proceed thereafter. He simply presumed that with the expropriation of the ruling class, with the fall of political power and the socialization of means of production, the new Jerusalem would be realized. Then, indeed, all contradictions would be resolved, man and the world would finally sort themselves out. Then everything would be able to proceed by itself along the right path, because everything would belong to everyone and all would desire the best for one another. Thus, having accomplished the revolution, Lenin must have realized that the writings of the master gave no indication as to how to proceed. True, Marx had spoken of the interim phase of the dictatorship of the proletariat as a necessity which in time would automatically become redundant. This “intermediate phase” we know all too well, and we also know how it then developed, not ushering in a perfect world, but leaving behind a trail of appalling destruction. Marx not only omitted to work out how this new world would be organized—which should, of course, have been unnecessary. His silence on this matter follows logically from his chosen approach. His error lay deeper. He forgot that man always remains man. He forgot man and he forgot man’s freedom. He forgot that freedom always remains also freedom for evil. He thought that once the economy had been put right, everything would automatically be put right. His real error is materialism: man, in fact, is not merely the product of economic conditions, and it is not possible to redeem him purely from the outside by creating a favourable economic environment.”

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20071130_spe-salvi_en.html

  • I guess “Marx” is philosophical and theological pathology.

    Attention all Keynesians!

    John Maynard Keynes quote: ” . . . socialism must always remain a portent to the historians of opinion – how a doctrine so illogical and so dull can have exercised so powerful and enduring an influence over the minds of men, and, through them, the events of history.” Keynes, “The End of Laissez-Faire.”

    Here is why there can be no “Gospel According to Saint Marx.”

    George Orwell, “Reflections on Gandhi”

    The Humanistic Ideal: “Man is the measure of all things and that our job is to make life worth living.”

    “But it is not necessary here to argue whether the other-worldly or the humanistic ideal is ‘higher.’ The point is that they are incompatible. One must choose between God and Man, and all ‘radicals’ and ‘progressives’ from the mildest liberal . . . have in effect chosen Man.”

    I think Keynes (RIP) and Orwell (RIP) “got” it.

  • Yes, note that, far from your assertion that Marx was simply a “poor philosopher,” Benedict describes him with the following phrases:

    “incisive language and intellect”; “With great precision, albeit with a certain onesided bias,Marx described the situation of his time, and with great analytical skill he spelled out the paths leading to revolution;”

    The Pope, rightly, goes on to note the “fundamental error” of Marx’s thought, but his criticism is so much the more persuasive because he has not fallen in for caricatures of Marx that you present as fact.

    By the way, the question whether Marx was, himself, a “materialist”–in the strongly philosophical sense of that word–is more difficult to answer than you might expect. But that’s another issue.

  • I believe that my description of Marx and the Pope’s analysis WJ are not in contradiction. Someone who gets the fundamental nature of Man wrong is a poor philosopher. As for caricatures of Marx WJ, in my post I let the man speak for himself, which I guess does reveal what a living caricature Marx tended to be.

  • “By the way, the question whether Marx was, himself, a “materialist”–in the strongly philosophical sense of that word–is more difficult to answer than you might expect.”

    How was Marx not a materialist in a “strong philisophical sense?”

  • I agree with this statement towards the end: “…as long as capitalism is still in business, Marxism must be as well.”

    That, I think, is the best argument against capitalism.

  • The only Marx worth remembering is Groucho. As for Karl, he sponged off Engels much of his life. After Marx wrote Das Kapital, his wife was so disgusted with his indolence, she remarked, “Karl, if you had only spent more time making capital instead of writing about it, we would have been better off.”

    As for capitalism and communism, the old joke applies:
    Capitalism is man’s exploitation of man; communism is the reverse.

  • Marx almost lost his meal ticket when Mary Burns, Engel’s mistress, died in 1863. Marx wrote Engels a letter which almost completely ignored her death. Engels wrote back stating that he had received quite a bit of sympathy over the death of his beloved from capitalists he knew, but none from Marx. Marx quickly wrote back and repaired the breach. Engels was one of the very few people in his life that Marx did not succeed in alienating. Marx knew a lot about alienation: he was a grand master at it!

  • “The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.”

    G.K. Chesterton (1922)

    That observation is as valid today as it what then and before.

  • Well, Hume, Locke, Kant and Plato, from a Catholic anthropological standpoint, also “got the fundamental nature of Man wrong”, although their errors are, obviously, different from both Marx’s and from each other’s. Are they poor philosophers too? (I’m leaving aside the obvious riposte that getting the “fundamental nature of Man” *right* is not something attainable by probably any single philosopher.)

    On Marx and Materialism, see George L. Kline, “The Myth of Marx’s Materialism” in Philosophical Sovietology: The Pursuit of a Science

  • I stopped reading when Eagleton claimed that scarcity was the result of capitalism. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected better from a literary critic, but still.

    When I was in college I read the Manifesto and was of course repulsed by it. A friend suggested to me that Marx’s really valuable insights were in alienation, so I read some of his stuff on that but it didn’t make any sense to me either (IIRC, Marx’s views on alienation had a fairly strong anti-religious thread running through it, so I’m surprised that Pope Benedict would say that it is correct, but he is undoubtedly more familiar with the subject than I).

  • Yeesh, that article is a rather frightful piece of utopian wishful thinking masquerading as thought, but then, who can be surprised that Commonweal would be happy to print such a thing. It seems that Capitalism (whatever one takes that to be) is very much at fault for not making things even better than it has over the last 300 years — while Marxism bears no fault at all for how any polity based upon its principles has foundered.

    Incidentally, Don, have you run into Leszek Kolakowski’s delightful essay “My Correct Views on Everything“? It’s a twenty page bloodletting response to a windy 100 page “open letter” addressed to Kolakowski by British leftist intellectual Edward Thompson, explaining to Kolakowski the virtues of socialism which Kolakowski (having recently defected from communist Poland) may not realize. Hard not to love a piece which opens:

    In a review of the last issue of Socialist Register by Raymond Williams, I read that your letter is one of the best pieces of Left writings in the last decade, which implies directly that all or nearly all the rest was worse. He knows better and I take his word. I should be proud to having occasioned, to a certain degree, this text, even if I happen to be its target. And so, my first reaction is one of gratitude.

    And goes on from there.

  • “Are they poor philosophers too?”

    Hume: yes; Locke: no; Kant: probably yes, if anyone, including Kant, had the foggiest notion of what Kant was saying; Plato: no. He is saved by a Cave, although he has much to answer for in regard to his Republic.

  • Well, Hume, Locke, Kant and Plato, from a Catholic anthropological standpoint, also “got the fundamental nature of Man wrong”, although their errors are, obviously, different from both Marx’s and from each other’s. Are they poor philosophers too?

    Are you saying that there is no degree to wrongness but that it is a binary quality?

    I don’t think it would be a reach to say that Marx got things rather more than those, and in more key aspects — indeed, what Marx is accused of getting right is pretty trivial.

    As for the other four, they’re a highly varied bunch, and perhaps arguably arranged from most to least wrong. Still, each provides at least a few useful insights into the human predicament. Marx… Well, if someone got something useful out of him more power to them, but I don’t think there’s much there one couldn’t get elsewhere.

  • Marx was also a vicious racist. Nathaniel Weyl’s “Karl Marx, Racist” shows ol’ KM had incrediably racist feeling about Blacks, Jews, Slavs, and even Scandanavians. Racism, it’s not just for Nazi’s!

  • Don, reminds me of all those chicken-crossing-the-road jokes:

    Plato’s answer: “For the greater good.”
    Marx’s answer: “It was an historical inevitability.”
    Aristotle: “To actualize its potential.”
    Epicurus: “For fun.”
    Torquemada: “Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I’ll find out.”

  • Darwin,

    No, of course there are degrees; my point was merely to counter Donald’s too easy dismissal of Marx, which actually doesn’t allow a *substantive* or philosophically serious criticism of Marx to be voiced, because it has already constructed, and destroyed, a straw-man.

    Many things which Marx “got right” are also the sorts of things that Aristotle “got right,” especially involving the importance of practice for thinking seriously about ethics, and so on. But I don’t think that, from this premise, you can get to the conclusion “Well then you don’t need Marx,” precisely because Marx makes legible how *one* broadly Aristotelian approach to society and culture might look given modern economies. Not the *right* one, necessarily, but one which, if you are going finally to critique it, you need to understand.

  • I don’t expect to buy Philosophical Sovietology due to the price on-line. Unless you have a copy of the article, I will just go with the general philosophical consensus that Marx was a materialist.

    That being the case, Marx, more that Hume, Locke, Plato and Kant fundamentally failed as a philosopher.

    As to Marx’s critique of capitalism (of the Nineteenth Century) I will defer to others. As to his relevance to the situation today, I suspect the experience of the Twentieth Century answers that.

  • Phillip,

    You can get the article via Interlibrary Loan if that’s available in your community (some public libraries support this, others don’t; most colleges and some high schools do as well). I wouldn’t buy the book either!

    I’m not sure that I think that Marx “failed” as a philosopher “more” than Hume or Locke, but I’m also not sure I know what that means absent further specification. I agree that Kant and Plato are (rightly) considered “greater” philosophers than Marx.

    The question as to whether the existence of the Soviet Union, and the very great evils perpetrated by that regime (and other, like-minded regimes) constitutes sufficient reason to conclude that Marx is irrelevant today is a complex one. From both the writings of Benedict and Cardinal Reinhardt Marx, one gets the sense that the answer is, “it depends.” If you are looking for solutions, then, I agree, Marx is a non-starter; but if you are looking for analyses and trenchant (although somewhat one-sided) criticisms, I believe Marx still has much to offer.

  • Perhaps I mean failed in the sense of discerning the truth. Clearly all philosophers fall short of this to some degree. (Even Aristotle couldn’t discern a personal God.)

    But while Hume, Locke and Kant failed in their epistemology, the latter two at least accepted a transcendent even though they denied the ability to know it with any precision. As a result, they held a measure of the truth.

    Marx on the other hand, and I still hold this though we may see with the article, through his radical materialism, failed in a fundamental way to understand what is true and in turn what leads men to true happiness.

  • Don said above the P. Benedict has the best short summary of Marx in Spe Salvi and then quoted it. I’m going to quote part of that quote:

    “He forgot that man always remains man.”

    Now, find me a better anti-utopian one-liner. God bless the holy father.

  • “Don, reminds me of all those chicken-crossing-the-road jokes:”

    Good ones Joe. Here are a few more for Napoleonic lovers of fowl humor:

    Edmund Burke: “To escape from revolutionary France!”
    Robespierre: “The chicken will find that it is difficult to cross roads headless!”
    Napoleon: “Conscript that chicken!”
    Wellington: “The chicken was almost trampled! It was the nearest run thing you ever saw!”

  • “Incidentally, Don, have you run into Leszek Kolakowski’s delightful essay “My Correct Views on Everything“? It’s a twenty page bloodletting response to a windy 100 page “open letter” addressed to Kolakowski by British leftist intellectual Edward Thompson, explaining to Kolakowski the virtues of socialism which Kolakowski (having recently defected from communist Poland) may not realize. Hard not to love a piece which opens:”

    No I had not Darwin! Thank you for directing me to it. That was a howlingly funny read, and full of gems of wisdom such as this:

    “I found it regrettable to see in your Letter so many Leftist cliches which survive in speech and print owing to three devices: first, the refusal to analyse words-and the use of verbal hybrids purposely designed to confound the issues; second, the use of moral or sentimental standards in some cases and of political and historical standards in other similar cases; third, the refusal to accept historical facts as they are.”

    Little has changed in that regard over the past 37 years.

  • Don, one more chicken/road answer from Machiavelli:

    So that its subjects will view it with admiration,
    as a chicken which has the daring and courage to
    boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom
    among them has the strength to contend with such a
    paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the
    princely chicken’s dominion maintained.

  • Brilliant Joe, but now I can’t help myself. The chicken crosses the road into recent politics.

    Al Gore: I invented the road. (Pause) And the chicken.

    George Bush: The chicken crossed the road because it was kinder and gentler on the other side.

    Dick Cheney: After advanced interrogation techniques the chicken revealed that he crossed the road to alert the jihadists!

    John McCain: The chicken would have crossed the road except that it was still recovering from its ordeal as a POW in Vietnam.

    Sarah Palin: That chicken thought he was going to cross the road! Tune in to my next special and you’ll see how it can feed a family of six, with a little help from his friend Mr. Moose who also thought he was going to cross that road!

    Joe Biden: What road? What chicken?

    Barack Obama: The chicken, seizing upon the audacity of hope, crossed the road to receive the Nobel Peace Price for crossing that road of our hoped for change!

  • Don, worthy additions! Now you’ve got me going…

    Nietsche: Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road
    gazes also across you.

    Sartre: In order to act in good faith and be true to itself,
    the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.

    Darwin: It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.

    bada bing

  • Pope Benedict: The chicken forgot that chicken always remains chicken, no matter what side of the road chicken is on.

  • The chickens have flown the Marxist coop on this thread!

  • John Donne: “It crosseth for thee.”

    OK, I’ll stop now. : )

  • The alienation that Marx desribes as the worker going through is largely the result of 19th century industrialisation, where through the division of labour, the workers found themselves increasingly deskilled and thus at the mercy of capitalists, who then no difficulty replacing them with women and children. The self-respect that most of us desire is to a considerable extent anchored in the value of the job we do. That the division of labour can lead to the dehumanising of workers, was easily grasped by the Luddites and the distributionists. One needn’t be a Marxist to understand it. The supremely assured F1 mechanic is not alienated from the result of his labour – he can see the car taking off at full speed – but an overeducated minion tending to a factory line machine, producing a small part of a small module of a car, certainly can be.

  • One of the great errors after the fall of the Evil Empire was not stigmatizing Marxism/Communism as was National Socialism after its defeat. Thus, the bizarre desire to resurrect it in varied forms now. The most bizarre, and vile, is the attempt to raise it again in the Church.

  • True Phillip. Imagine Commonweal giving space to someone claiming that fascism had its good points, contained great critiques of “plutocratic capitalism” and arguing that fascism should not be condemned out of hand because of Mussolini and Hitler. Unfortunately the old mantra “No enemies on the Left” is still in full force on the port side of the political spectrum apparently.

  • Phil, how is Marxism/Communism being ‘resurrected’? Other than its purest form (Cuba), it’s about as dead as Julius Caesar. Even the Chi-coms are committed capitalists these days. Marx, Lenin and their ilk have become mere footnotes in Planet Earth Incorporated. Terry Eagleton must have run out of material.

  • Joe,

    It is certainly being resurrected in Academia. The Eagleton link is one piece of “intellectual” resurrection. Not that that is much of a stretch given the Marxist bias of academia. That’s just the beginning.

  • Phillip,

    I don’t think it ever *died* in academia to begin with… the Marxists just quieted down some, but they’ve always insisted that the Soviets never *really* practiced Marxism.

  • Phil, granted, Academia is rife with Leftists, but their influence on the whole of society is limited.

    I don’t see millionaires like Sean Penn and Michael Moore, who rail against capitalism, surrendering their private jets and vacation homes or redistributing their wealth to the have-nots.

    Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

  • Chris,

    That is probably a better way to put it. But given the time since the fall of the Wall and the current political/social situation, I think they and more of their ilk are increasing their cries for change.

    As opposed to Rahm Emanuel, I think the efforts of those who are radical Marxists/socialists to exploit these crises will have more widespread effects.

    Joe,

    I don’t think the effect of Academia is so limited. I think they have been quite effective in indoctrinating a whole generation to their thinking. Not that a generation is Marxist in a doctrinaire sense, but certainly more inclined to favor this thinking. Particularly in the “soft, taste great, less filling” form presented by many. This includes some in the Church such as Eagleton.

    As for the Hollywood types, they are hypocrites. Few are actual Marxists but some would be more than happy to run a re-education program. Most just want to feel good for ripping off people for their bad movies.

  • One example of that “soft” indoctrination would be the Howard Zinn/Matt Damon “The People Speak.” A collaboration of Communism and Hollywood.

  • Phil, perhaps easy to underestimate the impact of the Lefties in the classroom, although one wonders how much “education” is being absorbed in light of grim stats such as this: 67% of eight-graders in Wisconsin can’t read proficiently.

    As for Eagleton, he lost all cred with his diatribe against John Paul II, arguably the greatest man of the 20th century and the most influential pope of the Church.

    Back to the well-worn but always instructive mention of the dumbing down of America. John Taylor Gatto in his excellent “Underground History of American Education” offers this nugget:

    In 1882, fifth graders read these authors in their Appleton School Reader: William Shakespeare, Henry Thoreau, George Washington, Sir Walter Scott, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Bunyan, Daniel Webster, Samuel Johnson, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and others like them.

    In 1995, a student teacher of fifth graders in Minneapolis wrote to the local newspaper, “I was told children are not to be expected to spell the following words correctly: back, big, call, came, can, day, did, dog, down, get, good, have, he, home, if, in, is, it, like, little, man, morning, mother, my, night, off, out, over, people, play, ran, said, saw, she, some, soon, their, them, there, time, two, too, up, us, very, water, we, went, where, when, will, would, etc. Is this nuts?”

    Nowadays, Huck Finn has been sanitized and the dictionaries are filling up with new “words” such as ‘LOL’ and ‘OMG’ — further signs of the declining literacy rate in America.

    Knowledge, and its ultimate fruit, wisdom, suffer greatly.

  • Don’t deny education has been dumbed down in America.

    “67% of eight-graders in Wisconsin can’t read proficiently.”

    But they are probably up to date on the status of the Teachers’ Union.

  • “One example of that “soft” indoctrination would be the Howard Zinn/Matt Damon “The People Speak.” A collaboration of Communism and Hollywood.”

    The video at the beginning of the post is from Howard Zinn’s play Marx in Soho, which established beyond doubt that the late Mr. Zinn was as poor a playwright as he was a historian.

    A critique of Zinn the historian from the Left:

    http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=385

    A critique of Zinn the historian from the Right:

    http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2010/01/america_the_awfulhoward_zinns.html

  • I don’t see millionaires like Sean Penn and Michael Moore, who rail against capitalism, surrendering their private jets and vacation homes or redistributing their wealth to the have-nots.

    I wouldn’t expect them to, nor any other Marxist. Marxists and even many non-Marxist leftists are all for what they deem dignity and justice for the poor or working masses – they just don’t want, nor expect to be, part of the working mass. They want to be thoughtful and privileged administrators of the masses. They’re really just arrogant elitists and would-be tyrants, but in their mind it is okay because they know better than the common man what is best for him.

    Unfortunately, we see too much of that mindset in our mainstream politics and even coming from some Catholics.

  • Marx was a poor philosopher, if philosophers are developers and discerners of philosophy. Marx had some merits as an observer. As for the rest, it’s taken me two days to get through this post, original article, and thread (Marxism is intellectually exhausting!) and it’ll take me a bit longer to get my thoughts together.

  • Forgive the long post, Don, but this, too, from Gatto’s book on discipline then and now, for which a link can be found at the end. (A great read, and free on-line for you history lovers).

    Rules of the Stokes County School November 10, 1848
    Wm. A. Chaffin, Master

    OFFENSE LASHES
    1. Boys & Girls Playing Together 4
    2. Quarreling 4
    3. Fighting 5
    4. Fighting at School 5
    5. Quarreling at School 3
    6. Gambling or Betting at School 4
    7. Playing at Cards at School 10
    8. Climbing for every foot over three feet up a tree 1
    9. Telling Lies 7
    10. Telling Tales Out of School 8
    11. Nick Naming Each Other 4
    12. Giving Each Other ILL Names 3
    13. Fighting Each Other in Time of Books 2
    14. Swearing at School 8
    15. Blackguarding Each Other 6
    16. For Misbehaving to Girls 10
    17. For Leaving School Without Leave of the Teacher 4
    18. Going Home With Each Other without Leave of Teacher 4
    19. For Drinking Spiritous Liquors at School 8
    20. Making Swings & Swinging on Them 7
    21. For Misbehaving when a Stranger is in the House 6
    22. For Wearing Long Finger Nails 2
    23. For not Making a Bow when a Stranger Comes in 3
    24. Misbehaving to Persons on the Road 4
    25. For not Making a Bow when you Meet a Person 4
    26. For Going to Girl’s Play Places 3
    27. For Going to Boy’s Play Places 4
    28. Coming to School with Dirty Face and Hands 2
    29. For Calling Each Other Liars 4
    30. For Playing Bandy 10
    31. For Bloting Your Copy Book 2
    32. For Not Making a bow when you go home 4
    33. For Not Making a bow when you come away 4
    34. Wrestling at School 4
    35. Scuffling at School 4
    36. For Weting each Other Washing at Play Time 2
    37. For Hollowing and Hooping Going Home 3
    38. For Delaying Time Going Home or Coming to School 3
    39. For Not Making a Bow when you come in or go out 2
    40. For Throwing anything harder than your trab ball 4
    41. For every word you miss in your lesson without excuse 1
    42. For Not saying yes Sir or no Sir or yes Marm, no Marm 2
    43. For Troubling Each Others Writing Affairs 2
    44. For Not Washing at Play Time when going to Books 4
    45. For Going and Playing about the Mill or Creek 6
    46. For Going about the barn or doing any mischief about 7

    “Whatever you might think of this in light of Dr. Spock or Piaget or the Yale Child Study folks, it must be apparent that civility was honored, and in all likelihood, no one ever played Bandy a second time! I’ve yet to meet a parent in public school who ever stopped to calculate the heavy, sometimes lifelong price their children pay for the privilege of being rude and ill-mannered at school. I haven’t met a public school parent yet who was properly suspicious of the state’s endless forgiveness of bad behavior for which the future will be merciless.”

    http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/toc1.htm

  • Joe Green: Well, I really have to wonder how much Thoreau or Oliver Wendell Holmes the average 5th grader could absorb. Still, it’s far better to overreach when it comes to education than it is to dumb down.

    One of the most irritating notions of our time is the common conceit that we are brighter than benighted past generations because we’re not racist or sexist like they were and besides, those dumb slobs didn’t have computers or cell phones or cars. If you are historically illiterate, you never realize that you are as thoroughly a creature of your own time and place as anybody born in any previous era and that the Founding Fathers or great artists like Shakespeare were infinitely less parochial than most human beings, past, present or future. Nor do they grasp that future generations will probably regard our tolerance of abortion with the same disgust people today feel toward, say, antebellum slaveholders. It takes a particular sort of arrogance to know nothing of history and yet feel sure that your own generation somehow sits at the pinnacle of human existence – because hey, Lincoln might have known the Bible by heart, but dude, would he have known what to do with an ipad?

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Burleigh Defends the Pope

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

My second favorite living historian, Michael Burleigh, who has written stunningly original works on subjects as diverse as Nazi Germany, religion and politics in the last two centuries,  terrorism, and morality and World War II,  has taken up the cudgels against the despicable attitude of many Brits of the chattering classes regarding the visit of the Pope to the Island next to Ireland.

Under normal circumstances, one might say “welcome” rather than “receive”. But the multiple sexual scandals that have afflicted parts of the Catholic Church have created a window of opportunity for sundry chasers of limelight – including human rights militants, crusading gays, Islamist fanatics, and celebrity God-botherers – to band together to “arrest” the Pope under laws so obscure that few knew they existed. Because child abuse is involved, rather than the more widespread phenomenon of homosexual predation on young men, these manifestations will receive much media attention, especially from the BBC, to the guaranteed perplexity of a less involved general public in a nominally Protestant country. It will require some effort of mind to tune out this noise to hear what the Pope will be saying.

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Lori Berenson Set Free

Wednesday, May 26, AD 2010

Marxist activist Lori Berenson was convicted in 1995 for her acts of terrorism with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) in Peru.  She was set free on parole where she must finish her remaining five years in Lima without leaving the country.

She served 15 years and was granted parole today.  Lori Berenson probably benefited from the weight of the American government in reducing the original lifetime sentence to 20 years back in 2005.

MRTA was a Communist rebel group that looked to impose a totalitarian form of government in Peru through terrorist activities.  They’re most famous for their takeover of the Japanese embassy in Lima in 1997.

Over 70,000 Peruvians were victims of Marxist and Communist terrorist activities throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

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  • Berenson denied for fifteen years that she collaborated with MRTA. Now, it seems, this was a lie. She recently accepted “responsibility for the crime of collaboration with terrorists” and apologized to the people of Peru. Berenson was a revolutionary groupie – a rebel princess who, supported by a trust fund set up by her parents, engaged in various radical left-wing activities in Latin America.

  • Frank,

    You’ve described liberal terrorist John Walker Lindh. He’s the typical Marin County hot-tubber out of the liberal bastion of San Francisco.

    Spoiled rotten and raised to hate America.

    Typical stuff from your typical America-hating liberals.

Is the Means of Production an Obsolete Idea?

Sunday, May 9, AD 2010

The “means of production” (which may be defined, roughly, as consisting of capital goods minus human and financial capital), is a central concept in Marxism, as well as in other ideologies such as Distributism. The problems of capitalism, according to both Marxists and Distributists, arise from the fact that ownership of the means of production is concentrated in the hands of the few. Marxists propose to remedy these problems by having the means of production be collectively owned. Distributists want to retain private ownership, but to break the means of production up (where practicable) into smaller parts so that everyone will have a piece (if you wanted to describe the difference between the Marxist and Distributist solutions here, it would be that Distributists want everyone to own part of the means of production, whereas Marxists want everyone to be part owner of all of it).

Where a society’s economy is based primarily on agriculture or manufacture, thinking in terms of the means of production makes some sense. In an agricultural economy wealth is based primarily on ownership of land, and in a manufacturing economy ownership of things like factories and machinery plays an analogous role. In a modern service-based economy, by contrast, wealth is based largely on human capital (the possession of knowledge and skills). As Pope John Paul II notes in Centesimus Annus, “[i]n our time, in particular, there exists another form of ownership which is becoming no less important than land: the possession of know-how, technology and skill. The wealth of the industrialized nations is based much more on this kind of ownership than on natural resources.”

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  • As long as people combine to form economic enterprises that can be quantified in terms of share ownership, discussions of the “means of production” will continue to have relevance.

    I’ll also add that Distributism, and Catholic social teaching in general, does not merely apply to America or other developed economies – though both still engage in agriculture and industry.

    “if you wanted to describe the difference between the Marxist and Distributist solutions here, it would be that Distributists want everyone to own part of the means of production, whereas Marxists want everyone to be part owner of all of it”

    Some Marxists. Others advocate total nationalization of the means of production, in which the state owns all of it. Though technically, I suppose, the theory is that a “workers state”, by representing the working class, owns and distributes revenues on behalf of the working class, and by that logic they may say that “the workers own the means of production.”

    In reality, the people who argued for actual, direct worker ownership of the means of production in Russia, the “Workers Opposition”, were suppressed by the Bolsheviks.

  • As long as people combine to form economic enterprises that can be quantified in terms of share ownership, discussions of the “means of production” will continue to have relevance.

    A law firm might have share ownership, but I’m not sure how useful the means of production would be in analyzing it.

  • Btw, you make a good point that much of the world hasn’t yet moved to a service based economy.

  • I’m not so sure it is an obsolete idea, although I am neither a Marxist nor a Distributist. I have a particular set of skills and knowledge that makes me useful to an insurance company. That knowledge and skill cannot be put to use except within a corporate environment. I could potentially quit and hang out a shingle and try to obtain consulting work, but there is no market for it. It is impossible for most individuals to be able to capitalize an insurance company, and it is also not desireable that this be done due to the risk of policyholders would face that the company would collapse and their claims go unpaid.

    In a certain sense, the modern corporation is in itself the means of production in a modern service economy. It brings efficiencies through organization, time management, concentration of money, and market share that cannot be matched on an individual or small business level. Small businesses have to find small niches in which to compete. In effect, we have migrated from “things” to organizations in a service economy. I’m not saying it’s better or worse, it’s just the way things are.

    Now, there are niches in which small businesses can thrive, which larger organizations will fail in. It is crucial that individuals be allowed the freedom to pursue happiness and livelihoods in the manner of their choice, whether in a modern corporation or in a self-owned business. This is why I’m neither a Marxist nor a Distributist. I don’t want the government to try to force a particular “ideal” on everyone, as this is not conducive to human happiness. Government should simply step in when people’s liberty is being infringed upon.

  • “This is why I’m neither a Marxist nor a Distributist. I don’t want the government to try to force a particular “ideal” on everyone, as this is not conducive to human happiness.”

    Doug,

    Distributism is not about the government “forc[ing] a particular “ideal” on everyone.”

    Anyone can argue that any idea ought to be forced upon everyone. This isn’t exclusive to Distributism or Marxism.

    On the other hand, anyone can argue that individuals ought to embrace an idea freely because it is good. And this is one way to approach Distributism, and it is how I approach it.

    The role the government plays is a variable, not a fixed measure. It can be a little or a lot. It could even be none at all.

    If you want to learn more about Distributism from my point of view, I invite you to read this:

    http://joeahargrave.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/the-distributist-manifesto/

  • Doug,

    I think your example of the insurance company is more an issue of financial capital than of the means of production as such.

  • Yes! I think this is certainly true of intellectual workers, who are persons who are not interchangable and are themselves assets to the company.

    As you suggest, the idea of “the means of production” is not totally obsolete but is of less analytical value in modern industrial economies.

  • Even though I work for a company which is, in a sense, a manufacturer (of consumer electronics and IT infrastructure) it strikes me that in many ways most large modern corporations run more on organizational capital, information, financial and brand equity than on actually owning “means of production”.

    Thus, while many of us who work there would have a hard time making as much without working for some sort of large company, it’s also the case that employees are not interchangeable for the employer. With fairly specialized human capital, the employer doesn’t exercise nearly as much power as an 1880s era landholder or a turn of the century factory owner. (As demonstrated by the dramatic increase in wages.)

    I certainly think there’s been some sort of major shift in what the “means of production” are, and that this shift has implications for the economy and society, but I’ve got the feeling it’s a bit more complicated than simply “now human capital is the means of production.”

    Interesting train of thought…

  • The distributists never thought highly of intellectual property rights. Much of the modern economy is a discussion of IP rents. A cursory search on my part suggests Marx wasn’t all that cool with IP rights. While human capital could merely mean the training of works, it has tended to be code for IP.

    human capital cannot be easily alienated from the individual, either to another individual or to the collective as a whole.

    The movie and music industries would be counterexamples.

  • The movie and music industries would be counterexamples.

    I’m not sure I’m following your point — could you expand?

  • It is not unusual for a band that has gone on tour to owe the recording company money for doing the tour, leaving them no net. In the odd universe of music, performers sign away all their rights and the music companies give them permission to perform their works. This is most apparent if you read the complaint lists of American Idol winners. Likewise in the movie industry, a large portion of the gross does not go towards the actors. The amount that goes to the actors is actually quite insignificant once the headliners’s earnings are taken out of consideration.

    Of course this is in the end an argument of what is actually property. And despite BA’s protestations, worker ability and knowledge has been folded into working capital and been considered a part of it for a long time.

  • In the odd universe of music, performers sign away all their rights and the music companies give them permission to perform their works. This is most apparent if you read the complaint lists of American Idol winners.

    That does certainly suggest an odd state of affairs, though it sounds to me more like a case of people signing a contract based on an expectation of larger ticket sales than actually materialized. Or at least, it’s hard to imagine why it would be a standard business practice that people sign up to work for free.

    Though with American Idol winners, perhaps the key is that most of the skill leading to revenues is actually on the part of the marketers, producers, promoters, etc., while the “talent” is interchangeable.

    Likewise in the movie industry, a large portion of the gross does not go towards the actors. The amount that goes to the actors is actually quite insignificant once the headliners’s earnings are taken out of consideration.

    Isn’t that assuming that the only skilled “workers” involved in producing a movie are the actors? They are in fact a minority of those who work in a movie crew, and at a supply and demand level there are an incredible number of people eager to take minor film roles in hope of being “discovered”, or just for the fun of it.

    If anything, I would imagine that movies and music would be a good example of how technology has leveled things in the last 10-20 years, as independent musicians and independent film makers have become increasingly successful at working outside the studio system.

  • Joe, thanks for the link. It was informative.

  • An interesting article. Have you considered the possibility that the important thing now is that the government is trying to control the means of *re*production?

Pope Benedict Warns Against Marxist Liberation Theology

Monday, December 7, AD 2009

17 Responses to Pope Benedict Warns Against Marxist Liberation Theology

  • Leftist Catholics rightly identify Christ as the savior of human beings, body and soul alike. What they fail to understand is the consequences of Original Sin for the body, and the limitations on human life imposed by sin and finitude. They wrongly think that if everyone on Earth was a Saint, there would be no more suffering. Leftist Catholics think that there are no limits to human progress, which is to say they are very modern.

  • Some Leftist Catholics remind me of the Zealots who thought to bring about the Kingdom of God through the sword. A communist dictatorship though is a funny sort of Kingdom of God.

  • Such words for the “Catholic Left.” Then what is wrong with the “Catholic Right,” I wonder? Or does the “Right” comprise of the Catholics who “get it?”

  • Selective interpretation of the social teaching of the Church… which ultimately stems from liberalism as Leo XIII and Pius XI understood it.

  • In regard to the Catholic Right Eric, I can’t think of a comparable attempt by Catholic conservatives to trojan horse a body of doctrine completely inimical to Catholicism into the Church as has been the ongoing effort of some Catholics on the Left to baptize Marx. The nearest parallel I can think of predates the French Revolution with the unfortunate throne and altar doctrine of many clerics, although at least they could make the argument that the states they sought to wed the Church with were not anti-Catholic. In the case of Marxism, its overwhelming anti-Christian praxis should have innoculated Catholics from it without the necessity of papal intervention, but such was not the case.

  • Tito,

    No. 🙂

  • I think there’s a pretty strong throne and altar doctrine on the Catholic Right today, at least in the U.S., where the throne takes the form of military power.

    A case could also be made for a “‘Shut up, your Excellencies,’ he explained” doctrine, which denigrates the role of the bishops, individually and especially collectively, in developing social policies.

  • I read the Pope’s document carefully.

    Now I’m perplexed:

    1. Exactly what is objectionable in what he said?

    2. Has the Pope not condemned, in this very document, the arms buildup and the disgrace of military solutions? He only appears as a right winger if you’re looking from the vantage point of an extreme left wing ideologue.

    Maybe a few here ought to put down their Che Guevara coffee mugs read it again. The Holy Father is spot on.

    It is simply a fact of history that collectivist movements have enslaved the very people they promised to liberate.

    I am frankly a little more than concerned at the prideful inability of many leftists to acknowledge this fact of history, nay, the desire to whitewash this disgrace from history.

  • Who here is attacking the Pope?

  • MI,

    They participated and got deeply involved with Marxist governments. Dissidents such as Jesuit “Father” Ernesto Cardenal of Nicaragua who was involved with the Communist government then.

  • I’m always amused when people, especially conservatives who decry the tactic in others, appoint themselves the experts of All Things Liberal.

    I don’t think that Acts 4:32 is a bad things for which to strive. Certainly better than cuddling up to Pinochet or Cheney.

  • I’d rather cuddle up to Cheney than Karl Marx or Joseph Stalin any day of the week.

  • The early Christians quickly abandoned common ownership as completely unworkable Todd. Outside of monasteries and convents it has only been revived by Christians for short periods, usually with dire results. The Pilgrims tried it, and almost starved to death. William Bradford, the governor of the colony relates what happened next:

    “All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

    The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labours and victuals, clothes, etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

  • Michael I.,

    Donald will delete it at his leisure.

    For the time being I’m just amusing myself by reading your comments, thanks!

Where Your CCHD Donations Go To

Sunday, November 22, AD 2009

Today most of your parishes will be collecting for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).  Donald, Christopher, and I have written over and over again of where the money actually goes to, funding for abortions being the most grevious of the lot.

So think twice before donating anything.

(Biretta Tip: Paul Nichols)

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Boycott Upcoming Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection

Thursday, October 29, AD 2009

REFORM CCHD

There is a coalition of Catholic organizations that have formed that will be pushing for a nationwide boycott of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) called REFORM The Catholic Campaign For Human Development with a website.  The Sunday before Thanksgiving a collection is done by many parishes for CCHD.  Instead of donating money to an organization that is diametrically opposed to many teachings of the Catholic Church, submit the coupon that is at the top of this posting.

You can also download a PDF file and print it out yourself here.

The many scandals that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) never ceases to amaze.  It’s been well documented how insidious and diabolical CCHD is from funding ACORN to funding abortions.

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  • The Catholic Media Coalition has a two-minute YouTube video about CCHD that is a quick and easy way to warn Catholics about the collection. Pass it on.

  • I first learned of CCHD’s shennanigans after last year’s elections. I could have vomitted. We truly are our own worst enemies. I felt like leaving the Church, except there is no where better to go. These dopey bishops and priests who crave worldly acceptance are a terrible problem. I will print out a thousand of these coupons and start passing them out today.

  • Daledog,

    I intend to do the same at the more orthodox parishes.

  • Another beaut involving the Archdiocese of Chicago.

    http://tinyurl.com/yf4nhqe

  • Dear me, I’ve given to them in the past, vaguely supposing I was helping to feed and clothe the poor.
    Thank you for the tip.

    I am feeling a bit disheartened today. It’s bad enough that I no longer trust many secular institutions – the media and the people of both parties who supposedly represent my interests in DC – I have to bring that mistrust to Mass with me. I can’t trust that money given in a second collection will be used for good purposes. It’s very depressing.

  • Didn’t Jesus have something to say about making His Father’s House into a den of thieves?

  • I regret to say ican’t join the boycot.

    When a discussion of this group came up 10 or 15 yeras ago, just ignoring the accuations, the explantiohs provided by its supporters were so lame I decided I would rather give to other organazitions that at least promised to do somethng useful.

  • Hank,

    You can’t join the boycott, yet you give to other organizations that are not CCHD?

    OK, did I miss something or did you mistype?

  • I’m wondering if Hank quite understands what a boycott is. I’m guessing, from his comments, that he thinks it means ‘supporting’ a group.

  • Or perhaps he can’t BEGIN boycotting because he already started 10 years ago.

  • AKL’s second comment has it.

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  • We must not give to those organizations that are utilizing the money to do things that are against our believes and teachings.

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  • I have served on a committee for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. It is an outstanding organization from local committees to national. There are many checks and balances that insure Catholic teachings are upheld. They focus on de-institutionalizing poverty hence their slogan of a hand up rather than a hand out. I quadrupled my giving to them this past year and invite others to find out the truth and trust their money can find no better charity.

  • Paul A.,

    You and your cohorts are going to have to donate more than 4x the amount next year in your cooperation with evil.

    The more of a bright spotlight we put on CCHD, the more the cockroaches will finally be stamped out of it.

  • Paul said, “I…invite others to find out the truth and trust their money can find no better charity.”

    This is no doubt absolutely true if you are a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual leftwing liberal. Congratulations to the CCHD for pulling the wool over the eyes of faithful Catholics for so long.

  • Most devout Catholics would never knowingly support pro-abortion groups.

    Yet on November 21st, many Catholics throughout the Arlington Diocese will unwittingly donate to organizations that promote abortion, homosexual marriage, and contraception.

    That is because, despite the extensive publicity regarding CCHD’s funding of questionable groups, Bishop Paul S. Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington plans to go forward with the collection next month for CCHD.

    Most people already know that CCHD gave millions of dollars to ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) before news of ACORN’s scandalous activities made national headlines. However, many people are not aware that CCHD continues to fund dozens of similar groups that promote abortion, contraception, homosexual marriage and other activities that are in direct conflict with Church teachings.

    Hundreds of parishioners have already urged Bishop Loverde to withdraw his support of CCHD by signing the Prayerful Petition found at http://www.NoMoreCCHD.com We remain hopeful that Bishop Loverde will join other American bishops who have already withdrawn their support for CCHD.

    Sincerely,

    Jeffrey E. Knight

    466 Long Mountain Road
    Washington, VA 22747
    (540)675-1440

5th June, 1989 A.D.

Friday, June 5, AD 2009

Tianasquare
Sometimes one image serves to sum up an event in the world’s memory.  For the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, that image is probable the one of the “tank man” — a lone protester who was photographed on June 5th, 1989 when he briefly stood, unarmed, before a tank column and stopped it.

There is not agreement as to who the “tank man” was, and most reports suggest he was arrested by the secret police and executed within the next two weeks.

In those heady days, it seemed possible that within a few years communist dictatorship would be nothing more than a memory, but twenty years later the communist oligarchs in China have learned to accomodate freedom and enterprise enough to remain in power.  And the tank man’s dream remains unrealized.

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4 Responses to 5th June, 1989 A.D.

  • “And the tank man’s dream remains unrealized.”

    I suspect that in the long run the Chinese will remember him and his dream well after the leaders who murdered him and so many others in 1989 are all but forgotten.

  • My 7-year-old son who wants to be a priest told me yesterday that he wants to be a missionary priest. I can’t remember his exact words, but it was something to the effect of wanting to preach about Jesus all around the world like Paul did, and then something about working against “those bad old communists”.

    Honestly, I don’t know WHERE he gets this stuff.

    😉

  • Donald, I pray you’re right about that.

    I watched much of the Tiananmen Square coverage from my father’s hospital room. Dad had had a severe stroke. One day, I was sitting there next to my unconcious father, watching the “tank man” brave the might of the Communist tanks, and I saw my dad’s hand move a little. I looked at him. His eyes were open and he was looking at the television screen. “That’s wrong,” he said. It was the last thing I heard him say. (And very appropriate, if you knew my dad. He was a news hound and could not watch the news without giving us a passionate running commentary on every story.)

    Several days later, my sister told me he had told his then 9 month old grandson, “I love you.” Those were his last words.

    I can’t see footage of Tiananmen without thinking of my father, a crusty old WWII vet who had fought against tyranny and hated it with all his being.