Monday, July 25, 2011
Lecture Notes Two - Communism as Secularized Eschatology
Communism as Secularized Eschatology - Dr Mihail Neamtu (Romania)
Communism as a Heresy
To what extent does the presence of totalitarian movements highlight the failures of the political world to speak to the spiritual aspirations of man?
I. Secular Age
(Even before Spinoza)
Privatization of Faith/Religious Belief
Demythologizing the Bible
In regard to the first the confessional wars were the foundation from which western rationalists launched the project to eradicate religion from the public square to make the society safe.
Intellectuals become the new priests of the church of secularism.
- belief in revelation (and corresponding religious devotion) is a sign of weak mind.
Theological Political Treatise (published anonymously at first) is the primary work describing his project.
This is not only a cosmological revolution, but an anthropological one as well; after all, one cannot alter one’s view of God without altering one’s view of mankind.
When Eschatological Deliverance disappeared, secular versions took its place. The French and Bolshevik Revolution are examples of this outcome.
Collectivism Myth of Flourishing
This took the place of Spinoza’s individualism, and places power in the hands of the state. Hence political utopianism. The Utopians searched for a new heaven and new earth but without the possibility of creating a new man.
Marx left behind the Socratic imperative: its not our task to understand the world but to change it.
Marx’s Tools for Change
Replace God with History (Upper Case ‘H’)
Materialism (Revelation prevents revolution)
His avowed atheism was influenced by Feuerbach
Mythology - a re-telling of redemptive history
fall is alienation
redemption is salvation by workers or party
consummation is the communist state
Hatred - Currently dominated classes had to be overthrown and/or eliminated/re-educated.
For this there must be a revolution of the proletariat against the ruling or dominant classes
Envy is central fuel for the fires of hatred; egalitarian envy is thus central to the Marxist project.
His Conflict with Hegel - a critique of Idealism: Marx seeks to reverse the Hegelian personal process of transformation and transplant it into the communal historical context.
Hermeneutics of Suspicion - While Hegel valued art, revelation, and philosophy, Marx sees these are bourgeoise. The person must disappear and the class must become all.
Ay his funeral Engels said, “As Darwin discovered the evolution of the human species, marx had discovered the evolution of human history.”
Heirs of Marx: Lenin and Stalin
From the critique of privatization to collectivization
One thing to criticize the wealthy, quite another to pursue the collectivization of their property by force.
Not just theft, but economic stupidity: central planning simply did not and cannot work because it ignores the individual.
Lenin introduced the Gulag system: central planning forced the emergence of slave labor.
Cult of the Supreme Leader: The Messianic State.
in 1932 famine in Ukraine targeted elderly and children; 25m lost.
Ugliness of the Urban Space: demolition (iconoclasm) of the egalitarianism, resulting in mass produced ugliness: ‘raging squalor’. Communism mutilated art and banned religious expression. “If the early Christians knew they believed, the Communists believed that they knew.”
Communism as a System of Lies
Not Pravda, but Masks
Ethics of Denial and Duplicity
Culture of Fear
“Why did KGB operate in groups of three? One could read, one could write, and one could keep an eye on the intellectuals.”
Show Trials - Fraud in Justice
Lying is endemic to and fundamental to Communism.
Here we see the offspring of the father of lies
The party was the new ecclesia and the party leader the new universalist Messiah.
Discipleship was reshaped into state service.