Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

American Left Wing Radicalism, Russia's Errors & The Culture of Death

By John Mallon
Humanae Vitae Priests
When we think of these words from Our Lady of Fatima, “Russia will increase her errors” we can’t help thinking of current events involving Russia’s recent incursion into the Republic of Georgia, and indeed that is very worrisome, and involves, of course, oil.
The Soviet Union fell apart due to economic pressures, which President Ronald Reagan was smart enough to recognize and exploit. It is not hard to see how a system based on Communist Marxism, which destroys individual initiative would collapse even in a nation with such vast land mass full of wonderful natural resources. The human spirit doesn’t adapt well to being a cog in a machine.
At best, Communism is a burlesque of Christianity—a parody. The Acts of the Apostles speaks of the community of believers holding property in common. But the binding force of those early communities was a loving Lord, whom many of them had know as He walked the earth. Their love for Him led them to love one another and that love was the first thing they held in common.
A personal loving God is a hard thing to replace with an impersonal, often brutal state. Instead of community—common unity—there was communism. You have to watch those suffixes and “isms”. The Soviet Union was a failed attempt to have community formed not in love but around a utopian goal wildly out of synch with human nature. A state—a government—is not normally an easy thing to love, even at best when a populace loves their country “loving” a government rarely occurs.
In a sense, Communism is a sort of religion without a god. For Catholics, well acquainted with the reality of Original Sin, it is not hard to see where such a foolish idea will lead, and in fact, did lead: to seventy years of enslavement of half the world.
Perhaps because Communism is a parody and inversion of Christianity perhaps we can see why it had an attraction to many misguided but idealistic people, especially disaffected young people. First, Communism is necessarily atheistic. Dostoyevsky said, “If there is no God then everything is permitted.”
In the 20th century there was no shortage of idealistic young people looking to throw off the perceived shackles of traditional morality based in organized religion in favor of “freedom,” which, in their naïveté, saw in freedom to do whatever they wished, which, of course, usually translated to sexual license. Fair enough. St. Thomas Aquinas observed, “Man cannot live without joy. When deprived of spiritual joy he turns to carnal pleasures.”
Warren Beatty’s 1981 movie, Reds, depicts a group of artists, intellectuals, writers, journalists and others caught up in the communist movement in the United States in the 1920s. Not surprisingly one of the key components of the movement was the “free love” movement. The film includes many historical figures of the day such as playwright Eugene O’Neill, and interestingly, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. One can’t have “free love” for long without birth control and ultimately abortion. Sanger was an early supporter of eugenics and population control for weeding out the “unfit” elements of society; and with the rise of National Socialism in Germany showed an interest in the ideas and programs of Adolph Hitler, which of course were unfashionable after the Second World War.
The radicalism of the 1960s ushered in a new period of the “radical chic.” Where radicals attempted to piggy-back their causes on the just cause of equality for black people in the wake of the civil rights movement. Various groups vied for various rights: Women’s rights (read abortion), gay rights and so forth.
A notion of class warfare inevitably emerged, with marxist roots, dividing the world, specifically the West into haves” and “have-nots.” This led to a kind of “victim chic” we see now as “Political Correctness.” The inherent problem with this ideology, of course, as George Orwell pointed out in his classic allegory, Animal Farm, is that when ever the “have-nots’ attain the goals of their struggle and join the ranks of the “haves” they become the new enemy in a never-ending cycle of resentment and hostility, built into marxist thought, since the utopia promised by marxism is simply in conflict with human nature and does not take the truth of Original Sin into account.
Curiously, this romantic notion of a utopian equality where everyone is content to be a cog in the wheel of the state, is most enthusiastically embraced by those who have reaped the greatest benefits of capitalism, namely Hollywood celebrities and tenured academics. The reasons for this are subject of speculation, but the sight of American celebrities embracing Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, posing for photo ops certainly gives one pause.
The “godfather” of American Left-Wing radicalism is author and Chicago activist Saul Alinsky, whose book Rules for Radicals, has become the handbook, the bible of Leftist activism. Of particular note is the dedication:

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins—or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer
—Saul Alinksy

Alinsky, who died in 1972, continues to be an influence in American politics today. For example the Wikipedia entry on Alinsky states the following under the heading “Alinsky’s Influence”:

Alinsky was the subject of Hillary Rodham's senior honors thesis at Wellesley College, "There Is Only The Fight...": An Analysis of the Alinsky Model.[8] Rodham commented on Alinsky's “charm,” but noted that “one of the primary problems of the Alinsky model is that the removal of Alinsky dramatically alters its composition.” [8] Later, in her 2003 biography, Living History Clinton notes that although she agreed with some of his ideas, "particularly the value of empowering people to help themselves" they had a fundamental disagreement: "He believed you could change the system only from the outside. I didn't." [8] Once Hillary Rodham Clinton became First Lady of the United States, the White House asked Wellesley College to restrict access to the thesis for fear of being associated too closely with Alinsky's ideas.[9]
Thirteen years after Alinsky died, some of his former students hired Barack Obama to a $13,000 a year job as a community organizer in South Chicago. In a few years he became very proficient in the Alinsky Method of community organizing and became an instructor and teacher of the Alinsky Method to other community organizers. [5][10][11]

What we have with the emergence of marxist thought in the last century or so, is two competing concepts of human rights. One, which the American Founders had in mind, was based in the Western, Judeo-Christian tradition, and the other fabricated by Karl Marx and spread by the likes of Lenin and Stalin and Chairman Mao; brutal men, whose ideas, as noted above, enslaved half the world for seventy years. The Judeo-Christian model has rights enunciated with responsibilities attached and a centrality of a natural moral law, to which the individual is responsible. Human beings are, after all, individuals. The marxist model tends to treat people in groups, or blocs, with a responsibility to the state, a notion which ultimately smothers individual initiative and human progress. (We see this in the confusion that follows in the fall of communistic states where the newly freed citizens simply don’t know how to care for themselves and make advancement, having been used to the state doing all for them.)
Marxism, also, as necessarily atheistic, fails to respect truly human rights, especially the right to life, which has eroded in the minds of Western elites who have ironically fallen under the marxist spell. If the individual stands in the way of the state he is disposable, as opposed to the Christian model where the individual has an inherent dignity and worth, which comes from God.
Even Christian theologians were on the bandwagon, mocking Church teaching on sexual morality, describing them as “pelvic issues.” They claimed these were people’s “private business” while there were “more important” issues to address.
Apparently, in their minds, turning from “pelvic issues” to “more important” matters would indicate a “maturing” of the Church. But the Church operates where people must fundamentally live: the bedroom, the family, and the loneliness of the human heart. A friend told me of a conversation she had with a wise old priest when the word “maturity” came up. The priest stopped her and said, “I have been hearing confessions for sixty years, and I can tell you, no one is mature!”
Russia has indeed spread her errors, and chief among them is the subjection of human dignity to the state. Which equals death: A culture of death.

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