As the West continues to move in a more totalitarian direction – bigger government, control, spying on its citizens, political correctness as the membership card, social group-think - I think that it would do us well to examine the possible implications of such a move. Ironically, these moves are justified in the name of creating a more progressive society.
This also had been the claim of atheistic communist regimes. However, genocide reached unprecedented levels under these regimes. Wikipedia claims:
- Mass killings occurred under some Communist regimes during the twentieth century with an estimated death toll numbering between 85 and 100 million.
The human toll has been unbelievably high. While Western civilization is very ready to remember the fascist Third Reich – they will not call them what they had called themselves (“National Socialists”) – they are very ready to downplay the communist atrocities. However, I think that it is important to revisit these and to ask “why.”
Many historians have tried to explain the almost uniform horrors that had been committed by atheistic communism. According to Rudolph Joseph Rummel, the communist genocides were a product of absolute power and Marxism.
- "Of all religions, secular and otherwise," Rummel positions Marxism as "by far the bloodiest – bloodier than the Catholic Inquisition, the various Catholic crusades, and the Thirty Years War between Catholics and Protestants. In practice, Marxism has meant bloody terrorism, deadly purges, lethal prison camps and murderous forced labor, fatal deportations, man-made famines, extrajudicial executions and fraudulent show trials, outright mass murder and genocide." He writes that in practice the Marxists saw the construction of their utopia as "a war on poverty, exploitation, imperialism and inequality – and, as in a real war, noncombatants would unfortunately get caught in the battle. There would be necessary enemy casualties: the clergy, bourgeoisie, capitalists, 'wreckers', intellectuals, counterrevolutionaries, rightists, tyrants, the rich and landlords. As in a war, millions might die, but these deaths would be justified by the end, as in the defeat of Hitler in World War II. To the ruling Marxists, the goal of a communist utopia was enough to justify all the deaths."
What we believe determines how we behave. The cognitive/belief conditions in the West seem to be ripe for these kinds of atrocities. There is the necessary identification of the “good guys” and the “bad guys,” those who need to be eliminated from any public influence – the “religious bigots,” the “homophobes,” the Wall Street” folks, anyone who is opposing the dawning of the new age, a sexually free, guiltless society.
Just recently, the military – they had placed Catholics and Evangelicals on their list of terrorist organizations along with Al Qaeda – threatened Christians with court marshal if they tried to proselytize.
It is common today to regard the Stalinist purges as merely the product of Stalin’s alleged mental illness and not the ideas of atheistic communism. However, the evidence tends to argue that he was merely following in Marxist-Leninist footsteps:
- Robert Conquest stressed that Stalin's purges were not contrary to the principles of Leninism, but rather a natural consequence of the system established by Vladimir Lenin, who personally ordered the killing of local groups of class enemy hostages. Alexander Yakovlev, architect of perestroika and glasnost and later head of the Presidential Commission for the Victims of Political Repression, elaborates on this point, stating that "The truth is that in punitive operations Stalin did not think up anything that was not there under Lenin: executions, hostage taking, concentration camps, and all the rest." Historian Robert Gellately concurs, saying: "To put it another way, Stalin initiated very little that Lenin had not already introduced or previewed." Said Lenin to his colleagues in the Bolshevik government: "If we are not ready to shoot a saboteur and White Guardist, what sort of revolution is that?"
According to this world view, the “bad guys” stand against progress and the common good. In his book, The End of Faith, Sam Harris writes that “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.” “Kill people?” His obvious contempt for Christianity makes us wonder whether he has us in mind, as many atheists in the past have had and have gladly acted upon their contempt. However, it is safe to say that we are not the only “bad guys”:
- In The Lost Literature of Socialism, literary historian George G. Watson saw socialism as conservative, a reaction against liberalism and an attempt to return to antiquity and hierarchy. He states that the writings of Friedrich Engels and others show that "the Marxist theory of history required and demanded genocide for reasons implicit in its claim that feudalism, which in advanced nations was already giving place to capitalism, must in its turn be superseded by socialism. Entire nations would be left behind after a workers' revolution, feudal remnants in a socialist age, and since they could not advance two steps at a time, they would have to be killed. They were racial trash, as Engels called them, and fit only for the dung-heap of history."
Judging from the extreme and inflammatory language coming from our U.S. administration and those closely associated, it seems that they have a very clear idea of the identity of the regressive “bad guys.” We are the “homophobes,” the “hate-mongers,” the “bigots” – those who are prejudicially denying others their “human rights.” We are the enemy, and we know, only too well, the fate of the “enemies” of national socialism and atheistic communism. Who will be “fit…for the [next] dung-heap of history?" A warning to the revolutionary: The revolution also has a venerable history of turning against its own!