this 1550 word post constitutes section 6 [A] of seven for the Pamphlet titled 21st Century Tract.
Much is made of Marx’s use of Hegel’s dialectic. But much more can be said of Karl Marx’s debt to the Enlightenment. Indeed Marxism could only have emerged from Enlightenment thinking. The logic is simple: since the world is now merely material, everything can be explained by Science. Therefore we can explain all human activity by scientific enquiry and scientific laws. Our humanity is now merely an extension of the material dimension. Nothing more. Now that God no longer exists, MAN himself must determine both his morals and his destiny. Neither are now caused by some nonexistent deity. We must start afresh, and we must ensure that inequality and injustice are dispelled forever, in the same way we destroy disease and poverty by the appliance of Science.
Marxism is perhaps the most influential of the political doctrines emerging from the seed bed of the Enlightenment. This highly Authoritarian and Elitist system of thought and action quickly outshone Anarchism- the libertarian strand of the new Socialist thinking which emerged in the 19th century.
But Marx himself merely follows on from the mentality already evident in Thomas Paine’s justification of the French Revolution. Both men saw the existing system as totally corrupt and unreformable, convinced that radical change was needed – change which could only be brought in by committed Ideologists.
But where Paine was content to ask for retirement pensions for the poorest of the old, Marx would demand a total redistribution of economic means. The State was to be the mechanism; therefore the State must be in the hands of the enlightened, Socialist elite. Only the Politically Pure could be trusted to implement the true Ideology and so ensure the socially Just Agenda was achieved. But while Marx envisaged this emerging in the course of time, his disciples were impatient. For them, nothing must impede The Agenda. Nothing. No person; no moral qualms; no conscience and no religious superstition. Stalin continued what Lenin had begun …
Both Marx and Paine totally rejected the Christian God as the existing Order’s ideological excuse for social, economic and political injustice. In thier eyes, the Establishment used Christian religion to bind the consciences of the People to accept enslavement under the established system of Class exploitation and oppression.
Marx’s diagnosis was dramatic and telling: religion was the demeaning, disgusting, draining and destructive opiate of the people.
Like Paine, Marx’s analysis was so radical and so hostile that it supplied a moral justification for the most terrible crimes to come. Anything the Ideologues of the Left could do to free the People, must be better than leaving them in their terrible bondage to the status quo.
Leninism, Bolshevism, Stalinism, Maoism and variants of Marxism like Nazism and fascism were the result. Those movements were responsible for millions of people being murdered and maltreated in the course of the 20th century. Each of those movements was the direct result of the Materialist mindset which emerged from the Enlightenment.
Yet the likes of Thomas Paine and Karl Marx sought the very reverse. They sought the welfare of the people at large. They sought Justice, and liberty. They sought an end to all the social ills they witnessed in their day. They sought to put things right. They were sincere and genuine. They were men of conscience with a concern to make the world a better place. They wanted only the best for others. Their aim was to put an emphatic end to the injustices and inequalities of their day. I do not believe either man sought or foresaw the tragic outcome of their thinking for millions of people in the future.
What then was wrong with them ?
They rejected the God of Christianity. In doing so, they
- rejected the practical diagnosis of the human condition called sin
- rejected the practical presence and aid of God in overcoming the problem of the human condition – the problem in every human heart – the problem at the root of all social ills, the problem of sin in every human being
Instead they deployed man’s own diagnosis and man’s own answer. But they failed to realise that man’s diagnosis and man’s solution are stained by sin, and therefore inherently deceptive and false; inherently inadequate and perverse.
The Christian conception asserts that human beings are both good and bad. Good because they are made in the image of God; bad because they are tainted by sin as a result of the Fall from Grace. Bad because they rebel against God’s moral code and thereby cause terrible problems.
Being made in the image of God, every human being – high or low – has inherent dignity which no other human being is entitled to despise or take away on any pretext whatsoever. This is the conception which lies at the heart of the order established in England at the end of the 18th century by the so called “Glorious Revolution” and by other measures passed into law during the reign of the devout William and Mary.
The English Bill of Rights was achieved a full century before the Materialist conception of Rights expressed in the Declaration of the Right of Man at the time of the French Revolution.
From the Establishment of the Rule of just Law by the 1689 Bill of Rights in England, the fundamental principle of Magna Carta of 1215 was affirmed. This is what Edmund Burke alludes to when he talks of forever settled in the English constitution – an assertion which Thomas Paine contemptuously dismisses as impossible in his book Rights of Man.
By constraining the power of the Executive in England, the Established interests were asserting the necessity of the rule of law for all, great and small. Because both prince and pauper are sinners. The poor, of course, have very little power to harm others, but the prince has exceptional means either to do good, or to do serious harm. The sinful prince must therefore be constrained by the constitution and the law. Principled law is paramount – not personal power and personal conceptions of right and wrong. Right and wrong are laid down objectively by God in the Bible. And both prince and pauper have an obligation to reverence God above all else.
But in the Marxist Materialist paradigm, the exploited are inherently good, not bad; and the exploiters are inherently bad, not good. This is the essential idea behind the class struggle, and it gives rise to a psychology at odds with the reality of the human condition [that we are all both good and bad], and it gives rise to a psychology which rejects God as the answer to the problem of the human condition.
Because good and bad are now located in particular classes or categories of people, and not in every one of us, the evils which history records become inevitable.
The French Revolution was but the first taste of the effects of Materialist thinking. The regicide and the Terror were inevitable – and Edmund Burke was proved right when he warned the world of this in his Reflections on the Revolution in France published in 1790. The killing their moderate, reforming King in 1992, and the Terror of 1793/5 were forewarned by Edmund Burke in his powerful assessment published in 1790.
But writing his Rights of Man in 1791, Thomas Paine contemptuously dismissed Burke’s warnings and attacked Burke in outrageous terms. Why, because Paine was obsessed by the moral rectitude of the Cause behind the French Revolution.
Paine was reflecting and articulating the same mentality as the Marxist, whereas the Christian minded Edmund Burke saw the situation for what it really was. Edmund Burke reflected the Christian worldview while Thomas Paine articulated aggressive, Rationalist Materialism.
This same clash of worldviews and attitudes explains the fundamental battle between the traditional Right and the Ideological Left in the politics of the western world today.
But the ideological Left today still refuses to recognise any problem with its thinking or with its attitude. It persists in its Materialistic and anthropocentric attitude. And because it sees itself as supremely, morally correct, it assumes it can never be in the wrong. So, anyone who disagrees makes themselves a sinner in the paradigm of this new Orthodoxy. Such wilful sinners must be re-educated or else eliminated from all positions of power or influence.
This mindset is fundamentally totalitarian and dangerous. It is now so influential that it has reinvented not just our sexual code, but our very sexual identity. This thinking is now so prevalent and powerful it has been enshrined in law. To disagree is to run the risk of prosecution for hatred. This was inconceivable even 30 years ago. It marks the radical eradication of the Christian conception of our humanity which underpinned and framed traditional western civilisation.
Even so, the Ideological Left spawned by the French Revolution in the seed bed of Enlightenment psychology cannot be held entirely responsible for the assumed Orthodoxy of religious Materialism in the West today.
The political Right has been captured and redefined by the cult of Money and Gain spawned by Materialistic Enlightenment thought. Edmund Burke also identified this threat in his Reflections on the Revolution in France published in 1790 – a threat examined in the next post titled, Follow On – Billionaires.