Welcome, Comrades! We’re still making our way through the “we really don’t like communism” chapter of our 10th-grade textbook for Christian schools, World History and Cultures In Christian Perspective. So pour a nice glass of Victory Gin, hum the Internationale, and we’ll visit History’s Greatest Monsters, your Godless Commies.
Now, last week, we found out that communism is just the worst thing ever! This week, we learn that your Commie has no regard for human life, not even of his own. For this reason the textbook wants to impress upon you the need for extreme watchfulness.
It’s really sort of endearing just how much the editors want to make clear that Karl Marx was a bad, bad man motivated by, as they put it, “a violent hatred for God and humanity.” Because really, isn’t the study of history primarily about identifying who the Good Guys were and proving that the Bad Guys were cartoon supervillains?
Needless to say, much of what was wrong with Marx originated with bad theology, and of course higher education:
As a rebellious student at the University of Berlin, Karl Marx (1818-1883) associated with radical students and professors and came under the spell of the religious modernists of Germany who denied the deity of Christ and questioned the authority of the Bible.
See what happens if you question the authority of scripture? You could create the next Karl Marx! Marx also took an unhealthy interest in the problems of the poor, which is almost certainly something that no good Christian would ever do:
Marx viewed history as a record of class struggle between the “haves” (wealthy) and the “have nots” (poor), and he blamed ownership of private property as the source of the conflict. Like the French Enlightenment philosopher Rousseau, Marx believed that if private property could be abolished, all of man’s problems would be solved. He declared that the course of history would eventually eliminate the upper middle classes, “their” religions (Judaism and Christianity), and their private property and bring the poor working classes to power.
Marx’s adaptation of Hegel’s dialectical reasoning is often called dialectical materialism — that nothing but the material world exists and that material conditions alone (i.e. — the environment and economics) determine how a person thinks, acts, feels, and believes. To Marx, everything was physical, leaving no room for the metaphysical or supernatural, including God. Marx claimed that economics, not religion, was the greatest driving force in history.
We get the sense that this last was a personal affront to the textbook’s editors. The very idea! We’ll at least grant that they describe the basics of Marxist thought fairly accurately, albeit with some sneering. You got your exploited proletariat, you got your ruthless bourgeoisie, and you got your “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his need.” Because children should never be confused, the textbook takes pains not to suggest that this phrase is at all similar to Acts 4:34-35 at all, because the Biblical version is 100% totally different:
“all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need”
See? It was voluntary, not coerced by the government, and only a dirty commie would think the Bible says anything about the government taking wealth for the purpose of helping the poor, because even though it might result in the poor getting fed, clothed and sheltered, it ultimately leads only to misery, just because. Really, just don’t go there.
But even worse than his criminal thinking about economics is Marx’s atheism, of course:
Marx called religion the “opiate of the people” because he believed that religion was like a “drug” that made people content with less in this life because they expect happiness only in the next. Obviously Marx did not understand Christianity at all, for though the Christian does indeed look forward to eternity in Heaven, he knows that God wants men to do their duty in this life to hold back the forces of evil, and that only a person who is in the will of God can know true happiness in this life.
This may come as a surprise to those readers who may think themselves happy. We recommend that they stop fooling themselves and get right with the Lord. And also quit all that sexing that some of you have been going on and on about in the comments. You might think you are having a fine old time, but you are actually quite miserable, because it says right here that you are.
In 1843, Marx went to Paris, where he met Friedrich Engels (1820-1895), the only close friend and associate he ever had. Engels’s father was a hard-working and prosperous textile manufacturer, but Engels despised the discipline of his father’s home and shared Marx’s radical views on atheism, humanism, and materialism. Like Marx, Engels believed that mankind is the pinnacle of biological and social evolution and constitutes the only “deity” The secular humanism embraced by Marx and Engels became the foundation of Communist ideology.
Again, we are awed at the depth of this historical analysis: Communism, they imply, is largely a by-product of Marx having been a friendless loner who palled around with humanists and had his mind warped by liberal professors, and Engels was a snotty ingrate who just didn’t appreciate how hard his father worked to put food on the table. Toss in a little evolution, and you get the most dangerous ideology the world has ever known. This will be on the test.
We then get an account of the German revolution of 1848 and the writing of The Communist Manifesto. You can almost hear the editors giggling as they put together this summary:
In The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels advocated that drastic measures be put in force immediately following a successful Communist revolution, including
(1) the abolition of private property and inheritance rights;
(2) the redistribution of wealth through heavy progressive income taxes;
(3) a central state bank to control all credit and to manipulate the nation’s currency;
(4) government control of all means of communication and transportation;
(5) government ownership of all means of production (factories, farms, mines, power plants, etc.) and all natural resources;
(6) the abolition of unemployment through social welfare programs;
(7) the redistribution of the population (from cities to rural areas and vice versa);
(8) mandatory state-sponsored and state-supported education.
You don’t even need them to ask, “Hey kids, you know What Other Party advocates higher taxes, welfare programs, and public schools, hmmm?”
We also learn that, just like dirty hippies everywhere, after the collapse of their little “revolution” in 1849 Marx and Engels went home to be parasites:
The Communist League was dissolved, and Marx was forced into permanent exile in London. Engels also retired to England to manage one of his father’s factories. The income from his “filthy capitalism” kept both him and Marx from starving.
But did Marx learn his lesson and straighten up and fly right? Of course not! He just went and wrote another damn fool book, Das Kapital, which is descrbed as his “greatest intellectual triumph” and dismissed in a short paragraph:
Whereas The Communist Manifesto laid down a practical program for Communist revolution, Das Kapital offered a theoretical foundation for Communist ideology. In it, Marx applied Darwin’s idea of evolution to his political theories in a feeble attempt to give them a “scientific” basis. He argued that if man is the product of biological evolution, Communism was the ultimate product of a social evolution by which the human race would achieve perfection.
There might be some other stuff in there, too, but you don’t need to know about it, it’s boring. And besides, did you know that Karl Marx was just a big old hypocrite? The section on Marx closes with a paragraph that is actually headed “Marx’s personal failure.”
lt is interesting to note that Karl Marx, who proclaimed himself the champion of the working man, never did an honest day’s work in his life. He and his wife and their six children lived in a squalid London apartment because Marx refused to work. While his wife helplessly watched three of their children die in infancy without proper food and medical care, Karl Marx sat in the library of the British Museum trying to “solve” the problems of the world. Any money that came into his hands (most of it from Engels), he spent for travel, liquor, and tobacco. Two of the three Marx children who survived childhood eventually committed suicide. While his family struggled to survive, Marx spent years attempting to formulate a program for perfecting society but he failed to love and support his own family (1 Tim. 5:8).
We won’t make you look 1 Timothy 5:8 up. It’s “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” So you see, kids, Marx was a very, very bad man, and this is why his ideas were bad, too. Also, put down that book and clean up your room. You want to end up an intellectual bum like Karl Marx?
Next week: Maybe we’ll talk about communism a little more. There’s a 4-page section titled “Why Communism Kills.” We bet it’s because Communism is hopped up on goof balls and listening to jazz. Also, as we mentioned last time, we’re waiting for the e-bays to send us our copy of the updated 2010 edition of World History & Cultures; we’ll let you know whether the newer edition still presents world communist domination as an imminent threat (we kind of bet it does).