Since the beginning of time, mankind has sought to make itself equal to God.
We have done it by ignoring Natural Law, inventing postmodernism and by claiming God never existed of if He did, he died somewhere along the way.
Since God – or the idea of Him – presupposes that there is a power that exceeds that of man, there are men who have reasoned that if there is a higher power, it then follows that power can be used to control other men.
That explains the creation of governments of all shapes and forms.
It also explains the creation of tyrants – for if government is a power equal to God, then the leader of that government must also be equal to God (or perhaps even greater). It is no mere coincidence that from ancient times, kings have claimed a direct connection with the particular deity gave them the divine right to rule. By claiming that God was placing his proxy in the hands of an individual, that individual shared and was trusted to exercise His power.
Communism was supposedly invented to stop this practice – Marx reasoned that if the desire to be as powerful as God could be eliminated – or at least divided up among the populace – it would be eliminated as the root of the conflicts and unfairness inherent in any system based on rule by divine right. In the waning days of the Russian Empire, Marx saw the future where the divine rule of the Czars was being replaced by the capitalist power of the bourgeois.
It is also no coincidence that we hear the same argument from collectivists and anarchists today – get God out of government they say, “separation of church and state” they wail.
Marx, like our collectivist brethren of today, was no fan of religion. Strangely enough, if you know the history of the early communist movement, you know that most it’s “leading lights” were children of wealthy, religious families, often attending seminary or pursuing religious educations themselves.
Where Marx erred in his formulation was that he thought God was responsible for the faults he saw in the churches and correspondingly, in the systems of government, when in fact it was not God nor religion at all – it was the governing organization of institutional religion that was failing…in short, it was man trying to assume the power of God through the church.
I have stated that capitalism is the only economic and societal system where prosperity is only achieved by first serving a need, want or desire of others. At its most basic, capitalism is the free market philosophy that uses price as a signal to the market to change, to adjust. Capitalism isn’t a cause; it is an effect, a result. Capitalism rests upon a very simple concept, an economic transaction occurs at that point where a seller is willing to sell and a buyer is willing to buy. This one on one, individual philosophy allows the price of a good or service to be established by the individuals involved in the transaction based on the value of the transaction to each.
In my mind, there is no or more equitable or fair method of economic transfer than this.
What is also true is that capitalism, or any economic system for that matter, is merely a reflection of the actions of individuals in a society. In a free society, the quality of that society (and in this case, the quality of the economic system) depends on the quality of individual – that a society is comprised of individuals and those individuals, acting in their own best interests will yield the best result for society.
Capitalism is inherently dependent on fairness and equality to be successful. Where communism guarantees an immortal government, capitalism only guarantees creative destruction. If one studies the life span of the USSR and then looks at America during that same period, one sees business empires rise and fall, many different individuals write “rags to riches” stories and the direction of the American government change in a multitude of ways as reflected in the culture of the country. One does not see that in the USSR – only a continuance of government and systematic repression.
I won’t say that all of Marx’s ideas about the evils of concentrated power were wrong – but in reality, Marx chose the wrong enemy, the wrong root cause. He chose to fight religion and capitalism – but all Marx’s system did was to concentrate power in a myriad of agencies, committees and planners – the very power he sought to disperse to the proletariat through communism. He simply replaced God with government. His system gave God’s immortality to government agencies and anointed the central planning authorities with the divine right of kings.
Communism has always produced exactly opposite the result it has promised. It was wrong then, it is wrong today.