It can be argued the revolution against collectivism will begin in the sanctuaries of our churches rather than in the streets of our cities.
Socialism, and the authoritarianism that follows, is on our doorstep. It is being forced upon us for our own good, so we are told. Capitalism has failed, freedom is for suckers, everything is racist, and God is dead (if He ever existed).
Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s statement that parents shouldn’t be able to determine what their children are taught in schools reminded me of how Karl Marx spoke of the primacy of government, even placing it above God. Marx wrote:
“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.”
F.A. Hayek, along with many others who have seen collectivism up close, have noted that under collectivist systems, any setting out to plan the economic life of any nation will soon be confronted with clashes between what is morally right and that which furthers the plan. At that instance, the planner/leader has the alternative of either assuming dictatorial powers or abandoning his plans, so the authoritarian will soon have to choose between disregard of ordinary morals and failure.
Since the very premise of collectivism is “the plan”, leadership will readily abandon any semblance of morality – or substitute state dictates for any moral value system. The true collectivist must be willing to abandon any individual notion of morality because there can exist only efforts directed toward the success of “the plan” (and that “plan” is ultimately identified with, and personified by, the leadership at the pinnacle of government). They must literally be willing to commit and justify any act, including acts that would torture the minds and souls of a truly moral people. Hitler’s Holocaust, Stalin’s Holodomor (the state induced famine in Ukraine) and Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” are prime examples.
If you ever wonder why the serial malfeasance of political “leaders” like Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi – and now that includes our military and institutional leaders who are part of contemporary Democrat administrations, is constantly justified by their supporters and goes unpunished, this is why.
In no way am I asserting a moral equivalence between these people and the three demons referred to in the paragraph above, but even a casual observer will note the commonality in this group of “failing up” when a certain ideology is supported. This the very reason that the unscrupulous and uninhibited are likely to be more “successful” in a society tending toward authoritarianism.
As Professor Hayek also noted,
“There are strong reasons for believing that what to us appear the worst features of totalitarian systems are not accidental byproducts but phenomena which totalitarianism is certain to sooner or later produce.”
Whatever your personal beliefs, it is intellectually dishonest to ignore that religion and morality are the basis for the creation of America and that religion and morality draws heavily on Christianity and Christianity tenets. America’s very founding principles are based on the idea that our rights do not come from the state, as Thomas Jefferson put it. our rights come from “Nature and Nature’s God.” In every historical case, the substitution of state morality for true morality based on Divine morality has resulted in a total inability for mortal men to discern right from wrong and good from evil – and in every one of these cases, the result was not good – it was pure evil, sanctioned by and perpetrated on behalf of some human derived “plan” for the “greater good.”
C.S. Lewis, the noted author and Christian apologist, wrote:
“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means — the only complete realist.”
In simpler terms, what Lewis is saying is this: Only a good people recognize the difference between right and wrong – a bad people are incapable of differentiating.
Historian Robert Conquest proposed these Three Laws of Politics:
- Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
- Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.
- The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.
Number 1 is a no brainer – even the most radical leftists manage their private affairs in a way far more conservative than they do public matters.
Number 2, that any organization not expressly right wing will eventually become left wing, is in the news every night. Collectivism has become so pervasive in modern times that no matter how many times it fails; its seductive attraction always remains. It appeals to the worst instincts in people, attracting both the envious and those seeking power to cure their envy (or presumably to cure the envy of others).
Number 3 applies to our institutions, especially our religious institutions.
When you step back to view America’s descent into madness, a macro view reveals a solid correlation between that descent and the decline of religion in our daily lives – and I’m not just talking about the drastic reduction in church attendance, I’m talking about the rise of pop culture, megachurch, faux-Christianity. This rise features churches abandoning biblical teaching, the incorporation of cultural fads in worship and even pastors and priests who do not believe in God.
History itself has proven three things:
- There is a close tie between classical liberalism and Christian teachings, and
- To classical liberals such as John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Lord Acton to name a few, power by itself has always appeared to be a consummate evil, an ever present corrupting force that cannot be destroyed but must be diluted to be survived, and
- To contemporary collectivists (aka Democrats, progressives, American leftists, socialists, Marxists and communists), power is something to be courted and concentrated, a goal in and of itself.
Christianity is an important force against the rise of Godless collectivism.
I do not believe that every person in America must be a Christian, but the loss of Christian values and morality has opened the door to replacement morals and values that are illegitimate other than to support a desired outcome.
Christianity is an individual choice, a conversion of the heart; however, in order to maintain the liberty that is so unique to our country, I do believe that America’s basis in Christian principles must be preserved and followed.
This is not to say that America must or should become a theocracy because the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States are not theocratic – they are universal and transcendent statements of a free people.
Hayek was not promoting Christianity when he identified the evil that must be ignored to be a collectivist. He did that from logical deduction based on observations taken in the middle of the horror of Germany’s experiment in the evils of national socialism. History proves that in the modern world, classical liberalism combined with Christian tenets seem to be to be the best (and perhaps only) defense against these evils. To stop collectivism and the oppression that inexorably follows, statolatry and morality, an internal sense of right and wrong, must return to our daily lives. Perhaps the revolution begins in our local churches.
Better there than in the streets.