To all of this he added an eschatology of victory, a certainty of success
which was raised to the level of first principle, of dogma, of prerequisite
faith. It is eternally worth noting that Whittaker Chambers, even when he
embraced freedom, believed without question that he was abandoning the
winning side. The contagiousness of the Communist faith was such that
virtually everyone at the time agreed.
The tenor of the "worker's paradise" to come was already apparent in Marx's
own leadership of the International Workingmen's Association, which was
nothing if not dictatorial. Once in the hands of a state, however, Communist
atheology became truly consistent with its presuppositions. Since the
individual man was just a biological machine, he could be discarded at will.
Since good and evil were entirely relative, they could be defined entirely
by the party and therefore by the state. Since the state/party could and
must regenerate man and build the paradise to come, it's power must be
absolute and unquestioned.
And since victory was inevitable, millions gave up their individuality,
their families, even their lives, without a fight.
Marx's atheology created the greatest idol of all, the idol of the
omnipotent state. This idol appealed to men more than any other in history,
because it made all morality relative and it gave ambitious men the means to
become gods themselves. But it also appealed precisely because it was not an
idol of stone or wood, but an idol of power: prayers to it could be
answered, needs and greeds fulfilled. And because it indulged all of man's
basest instincts while ever appealing to his noblest motives, it was exactly
the sort of god man wanted to create, a god in his own image.
Marx's work was nothing new -- it was the logical conclusion of left-wing
Enlightenment humanism, and had roots as old as Pharaoh -- and it was left
to others -- Lenin, Stalin, Mao -- to carry out his work. Yet Marx's idol
was and remains in many ways the most successful false god of human history.
In its heyday enslaving more than half the world (and nearly taking the
rest), its presuppositions still remain the dominant faith of the ruling
elites of most of the western world. That is itself a terrifying thought.
Marxism in this century killed a hundred million people, and sent probably
two billion to hell. It withered whatever it touched, and it frankly touched
If Lenin's minions were the "vanguard" of the old revolution, we must surely
be the vanguard of the new. Nothing has taught us better than Marxism the
danger of holding false theological presuppositions, even in the absence of
a clear political program. Mankind may embrace the truth, or he may embrace
a lie. The difference between the American Revolution and the Russian is the
difference between worlds; and it is that better world -- indeed a better
world even still -- which we must build.