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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Liberalism: a Barren Rock in Mid-Ocean

Liberal-socialism offers no meaning to individuals’ lives.

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In March of this year, news media gave extensive coverage to the story of Ashley Smith, the Duluth, Georgia, woman who was held hostage in her apartment by Brian Nichols, the man accused in the Atlanta courthouse killings.  Accoding to the New York Times story by Edward Wyatt, “Ms. Smith said on Sunday that while she was being held, she retrieved a copy of “The Purpose-Driven Life” [by Protestant minister Rick Warren] from her bedroom, read parts of it to Mr. Nichols and discussed with him the book’s themes of finding God’s purpose for oneself. Those discussions, she said, led her captor to release her unharmed and to his later surrender to the police…After we began to talk, he said he thought that I was an angel sent from God. And that I was his sister and he was my brother in Christ. And that he was lost and God led him right to me to tell him that he had hurt a lot of people.”

If you ever unhappily find yourself in Ashley Smith’s position, instead of offering the message of Judeo-Christian spirituality, try reading to your captor passages from Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” or John Dewey’s “Education for Democracy” and see how far you get in persuading him to seek a new purpose for his life.

The unbridgeable difficulty, of course, is that the various sects of socialism have nothing to say to the individual person.  Socialism deals with the masses, by class, and speaks in terms of the collectivized power of the political state.  The individual is on his own, liberalism providing him no more elevated aspirations than sensual gratification via unrestrained hedonism, which is liberalism’s “opium of the masses.”

In stark contrast, Judeo-Christian principles address each individual directly and call upon him to repent his sinful ways, to turn to God, and to live a life of benevolence grounded in love of God and his fellow humans.  The individual is to soften his heart and to begin dealing kindly and lovingly with each individual person in his life.  Spiritual religion thereby gives a specific purpose to every person’s life.  Those who strive to follow its dictates discover the inner peace that passes all understanding.

The Judeo-Christian heritor is not permitted to take refuge in the “I gave at the office” attitude that leads liberals to look to the collectivized political power of the state to rectify all wrongs.  Jesus made a distinction between individuals’ duty to God and to the political state.  As He replied to the Pharisees’ question, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” 

Under liberalism, the closest the individual can come to meaningful personal action is becoming part of a mass protest against the founding principles of the United States, in a street mob waving placards with slogans that he can’t explain to inquiring media reporters.  He has absolutely no means of direct, personal relationship with his god, the secular and materialistic political state. 

In liberal doctrine, the political state must take care of individuals, because they are incapable of doing so for themselves.  As Dee Dee Myers, President Clinton?s press secretary, wrote in a Los Angeles Times article dated June 6, 1999, “The failure of health care, and the ups and downs of her years in the White House, have done nothing to shake [Hillary] Clinton’s faith in government. If anything, they’ve strengthened it. Only government can make the kind of sweeping changes that improve people’s lives.”

Under liberal-socialism, everything belongs to the political state, at least indirectly.  Implicitly, even if you nominally own things, it is the political state that creates jobs and provides for your material needs.  Under atheistic socialism, there is no spiritual dimension, just the physical goods and services that the planners think fit for you to have. 

Liberals cloak this fundamental doctrine under bland language about “caring” for the people.  But theirs is a “caring” that ignores, for example, the degrading effects of welfare dependency.  Theirs is a “caring” that led them to support Stalin’s mass murders of tens of millions of Russians, because they “cared” about the theoretical good of humanity.

Adolph Hitler minced no words in ?Mein Kampf:?

?The best State constitution and State form is that which, with the most natural certainty, brings the best heads of the national community to leading importance and to leading influence…the State in its organization, beginning with the smallest cell of the community up to the highest leadership of the entire Reich, must be built upon the principle of personality [of the Fuhrer].?

Nor did Benito Mussolini in ?The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism? (1933):

?Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State. ?The Fascist State has drawn into itself even the economic activities of the nation, and, through the corporative social and educational institutions created by it, its influence reaches every aspect of the national life and includes, framed in their respective organizations, all the political, economic and spiritual forces of the nation.?

Liberals will object that their secular ideology is very different from the totalitarian, statist regimes of Europe.  Perhaps so, in degree.  It’s undeniable, however, that American liberalism arose in the last half of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th directly from the same roots as Hitler’s and Mussolini’s socialism: the socialistic Religion of Humanity preached by the French Revolutionary era philosophers, Henri de Saint-Simon and Auguste Comte.

What is commonly taught in our schools, that Nazism and Fascism were right-wing ideologies completely different from socialism and communism, is a deliberately concocted falsehood to protect socialism from careful scrutiny.  The popular myth was fabricated by apologists for socialism like Hannah Arendt, the author of “The Origins of Totalitarianism.”  Before coming to New York at the outbreak of World War II, Arendt was a German philosopher who had been a collaborator of Martin Heidegger, the notorious philosophical supporter of Hitler?s National Socialist regime and a member of the Nazi party until it was disbanded in 1945.  In New York City she became a professor of political theory at The New School for Social Research, an institution founded in 1919 by John Dewey and other socialists to radicalize American students.

The secular religion of socialism, in fact, is the doctrinal foundation, the underlying ethos of Soviet communism, Mussolini’s Fascism, and Hitler’s National Socialism (the Nazis).  American liberalism is simply a sect of that same worldwide religion of socialism, just as Roman Catholics, Congregationalists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists, and so on, all are Christians.

Liberalism, Fascism, Nazism, and Communism share a common belief that individualism and private property are the source of humanity?s ills.  All employ the same methodology of collectivized government control, differing only in degree.  All are materialistic and opposed to spiritual religion, believing that the state?s organization and its control of economic activity are the only real determinants of human behavior.  God as Creator of the universe is pushed aside, and His place is seized by the intellectual regulator.  The world and human society are henceforth to be whatever the intellectual decides that they should be.

In the final analysis, even in the relatively mild socialism of our American welfare state, life’s meaning for the individual is as bleak as for a seed dropped in the middle of the desert.  We have lost sight of this fundamental reality with the passage of time and world military conflicts since the 1920s.  Before World War II, however, even liberals acknowledged it.

As George M. Marsden noted in “Religion and American Culture,” prominent liberal historian Carl M. Becker wrote in 1932 in his widely praised “The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth Century Philosophers”:

“Edit and interpret the conclusions of modern science as tenderly as we like, it is still quite impossible for us to regard man as the child of God for whom the earth was created as a temporary habitation.  Rather we must regard him as little more than a chance deposit on the surface of the world, carelessly thrown up between two ice ages by the same forces that rust iron and ripen corn, a sentient organism endowed by some happy or unhappy accident with intelligence indeed, but with an intelligence that is conditioned by the very forces that it seeks to understand and to control.  The ultimate cause of this cosmic process… appears in its effects as neither benevolent nor malevolent, as neither kind nor unkind, but as merely indifferent to us.  What is man that the electron should be mindful of him?”

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