Communism is a Religion, and It’s Rising Again From the Ashes
I was wrong. I thought communism was dead.
Communism in fact never died, despite the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In fact, communism may be the instrument that God uses to humiliate and purge a wicked, godless and liberal West.
How I was so wrong about communism became clear when I recently read Archishop Fulton Sheen’s Communism and the Conscience of the West, newly reissued. It is the best book to consult when analyzing the political nightmare that America is living through right now.
Bringing Clarity to America’s Political Nightmare
Bishop Sheen corrected my false perceptions of communism, for instance that it is merely a secular worldview. In fact, communism is a deeply religious credo that has its own theology. It didn’t form on the streets of Moscow in the early 20th Century, but in Europe in the 19th century. Karl Marx was German, and he got his ideas from other Europeans. As Sheen makes clear, communism is an evil, “aggressive religion” that sprung up in our own backyard.
This is profoundly relevant. As Sheen sees it, Christianity and communism have deceptively similar world views. One, Christianity, contains the truth about the meaning of our lives, teaching us that love of God and neighbor, respecting the natural law, and the ability and anticipation that we will have to battle real evil, are the realities we must accept.
The other, communism, preaches a false gospel that is a distortion of Christianity. Communism makes the individual, in Sheen’s phrase, “a robot,” a slave to unstoppable historical and economic forces, which, after an orgy of violence, will result in utopia.
No Happy Middle Way
Between these two theologies is liberalism, which Sheen absolutely destroys in his book:
Though utopian and violent, Marxism reveals a better insight into the historical process than liberalism, which saw peace coming without a struggle and which denied that even a relative Easter of economic order would come without the Good Friday of self-sacrifice and effort.
Sheen notes that
the Gospel for the last Sunday of Pentecost and the Gospel for the first Sunday of Advent are gospels of catastrophe, they proclaim that the final era of peace will not be ushered in until the final conflict between good and evil, when God shall come to judge the living and the dead and the new city of Peace will be descending from the heavens.
A Heretical Path to Misery
In other words, denying God to buy into liberalism, with its ever-expanding “freedoms,” from transgenderism to the focus on material prosperity that isn’t from God, is a heretical path to misery. It is this false religion of liberalism and the perfection of man that was bastardized by communism, which preaches a similar type of utopianism, but with one exception: like Christianity, communism believes there will be a great final battle before the new heaven and new earth.
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In other words, Western secular liberalism, which offers perfection without God, was adopted and perverted by the communist, who turned it into a counter-narrative to the gospel. They are now weaponizing it against us. From Sheen:
As many a parent who educated his child in an extremely progressive school, where the child equated freedom with doing what he pleased, is now the parent who wants to know what to do with his recalcitrant, alcoholic, neurotic son, so the Western world that taught Russia some bad ideas may soon want to know how it can be saved from a country which learned its lesson all too well. A Freudian psychoanalyst cannot help the son, so neither politics nor economics can help the Western world, for the fault is deeper; the world is under the judgement of God and needs repentance.
Sheen observes that “though Babylon fell because it was very wicked, it was nonetheless God’s instrument for disciplining the people of Judah. Assyria was bestial, but so was the ‘rod and staff’ of God’s anger against the people of Israel.” In the West “communism may be the instrument for the liquidation of a bourgeois civilization that has forgotten God.”
A Totalizing Vision of Communism
Chilling words, all the more so because they ring so true. One of the most famous ex-communists of the 20th century was Whittaker Chambers, the Time magazine editor who in 1948 revealed that State Department golden boy Alger Hiss was a Soviet spy.
When testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee, Chambers explained that he joined the Communist Party after he witnessed the destruction of Europe when he visited the continent after World War I: “It seemed to me that a crisis had been reached in western civilization which society was not able to solve by the usual means.” Chambers read the writings of Marx and Lenin. “They seemed to me to explain the nature of the crisis, and what to do about it.”
Secular liberalism was no match for the totalizing vision of communism. Chambers was once asked how a comfortable liberal “who made a real living” in America could become a communist.
The making of a good living does not necessarily blind a man to a critical period which he is passing through, Chambers replied. Such people, in fact, may feel a special insecurity and anxiety. They seek a moral solution in a world of moral confusion. Marxism, Leninism offers an oversimplified explanation of the causes and a program for action. The very vigor of the project particularly appeals to the more or less sheltered middle-class intellectuals, who feel that the whole context of their lives has kept them away from the world of reality.
Chambers came from a home that was a disaster of dysfunction. His father, a graphic artist, was a closeted bisexual who expressed contempt for his wife Laha, a disappointed former actress. Chambers’ brother Richard committed suicide, using the oven in the family home on Long Island. “My brother was lying with his head in the gas oven, his body partly supported by the open door,” Chambers wrote in his masterpiece Witness:
He had made himself as comfortable as he could. There was a pillow in the oven under his head. His feet were resting on a pile of books set on a kitchen chair. One of his arms hung down rigid. Just below the fingers, on the floor, stood an empty quart whisky bottle.
Broken Souls Attach Themselves To a Grand Movement
As much as any speeches by Lenin or Karl Marx, the death of Richard was the catalyst for Chambers to reject God and embrace totalitarianism. In his family Chambers saw “in miniature the whole crisis of the middle class.” The solution to this total disaster was a “totalizing” solution — communism. In 1925, Chambers joined the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA). He defected in the late 1930s. Alger Hiss, the man he accused of being a spy, was guilty.
Chambers explained that a communist “may feel a special insecurity and anxiety” that is cured by attachment to a grand movement. This echoes a New York Times piece from 2017 marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution:
The Marxist vision of world solidarity as translated by the Communist Party induced in the most ordinary of men and women a sense of one’s own humanity that ran deep, made life feel large; large and clarified.
Rather than working on making themselves more whole — a difficult task requiring time, prayer and self-reflection — broken souls project themselves onto a movement.
It’s God or Communism. There is No Safe Middle Way
Transgender bathrooms, free pornography, and a good stock market forecast will not give our lives meaning. Only God will. As Bishop Sheen knew, there is no alternative. It’s God or totalitarianism. Trying to steer some safe middle way, a comfortable liberalism that sells bringing happiness but violates the natural law and is decaying before our eyes, will not bring us salvation. It will only result in getting devoured by the Marxist monster which we, like the Chinese Covid virus, created in our own lab.
Mark Judge is a writer and filmmaker in Washington, D.C. His new book is The Devil’s Triangle: Mark Judge vs the New American Stasi.