A Rival Religion
Socialism does not allow competition from any other god
In the mid-1960s, I could be seen on the Boston Common dressed in surplus military fatigues, complete with jacket and boots, sporting a chestnut brown beard. I wasn’t aware at the time that all us hippie rebels were enacting a spectacular resurgence of utopian socialism. Our rebel cause was to bring about a cooperative socialism. Our “Flower Power” would overcome, which did not require a violent Marxist revolution if presented well.
I had read of Brook Farm, a small community which Nathaniel Hawthorne briefly joined in the 1840s to explore his utopian ideals. It soon failed due to those indelible selfish traits that engender resentment when equal time and labor are not forthcoming by all members. As St. Paul wrote to Thessalonian Catholics, “If anyone will not work, let him not eat” (2 Thess 3:10). Though I was oblivious to the huge personal sacrifices required for communal success, I too yearned to find a practical utopia in 1964.
I was raised a cradle Catholic but experienced a traumatic metanoia in my twenties that converted me into a true Christian. That blessing-in-disguise lent a religious impetus to my search for utopia on Earth. The Shakers, Quakers, the Bruderhof communities, and Catholic convents and monasteries attracted my keen interest because they emulated the first Christian community after Pentecost, where all assets were held in common.
Leo Tolstoy hoped to form his own utopian community in Russia. He refused to allow traditional serfdom on his own inherited estate. Eight years after his death, the Communist Revolution erupted. A violent form of communism emerged with quasi-religious zeal, intent on supplanting Russian Orthodoxy. The churches easily collapsed without the state’s financial support. Communism replaced God. Its base of support was the lower classes that had nothing to lose. They craved equal status for all and the distribution of extravagant upper class wealth. But of course some were treated more equal than others.
This aberration of true Christian communism now has a first cousin in the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). The DSA boasts four members of Congress and over thirty-five members in city councils and lower state assemblies. Fiscally impractical ideas such as universal health care and free college tuition are its hallmark, with extravagant promises that smack of Soviet Communism.
DSA appeals to the young for obvious reasons. Millennials who find themselves economically shackled, still living in their parents’ homes and unable or unwilling to find meaningful work, are attracted to enticing freebies. Youth typically fail to understand that well-meaning but misguided politicians promise the moon to get elected. Disgruntled youth become fertile ground for ambitious DSA politicians.
A 2019 YouGov poll showed that 70% of Millennials would vote DSA for a socialist president, and more than 30% think highly of communism. For better or worse, the religious, political, and economic future of America lies in their soft, uncalloused hands.
If the DSA gains power, taxes will skyrocket to support its wild promises and a surveillance police state will emerge. The corrupted Church will be taxed blind and totally debilitated, as it once was in Russia and is now in China. (Recall that Pope Francis recently bowed to China’s demand to appoint its own party-favored bishops.) Socialists do not allow competition from any other religion, and the state demands worship as if it were God.
AI surveillance technology, perfected in China and now implemented in London, New York, and over 60 nations, allows government officials to monitor every trivial pursuit of its citizens. (See China Undercover, a revealing documentary by PBS.) COVID-19 is enhancing this effort. Frightened people welcome enforced isolation. How useless the mythical Christ or Buddha! God Almighty has not been there to protect us and watch over our every thought, word, and deed. AI will monitor society and any brewing revolts. In China, the individual is expendable and the Collective is supreme. Can I trust anyone? is the prevailing question. Such division, as fathers turn in their sons and sons turn in their fathers, is a distortion of Christ’s description of when Truth arrives to divide men (Luke 12:53).
I turn to Bishop Fulton Sheen when commenting on Communism. Sheen lamented, “Communism is the final logic of a dehumanization of man. The industrial civilization of the Western world has no intention of destroying man’s freedom or denying his personality. But Communism does. Denying God, it reduces man to a robot.” Likewise, Christianity respects the individual personality, but Communism does not.
The exponential growth in AI computer technology will have a dehumanizing effect, especially when combined with American selfish, materialistic indulgence. As our civilization begins to die morally and spiritually, there appears the vulture: communism.
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