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Communism Is Not The Answer

July 18, 2021 Featured Today No Comments

By DONALD DeMARCO

Arizona State Rep. Jake Hoffman has stated: “The reality is [that] one of the greatest threats facing the globe today is Communism and totalitarianism.”
His words are not mere verbal declarations. Hoffman and his fellow politicians are doing something about these threats. The Republican-majority Arizona House has approved a bill that could require schoolteachers from K through 12 to share stories of people who fled Communism. In addition, public schools would be mandated to teach how Communism and totalitarianism “conflict with the founding principles of the United States.” In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed an executive order on education that exposes the errors of critical race theory and requires students to learn about “the evils of Communism.”
The current romance with Communism is rooted in a certain disaffection with capitalism. But this disaffection does not arise from a rejection of capitalism as such, but due to overreactions concerning a number of specific incidents that have occurred recently throughout society. It is easy enough to recognize problems; the solutions are far more difficult to recognize. Oftentimes people are so agitated by specific problems that, to cite an over-used aphorism, they are eager to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
In Michael Novak’s excellent book, The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Communism, he makes the following statement: “The dread menace of communism, which in the Soviet Union alone took millions more lives than Hitler took in all Europe, and which blighted so many hundreds of millions of other lives, had been defeated. The idea of socialism (at least as an economic idea) has been discredited….The death of socialism gives us an opportunity to think in fresh ways and to begin again with a new burst of social creativity.”
The historian Robert Heilbroner asserted: “Less than seventy-five years after it officially began, the contest between capitalism and socialism is over: Capitalism has won.”
Apart from an overreaction to specific incidents in society, Communism appeals to those who believe that a society should be built on the principle of equality. On this particular point, however, much education is needed. We are all equal as human beings. We are not equal in relation to our individual talents. It is painfully ironic that abortion is based on the contention that the unborn humans are not equal to those who have been born. On the other hand, the Communist ideal denies that undeniable differences that exist between people that allows them to help each other in ways in which they could not help themselves.
Karl Marx stated that “the individual, of and by himself, has no value unless he is a member of the revolutionary mass.”
Lenin asked, “What are 50 or 60 million people if they are sacrificed for the benefit of future humanity? The price for such a future would be much higher than those millions of worthless wretches. These generations are worth nothing, they are only cannon fodder for the experiment — a practical experiment — which will bring humanity nearer to happiness.”
The push for equality leads to a loss of individual distinctiveness. And with that loss is the loss of inviolable dignity. As an individual, he is exactly like every other individual and politically obliged not to be different in any way. As a consequence, he loses his motivation. The result is a society of people who are prevented from exercising their own God-given abilities to fulfill their destinies.
In his encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (The Concern of the Church for Social Order, 1987), Pope John Paul II addresses the folly of this extreme form of equality that stifles human creativity: “In today’s world, among other rights, the right of economic initiative is often suppressed. Yet it is a right which is important not only for the individual but also for the common good. Experience shows us that the denial of this right, or its limitation in the name of an alleged ‘equality’ of everyone in society, diminished, or in practice, absolutely destroys the spirit of initiative, that is to say, the creative subjectivity of the citizen.”
Closely associated with the notion of “creative subjectivity” is the principle of subsidiarity, an important concept in the social teaching of the Church. Simply stated, this principle refers to “what individuals can accomplish by their own initiative and efforts should not be taken from them by a higher authority.” Under Communist rule, all authority is at the top. Communism has no place for traditional loyalties to church, family, neighborhood, legion and various voluntary associations. Because it does not recognize the importance of the individual person, it has no respect for the reciprocal bonds that exist between citizens that are essential to a well-ordered society.
In 1991, the year of Pope John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus, the predictions that Pope Leo XIII had made about the “futility” of actual socialism were vindicated in a dramatic way when great crowds cheered the demolition of the Berlin Wall and the fall of socialism. United States governors are wise to insist on education over the indoctrination to which students are subjected by the media and the false prophets who are given a forum. By that same year, the hundredth anniversary of Rerum Novarum (On Labor and Capital, 1891), as Michael Novak informs us, “the totalitarian dictators of the twentieth century [Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler] had long since passed from the world’s stage, their ambitions in ruins, their crimes the subject of the world’s revulsion. But the papacy seemed in 1991 stronger than it had been in many generations.”
No political system is perfect, but some are far better than others. Communism cannot be corrected. Capitalism, it should be noted, is part of an economic system. Its full development in the United States, in particular, requires a democratic polity, religious liberty, and a humanistic structure in which citizens relate to each other through virtue.
Communism is not the answer. Education, properly undertaken, will reawaken pride that Americans should have in the principles that they inherited from their founding fathers. Such education will also awaken people to workable solutions.

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