“The beatings will continue until morale improves.” Our world is much like this today. I may have a way out in this week’s edition of “Isn’t That Ironic?”.
Let me begin at the end. The Answer is Love.
Today’s blog post is the sequel to last week’s post where I tried to explain the Marxist philosophy behind our “social justice” movements of today. If you haven’t read that, please check it out first. Many people have misunderstood it. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. These ideas are new to most people and are easy to misunderstand, so let me review them.
The dominant philosophy underlying our culture today is known as Critical Theory or Post-Modernism. This philosophy believes there really is no such thing as objective reality, morality, truth, human nature, reason, language, or social progress. All of these are “socially-constructed”—not objective. If this seems bizarre to you, it is.
Last week I pointed out that one of the key fallacies in Marx’s thinking is his idea of groups as the unit of action in society rather than individuals. Thus Karl Marx saw in society, not the struggles of individuals, but a constant battle between social classes (proletariat vs bourgeoisie) for wealth. Marx’s ideas have mutated into the current ideas which see society as a battle between groups (racial, gender, etc.) for power.
Philosophical and political systems based on these ideas ultimately deny the individual and deny God. God, existing outside of society, cannot be “socially constructed”. God must be objective. But nothing really objective exists. So there is no God. This, and the error of group action, is why Marxism and all its derivatives are opposed to religion and opposed to all beliefs in a transcendent god. All religions recognize each human being as an independent creation of God, endowed with free will and capable of independent action, thus having the power of his own individual redemption.
This humanity-destroying nature of Marxist ideas was attested to by Pope John Paul II. He spent almost his whole life living under Marxist ideology, first under Hitler’s socialist NAZI regime in Poland, and later under the communist regime of the USSR. He described it as “the pulverization of the human person”. It led him to develop his own philosophical ideas of “personalism” which emphasize the fundamental importance and sanctity of the human person.
These Marxist ideas of group identity rather than individual identity underly much of the social upheaval in our world today. They have infiltrated virtually every movement that aims to improve the human condition. This is both ironic and perverse, since these ideas are completely opposed to the ends they seek.
Bishop Robert Barron does an excellent job of tracing these ideas through the main philosophers of the 20th century in his lecture, “Ideas Have Consequences: The Philosophers Who Shaped 2020” Many people have asked him the question that is on everyone’s lips today, “What is going on?”. Like me, he says we “have to put on our philosopher’s caps”, because that’s where it’s coming from.
The great economist, Ludwig von Mises, concurred when he said, “the fate of civilization rests upon the ideas that motivate the masses. If we fail to win the battle of ideas, we will see the horrors of history repeated.”
Ludwig von Mises was the clearest and most eloquent economist to refute the non-sensical economic ideas of Karl Marx. In speaking about Marx’s ideas of the class struggle, von Mises said, “As a corrective of these fancies the truism must be stressed that only individuals think and act.”
In trying to understand the relationship of the individual to the group—the ultimate group being the whole society—von Mises said, “Let us first examine the concept of society in general. Men cooperate with one another. The totality of interhuman relations engendered by such cooperation is called society. Society is not an entity in itself. It is an aspect of human action. It does not exist or live outside of the conduct of people. It is an orientation of human action. Society neither thinks nor acts. Individuals in thinking and acting constitute a complex of relations and facts that are called social relations and facts.”
To understand what appears to be bizarre and unjust behavior in some people, we must realize that they are coming from a philosophy that tells them their violent actions are justified because they will overcome the ingrained, institutional racism and sexism of others, who are often not even aware of it themselves because their world view has been “socially constructed”. There is no objective morality, nor objective truth, nor objective human nature. Not even reason can be relied on as a guide to truth because even reason is “socially constructed”. And the main goal is power! Therefore, whatever I do to achieve justice, as I see it, for my group is perfectly moral and good—even if that seems racist or sexist or oppressive to these other people who are the real oppressors.
So the violence will get worse. Marxism always leads to violence. It is a gospel of violence. Marxism accepts violence as necessary for social improvement. Bishop Barron explains this in his video. Marxism is an antagonistic social theory. Violence is exactly the point. You need to foment antagonism and violence to create a revolution and break the unjust “system”. This is exactly what we see happening around us.
But we know that violence begets violence. There is no end to it. In Marxist philosophy, there is an eternal conflict between groups that can never be resolved. And individuals don’t matter. Again, as Bishop Barron explains, Nietzsche, building on Marx, realized that this leads to a clash of wills and inexorably to the emergence of a “strong man” who crushes all opposition and dominates all others with his own will. Marxist ideologies lead to societies in which no one is free and millions of people die in the process. This is the road we are on.
So where can we go from here? How do we get off this road? How can we heal the wounds and divisions in our society? Only with love.
The Way Out of Violence – A New Level of Thinking
Einstein is credited with saying, “Problems cannot be solved on the same level of thinking that created them.” Almost paradoxically, to solve the problems of the world, we must go beyond the world. To solve the problems of philosophy, we must go beyond philosophy. And to solve the problems of man, we must turn to God.
Modern philosophy is built on a denial of God. We must turn again toward God. However we conceive God to be, we must open ourselves to Him, to It, to the Divine, to the Universe. Pick your favorite name.
In the same vein, we must learn to look at each other not as human beings, but as divine beings; not as bodies—but as souls. We must look past the physical, the race, the sex, the culture, the clothes, the hair—to see the soul within. While modern philosophy exalts and even worships the ego, the individual will—the way out of this is to exalt the divine, both within and without us.
The only way to solve racism is to transcend it. The only way to solve sexism is to transcend it. As long as we define people by their race or sex, we will have racism and sexism. There is no way around this.
Look beyond the surface characteristics, because everyone has different surface characteristics. See every person as a soul, as a child of God, as your brother or sister—because that’s what each person is. Every person. Love each individual as yourself. Haven’t we heard this before? Love your neighbor as yourself? Maybe it’s just too simple.
Jesus didn’t say to love the Romans as yourself, or love the Greeks as yourself, or love the Samaritans as yourself. It’s not groups you are called to love—it is every individual. If you treat every single individual as an equal sibling of God, and ignore all surface characteristics, you will bring love and peace into every single relationship in your life. That is the only way to bring love and peace into the world, one relationship at a time.
The only solution to racism is to not see race. The only solution to sexism is to not see sex. People will misunderstand this. I do not mean we should close our eyes to the real unfairness and injustice we see around us or within us. We must see these. And we must turn away from injustice and violence always. But as long as we see each other (and ourselves) as bodies, we will react to the characteristics of the body. We must see everyone not as bodies but as souls—as manifestations of the Divine Being.
Our underlying philosophy conditions how we perceive the world—much more than society conditions us. We are much more “perception-conditioned” than we are “socially-conditioned”. And how we perceive the world conditions how we respond to the world. We must fundamentally change how we perceive the world. That is the beginning of change. Today’s post is about perceiving differently. Next week I’ll have more thoughts about acting differently.
Love and respect every individual person you encounter. Love is the Way. Love is the Answer. Love is all there is.
God Bless You!
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