Virtually anyone over the age of 25 today has heard of Karl Marx and Marxism, though many remain ignorant of Marx’s situation and the true foundation of his economic theories.
Karl Marx was the grandson of a Jewish rabbi, but his father converted to Lutheranism to escape the antisemitism endemic in Germany, and Karl and siblings were baptized in a Lutheran church in 1824.
But it’s what happened later that began to warp the young Marx’s worldview.
Karl Marx’s father died in 1938, leaving son bitter and lonely at age twenty, and leaving the family in dire straights financially. Further, Marx was plagued with painful boils (modern physicians believe he suffered from hidradenitis suppurativa), making work and research excruciatingly difficult, adding to his abundance of bitterness.
Like so many young people today, Marx became enamoured with radicals on campus at the University of Berlin, joining a group called the Young Hegelians, aficionados of G.W.F. Hegel and his Hegelian Dialectic. In 1844, at the age of 26, Karl met the German socialist, Friedrich Engels, which sparked a friendship and collaboration.
The importance of the background is to understand that undergirding all of Karl Marx’s theories were a great bitterness (at losing his father, the family’s wealth, and due to poor health) and rejection of God and His precepts.
Marx is perhaps most famous for his quote:
“Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes” and is often rendered as “religion… is the opiate of the masses.”
Marxism is a godless theory, supposing what we can see and touch is all there is — that there is nothing beyond this mortal life, no hope of eternity in heaven, no dread of hell, no thing called sin. Everything in life is therefore detached from any intrinsic value: every act is only valuable if it contributes to the well-being of the proletariat (the lower or working class). And of course, any member of society with great wealth was judged evil by their holdings, not their heart nor actions.
Cultural Marxism, borrows the pure pragmatism of Marxism, framing social issues in the value-less setting Karl Marx erected. Based on “Critical Theory” — “destructive criticism of the main elements of Western culture, including Christianity, capitalism, authority, the family, patriarchy, hierarchy, morality, tradition, sexual restraint, loyalty, patriotism, nationalism, heredity, ethnocentrism, convention and conservatism…” — Cultural Marxism would tear down every tenet of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, not to mention the Holy Bible.
Examples of Cultural Marxism:
- Political Correctness.
- Third-Wave Feminism.
- Identity Politics.
And precisely just what is the problem with Marxism and Cultural Marxism?
First of all, King David penned the premier indictment:
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Further, Proverbs 9:10 instructs:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Both forms of Marxism — economic and cultural — dismiss the Lord God and His principles, and thus are the unwise theories of fools.
Why does society wish to ignore God and His precepts? It all comes down to the desire of mankind to do whatever they please with no guilt, no consequences. And this desire is as old as the human race.
Think of the enticing words of “the serpent” in the Garden of Eden (emphasis mine):
For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
No wonder The Left despises the Constitution and Declaration of Independence: America’s founders and our founding documents proclaim the absolute existence of a Creator God who is the author of life and liberty. Acknowledgment of that Creator would mean acknowledgment of His holy standards and consequences for violation of those standards, both of which are an anathema to Progressives, Socialists, and Marxists.
And a current troubling trend is the partial acceptance of Cultural Marxism by supposed conservatives such as Milo Yiannopoulos.
Milo claims to be a conservative, yet, like so many Libertarians, divorces God’s transcendent truth from economic theory. The British “provocateur” delights in flaunting his homosexuality while proclaiming himself a conservative and a Republican.
Unfortunately, Yiannopoulos is not alone — more and more Christians and conservatives capitulate and exhort others to “not judge” or “condemn” perverse, anti-biblical lifestyle choices.
Once again, like with Karl Marx, all of life is diminished to the physical realm and truth is no longer transcendent, but squishy and situational.
Economic theory untethered from God’s truth was never the intent of our Founders:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The mantra of too many Libertarians and a growing number of Conservatives is FREEDOM, and freedom alone.
Consistent with Reagan, conservatives today constantly talk of freedom. Freedom. Freedom. Freedom. Go to any gathering of conservatives, and you will hear a freedom mantra.
. . .
Yet, in truth, as Reagan understood, to invoke freedom alone is a mistake. Freedom by itself, isolated, is libertarianism, not conservatism. For the conservative, freedom requires faith; it should never be decoupled from faith. Freedom not rooted in faith can lead to moral anarchy, which, in turn, creates social and cultural chaos. Freedom without faith is the Las Vegas Strip, not the City of God. Freedom without faith begets license and invites vice rather than virtue.
Faith infuses the soul with a sanctifying grace that allows humans in a free society to love and serve their neighbors, to think about more than themselves. We aspire to our better angels when our faith nurtures and elevates our free will.
To our great shame, too many conservatives have not read the Republican Platform 2016, perhaps the most conservative GOP platform — socially, economically, and politically — ever drafted. The GOP 2016 platform is PRO-LIFE, PRO-FAMILY, and PRO-FAITH.
America’s survival depends upon citizens with inner moral constraints striving to do what is right, not just what feels good at the time.
Remember that liberty divorced from truth ultimately results in chaos and destruction. And pray and act to advance God’s truth unapologetically and without ceasing.
Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34
First published at Illinois Family Institute