(Page 2 of 2)
DESPITE WHAT SO MANY American lefties would say even today, the vision outlined by Marx and Engels is not wonderful but terrifying. The leveling impulses itself is a mistaken one. It is evil, not Utopia, to say that all people should forfeit their individuality, their family ties, and their unique dreams in order that the material circumstances —yes, the wealth — of all people be the same. Granted, society should provide care for “the least of these,” and none of us should treat the poverty of another as an acceptable existence. But the goal should not be equality of result, of material circumstance; instead, the goal should be the expansion of opportunity, and of the possibility for human growth and achievement.
Furthermore, that opportunity is not merely material, but spiritual. The Communists, the Utopians, belittle the human spirit, all in the pursuit of what they call a “common good.” But that which inspires human striving, in the self-chosen pursuit of a greater good rather than one chosen, dictated, by the greater society, is of far more value than is any “good” achieved by the gray and enervating sameness of the Communist vision.
Marx and Engel write of their ideal “proletarian” that “Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests,” and he denounces “the bourgeois claptrap about the family and education, about the hallowed correlation of parents and child.”
But family love and family ties are not claptrap. It is an ennobling facet of human nature, not a disreputable one, which cherishes the love between husband and wife, brother and sister, parent and child.
TO CLIMB DOWN A BIT from this theoretical realm, back to the realities of the horrors of Communism, one need only rent a wonderful, stark, and ultimately redemptive movie on most Blockbuster shelves these days. The Lives of Others, which won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film, is set in the Communist East Berlin of the 1980s. It tells of how the Communist secret police, the Stasi, spy on and punish anybody suspected of Western (freedom-loving) sympathies. Without giving away the plot, suffice it to say that the reality depicted in this film is ample and powerful witness to the ills that did not just happen by mistake under Communism, but that are an inherent aspect of that horrid system.
The dedication of the Victims of Communism Memorial this coming Tuesday should warn all of us against such a tyrannical faux Utopia, and inspire us to adore the freedom that is its antithesis.
“You must resist tyranny,” Edwards insisted to me. “You cannot just accept it. You cannot just think it is not going to challenge me….You must stand up to tyranny with purpose and with conviction and with dispatch.”
The lesson of the new memorial, and of tragic historical experience, is that Communism — all Communism — is by its very nature a tyranny of the sort Edwards warned against. It is certainly not the only tyranny, but so far it is the worst one this Earth has ever known. We Americans led the way in defeating it. We should not forget why the battle was necessary.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?