June 16th 2018


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Reflections on the bicentenary of the birth of Karl Marx

EDITORIAL Significance of report into shooting down of MH17

CANBERRA OBSERVED Lee Rhiannon: too Bolshie or not Bolshie enough?

POLITICS Wading further through the Greens party bilge

ECONOMICS Vatican document nails some of the causes of the GFC

POLITICS Greens promise to keep Australia legally stoned and welfare dependent

ENVIRONMENT Scientist sacked for challenging claims of demise of Great Barrier Reef

REDEFINITION OF MARRIAGE Humpty Dumpty has his way with words

CHRISTIANITY AND SOCIETY Tradition, Christianity and the law in contemporary Australia

EDUCATION Ladybird, ladybird: adventures in literacy

OFFICE LAUNCH NCC Sydney: a new chapter in a continuing story

ASIAN AFFAIRS Indonesia takes religious syncretism to the nth degree

WA RALLY FOR LIFE 3300 crosses in Perth poignant reminders of abortions

HUMOUR News snippets

PHILOSOPHY Bendigo initiative

MUSIC Gain is loss: Where is there left to discover?

CINEMA 2001: A Space Odyssey: Unsurpassed 50 years on

BOOK REVIEW The house that could not stand

BOOK REVIEW Australia's first official war historian

LETTERS

EDITORIAL China's pivotal role in Trump-Kim summit

Books promotion page

COVER STORY Reflections on the bicentenary of the birth of Karl Marx

by Patrick J. Byrne

News Weekly, June 16, 2018

Two hundred years after his birth, the legacy of Karl Marx is a brutal social experiment under communist rule in the East, and in the West a cultural revolution whose effects are still being worked through today.

Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.
(If you seek his monument, look around.)

Karl Marx was born in Trier on the banks of the Moselle River in Germany on May 5, 1818. His Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, written at the height of the Industrial Revolution, inspired the communist takeover of Russia by Vladimir Lenin in 1918, and Mao Zedong’s conquest of China in 1949.

Heroic Soviet dissidents like 1970 Nobel laureate for literature Alexander Solzhenitsyn documented the brutality of Joseph Stalin’s great purge, the forced famine in Ukraine and the millions who vanished in the “Gulag Archipelago” slave labour camps. (An abridged version of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago has been republished as a modern classic by Harper Collins.)

Many others documented the brutal reign of terror in China’s Cultural Revolution, the genocidal Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the failed Soviet attempt to conquer Afghanistan.

These together with Soviet and Chinese proxy wars in South-East Asia, southern Africa and Central America, all around the choke points of global trade, cost millions of lives. Estimates range from 40 to 148 million killed.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 marked the sudden and unexpected end of communism as a potent political ideology.

Today, China’s Premier Xi Jinping may celebrate the anniversary of Marx saying that China represents true communist theory but, in reality, China’s economy is capitalism on steroids. In adopting the Western market-economy model, China has grown faster, lifting more people out of poverty than any other nation in history and has made China into a world superpower.

At the same time, China displays all the trappings of a modern capitalist society, from rampant consumption and corruption to a massive gap between the urban elite and rural poor.

Marxism has left a different legacy in the West, where its power was first established in the trade unions, Labor and Social Democratic parties and then among university intellectual elites.

Western intellectuals may have preached Marxism-Leninism, but the Italian philosopher Augusto Del Noce prophesised in the mid-1960s that the outcome would not be communism replacing liberal democracies, but the bulldozing of the religious and moral landmarks of the Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman West and replacing these with a sexual revolution. The works of the relatively unknown Del Noce have only recently been translated into English by Carlo Lancellotti.

Del Noce said that Marxism succeeded as a mass movement by combining a strong critique of economic injustice with its claim to be scientific and its “metaphysical” promises of a utopian future, a classless society where the state withered away and all were equal.

However, by the 1960s, this utopian vision was receding fast. It became clear that the Western working class was not interested in violent revolution but in the consumer goods that the modern technocratic economy could provide and that the post-World War II social contract ensured were widely available in places like the United States, Western Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan.

Furthermore, it was clear that the intellectual elites were more interested in erasing restraints against sexual freedom imposed by religion, the family and the state. Indeed, as noted by those of us involved in the 1970s’ campus wars, most leaders of the student left came not from the working class but from the middle and upper income groups, and many were more interested in “coffee and copulation” than in defending the working class.

While Marxism could never deliver a classless, utopian society, as an atheist ideology (where humans were soulless, material beings) with the capacity for generating a religious-like zeal, Marxism was effective in fatally crippling the old religiously informed social order.

To put it differently, Del Noce prophesised that Marxism was a stalking horse for something else. For those wanting to tear apart traditional moral and religious belief in the West, Marxism was their weapon of choice.

Like a bulldozer through forested land, it cleared the religious landscape for a pragmatic materialism that has had little need to attack religion directly, because it has already discredited belief in the supernatural. It paved the way for a society devoted to the technological advancement that supplied all the consumer goods, services and pleasures modern technology could dream up.

Having sidelined religion, moral absolutes and the transcendental, technical progress became the benchmark of human progress and happiness.

Here sex became pivotal. Sex delivers intense pleasure, and a vibrant feeling of being alive. This assumes paramount importance when the human person is only a material being with no higher moral or spiritual dimension.

Del Noce said that Marxism was a stage in the development of a political and technological system that provides the most “wellbeing” or pleasure. This system became self-reinforcing: the more “wellbeing” such a society provides, the stronger the momentum for the technocratic society that delivers more “wellbeing”.

Del Noce saw Marxism as a stalking horse for sexual revolution, or what B.A. Santamaria described as a libertarian world where the person had the liberty to do as they please, without moral or political restraint. In this world, the autonomous person could pursue sexual freedom, with side effects mitigated by the abortion clinic, medicines to overcome sexually transmitted diseases, IVF and surrogacy to overcome infertility and to have children when wanted, divorce on demand to make easy the escape from the strictures of marriage and family, drugs to intensify pleasure, and the ending of life through assisted suicide when life became too difficult.

The Marxist revolution of the working class was replaced by a libertarian sexual utopia where all are released from the shackles of traditional morality. And it was not a communist state like the Soviet Union but Western capitalist economies that had the technological capacity to supply the consumer goods and provide the legal framework for this revolution.

So, two hundred years after the birth of Marx and 100 years after the Bolshevik Revolution, Russia has thrown off the shackles of Marxism and rebuilt 30,000 churches in 30 years, while the libertarian sexual revolution in the West rolls on, demolishing traditional morality and religious conviction in once great bastions of Western civilisation, including Ireland.

Del Noce said that Western Marxism would lay the grounds for a sexual revolution and, in the process, self-destruct. Santamaria said that if cultural libertarianism became the dominant philosophy, it would radically transform the institutions of the West and Western culture.

Today we witness the alliance between cultural libertarians and the technocratic elites. The campaign for transgender marriage was backed not just by the left of the Labor Party but by libertarians in the Liberal Party and pillars of modern capitalism like the four major banks, Qantas, McDonalds and Boston Consulting.

Both Del Noce and Santamaria directed some of their strongest criticisms towards church progressives who sought to compromise with the new, deeply atheistic, secular irreligion that no longer defined morality by what was true or false, but by what was progress or a reaction against progress.

Both thought that religion could not rely just on repetitions of old religious formulas but required new answers, using timeless principals, to the questions the modern secular and sexualised world presented.

The legacy of Karl Marx should be recognised for what it has delivered: mass terror and death in one half of the world and the undermining of Western civilisation in the other.

Patrick J. Byrne is the national president of the National Civic Council.

References

Carlo Lancellotti, “The Dead End of the Left? Augusto Del Noce’s Critique of Modern Politics”, Commonweal, April 6, 2018.

Francis X. Maier, “The most important thinker we don’t know”, First Things, March 1, 2018.

Augusto Del Noce and Carlo Lancellotti, The Crisis of Modernity.

Augusto Del Noce and Carlo Lancellotti, The Age of Secularization.

B.A. Santamaria, “Philosophies in Collision”, 1973, republished in The Best of News Weekly, Wilkinson Publishing 2017.




























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