On Christianity, Socialism and Communism
There has been much discussion in recent weeks over the debt of Christianity to—and its compatibility with —the ideas and praxis of the socialist revolution, and even of communism. Many, even in the Catholic Church, believe that we share some of the ideals of the socialist revolution because it seems to them that communism, socialism and Christianity are for the poor. In addition to this most unfortunate error, the opposite fallacy has also been made popular in the minds of many, namely that capitalists and advocates of a free market economy, hate the poor.
But the historical record of communism tells an entirely different story. I have worked with the countries of the former Soviet Union for over 20 years, and I have seen what communism does to populations and nations. The scourge of the socialist revolution around the world gave us 6 million people killed by artificial famines in Ukraine and, as documented by The Black Book of Communism, 20 million victims in the U.S.S.R., 65 million in China, a million in Vietnam, 2 million in North Korea, another 2 million in Cambodia, a million more in the rest of Eastern Europe, 150,000 in Latin America, 1.7 million in Africa, 1.5 million in Afghanistan and through the international Communist movement and related parties about 100,000 more victims in various nations. This is a body count that reaches to 100 million victims worldwide. Communism completely destroyed the economy, social fabric, and political culture of dozens of nations. It hollowed out the intelligentsia, ruined every economy where the seed of socialism fully “bloomed,” and abrogated fundamental rights and individual freedoms of the nations it subjugated. Clearly the Judeo-Christian commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” is not among the doctrinal teachings of communism and the socialist revolution. It is hard to believe that the socialist revolution—unlike Nazism—still finds promoters and defenders in the West.
The compatibility of Christianity and its legitimate concern for the poor owes nothing to the violent and inhuman regimes created by the socialist revolution. No system in human history has produced more poverty and misery than communism.
No greater foe has the Church ever encountered, than the communist revolution. During the 20th century, hundreds of thousands of religious and priests were sent to forced labor camps or simply executed. Five year plans to abolish religion were implemented and no true believer was ever safe in such nations. What social doctrine of the Church was ever derived from such madness? Communism and the socialist revolution are not only the antithesis of Christianity. They are also incompatible with free, just, and democratic societies.
The case against the “wonders” of the socialist revolution can be put to rest by simply reminding people that brick and mortar walls, guarded by armed soldiers, were necessary to keep people from fleeing the manmade paradise of “social equality” created by communists. As Milton Friedman pointed out, the “…strongest proof of the failure of socialism is the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
Neither is a complex apologia required to explain why there is no substantial difference between socialism and communism. Communism, as American writer Whittaker Chambers documented, is nothing more than socialism with claws. Theoretically the two systems share the same ideals and philosophical framework. Communism simply takes socialism to its logical, final consequences.
The difference between the two was captured well by a joke I once read. Communists will simply shoot you in the head, but the socialists will make you suffer for a lifetime.
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