Ch 1 – The Paradox of Politics and Religion

America once again is at a crossroads in its history. When Ronald Reagan left office, the country turned slightly left into the Bush-Clinton-Bush era. On the talk radio circuit many pundits made the observation that there was very little ideological or philosophical difference between Republicans and Democrats over those two decades. Republicans moved away from conservative principles and advocated fiscal spending policies that resembled Democrats, and many Democrats talked like conservatives on social issues in order to appear more centrist for their electorate. Bush the younger, learning from the elder Bush’s mistake on taxes, tried to have the best of both worlds by continuing the Reagan tax cuts while promoting pork projects, war spending and pandering to special interest groups. George W. Bush went an amazing five years before he actually used his veto, and that veto was on a social not a spending issue. The political dynamic of Democrat versus Republican in the Bush-Clinton-Bush era was not very exciting because aside from the rhetoric surrounding a few social issues and methods for responding to 9-11, their core philosophies were not very different.

To say that the philosophy and political climate changed with the election of Barak Obama to the presidency is a vast understatement. Obama took the slow steady move toward European style socialism from his predecessors in the White House and took a very hard turn to the left indeed. So many of us who fell asleep the last two decades trying to find any meaningful differences between a Bush Republican and a Clinton Democrat are now wide awake and left wondering:  what is happening to the great American experiment and what does it all mean?

While we are left scratching our heads trying to unravel the mystery of Barak Obama, an informed citizenry must at least make some attempt to come to an understanding of the origin and political philosophy of key players in this battle for the soul of America. Deciphering opposing ideologies has taken on a new importance for many of us who are not optimistic about the path we are on and it becomes even more imperative that we try to make sense of what this all means for the future of America and the American people.

To many of us, understanding the origins and nuances of a political philosophy may seem like a daunting a task. There is, however, a simple way to look at this.  For the purposes of this discussion, let us assume that there are three branches of the tree of political philosophy: on the left, appropriately enough, are those thinkers who have influenced modern Liberal or Progressive politics; on the right, are thinkers who have influenced extreme Nationalistic or Religious politics; and the middle branch is the simply the evolution of thinkers who have influenced America’s founding principles. Certainly one can argue about numbers of branches and where a specific thinker lies on a branch, but this is a good starting point.  Key philosophers and thinkers will be discussed in later chapters. A visual representation of where they appear on respective branches is provided with related topics defined in the Appendix and Index for easy reference.

In America today there is confusion about what exactly constitutes political or religious ideology. A paradox of political philosophy is that there are religions that control states and hence are very much political organizations, and there are political movements that act like religions in their missionary zeal and use of language. Understanding this phenomenon helps to avoid the conundrum that inevitably comes from trying to make heads or tails of competing ideologies. If a religion controls the state is it not a political entity?  If a political ideology acts like a religion, does it deserve to be treated differently from other religions?

Two ideologies that can be described in religious terms are Marxism and the American Radicalism of Saul Alinsky. It is widely known that Marx was an avowed atheist. In fact, Marx is famous for saying that Religion is the opiate of the people. For true believers of Marx, however, it is fair to argue that Marxism itself is the opiate for the Proletariat or supporters of the government worker. The premise that Marxism can be viewed as a religion originated from a very stunning chart first described by Bertrand Russell in A History of Western Philosophy, in his words “to understand Marx psychologically”. This shows Marxism in a very different light.  The church of Marx is the Communist Party. Yahweh is equivalent to Marx’s concept of dialectical materialism. This is explained in greater detail later, but in its simplest terms, Marx used the method of “dialectic” that he borrowed from Hegel and applied it to his “materialistic” belief in the struggle between the capitalist and the worker. The translation of the second coming is the workers revolution where they rise up against the capitalists. Of course that means that Hell is reserved for those capitalists who have oppressed the workers. Finally, the Millennium or great utopian vision is the Communist paradise on earth.

 

Bertrand Russell – A History of Western Philosophy

Yahweh = Dialectal Materialism

The Messiah = Marx

The Elect = The Proletariat

The Church = The Communist Party

The Second Coming = The Revolution

Hell = Punishment of the Capitalist

The Millenium = The Communist Commonwealth

 

In America today, Russell’s original translation of the religion of Marxism can be applied to the similar evangelical zeal demonstrated by the followers of the modern tactician of Radicalism, Saul Alinsky (1909-1972). Alinsky has been presented to the public as a benign, almost saintly figure who believed in helping the poor improve their living status by his grass roots concept of “community organizing”. On the other hand, very little is mentioned about his associations with Al Capone’s gang and some of the extreme tactics used by his followers to accomplish their goals. Over time Alinsky seemed to be worshiping a religion of “community organizing”.  Like Marxism, Alinsky’s philosophy is very much a religious experience to true believers. Alinsky’s ideas in practice have proven effective enough to be a major contributor to Barak Hussein Obama’s presidential election victory.

As Marx was influenced by Hegel, Alinsky expands on the principles of Marx and he becomes the Messiah for this new utopian vision of “community organizations”. The church itself is a newly reformed Democrat Party. The second coming is Obama and the subsequent transformative Radical revolution in America. As we have begun to see with the ascendancy of Obama, punishment is reserved for former republican administrations, for corporate executives who make too much money, the entire middle class and essentially all capitalists who do not confer power to the ruling elite. Finally, the Millennium for followers of Alinsky whose aim, some may say is to transform this country into the Former United States of America and a new utopian Socialist Commonwealth.

 

 

 

Extrapolated from Bertrand Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy

 

 

Yahweh = Community Organizations

The Messiah = Alinsky

The Elect = Union and Government workers

The Church = The New Democrat Party

The Second Coming = Barak Obama and the New Marxist revolution

Hell = Punishment of Republicans, Conservatives and Middle Class

The Millenium = The Radical Socialist Commonwealth

Less than seventy years after Das Kapital (1867) and the Communist Manifesto (1848) were published, the Russian revolution (1917) led to the first Communist state on a grand scale, the Soviet Union based on the principles laid down by Marx. The October Revolution (1917), the Bolshevik party, led by Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) workers’ Soviets, overthrew the Provisional Government in Petrograd. The Bolsheviks appointed themselves as leaders of various government ministries and seized control. This all happened in the back drop of World War I. After devastating losses during World War II, millions of Soviet citizens murdered by Stalin in purges, forced starvation, and death camps, over forty years of “cold war” with the United States and the West, and complete collapse of the economy, this Communist government based on Marxism failed. In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell and in December of 1991, the Soviet Union disintegrated into fifteen separate countries.

Less than forty years after Alinsky wrote Rules for Radicals (1972), Barak Hussein Obama ascended to the office of President of the United States (2008) which led to the first large scale attempt to impose the principles of Karl Marx in the United States of America since the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal of the Great Depression. As of the writing of this book, the revolution has so far been a bloodless coup.  It remains to be seen if it stays that way.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.