In The Devil and Karl Marx, I tried to do just that.
Wchicken I read Cameron Hilditch’s review on my new book, The Devil and Karl Marx, I sighed and thought to myself: “This is why our side is losing.”
Consider: I wrote a 461-page book documenting the genuinely evil elements of Marx and Marxism, in the hopes of endowing curators with essential facts and truths our camp must know about this dreadful and resurgent ideology. I’m trying to comprehensively document the completely silly and senseless evil that is communism. Yet the book is dubbed “a failure” not in the pages of The nation or the New York Times but in National exam, the flagship publication of the conservative movement.
Why? Because, according to Hilditch, “it shows one of the gravest sins of current Conservative publishing: it targets an incredibly narrow and siled right-wing audience that is bound to already agree with everything Kengor has. to tell them “. Worse yet, he adds, “if you’re not already a conservative Roman Catholic, you’re unlikely to get very far into this book before you let go. No attempt is made to convince people outside this demographic of the author’s thesis. Marxists, or even moderately progressive readers, will be so put off by Kengor’s insults and childish rejections of his ideological opponents that they will rightly reject him out of hand.
Let’s look at the second criticism first. Hilditch complains that “the book is. . . full of appeals to encyclicals, papal writings and declarations condemning socialism and stressing its incompatibility with the Catholic faith. I am catholic. The publisher of the book, TAN Books / St. Benedict Press, is a well-known Catholic publishing house. The book is therefore, of course, very Catholic. To this I plead guilty.
As for my insults and rejection of an infantile and deadly ideology, I plead doubly guilty, again without apologies. Let’s put it bluntly: Marxism is obviously impractical and surprisingly stupid at first glance. It’s time we stop hemming and chopping and wringing our hands and saying it. Why would we treat something so ridiculous, destructive and deadly with children’s gloves? Finally, let’s admit and scream at the top of our lungs that Marx’s ideology does not just “distort the markets”, but en masse creates poverty, despair and death. Let’s stop treating it like just another belief system and show it for the evil that it is.
Over a hundred million deaths and it continues. To have enough? I have. I’m sick of playing nice about it. Hilditch suggests that I offer “persuasive intellectual arguments in a seductive, non-sectarian way.” I was there, I did that. Where has it taken us? Answer: More than 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, communism, socialism and “democratic socialism” are in full swing. Quite.
Hilditch writes: “The reason most Marxists want to see their political program adopted is probably not that they think it is wrong. They want to see it adopted because they think it’s good. The Conservatives must work to show them that they are wrong and that there are better ways to achieve fundamentally good and decent ends. I’ve been doing this for decades, and it hasn’t changed Marxists’ minds. This book, as the title suggests, is meant to give them a pat on the head with the truth that their ideology is wrong.
I remember Ronald Reagan’s response after the Liberals denounced him for calling the Soviet Union bad: “For too long our leaders have been unable to describe the Soviet Union as it really is.” , did he declare. “However, I always thought it was important to define the differences. . . . Over the years, the Soviet system has deliberately starved, murdered and brutalized its own people. Millions have been killed; everything is there in the history books. He placed other citizens he disagreed with in mental hospitals, sometimes drugging them to the point of oblivion. Isn’t the system that made this possible bad? So why shouldn’t we say it? “
Precisely. The ideology remains as perverse as ever and is sort of making a comeback. Now more than ever, we have to call it what it is.
As for my failure to achieve what Mr Hilditch infers as my goal, let me dwell on one more crucial point that I hope all conservatives who have not learned will quickly learn: leftists, and especially those on the far left, are largely interested in such a dialogue. Having written nearly 20 books over the past 20 years, many of them on the evils of communism, I know only too well that few, if any on the left, will take up this book again.
Why? Because they are closed-minded and protect even the worst among their icons.
A concrete example: my book pays special attention to the truly disturbing poems and plays by Karl Marx, which are full of satanic elements. These writings were first discovered in the late 1800s by Marx biographer Franz Mehring, who in horror returned them to Marx’s daughter, stating that they were to remain unpublished. They were ultimately recovered only through the due diligence of Marxist researcher David Ryazanov of the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow. He had the intellectual integrity to preserve them and seek to publish them. And since then, with rare exceptions – mainly conservative biographers such as Paul Johnson and Richard Wurmbrand – scholars on the subject have almost completely ignored these frightening writings.
This is what the left is doing. This in no way eliminates the need for the Conservatives to continue trying to persuade progressives to be wrong in their ways; I do it constantly and I won’t give up. But that kind of persuasion was not the point of the book.
There is just one more criticism raised by Hilditch that I think I need to respond to, lest it get me in trouble with my Protestant siblings. He condemns my alleged “defamation of Protestantism as a stomping ground for full communism” in the section of the book that covers Marx and Martin Luther. In fact, I was careful to say the exact opposite, so that it wouldn’t be misinterpreted that way. On pages 60-61 I wrote:
While this book is not the place to adequately address the subject, it should be noted that Karl Marx seemed to appreciate Martin Luther’s rebellion against the Church. This observation is by no means intended to equate Luther with Marx or his goals, and certainly not with the destruction produced by communism. To begin with, Luther was, of course, anything but an ungodly atheist. While Marx loved what Luther did, or, more specifically, loved the by-product of what Luther did in terms of undermining the authority of the Church of Rome, Luther surely would not have liked what Marx did neither the results of Marx’s ideas or the madness of communism. .
Marx seems to have understood that Luther moved away from the authority of the Church, which, for Marx, was a crucial stage in the continued march of the dialectic of history – that is, of move forward and progress to the next crucial step in history, according to Marxist theory. He strongly approved of this approach, although he did not necessarily approve of Luther on a spiritual level. This is what Marx forcefully asserts in the long concluding section of his famous 1843 writing, “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law,” that is, the writing on religion as “the opium of the people”. There he credits Luther, who, he says, “conquered slavery,” especially of Rome. “On the eve of the Reformation,” Marx lamented, “official Germany was Rome’s most unconditional slave”. Just as Luther made a crucial break with the religion of Rome, now Marx and his fellow philosophers would make a crucial break in their revolutionary “emancipation”. Marx declared: “While the revolution then began in the brains of monk, so now it starts in the brain of the philosopher. ” [Emphasis in original.]
Hilditch says of this section: “The Protestant Reformation is presented as inevitably leading to communism. He says I am offering “the ridiculous claim of a direct and immediate causal link between disbelieving the claims of the Roman church and embracing communism.”
I do not believe it at all.
He also says that “virtually the only readers who [this book] will not alienate [Kengor’s] conservative Roman Catholic confreres. I don’t think this is true. Jewish readers (among others) will surely appreciate the way I expose Marx’s vicious anti-Semitism perhaps in more detail than anyone so far. I castigate Marx for statements such as: “The Israelite faith loathes me. Dastardly anti-Semitism is another ugly aspect of Karl Marx that I really want people to know.
I could say a lot more, but I’ll stop by coming back to my opening complaint.
Whittaker Chambers, a key to the start National exam writer and editor, said that by leaving atheistic communism, he knew he was leaving the winning side to the losing side. When I read a review like Hilditch’s, I see why we are losing.