Fr. Marcel Guarnizo is a friend of Ed Morrissey who gives a response refuting the popular myth that the Church's "social justice" mission is compatible with Socialism and Communism. Rev. Marcel Guarnizo counters the belief that the ideas of socialist revolution and Communism have a place at the table with Christianity. Many, even in the Catholic Church, believe that Christianity shares some ideals with the socialist revolution. It seems to them that Socialism, Communism, and Christianity all help the poor. Father Guarnizo outlines and exposes the errors of Communism.
Father Marcel Guarnizo writes: "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."
Drawing from sound Christian teachings on economics and liberty Father Marcel Guarnizo explains his position in great detail and length.
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.
To mount a case against the socialist and the communist would seem completely unnecessary given the historical record. But it is necessary, because, as we see, communism’s ideology continues to ensnare the minds of the West and many of its leaders. Perhaps the statement of Whittaker Chambers, when he decided to defect from his service to the Soviet Union, that he had chosen to join, “… the losing side” is not altogether settled. Many think the fall of the Soviet Union proved Chambers wrong, but I submit that Chambers understood, perhaps more clearly than most, the lasting and insidious nature of the socialist revolution in the West. It seems to me, that the West’s great partial victory against the Soviet Union is far from being final. Though the Soviet Empire has fallen, the West remains in an equally powerful cultural battle, which the architects of the socialist revolution themselves anticipated.
Gramsci’s Tactic: Cultural Hegemony
The socialist revolution in the West has been greatly influenced by the tactics of the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci. Writing in the 1930s, Gramsci recognized that the culture of the West, and in particular, the Catholic Church, stood as robust obstacles to a communist economic and political takeover in Europe. Gramsci proposed that a takeover of the cultural institutions—the achievement of cultural hegemony—was the necessary first step to the eventual takeover of the political and economic structures of a free society.
This strategy meant that socialists should tirelessly work on the takeover over of universities and education, media, churches, and other cultural intermediary structures of the free world. He thought that the eroding of the cultural foundations would weaken a free society’s natural defenses and this would open the path for the economic and political aims of the socialist revolution.
I would submit that the “cultural hegemony” of the socialist revolution is increasing in the West and at an alarming pace. The increasing loss of ground in our culture to socialism and its allies is creating a growing threat to the political and economic freedoms of America and Western democracies.
Therefore, it seems to me, the battle between the free world and the socialist revolution is far from settled. The errors of communism are legion, and the West should not slumber, as the battle is far from over.
The Errors of Communism
Communism starts not with an economic error but an anthropological one. The economic and political effects of the communist system are but a symptom of a previous error, an error about the nature of man.
- 1. The Error Concerning the Nature of Man
The French 19th century political economist and writer Frédéric Bastiat clearly makes the point. Socialism, Bastiat argued, sees man as mere raw material, to be disposed of, to be molded by the “all knowing,” state. In his book, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, economist Friedrich von Hayek launches a similar attack on the socialists and their “omniscient state.” Hayek demonstrated the impotence of the socialist to run an economy
Man is just matter: This materialist vision of man is the first and most profound error of the socialist revolution. The materialist vision of man is what justifies the communists’ insistence that they may legitimately do whatever it takes to achieve their utopia. We must be transformed by the state, into its image and likeness.
This materialist view disregards therefore the true dignity of man and the true nature of the human person—his rationality and free will. The artificial social orders engineered by socialists are completely devoid of a proper understanding of man and the kind of being that he is. CONTINUED