Monday, April 25, 2005

Am I a Communist?

I'd like to respond to a number of angry/inquiring emails and voicemails that I have received since my last post about the pope and Frank Rich. The question I have been asked, given my talk of redistribution of wealth and my apparent disdain for the Church, is "Are you a Communist?" Well, look: no, I'm not. Despite my interest in a number of forms of targeted economic redistribution, and while I don't see anything inherently evil in redistribution as such, I recognize the historical problems attendant upon such rhetoric, and I do denounce heartily and with verve Soviet attrocities. Nevertheless, I do find Communism's, and really most leftist movements', relationship with the Church (whatever Church is installed in a position of social power) fascinating. While I don't approve of the tendency to sack churches, murder believers, repress the expression of belief, in fact I denounce such practices, it is interesting to examine the rise of a movement like Communism as being in a dialectic relationship with the continuing presence of some form of "the Church." What I mean by this is, as many usually right-leaning historians and critics have pointed out, the rhetoric and demeanor of anti-theological movements based in leftist ideologies, such as Communism, often reach a rather theological pitch. This has been called by such right-leaning critics as hypocrisy -- "you attack the irrational faith of religion, but yourself pursue your beliefs or ideas in an irrational and religious manner." This has been said even of certain groups of Democrats from time to time. But here's my point. The important thing to notice is not that the Communists were being "hypocritical" but rather that the rise of such an in-the-end irrational, faith-crazed movement may owe its existence in some part to the presence of insitutions like the Church, which are already circulating irrational, faith-based reasoning.

Just imagine that you are little 14 year old Lenin, walking through the streets on a lonely Sunday. You've got some pretty interesting ideas about ways to solve social problems, but some of the assumptions they require, and some of the results they seem to entail, are a little wacky. So wacky in fact that you're thinking of dropping the whole thing and maybe of going to skin potatos for the czar. All of a sudden, you walk into a Church and you see this long line of people on their feet waiting for this man in a dress to put little pieces of bread in their mouths. Wouldn't you, young Lenin, say to yourself: "Fuck it. I'm just gonna do me, and rock my own bread lines."

Think about it.


At 4:09 PM, Blogger Nostradamus said...

Mysterious citizens of a nation of Cain,
Bereft of loin-cloth and the sacred fruit,
Deprived of all save infamy,
Oh you, laugh, roll in lavish excess,
And cull, by your good grace,
The moribundity of circumstance.

When in blazoned silver-spoked shoes we run,
It is to the pace of the meter of your logic,
The inviolate sphere of thought emmanating
Like rays of mollified light, from your mind.


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