The common belief, rooted in the origins of communism, shared by today's democracies
(Illustration by Epoch Times)
When the Soviet Union collapsed, Ryszard Legutko, the minister of education of Poland, had an impression shared by many as Poland transitioned from communism to democracy: It still felt like communism.
“The new system began to show symptoms that most political analysts ignored and that some, including myself, found most disturbing,” he stated in his recent book, “The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies.”
He wrote, “Incredible as it may seem, the final year of the decline of communism had more of the spirit of freedom than the period after the establishment of the new order.” Both systems, he says, preach an ideology that tries telling each person “how to think, what to do, how to evaluate events, what to dream, and what language to use.”
The unfortunate reality is that nearly all political systems share elements that are at the root of totalitarian systems, including communism. Throughout modernity in the West, there has always been a tension between traditional beliefs and new ways of thinking, but communism called for a government-enforced break with the old.
“Both systems generate—at least in their official ideological interpretations—a sense of liberation from the old bonds,” Legutko stated.
He described communism “as a system that started history anew” and as a practice “against memory.” Those who stood up against this forced destruction of traditions and beliefs were likewise “fighting for memory against forgetting, knowing very well that the loss of memory strengthened the communist system by making people defenseless and malleable.”
‘The Communist Manifesto’ (1848) states that communism ‘abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality.’ It goes on to promote a new warped view of the world, under the idea that the history of society is about ‘class struggle.’
The roots of these modern systems started with political ideas that have been developing in our world for more than 150 years. It’s an ideology based on the destruction of the old world, the creation of a new one, and the forceful coercion of anyone who opposed it.
Communism aims to instill people with a hatred of the divine, to spread a belief in nothing outside itself, and to create a worldview based on struggle.
“The Communist Manifesto” (1848) states that communism “abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality.” It goes on to promote a new warped view of the world, under the idea that the history of society is about “class struggle.”
It is an ideology that has taken control by altering our understanding of the past, and by turning us against one another.
Socialism, communism, and fascism are based on the same ideas: centrally planned economies in which the government controls all means of production and maintains pervasive control over an individual’s daily choices. Loyalties within these systems are held through a manufactured, never-ending crusade against “state enemies.”
The history of socialism can be traced back to the French Revolution in 1789. From Paris, socialism spread throughout Europe, as detailed in Moritz Kaufmann’s 1890 book, “Socialism, Labour, and Capital.” Communism and fascism then followed.
Karl Marx, meanwhile, was working to spread the socialist ideology. He was on the staff of socialist publications including the Rhenish Gazette and the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, published in Paris. Then in 1848, Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote “The Communist Manifesto,” which promoted a more aggressive movement based in the idea of violent revolution.
The manifesto was published just ahead of the socialist revolutions that swept Europe in 1848.
Victor Hugo, author of “Les Miserables,” expressed his views on these movements in a statement published in May 1848. He stated that “Socialism, or the Red Republic, is all one; for it would tear down the tricolor and set up the red flag.”
“[Socialism] would bring about a general bankruptcy,” Hugo wrote. “It would ruin the rich without enriching the poor. It would destroy labor, which gives to each one his bread. It would abolish property and family. It would march about with the heads of the proscribed on pikes, fill the prisons with the suspected, and empty them by massacres.