In the last issue we concluded with the observation that the Intelligentsia have never trusted the masses any more than they trust the absolutes of the Bible. Instead, they trust a vision in which man is autonomous, in control of his destiny and lacking nothing. One of their favorite philosophers is Plato.
In one of the most influential books ever written, Plato’s The Republic, Socrates argues for the ingredients that make up a just Society. In Book I of The Republic Socrates is in dialogue with Thrasymachus over whether a ruler will exercise his power with restraint having the best interest of his subjects at heart. Socrates argues that he will, using the illustration of a physician who prescribes medication for his patients, desiring only their best.
Thrasymachus counters by suggesting that the ruler is like the shepherd who tends the flock and fattens the sheep for the slaughter. He concludes by noting that ‘justice is the interest of the stronger.”
Socrates cannot agree with his friend. Socrates believes that justice is in the best interest of all, including the ruler. As The Republic develops, Socrates argues for the creation of an elite class of the brightest and most able who are trained to become the “philosopher-kings” of the republic. Because they are bright and well trained, they will rule with justice and equity.
Historically the Intelligentsia have been enamored with Socrates’ vision simply because they are persuaded that they are that elite class who, if only given the reigns of power, will correct the mess in which the world finds itself. This is the reason why, as already noted, men like Justice Brennan have little confidence in the rule of the ignorant and unlearned masses through the democratic process. They do not know what is best for themselves and need the benign dictator embodied in the idea of the “philosopher-king.”
Academia over the past 100 years has been enamored with Marxism, a current manifestation of Socratic philosophy. In England during the days of Queen Victoria and the establishment of the colonial empire, the Fabian Society permeated the British university system with its socialistic beliefs. Thus, all of Great Britain’s colonies were educated in socialist philosophy, and when they gained their independence after World War II, they became socialist States.
Today, countries such as Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya are bankrupt because of socialism and look to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to sustain their economies. Tanzania’s president, Nyerere, practically destroyed his country’s economy, yet the people remain mesmerized by the socialist vision. As one Tanzanian put it, “With great respect to the old teacher, Nyerere, we can’t afford to be socialists until we’re well off.”
Although academia is loath to admit it, National Socialism in Hitler’s Germany was Marxist. For Hitler it became more a vision for the Aryan race than a philosophy for all the world. It was Marxism with a cloak of nationalism, thus “National Socialism.”
Hitler’s National Socialism is an embarrassment to the Marxist, in part because it sought to liquidate the Jewish race, and so much of the Western intelligentsia is Jewish. As we will see in a later issue, this same vision of socialism embodied in nationalism now finds its incarnation in Zionism.
THE RISE OF STATISM
Will Herberg (1909-1977), an interpreter of American religion and culture, wrote an article in March of 1968 in which he pointed out that the moral crisis of our day is not the violation of accepted moral standards, but the rejection of moral standards. The absence of absolutes that govern behavior leads to self-aggrandizement. Quoting Jacob Burckhard, he says, “When men lose their sense of established standards, they inevitably fall victim to the urge for pleasure and power.”
He continues, “Human problems are increasingly seen as technological problems, to be dealt with by adjustment and manipulation; the test is always how it satisfies desires or enlarges power, not conformity to a truth beyond man’s control.” With such a mindset people fall prey to the vision of the “philosopher-king” who can satisfy their desires or enlarge their powers.
In communist Russia, the elite class of rulers envisioned by Plato is seen in the politburo. Like the U.S. Russia has repudiated the existence of moral absolutes. Thus, in its quest for a utopian vision where the people’s desires can be satisfied, the state holds absolute away over what is right and wrong. Paul Johnson, in Modern Times, says:
Marxism had never produced a philosophy of law. The only true Soviet legal philosopher, Evgany Pashukanis, argued that in the socialist society Law would be replaced by Plan. This was logical, since the notion of an independent legal process was incompatible with the notion of an inevitable historical process interpreted by the ruling Marxist elite. Pashukanis’s own case proved it: law was replaced by plan – Stalin’s – and he vas murdered in the 1930s. The 1958 enactment could not be applied in practice because it would have given the courts the beginnings of an independent status and so allowed them to erode the monopoly of power enjoyed by the party. Even under Khrushchev no Soviet court ever returned a verdict of “not guilty” in a political case; nor did a Soviet appeal court ever overturn a guilty verdict in a political case – thus preserving an unbroken record of entire subservience to the ruling party from Lenin’s first years of power until the present. (Emphasis added.)
What we discover, then, is that Thrasymachus was correct, “Justice is the interest of the stronger.” This holds true even though Socrates overruled Thrasymachus, even though the Intelligentsia embraces Socrates, and even though societies have implemented the Socratic vision for the Republic.
The insidiousness of it all is seen in the fact that even in the face of failure, the Intelligentsia fall back on one of two rebuttals: (1) “It isn’t quite perfected yet. What we need is a little more time and money.” (2) “Their model was flawed because they didn’t implement the principles correctly. When we do it, we will do it right.” The “plan” becomes absolute, because law based on a set of transcendent absolutes does not exist. The “plan” is the implementation of the vision without any moral restraint.
RELATIVISM IS A TRAP DOOR TO UNBRIDLED EVIL
The dictionary defines statism as “the principle or policy of concentrating extensive economic, political and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty. It is the support or belief in the sovereignty of a state.” A nation that does not base its laws on a set of transcendent truths must fall back on a relative system whereby the state determines right and wrong based on a fluid set of circumstances.
Paul Johnson, in Modern Times, notes that statism sought to produce the utopian society (the same vision Socrates had in the Republic). “But the experience of the twentieth century is emphatically that Utopianism is never far from gangsterism.” Rather than being an agency of benevolence, it became a tyrant. As noted in the last issue of “Dear Co-Laborer,” when an utopian vision is forced upon a society without consideration for how it affects individuals, great hurt follows.
Up to 1914, it was rare for the public sector to embrace more than 10 per cent of the economy; by the 1970’s, even in liberal countries, the state took up to 45 per cent of GNP. But whereas, at the time of the Versailles Treaty, most intelligent people believed that an enlarged state could increase the sum total of human happiness, by the 1980’s the view was held by no one outside a small, diminishing and dispirited band of zealots. The experiment had been tried in innumerable ways; and it had failed in nearly all of them. The state had proved itself an insatiable spender, an unrivaled waster. Indeed, in the twentieth century it had also proved itself the great killer of all time. By the l980’e, state action had been responsible for the violent or unnatural death of over 100 million people, more perhaps than it had hitherto succeeded in destroying during the whole of human history up to 1900. Its inhuman malevolence had more than kept pace with its growing size and expanding means. (Johnson, p. 729)
Parenthetically, one hundred million people in 60 years is about 1.67 million people per year. We abort approximately this number of babies every year in the U.S.
Johnson pronounces the system bankrupt and dead. But men will lust after the vision of Socrates in defiance of God until they are converted, or until Jesus returns to establish His kingdom.