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Communist ethics

“Totalitarianism grows in direct ratio and proportion to the decline of responsibility in the individual. This loss of personal morality is compensated for by an intense devotion to social morality. Social conscience takes the place of individual conscience… That is why in all totalitarianism there goes hand in hand a great passion for social reform with a complete disinterest in the need of individual reform…. Politics then becomes the new theology.”

Msgr. Fulton Sheen, 1949

In a letter to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (March 30, 2020), a U.S. citizen who was born and raised in China suggested calling the coronavirus the “CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus,” and charged the CCP with censoring information about it by arresting journalists and silencing doctors. Has the CCP told us the truth about the origin of this virus? We don’t know, but Lenin has told us this much about communist ethics:

“…is there such a thing as communist ethics? …there is. …very often the bourgeoisie accuse us Communists of rejecting all morality… In what sense do we reject ethics, reject morality? In the sense given to it by the bourgeoisie, who based ethics on God’s commandments…, we do not believe in God… We reject any morality based on extra-human and extra-class concepts. We say that this is deception… Our morality stems from the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat…” “We must… if need be, use any ruse, cunning, unlawful method, evasion, concealment of truth” “… Dictatorship means… the power which rests directly on violence, which is not limited by any laws or... absolute rules.”

Compare those words of Lenin with these of George Washington, who said in his Farewell Address:

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?”

Lenin’s “the end justifies the means” morality has been used over and over again by Communists to the grief, self-reproach and death of those who believed them. For example:

  • The Bolsheviks, who took power in Russia in November, 1917 (renamed Communists in 1918) ended capital punishment, but within a year, reinstated it, and condemned more people to death than the Tsars had in the previous 92 years. In August, 1918, Lenin commanded “Immediate execution for anyone caught in possession of a firearm.” In 1937, the Politburo gave regional authorities “quotas” on the number of people they wanted shot.

  • Despite, in 1918, proclaiming “freedom of conscience and worship,” the communists set about relentlessly persecuting Christians. In 1922 alone, they killed 2691 priests, 1962 monks, and 3447 nuns. In 1914, there were 54,692 churches in Russia; by 1941, there were fewer than 1000.

  • Lenin’s slogan before the revolution was “Peace, Land and Bread.” Lenin bought the support of landless peasants for his revolution by promising to take land from landowners and redistributing it to them. After the revolution in November 1917, the peasants got land, but then the communist government requisitioned more of their grain than they could supply. Many were killed for their lack of compliance, while others starved to death or resorted to cannibalism. A few years later, the government, under Stalin, “collectivized” the land, and again, famine occurred in 1932-33. The result? The peasants had no peace, no land, and no bread.

  • The Bolsheviks portrayed themselves as the defenders of the worker, thereby buying the support of the “proletariat,” or workers, for their revolution. After seizing power, the communists outlawed strikes, and killed strikers, or sent them to concentration camps. Castro also outlawed strikes after seizing power in Cuba.

  • At the end of World War II, at the Russian controlled town of Yalta, President Franklin Roosevelt trusted Stalin’s promise to hold “free elections” in central Europe. Stalin broke this agreement, and soon Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and East Germany were ruled by communist tyrants.

  • Mao Tse-tung in his “Hundred Flowers” campaign of 1956, invited criticism of the Chinese Communist Party. In 1957-1959, he sent those who voiced their criticisms to laogai, or forced labor camps.

Many US citizens have adopted at least some of the philosophy of communism: its “the end justifies the means” morality, its materialism, disbelief in Higher Law; a passion for reforming society, but not so much of an interest in reforming oneself; a tendency to see evil in the economic order, but not in the moral order.

How do we meet this challenge? By doing just the opposite of what the communists and Marxists suggest! We should insist, as George Washington did, that “private and public felicity” are inextricably bound to “religion and morality.” Follow the Ten Commandments. Reform ourselves. Tell the truth. Oppose those who hold with some of the premises of Marxism, but love them too, because they are made in the image of likeness of God. Exercise our religious freedom, and fight any infringements on it. Promote strong, monogamous families, and fight against all that undermines them. In the economic order, we might promote partial ownership for employees and profit sharing. We need to pray, and insist that the solutions to our problems aren’t necessarily to the left, or right, but up, to God.

This month we will continue to air programs about communism since there is a dangerous and widespread ignorance of its past and current crimes, and of the damage that cultural Marxism continues to wreak.

Please continue to support your station. You can do this by telling others, by praying for our success; by offering to volunteer (we need people with filming and video editing skills) by requesting permission to place program guides I your parish’s literature rack, and through your financial support.

Thank you God, for the religious freedom and the prosperity You have blessed us with in the United States,

P.S. Primary sources for the above article are Communism and the Conscience of the West by Fulton Sheen, Refuge of Sinners Publishing, available through and The Black Book of Communism, by Stephane Courtois and others, Harvard University Press.

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