Nichole Hungerford

From the Writings of David Horowitz: June 20, 2010

Posted on June 20 2010 6:45 am
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My father’s prophet was Karl Marx, who was himself descended from a long line of rabbis. Like my father, Marx disdained the religion of his ancestors, regarding them as the comforting myths of weak-minded men. But the icon he chose for his secular faith was a mythical figure all the same. His hero was Prometheus, the pagan who stole fire from the gods and brought a piece of heaven to earth.

Like Freud, Marx regarded the belief in heaven as a cry of impotence, a memory from the childhood of the race when men were tormented by forces of nature they could not understand. To cope with their predicament they conjured powers that were divine and would look after them, and keep them safe. Marx knew the divinities they worshipped were only reflections of themselves on whom they projected powers that might one day be theirs. Marx’s revolutionary message to humanity was this: You shall be as gods.

For Marx, religious belief was not a consolation for human unhappiness but its cause. The God men worshipped, appeared to them as the embodiment of their hope. But Marx knew that their deity was only a tribal totem whose worship made them passive and denied them their due. There were no unanswerable questions or unattainable powers that determined human fate. Marx was so confident of this truth that he summed up his conclusion in a single sentence: “All mysteries, which lead to mysticism, find their rational solution in human practice.” Marx’s revelation was this: The fire is not in heaven; it is in you. Human beings could achieve their liberation by worshiping themselves instead of gods. This was a flattery so great that it changed the world.

In Marx’s telling, religious faith was not a passage to heaven but a passion of the condemned. “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world,” he wrote; “it is the opium of the oppressed.” Thus Marx inverted the martyr’s hope. In Marx’s gospel, the dream of a heavenly paradise is no longer the aspiration to transcend human fate. It is the snare that seduces us into accepting our unhappy condition. The dream of heaven is a pitiful perversion of humanity’s desire to liberate itself and make the world one. Marx’s call to revolution is this: Give up the dream of a paradise in heaven in order to create a heaven on earth. In the book he mockingly called The Holy Family, he declared, “The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.”

These words stand Marx’s proclamation on its proverbial head and show how pathetically human his prophecy was. Having dismissed religion and fantastic dreams, he succumbed s to them himself. Having claimed that the world could not be saved by religion, he insists it will be saved by abolishing religion. In place of the old redemption through the grace of God, the revolutionary offers a secular salvation. In place of the Final Judgment and a world made holy through divine intervention, Marx promises Social Justice, a world redeemed through the actions of ordinary men.  

The End of Time 

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