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In February 1848, a book that would change the course of history was released. This book - The Communist Manifesto - was co-authored by two philosophers whose vision would negatively impact the world for more than a century and a half. The most prominent of its writers, Karl Marx, has been renowned by large populations of people ever since. Although there are various reasons for this, one might attribute it primarily to the fact that Marx sought to abolish classes in an effort to make everyone “equal.” Since the introduction of his Communist doctrine, various nations have expanded on his view.
In a few instances, certain nations created their own branch of socialism, while taking a page from Marx’s Communism. The most notorious of these - Nazi Germany - embraced a leader and system that put eugenics at the forefront of their societal structure, along with nationalism. Due to those two factors, many figureheads and historians have placed Communism and Fascism on polar opposite ends of the political spectrum. In actuality, how accurate is this assumption? As I will present, Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler - though different in many ways - were actually kindred spirits. Three factors will prove that Marx’s socialism and Hitler’s socialism link the two ideologues together.
The Russian Civil War ended in 1922. Its conclusion brought about the fall of the Russian Empire and the establishment of the first Communist nation on the world stage: the Soviet Union. The Red leader, Vladimir Lenin, was a violent revolutionary and disciple of Marx. During the same year, in Rome, revolutionaries attempting to install a new form of socialism - Fascism - took control. Under the command of Benito Mussolini, the world’s first Fascist regime was formed in Italy. One year later, another coup was attempted, this time in Berlin, Germany.
Lead by Adolf Hitler, a young veteran of World War I, the relatively new Nazi Party (NSDAP) took to the streets. While the revolutions in Moscow and Rome proved successful, the same was not so for Hitler’s Nazis. The Beer Hall Putsch, as it was called, resulted in failure for Hitler, causing him to flee to the countryside, where he was captured and imprisoned not long after. Ten years passed, and in 1933, Hitler assumed power via election. From there, he transformed the Weimar Republic into Nazi Germany and established a one-party dictatorship.
While the Communists in Russia achieved their goal through violence, the Nazis eventually came to power through a democratic process. Even still, the Nazis attempted a coup, though it did in fact fail. One might argue that Hitler’s means of achieving power were more “clever” than Marx or Lenin. It cannot be denied, however, that there were indeed interesting similarities between the Soviets and the Nazis when it came to their attempts at gaining control during the 1920s.
The Soviet Union was established as the world’s first Communist state. With this, they believed they were beginning the fulfillment of Marx’s prophecy. That is, that the world’s working class would rise up, overthrow the proletariat, and establish a global community with socialism as the backbone. Since the formation of the U.S.S.R., other Communist nations abroad - including China, North Korea, and Cuba - have seized the means of production and established a one-party state with a totalitarian ruler. This is coherent to traditional Marxist doctrine.
Nazis, on the other hand, held a different belief pertaining to assuming control over the working people. Unlike Communists, Nazis did not seize the means of production overnight, nor did they abolish big business or the middle class. Hitler also considered Communists and Democratic Socialists to be enemies of his ideology. For these reasons, many have tried to assert that Nazis, despite being National Socialists, were not actually socialists. There are several ways to counter this assertion, however. First, it should be noted that the “Big Three” Fascists - Hitler, Mussolini, and the founder of Fascism, Giovanni Gentile - were followers of Marx before converting to Fascism. It was Hitler himself who stated the following:
It is important to note that Hitler and the Nazis did not hate Communists because they were socialists. Hitler hated them because, according to Communists themselves, “working men know no country.” Hitler placed Germany above all, and as such, hated the idea that the working class could not be loyal to a particular nation. Because of this, Hitler considered Communists to be traitors to Germany. Interestingly enough, both Communists and Nazis hated Social Democrats, and the two factions sometimes voted together against Social Democrats in German Parliament. As for the Nazis and control of the workers, it is true that they did not believe in overnight seizure of the means of production. Rather, as Senator Rand Paul states in The Case Against Socialism, Ludwig von Mises noticed that Nazism “seemingly and nominally maintains private ownership of the means of production, entrepreneurship, and market exchange.” John Reisman, building on Mises’s finding, points out that Mises “identified...that private ownership of the means of production existed in name only under the Nazis and that the actual substance of ownership of the means of production resided in the German government” (Paul, 150). To Hitler, there were better ways of taking over than initiating class wars and disrupting national unity.
At The Mises Institute, Ralph Reiland discusses an essay by Mises. In this piece, Mises uses an example from a book written by a business owner in Germany, 1939. The author, Gunter Reimann, comments:
If there is any further doubt that the Nazis were socialists, listen to the words of Gregor Strasser:
Numerous phrases of socialist propaganda can be found throughout the Nazi Party Platform, but perhaps the most significant is the line that states, “Common good comes before individual good.” As Rand Paul remarks, “If you read the Nazis themselves, they never doubted their socialism and were proud of its distinct brand” (Paul, 142).
COMMUNIST HATRED OF CHRISTIANITY
Communist regimes always produce a totalitarian leader that places the state over the life of an individual. Over the past century, Communism has killed millions upon millions of people. With the establishment of a dictator, religion is condemned and many who are found worshipping are often placed in concentration camps or killed. In these regimes, Christians have often been at the forefront of persecution. “Separation of Church and State” is occasionally, although incorrectly, attributed to the U.S. Constitution. Rather, it was found in the Soviet Union’s Constitution. Under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, over 1,200 Orthodox priests were killed, while many other Christians were also killed, imprisoned, or exiled. Marx believed religion would eventually disappear, and it could be said that the Soviets viewed themselves as fulfillers of that prophecy. Aside from Lenin’s anti-Christian campaigns, Joseph Stalin’s regime saw the implementation of the “League of the Militant Godless.” During the Great Purge, over 100,000 members of the Russian Orthodox Church were killed by the LMG. During the Cold War, Nikita Khrushchev continued the persecution against Christians.
Another Communist giant, China, also conducted war against Christianity. As Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition remarks, the Communist regime of Mao Zedong waged war on Christianity, beginning primarily with the start of the Cultural Revolution in 1966. Eleanor Albert of the Council of Foreign Relations states, “Places of worship were demolished, closed, or reappropriated and religious practices were banned.”
Today, Communism in China is much “softer” than it was under Mao, but it still exists, and religious persecution is still prevalent. As Carter points out:
Carter continues to state that the government pays for church buildings, so long as they are registered with the TSPM. Many churches refuse to join, and resort to meeting underground.
NAZIS & CHRISTIANITY
How did Nazis hold up on this issue? For starters, the Nazi Party Platform states that they conformed to a belief known as “Positive Christianity,” while not belonging to any particular faith. Positive Christianity eliminated all Jewish heritage from the Bible and rewrote God’s word to fit the Nazis’ belief system. While Positive Christianity was the religious tenet held by the party itself, many Nazi leaders were, unsurprisingly, atheists.
Much like with big business, Hitler did not outright eliminate the church. This is because Hitler understood that, just as with businesses, destroying the church in a quick fashion would result in a divided, and therefore broken, Germany. He did, however, place many of them under Gestapo surveillance, and Christians were often persecuted. Martin Bormann, a personal aid to Hitler who remained loyal to the end, compiled a series of Hitler’s private conversations. Known as “Hitler’s Table Talk,” one of the most prominent themes throughout is Hitler’s hatred of Christianity. On October 10, 1941, Hitler commented, “Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of human failure” (Bormann, 20).
Some historians have correctly pointed out that Hitler occasionally stood side-by-side with priests during photo ops, especially during the early years of Nazi Germany. If these priests had known Hitler’s true intentions, however, they probably would have kept a far distance between themselves and the Fuhrer. Another example of Hitler’s thoughts on Christianity come from a speech he made on October 14, 1941. With Heinrich Himmler as his guest, Hitler stated:
Children in Nazi Germany were targeted with anti-Christian indoctrination as well. For example, Jonah Goldberg in “Liberal Fascism” points out how members of the Hitler Youth were taught these new lyrics to Silent Night:
Silent Night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
Only the Chancellor steadfast in fight,
Watches o’er Germany by day and night,
Always caring for us.
Goldberg also states that Hitler said this once to bishops who rejected the secular aims of the state: “You are traitors to the Volk (German working class). Enemies of the Vaterland and destroyers of Germany.” Furthermore, Goldberg remarks that the Nazis abolished mandatory prayer in schools in 1935, and in 1938, Nativity plays were banned (Goldberg, 365).
THEY’RE NOT THAT DIFFERENT
By now, it should be abundantly clear that Communists and Nazis, though different in various ways, are similar in many others. Both groups have pursued an agenda of ultimate government control; both hold little to no regard for human life; and both have professed a profound hatred of Christ and His principles. While Nazism no longer poses a global threat, Communism is still rampant across the world. The Soviet Union is no more, but Communists continue to hold a global platform. It is up to Christians everywhere to take a stand against the socialist agenda. Only through Christ can people find true and lasting satisfaction and fulfillment.
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One of the trending words today, especially on America's campuses, is "socialism." As Christians, what do we know about socialism and how should we approach its claims moving forward, especially in an election year?
Welcome to the TRINICY Roundtable, one of our initiatives to cultivate conversation among conservative Christians on and off campus on relevant topics of the day. The vide above contains the FULL Roundtable discussion on these questions. The videos below will offer shorter segments of the talk if you would much rather head straight towards certain topics.
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Moderator: Mattea Merta (Canada)
Panelists: Monica Evans (Arizona, U.S.A.), Garrett Smith (North Carolina, U.S.A.), & Ruxandra Ionce (Denmark)
We start our first segment with defining the word "Socialism." What is it? Let's hear from our panelists! Did we miss anything? Please share in the comments - here or on YouTube!
What are our top concerns as citizens and as Christians when it comes to socialism? Listen in! Do you have concerns that are not represented by the views of the panel? Please share them with us in the comments!
Why is Socialism SO Appealing to Youth? This is a serious question! Our panelists provide serious answers. Listen in.
What are some of YOUR favorite products produced by capitalism? Share them in the comments below!
Is Christian Socialism a THING? Where did this notion even come from? What Scriptures from the Bible purportedly support this?
What is the reality and fate of the family unit under socialism? Why is even the family a threat to socialism?
Where have we gone wrong as a Church? What hope is there moving forward? Our panelists don't linger on the negatives. They provide a biblical worldview to help our audience keep marching on as soldiers for Christ!
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Since the dawn of time, humans have been in a state of rebellion. Beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, humanity has constantly disobeyed authority, whether it be Divine Law or the law of the land. The American Revolution marked a prime example of this, as seen with the colonists and their refusal to accept increasing government infringement in their personal lives at the hands of the British Empire. Most conservatives agree that a great republic is built upon a strong sense of law and order that also respects humanity’s natural rights. These natural rights are enshrined in the Declaration of Independence as “unalienable” rights, which include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The establishment of America was unique in that it was not only the first nation formed out of rebellion from an empire, but it was also the first to tell its federal government it had to respect natural rights.
The end of the Civil War in 1865 soon brought about the addition of three amendments to the U.S. Constitution in an effort to help secure natural rights for freed slaves. Even after the addition of these amendments, however, many states adopted laws within their own constitutions that prohibited African-Americans from exercising constitutional rights. Over the next century, African-Americans would endure horrible treatment from the government, on both the state and federal levels. In the 1950s, however, things began to change as America entered the Civil Rights Era. Many leaders would become synonymous with this movement, but one - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - garnered perhaps the most recognition.
DR. KING, THE MODERATE DEMONSTRATOR
American history is filled with examples of African-Americans seeking justice and the upholding of their constitutional rights. Martin Luther King Jr. was certainly a moderate when it came to many issues. On one hand, figureheads such as Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington believed in change primarily through legislation and adopting the founders’ view of natural rights. As such, they believed change would occur over time. On the other hand, radical extremists, such as Malcolm X, were proponents of militancy. Dr. King, however, stood in the middle.
Unlike Douglass and Washington, King advocated intervention by method of peaceful protest; therefore, King’s idea of demonstration was different from the type sought by Malcolm X. King gained national attention during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956. During this time, peaceful demonstrators in Montgomery, Alabama protested the segregationist policies of the city’s bus line. With Rosa Parks refusing to surrender her bus seat to a White man, the American Civil Rights Movement had officially begun. With a victory in Montgomery, the movement soon spread to other parts of the nation.
ON TO BIRMINGHAM
Many cities throughout the nation - both South and North - experienced racial injustice. Going into the 1960s, civil rights demonstrations broke out in Greensboro, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; and various other locations. Perhaps the biggest turning point in the movement, however, would have been in Birmingham, Alabama. In April 1963, civil rights protesters there were brutally attacked by the police forces of Eugene “Bull” Connor. While the campaign resulted in several positive outcomes for the Civil Rights Movement, it also, unfortunately, led to the arrest of Dr. King.
FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL
Following his arrest, Dr. King spent 11 days in the Birmingham City Jail. During his time there, he wrote a letter to the American people. In the letter, King discusses a topic that remains timeless: Legality vs. Morality. At the start, King acknowledged the issue regarding the influence of so-called “outside agitators.” Some individuals referred to King as such, and wondered why he would bother to come to Birmingham to stir attention for the Civil Rights Movement. As far as they were concerned, he should have kept away and minded his own. To King, however, being a peaceful outside agitator was not an option; it was a necessity. King recalled the fact that, by his own critics’ logic, the Apostle Paul was technically an outside agitator. King remarked that Paul left his village of Tarsus to spread the Gospel of Christ to Greece and Rome. Paul, like Dr. King, was arrested for his actions, but stood strong for what was right. Using Paul as an example, it was up to Dr. King to spread his gospel of freedom.
“WHY WE CAN’T WAIT”
King soon brought to light one of the most pressing issues of the entire movement: How much longer? Many people were suggesting that the civil rights demonstrators simply wait on their Constitutional rights to be fully achieved. For King, however, the wait had lasted long enough. The Civil War had been over for nearly a century, and the end of it brought about not only the end of slavery, but also the addition of three new amendments to the Constitution. These new amendments secured various rights for African-Americans, but many states sought their way around the amendments through the addition of new laws within their own constitutions, as well as literacy tests and poll taxes. For nearly a hundred years after the Civil War, African-Americans had still not been granted equal rights and protection under the law. For King and many others, the wait had gone beyond long enough. The following excerpt from the letter was later taken by King and presented as a chapter in his 1964 memoir, according to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute of Stanford University.
He wrote, “I suppose it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say wait. But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and daughters at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Black brothers smoldering in an air-tight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos, ‘Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?’; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you...when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are Black, living constantly at tip-top stance never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’ - then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.”
King then turned his attention to the primary subjects of the letter. In King’s view, human beings have an obligation to break laws that are in violation of natural rights. Knowing that the definition of an unjust law could be ambiguous if not properly explained, he explained, “A just law is a manmade code that squares with the moral law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of Saint Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality.”
King proceeded to cite the biblical example of disobeying human law when it conflicts with obeying God’s law. He wrote, “Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality because Socrates practiced social disobedience.”
LEGALITY VS. MORALITY
It is always important to remember that legality is not always equal to morality. In today’s society, issues such as abortion are often in the spotlight. While Christians are obligated to love those who have had abortions as Christ would, it does not mean we should support their actions. When Jesus walked the earth, He frequently stood among those who sinned, but He never once encouraged their wrong behavior. In fact, quite the opposite, as He warned them to steer clear of sin. “Hate the sin, love the sinner” may sound cliche, but it still rings true. In Dr. King’s letter, he recalled instances of freedom and human rights being violated throughout the past couple decades in the name of legality, through the horrors of National Socialism and Communism.
King stated, “We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’ and everything the Hungarian Freedom Fighters did in Hungary was ‘illegal.’ It was ‘illegal’ to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. But I am sure that, if I had lived in Germany during that time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers, even though it was illegal. If I lived in a Communist country today where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I believe I would openly advocate disobeying these anti-religious laws.” King continued further stating that often the greatest stumbling blocks to freedom are not the ones in direct opposition to it, but rather, the “peaceful moderates” who prefer negative peace to positive peace with the presence of justice.
After spending 11 days in the Birmingham City Jail, Dr. King was released. His Letter from Birmingham Jail was published on May 19, 1963. King would go on to become an icon for freedom and justice.
Historically, America has seen its fair share of disobedience to unjust laws. Two of the most prominent examples would be the Boston Tea Party and the Underground Railroad. Both of these acts have one thing in common: they resulted from individuals who refused to place the immorality of man’s law above the divinity of God’s law and heavenly-inspired natural rights. Today, when freedom is threatened by tyrannical legislation, may we always stand firm in the faith and remain everlasting guards for justice. Let us never forget Dr. King’s timeless phrase: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
By Garrett Smith | @gwsmith93 | TRINICY.org
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Most people who are involved in the American political field have heard the following statement: “Conservatives are fascists and Nazis who seek to force their beliefs on others.” Especially since the 1960s, American Progressives in particular have been quick to condemn Republicans and their leaders - such as Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump - as Nazis and Fascist sympathizers. Read on for a thorough debunking of the Nazi Conservative connection.
Many often wonder if the Left is making a valid point. After all, Nazism was rooted in a nationalist ideology and many Conservatives often take pride in their national heritage. The Left's rationale relies on their claim that just because Nazis were “National Socialists,” does not mean they were actually Socialists. Both at the root and on the cover, however, Nazis and Conservatives are not alike. To prove that, we will examine the facts using the Nazi Party Platform and perform a short break-down of each subject.
NAZIS AND NATIONALISM
In debunking the Nazi Conservative claim, one issue must be made abundantly clear from the start: Nazis were ultranationalist Imperialists who sought to greatly expand the size of the German state. Unlike Communists, Nazis despised globalism and viewed the German state, with the Aryan race, as their sources of greatness. When compared to the type of nationalism embraced by Conservatives, Nazis and Conservatives actually do not share much in common. This is especially evident for anyone who reads the Nazi Party Platform, created by Adolf Hitler in 1920. The fifth point states, “Those who are not citizens must live in Germany as foreigners and must be subject to the law of aliens.”
Likewise, the platform holds that only German citizens can be responsible for selecting government officials. On the surface, this may seem like a strong comparison. A closer examination, however, something entirely different is revealed. The platform goes on to state, “Any further immigration of non-Germans must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who have entered Germany since August 2, 1914, shall be compelled to leave the Reich immediately.”
The true Conservative, however, holds a different belief entirely. Conservatives embrace legal immigration, cherish it, and recognize legal immigrants who wish to assimilate into the country’s cultural melting pot will help improve the greatness of the nation. All the Conservative asks is for immigrants to assimilate in the legal and proper manner, without cutting corners, so as to avoid issues such as voter fraud. On this, Nazis and Conservatives are very different.
ECONOMICS AND LABOR
The Conservative believes the fruit of someone’s labor belongs solely to that person. No other human being has a right to claim someone’s hard-earned pay. Likewise, though Conservatives cherish a hard-working spirit, they believe human beings were created for more than just work. While Communists and like-minded Socialists are proponents of organized wealth distribution, how did Nazis hold up on this issue? Point 10 of the Nazi Party Platform states, “The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. No individual shall do any work that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of all.” This is a thoroughly-Socialist statement and not much different from the labor beliefs of Communists.
While the Nazi Party did not share with Communists the belief in class warfare, and they did hold some regard for a middle class. This is evident with point 16 in which they demanded “the immediate communalization of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small tradespeople, and the strongest consideration must be given to ensure that small traders shall deliver the supplies needed by the state, the provinces and the municipalities.” Nazis also, like Soviets and Chinese Communists, demanded agrarian reform, and stated any land needed for the purposes of the state shall be taken without compensation for landowners (point 17). Nazis also included mandatory profit-sharing for large industries in their platform, as well as the nationalization of trusts. Though Nazis and Communists are different in many ways, they both share a mutual belief pertaining to societal welfare: common comes good before individual good.
NOT-SO-FREE SPEECH AND PRESS
While Conservatives seek to uphold the constitutional principle of free speech and press, Nazis sought something different entirely. Point 23 of the platform states, “Newspapers transgressing against the common welfare shall be suppressed. We demand legal action against those tendencies in art and literature that have a disruptive influence upon the life of our folk, and any organizations that offend against the foregoing demands shall be dissolved.” The Nazis also made it clear non-Germans were very limited in their press rights and non-Germans could not publish their material in the Germanic language. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe legal immigrants who are not yet citizens still hold various rights in the country, especially pertaining to free speech.
NAZIS AND RELIGION
It has often been said that Nazis were Christians, and therefore, Nazis were Conservatives who wanted to force their religious beliefs on others. While Nazis certainly wanted to impose their will on others, they were not Christians. The Nazi Party Platform states in point 24 they would be tolerant of any religion, so long as it did not interfere with the Nazis’ belief in the superior Germanic race. To further this platform tenant, Nazis omitted all Jewish heritage from the Bible. Later, point 24 states, “The Party as such represents the point of view of a Positive Christianity without binding itself to any one particular confession.” Positive Christianity, developed by the Nazis, eliminated the parts of the Bible that contained Jewish lineage or history.
Christians believe Jesus Christ is the son of God (with Jewish lineage), that He died for our sins on a cross, and that He arose on the third day. William L. Shirer explained in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, how, during World War II, Nazis sought to replace the Bible and the Cross with Mein Kampf and the swastika. They also rejected dependence on the Apostle’s Creed. Shirer continued by stating Nazis wanted the “extermination of the foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany.” No, Nazis were most definitely not Christian Conservatives.
WERE NAZIS PROGRESSIVE?
Given the evidence from their own platform, it should be abundantly clear Nazis were not the equivalent of Conservatives. While they were different from Communists in many ways, they were alike in others, namely on the principle that common good always precedes individual good. Regarding Socialism, Nazis sought many socialist aspects, albeit on a nationalist level. It was Gregor Strasser of the Nazi Party who said, “We are Socialists. We are enemies, deadly enemies, of today’s capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, its unfair wage system, its immoral way of judging other human beings in terms of their wealth and their money, instead of their responsibility and their performance, and we are determined to destroy this system whatever happens!”
Nazis were not Capitalist Conservatives who sought a free market. While they were not Communists, one does not have to be an outright Communist to be a Socialist. Self-described Democratic Socialists, like Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT) often take pride in that belief. National Socialism is still Socialism, albeit in a different form. Two examples of post-World War II dictators who incorporated elements of Socialism into their nationalist beliefs were Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.
DEBUNKING THE NAZI CONSERVATIVE CLAIM COMPLETE
Though different from Communists in many aspects, Nazis were the Progressives of their country who sought to “progress” Germany into their twisted vision of a utopia, done in the name of “bettering society.” As historian Modris Eksteins states in Rites of Spring, the goals of the Nazi Party were “distinctly progressive...The intention of the movement was to create a new type of human being from whom would spring a new reality, a new social system, and eventually, a new international order.”
Debunking the Nazi Conservative claim was not difficult nor was it a stretch. After doing so, the hope is that Christians and Conservatives will always have the wisdom, courage, and strength to defend their values from those who seek to accuse them of aligning with evil ideologies.
famous speeches series
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It has been said one of America’s greatest strengths is her ability to overcome adversity. Time and time again, during America’s darkest days, this has proven true. One such period in our history was the Civil Rights Era, during which supporters of equal rights for African-Americans were violently subjected to unspeakable treatment. During this time, many warriors arose to fight for that phrase enshrined in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Following the American Civil War, three amendments were added to the Federal Constitution. These amendments freed the slaves, granted citizenship to freed slaves and anyone born under U.S. jurisdiction, and gave African-Americans voting rights. Despite these additions to the Constitution, many states still used local laws to discriminate and prevent minority Americans from exercising their Constitutional freedom. For example, one literacy test in Alabama asked the question, “How many bubbles are in a bar of soap?” During and following the Reconstruction Era, terrorist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, used fear and violence to prevent African-Americans from voting. While the Civil War ended in 1865, state-sponsored discrimination of minority Americans would continue for another century.
By the 1950s, however, things began to change. Continuing into the next decade, events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Greensboro Sit-Ins ignited a freedom movement throughout the nation. While many heroes gained national attention during this time, one of them - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - became perhaps the most recognizable face.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Dr. King led civil rights supporters throughout various states. Protesting institutionalized racism, King’s marches and speeches would reach Montgomery, Alabama; Chicago, Illinois; and Washington, D.C., among many other locations across the US. During this time, he endured harassment, imprisonment, and the bombing of his home. Despite his trials, King actively sought God’s guidance for his mission. In his various speeches, he often used scripture and biblical imagery to promote his idea of nonviolent protest. On April 3, 1968, King stood at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. In support of the Memphis Sanitation Strike, King delivered what would become his final oration.
A WALK THROUGH HISTORY
At the start of the speech, King paid recognition to Ralph David Abernathy, a Baptist minister and co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Following this, he offered a brief journey throughout important events in human history. Essentially, he presented the journey as if God had directly asked him, “Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?” King stated his response was, “I would take my mental flight by Egypt through, or rather across, the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the Promised Land. And in spite of its magnificence, I wouldn’t stop there. I would move on by Greece, and take my mind to Mount Olympus. And I would see Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides, and Aristophanes assembled around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality. But I wouldn’t stop there...I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating president by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. But I wouldn’t stop there.”
King took his audience through several other significant events that had impacted human history, and then brought the setting of his oration back to the present day. King remarked he viewed not only the American Civil Rights Movement, but civil rights movements across the globe, as God at work. Simultaneous to the Civil Rights Movement in America, individuals in South Africa fought against the entrenched system of Apartheid. King stated, “The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee - the cry is always the same - ‘We want to be free.’”
GOD'S WILL AND NONVIOLENT PROTEST
King continued to state how glad he was to be alive during this revolutionary movement for human rights, as he believed he was fulfilling God’s purpose. To rally support for the Memphis Sanitation Strike, he ushered a call for unity, and brought to mind their success in Birmingham, Alabama. When Bull Connor, the police chief, ordered his officers to use attack dogs and fire hoses, King and his supporters banded together. In unison, they sang songs such as, “We Will Overcome.” Despite the difficult struggle, the civil rights protestors succeeded in their Birmingham Campaign. As King stated, “There was a power there which Bull Connor couldn’t adjust to; and so we ended up transforming Bull into a steer, and we won our struggle in Birmingham. Now, we’ve got to go on to Memphis just like that.”
With their constitutional rights being violated across the nation, King reminded America of the vision the founding fathers put in place. Holding America to a high standard, he stated, “‘Be true to what you said on paper.’ If I lived in China or even Russia, or any other totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere, I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere, I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere, I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere, I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.”
THE MOUNTAINTOP AND THE PROMISED LAND
At the end of the oration, King encouraged his followers to continue their push for justice. One could possibly make a convincing point that King knew his time on earth was nearing its end and that his life’s work was complete. Wrapping up the speech, he stated, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”
On April 4, 1968 - the day after delivering this speech - Dr. King was assassinated while standing on his hotel balcony in Memphis. Many leaders throughout our history have been influential in guiding a populace through dark times. Few of them, however, have had the same impact as Dr. King. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the bill establishing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as an official holiday (though it would not be celebrated by all 50 states until roughly a decade and a half later). President Reagan also said this of King: “Abraham Lincoln freed the Black man...In many ways, Dr. King freed the White man...Where others, White and Black, preached hatred, he taught the principles of love and nonviolence.” Regardless of what obstacles we face in this life, may we always demonstrate the same amount of courage and reliance on God’s guidance as King did.
In a very successful manner, Reagan compared the ideological conflict being waged between the two world superpowers to a battle between good and evil. Christianity and Christian principles, as he understood, must stand strong in the face of their ultimate socialist foe. The Soviet Union was officially formed in 1922, towards the end of the Russian Civil War. (1) Following the ideology put forth by Karl Marx, the Bolsheviks - led by Vladimir Lenin - overthrew the Russian Empire and established the world’s first communist state. Over the following decades, various nations would follow suit, including North Korea, Cuba, North Vietnam, and Angola. By 1980, communism still seemed to be holding a firm grip on the world.
REAGAN'S POLITICAL ASCENSION
Ronald Reagan’s prominence on the national stage began in 1964, following his delivery of an impressive speech at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco, California. (2) In this oration, titled, “A Time for Choosing,” Reagan warned of the dangers that would follow if socialism were to be fully embraced by Americans. “So, we have come to a time for choosing,” he stated. “Either we accept the responsibility for our own destiny, or we abandon the American Revolution and confess that an intellectual elite in a far distant capitol can plan our lives for us, better than we can plan them ourselves.” (3)
Twenty years later, Reagan would seek God’s guidance as the leader of the free world. The world that Reagan inherited as president was a mess. The American economy was in shambles, Iranian revolutionaries had captured over 50 American citizens and diplomats in Tehran, (4) and communism seemed to be on the rise once more. With the Soviet Union having been on the global stage for roughly six decades, along with the fact that it seemed to be proliferating, Reagan knew that it was time to take a stand. Using his talent for words, he would fight the Soviet Union with ideas, rather than war.
AMERICA'S CHRISTIAN FOUNDATION
On March 8, 1983, President Reagan set foot on the stage at the 41st Annual Convention for the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida. (5) This oration, though used to describe the Soviet Union as a threat to Christianity, was also used to proclaim that America was founded on Christian values. Likewise, it was also used to call forth a restoration of those principles. At the beginning of the speech, Reagan stated,
The 1960s and 1970s marked an increase in social progressivism. Issues such as abortion and drugs were now in the spotlight, following the counterculture revolution of the 1960s. Regarding abortion, Reagan stated, “More than a decade ago, a Supreme Court decision literally wiped off the books of fifty states, statutes protecting the rights of unborn children. Abortion on demand now takes the lives of up to one and a half million unborn children a year.”
It is all-too common for a Christian to occasionally get discouraged at the amount of sheer evil that occurs in this world; however, we must always remember that, as Christians, we were called to be unlike earthly ideas. Though evil may reign now, it will not last forever, and Christ’s teachings will always prevail, regardless of what occurs. On this, Reagan said, “Now, I’m sure that you must get discouraged at times, but there you’ve done better than you know, perhaps. There’s a great spiritual awakening in America...a renewal of the traditional values that have been the bedrock of America’s goodness and greatness.”
Not long after, Reagan said, “There is sin and evil in the world, and we’re enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it with all our might. Our nation, too, has a legacy of evil with which it must deal. The glory of this land has been its capacity for transcending the moral evils of our past. For example, the long struggle of minority citizens...for equal rights, once a source of disunity and civil war, is now a point of pride for all Americans. We must never go back. There is no room for racism, anti-semitism, or other forms of ethnic or racial hatred in this country.”
Toward the end of the speech, Reagan addressed the largest issue pertaining to global affairs. Sixty-one years after the formation of the Soviet Union, he called out the communist state for what it truly was: an evil empire. Communism and Christianity cannot coexist. Communism is the belief that all things and individuals belong to the state, and the system punishes those who do not fully submit. Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ loves and died for all individuals, and it promotes the fact that people were created for more than submission to worldly government.
In the speech, Reagan remarked that Vladimir Lenin - the first Soviet leader - said that “they repudiate all morality that proceeds from supernatural ideas - that’s their name for religion - or ideas that are outside class conceptions. Morality is entirely subordinate to the interests of class war...Well, I think the refusal of many influential people to accept this elementary fact of Soviet doctrine illustrates an historical reluctance to see totalitarian powers for what they are. We saw this phenomenon in the 1930s. We see it too often today.”
Reagan soon states what all Christian must hold dear: “We will never give away our freedom. We will never abandon our belief in God.” Some were suggesting that the United States impose a freeze on the USSR, but Reagan believed that would not accomplish anything in the long haul, as the Soviets could achieve their goals in the midst of a freeze, and could perhaps even reward them. To him, the USSR must not be compromised with, and it must be brought to its knees. The Cold War officially ended on December 26, 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The fall of the USSR occurred in large part due to Reagan’s firm peace-through-strength initiative. Toward the end of the speech, he ushered in the line that would earn the oration its name. “...I urge you to beware the temptation of pride - the temptation of blithely...declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.” Reagan wraps up, stating, “I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last-last pages are now being written. I believe this because the source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual.”
In 1988, Reagan visited Moscow. (7) Upon being asked if he still believed the USSR to be an evil empire, he essentially said that he did not, as times were changing, and the Soviet Union no longer posed a threat to the world as it did before. Some have said that Reagan won the Cold War without firing a single shot. Today, we must remember Reagan’s words more than ever. May we always stand strong for Christ, no matter which evil empires we face in our midst.
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