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Thinking Out Loud: Are We Witnessing The Decadence in U.S. Society That Makes Disintegration Inevitable?

December 2, 2015 by Herbert Daughtry

Part Forty-One

Greed: The Root of All Evil?
Marxism, Communism, Socialism, and Capitalism.

Section E

Today, I will resume the series of articles on “Thinking Out Loud: Are We Witnessing The Decadence in U.S. Society That Makes Disintegration Inevitable?” I could not write this article without remembering that Tuesday, December 1, 2015 was the 60th Anniversary of Mrs. Rosa Parks being jailed for her refusal to give up her seat to a white man. Her act initiated the Civil Rights Movement which resulted in significant changes in America, and had an impact on the world.

Mrs. Parks came to our church around 1980. Vivid in my memory was a small, self-effacing, and unassuming woman. From her act of courage, we learned a priceless lesson: When God, destiny, or however you choose to believe, is ready for major events to occur, the humblest person or minutest incident can be the catalyst for revolutionary changes.

As I mentioned in my last article, I would address the economic theories of Marxism, Communism, Socialism, and Capitalism. In 2009, I wrote a series of articles about the economic crises of that time. As I reviewed the articles, the relevance was compellingly appropriate. The following articles will essentially be excerpts from the aforementioned.

Karl Marx /Dialectic Materialism

Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818-March 14, 1883) was a philosopher, social scientist, historian, and revolutionary.

A couple of definitions:

Dialectic: Associated with George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the German philosopher, it is the process of arriving at the truth by the consideration of a thesis, the development of an antithesis in reaction to this, and the synthesis of the thesis and the antithesis in a culmination which are coherent.

Dialectic Materialism: A theory by Marx which states that material forces cause social and economic changes.

Marx’s line of thought about man and history clearly took two discernible directions. Firstly, there was the earlier humanist theory of thought in which Marx focused principally on man and his self-alienation. Secondly, a new or un-emphasized dimension of Marx sprang from economic and philosophical manuscripts from 1844.

Starting first with Hegel, a teacher of Marx, who saw history from a God-ward stance: History, he thought, was an alienation from God. The being of the world is an objectification of God and also God’s self-realization. God alienates himself in history only to realize Himself anew.

Some of Hegel’s students, including Marx, took a different view of history. They claimed that Hegel had laid hold of history from the wrong end. Instead of starting with God, he should have started with man.

One of the leading luminaries in this man-ward stance was Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach, a German philosopher and anthropologist. In his critique of religion, Feuerbach argued that religion was the projection of man’s inner being to the celestial. Man claimed that he was the creation of God when, in fact, it is the other way around. Man created God.

“God created man and man returned the compliment,” wrote the French philosopher, François-Marie Arouet, who was better known by the pen name, Voltaire. The alienated man projects his own inner glory into an ideal expression which he calls God. Then, man falls down before the shrine and worships. Thus, man becomes impoverished and wretched before this God who is nothing, in fact, but has been created out of man’s own inner riches.

So, man alienates himself. Man needs to understand God for what He is – an alienation of himself, and his own self-reflection created out of his own splendor. In gaining this understanding, man then needs to re-appropriate this self image. In so doing, he re-appropriates not only an individual self – oneself, as it was – but a communal self, a species self, and a cosmic self – a self that is invested with all the riches of humankind.

… to be continued.

(Originally published in the Daily Challenge on December 2, 2015.)