The first sentence stands out:
Paul Kengor is a teacher and writer who has always had an eye for the spiritual dimension in history, politics, and economics.
Yes, the spiritual dimension in history, politics, and economics; or in other words, the vertical dimension that runs from God on down and back up again. Always and everywhere, leftism is a passionately spiritual movement.
As if that's a good thing! No one -- obviously -- believes more firmly in God than Satan. Indeed, Where religion is secularized, Satan becomes the last witness to God (NGD). And speaking of the Aphorist,
Many think that the devil died, but he merely walks around today disguised as a man.
The devil can achieve nothing great without the thoughtless collaboration of the virtues.
In that order: the devil walks around disguised as a virtuous man -- or signaling himself as one, to be precise. But such a man cannot do this without the projection of evil into the innocent: come for the cheap virtue, stay for the human sacrifice and spiritual cannibalism, i.e., the satanic eucharist (or dyscharist).
By the way, the leftist will say that we are utterly lacking in self-awareness, and that we are simply projecting evil into him; there are many ways to disprove this, but this will take us far afield. Let's just respond with a few preemptive aphorisms:
Men are divided into two camps: those who believe in original sin and those who are idiots.
Nobody will ever induce me to absolve human nature, because I know myself.
We can never count on a man who does not look upon himself with the gaze of an entomologist.
Those who remove man’s chains free only an animal.
Show me the Antifa or BLM member who understands these.
Let's continue reading: "terms such as collectivism and individualism only take the debate so far... Ultimately the fight comes down to spiritual warfare: good versus evil."
Precisely. This is one of the main things that prompted me to leave psychology behind and below, because when it comes to explaining the psyche, mere psychology doesn't cut it.
To put it another way, psychology is far too important a subject to be left to psychologists; for the person who is only a psychologist isn't even that.
Communism isn't so much a collection of economic policies, but a psychological phenomena, whereby losers and degenerates and resentful people take revenge and try to harm others.
Agreed, with the caveat that there is something about the psychological wound that opens the person to noxious vertical-spiritual influences, similar to how a wound in the skin opens one to harmful bacteria. (Also, it seems that these Antifa volks aren't just ugly on the inside.)
At the same time, there must be a weakened (or worse, wakened) immune response that allows the spiritual energies to enter and take root. The person must misidentify these as "good" and even virtuous. It's why the leftist is always morally superior to us. It's a large part of the appeal. Remember? I certainly do: to be on the left is to be more moral, more intelligent, and even more attuned to "art." A couple weeks ago one of our trolls made the claim that all art, creativity, and humor come from the left. Nuff said.
Clearly, Marx was a repulsive assoul. What then explains his appeal, being that he is probably the most influential single philosopher who has ever lived? At the moment, major American cities are being destroyed in his name. Can this be said of any other intellectual?
Although I agree with the inescapable connection Kengor makes between Marx’s life and his philosophy, I might not place so much emphasis on the man’s early life.
Yes, exactly. In hindsight, psychology can explain anyone. Hitler and Churchill both had abusive fathers. So what?
Let's see if amazon reviewers have anything helpful to throw onto our pile of insultainment.
The other point the book shows is that Marx was intent on subverting Christianity. That is a theme that runs through the book. Concrete examples of how Marxists would focus on undermining Christianity and Christians.
Yes, of course. Why wouldn't they? I was just reading yesterday in a book on Balthasar, how "the will to evil becomes the more entrenched the greater the counterpower of the divine goodness inviting it to convert." Yup. That's a soph-evident claim. Well, maybe not to Pope Francis.
I'm also rereading Hayek's The Fatal Conceit, which is a fine example of how far a secular economist can go without recourse to the vertical: pretty, pretty far, but not quite far enough. Examples:
To follow socialist morality would destroy much of present humankind and impoverish much of the rest.
... our language [Logos!] has been debased under socialist influence and we must keep ourselves from being seduced by it into socialist ways of thinking.
The savage is not solitary, and his instinct is collectivist.... an atavistic longing after the life of the noble savage is the main source of the collectivist tradition.
... a naive and childlike animistic view of the world has come to dominate social theory and is the foundation of socialist thought.
If we wish to save the world from barbarism we have to refute Socialism... (von Mises)
We'll see you next Tuesday, I guess, humidity permitting.