History of Philosophy and Christian Thought - Lesson 46


Discussion of four faces of Marxism.

Ronald Nash
History of Philosophy and Christian Thought
Lesson 46
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Nineteenth-Century Philosophy

Part 7

III. Marx (part 2)

A. The Five Stages of Marxism


B. The Four Faces of Marxism

1. Social-Democratic Marxism

2. Marxism-Leninism

3. Neo-Marxism/Humanistic Marxism

4. Chameleon Marxism

  • Thales and Anaximander were two philosophers in the sixth century BC that lived in Miletus.

  • Heraclitus and Pythagoras lived into the 5th century BC.

  • Any worldview addresses the subjects of God, ultimate reality, human knowledge, ethics and human persons.

  • Fundamental beliefs of a naturalistic worldview is that nothing exists outside the physical universe and that all things evolved.

  • Plato was a student of Socrates and lived into the fourth century BC. He opposed hedonism, empiricism, relativism, materialism, atheism and naturalism.

  • Plato described the universe as having three levels: the world of particulars, the world of forms, and the form of the good.

  • Plato's view of the universe was dualistic.

  • One of Plato's fundamental arguments is that the human soul is immortal.

  • Evaluation of Plato's arguments and comparison of Plato's philosophy with biblical theology.

  • Empiricism teaches that all human knowledge arises from sense experience. Rationalism teaches that some human knowledge does not arise from sense. experience

  • Aristotle was a student of Plato and lived in the fourth century BC.

  • Aristotle rejected Plato's doctrine of two worlds.

  • Discussion of Aristotelian philosophy as it relates to the incarnation.

  • Aristotle's philosophy as it relates to attributes of God and fundamental assumptions about psychology.

  • Aristotle made a distinction between passive intellect and active intellect.

  • Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the law of non-contradiction.

  • Discussion of the nature and substance of matter.

  • Hellenistic philosophy was an approach that was popular from the fourth century BC to the fifth century AD.

  • Stoics were determinists who believed in living according to nature.

  • Hedonism emphasized pleasure as the greatest good. "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we might be dead."

  • Philo's philosophy was based on a synthesis of Stoicism and Platonism.

  • Implicit "Logos" Christianity is an underlying theme in the book of Hebrews.

  • Plotinus lived in the third century AD and is considered the founder of Neoplatonism.

  • Augustine is a Latin church father, is considered by many to be one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity.

  • Augustine wrote Confessions as an autobiographical work to record his experience as a sinful youth and his experience becoming a follower of Christ.

  • Augustine wrote to refute some heresies of the day by focusing on the concepts of faith and reason.

  • Augustine writes about the problem of evil and describes evil as the absence of good.

  • Augustine writes to refute Pelagianism by focusing on the biblical teaching about sin.

  • Augustine writes to refute Donatism.

  • The fundamental idea of skepticism is that no one can know anything. Augustine this statement contradicts itself because the skeptic is claiming that you can know that you can't know anything.

  • When Augustine wrote "The City of God," he had a linear view of history.

  • In Augustine's theory of knowledge, he says that eternal reason and human reason are two different levels of reason.

  • Augustine was personally convinced of the importance of divine illumination.

  • The intellectual background of Thomas Aquinas was influenced by the discovery of ancient manuscripts, the rise of universities, the rise of religious brotherhoods and the rise of Muslim philosophy.

  • Aquinas describes faith as whatever a human can know through special revelation, and reason as whatever a human can know outside of special revelation.

  • Aquinas attempts to prove God's existence.

  • Aquinas describes four kinds of law as eternal, divine, natural and positive.

  • The rationalists and empiricists set the stage for Kant and other philosophers of the modern era.

  • Kant argued that moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative."

  • Kants two worlds are the phenomenal world and the noumenal world.

  • Discussion of criticisms and questions about Kant's ideas.

  • Similarities between Kant's ideas and postmodernism.

  • The dialectic is a central idea in Hegel's philosophy.

  • Ideally, Marxism begins with class struggle, then revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat, withering away of the state, and a utopian classless society.

  • Discussion of four faces of Marxism.

  • Nietzsche proclaimed that, "God is dead." His cure was to live life knowing there is no ultimate meaning. Kierkegaard emphasized a worldview based on true faith.

In this class, you will explore the rich history of philosophy and its relationship with Christian thought. The course begins with an introduction to the definition and importance of philosophy in Christian theology. You will then delve into the evolution of philosophical thought from the Pre-Socratic era, through the Classical Greek philosophers, and into the Hellenistic period. As you progress, you will discover how early Christian thought emerged and developed during the Patristic period, with a special focus on Augustine. The class continues with an examination of medieval Christian thinkers, such as Anselm and Thomas Aquinas, and concludes with an analysis of modern philosophers like Descartes, Kant, and Kierkegaard, and their influence on contemporary Christian thought.

Dr. Ronald Nash
History of Philosophy and Christian Thought
Lesson Transcript


There are four phases of Marxism, and I present them in their chronological order. Just mentioning the name Marx makes my hair fall out. Do you notice how my hair looks? If you see hair falling out here, just applaud. So the people on the tape know what Marx does to me. Am I. Have I broken out in these horrible pimples as I normally do when I mentioned Marx? Let me tell you this. If you understand the history of Marx, his teachings and and the kind of life that person lived, how can a name like that become important in the history of ideas unless the human race has collectively lost its mind? You ought to read about his life sometime. Okay. Lazy, lazy slob. That's what he was. He kept getting money, you know, from home. Rich capitalists. He kept getting money from rich capitalists so he wouldn't have to go to work. He could just sit around in the British Library and fake the statistics that he used in his book, Das Kapital. He faked the statistics. He lied. He twisted statistics in order to make a case that wasn't there. I mean, just utterly immoral person. Anyway, there are four phases of Marxism. The first is called social democratic Marxism. You see, after he finally died, and incidentally, I once tried to make an attempt to visit his grave in London, but the cemetery was closed. I walked a mile and a half in the rain and on a London rain to get into that cemetery. And they must have heard I was coming. So they locked the door.


[00:02:25] I wouldn't have done anything. But anyway, right wing social democratic Marxism. After he died, his disciples and his groupies said, Well, what are we going to do with his ideas? Because they were a little contradictory, you know? And finally, Friedrich Engels associated himself with with what has become social democratic Marxism, which goes like this The world must abandon capitalism. We must become socialists, but we should do this in a peaceful, nonviolent way. And this was this was British. This is what was called British Fabian ism during the 19th and 20th century. This is what became the Socialist Party in England. This is what became the Socialist Party in the United States. And have you noticed it during your lifetime, with a few exceptions, that we have not had a socialist candidate for president in the United States for at least 20 years? And you want to know why? Who needs socialist when you have the Democratic Party? That's the truth, folks. That's the truth. In fact, if you look at Marx's agenda, this is incredible. If you look at those things that Marx most wanted, we have every one of them in the United States right now. We have every one of them. We don't have capitalism in this country. Well, that's another that's a subject for another course. Social democratic Marxism also was manifested in the Menshevik branch of the Russian Socialist Democratic Labor Party. If during your days in the university, you had professors who call themselves socialists, whatever they taught, you know. Chances are they were socialists. This is the old style socialist movement. The second face of Marxism was Marxism-Leninism. And I gave you a brief introduction to that during the first part of the hour. This is Lenin's revisionism. This is Marxism adjusted to Lenin's control, totalitarian control over what became the Soviet Union after the end of World War One.


[00:04:51] The basic points about Marxism-Leninism, as there are these it is it is totalitarian. It has no conscience when it comes to violence and it is expansionist. Marxist-Leninist were never content to just develop socialism in one country, even though that phrase became prominent in the debate between Stalin and Trotsky. You may not know Trotsky's name, but he was one of the the early ringleaders of of of Soviet style Marxism. This is the stuff about the dictatorship of the proletariat and all of that nonsense that existed in the Soviet Union until 1991, when finally the walls came tumbling down. Okay. Marxism-Leninism today still exists, however, but largely outside of Russia. It exists primarily in North Korea. Totalitarian. The People's Republic of China. Doesn't that sound beautiful? The People's Republic of China. As though the people count for anything. Okay. And Castro's Cuba and Marxist revolutionaries who are still running around in various parts of the world. But now we come to two faces of. Marxism that are actually the dominant versions of Marxism in the Western world today, even though very few Western students know what's going on here. Now, this third version of Marxism goes by two names. It goes under the name Neo Marxism, or it is sometimes called humanistic Marxism. There are several key steps in its development. The early stages all date back to the 1930s. I hope that you get this transition sentence. We're looking at the early stages of this new and very influential interpretation of Marx that dates during the 1930s. Now here are some of the things that happen. First of all, there was a large collection of unpublished Marx Marx Marxian manuscripts. They are called the 1843 44 manuscripts. They were never published while Marx was alive. They were never published, actually, until the early 1930s when they appeared in a German translation.


[00:07:36] Here's what was important here. People found in the writings of this early, these early Marxist writings, which Karl Marx himself refused to publish. He didn't lose them. He never forgot anything he had written, but he didn't publish things. All right. So if he died in the 1880s, we're talking here almost 50 years later, these things are published and they immediately command attention because they seem to tell us about a new kind of Marx. You see, by the time you're into the 1930s, everybody who cares and who knows is associating Marxism with violence, war, bloodshed, assassination, terror, slave labor camps, and the whole bloody history of Stalinism. But what they found in this new Marx was apparently something that could be called a humanistic Marx or Marx who cared about human being. All right. But humanistic Marx, I mean, he really was a good guy. He cared about people. And thus the whole party line or the party line of the neo-Marxist became that this is a marx that we can do business with. I hope you see the humor in that claim. That's what that's. What was it Ronald Reagan who said that about Gorbachev? He said, this is a communist that we can do business with. This is a marx we can do business with now. So people were attracted to a marx that appeared to have a human face. In fact, some people stood up to Stalin. They got up in communist meetings in the 1930s and they said, Wait a minute, gentlemen, we have discovered the true Marx. And he is a marx who would oppose slave labor camps. He would oppose the gulag. He would oppose dictatorship. And then those people disappeared. And no one ever saw them. No one ever saw them alive again.


[00:09:47] Okay. About the time that these manuscripts were published, there was a a school of German Marxists there called the Frankfurt School because they the center of headquarters was Frankfurt, Germany. Have I spelled out Right. Frankfurt? I think that's I don't think that's a Hugh. Hugh. I think you're right. Okay. The members of the Frankfurt School, they were all Marxists, they were all Jewish, and they were all secular Jews. You must understand that one of the one of the big developments in the 20th century was the rise of secular Judaism, where people were Jews, but they detested the Jewish faith. They didn't believe in Yahweh, they didn't believe in God. They didn't believe in the Old Testament. But when it suited their purposes, they could talk about their Jewishness. Now, one of the ringleaders of the Frankfurt School was a man named Herbert Marcuse. He had to flee Germany because, number one, Hitler came to power and Hitler didn't like Jews, but he also didn't like communists or Marxists. So these guys had reasons to run and many of them ended up in the United States. Marcuse went to Brandeis University, a Jewish institution where he taught for a number of years. Then he ended up at the University of California at San Diego, where he he he tutored a young black woman named Angela Davis and turned her into a radical a radical Marxist. I would say that he destroyed her, you know, her promise as a human being. But between between between Marcuse was teaching at Brandeis in Massachusetts and is teaching at the University of California in San Diego. He he did some work for the old SS during World War Two. Now you don't hear too much about the SS, but it was the it was the forerunner of the CIA.


[00:12:16] Now, here is again another irony in the history of ideas. Herbert Marcuse became the darling of the far left political movement in the United States. He became a hero to these guys, which of course, which movement, of course, detested the CIA. These were the kids who spelled America with a K, that the America of the 1950s, in the 1960s, in the 1970s, was simply a reincarnation of Nazi Germany. Okay. I have yet to find any any surviving member of the religion of the of the of the political far left who understands that their hero worked for the forerunner of the CIA. Now the always. SAS was engaged in espionage and other stuff in Europe trying to undermine Hitler, which is great. All right, let's get rid of these guys. Marcuse worked for them because he knew that the Allies were going to win and that the Axis powers would lose. And he wanted to make sure that when Germany was defeated, his friends who were Marxists would be placed in positions of great power and influence in the new Germany. But nonetheless, he was he was playing around with the forerunner of the CIA. Now, what Mark Kooser is most famous for is his use of what are supposed to be ideas from these unpublished manuscripts of 1843 44. And the most prominent of those ideas is the theory of alienation. The theory of alienation. Now, you all know what the word alienation refers to. It refers to a distance that comes to exist between people, things that separate, separate people, walls that come up between us and other people. And Marcuse, who came to believe that Marx, in his unpublished writings, the 1843 44 manuscripts, identified four kinds of alienation. Now I have read the 1843 44 manuscripts.


[00:14:39] Anybody who can find anything in there deserves a Nobel Prize. Okay. I mean, is this early writings or not? Marx never knew how to write anything clearly. So these four kinds of alienation that mark that Mark Kooser talked about were these and these were all supposed to be corrupting influences of capitalism. First of all, Marcuse said, capitalism causes alienation between the worker and the products that he produces. Under capitalism, the proletariat can no longer be trusted because the proletariat have become enslaved by all of the results of capitalist technology. Capitalists have to have the latest television set, the latest cars, the latest cell phone. Garbage collectors have cell phones with them these day. Okay. All of. So you can no longer trust the proletariat. They have become slaves to the products that they have produced. Secondly, capitalism causes alienation between workers and their jobs. Have you ever noticed how many Americans hate their jobs? Garbage collectors. But what Marcuse ignores is this Mark culture forgets. That people all over the world hate their jobs. Do you mean to tell me that a garbage collector in Moscow loves his job more than a garbage collector in Beverly Hills or Oviedo? Do you ever watch the garbage men in Oviedo? They're not the happiest people I've ever seen in the world. What? That's capitalism. Now, the reason why this is not a problem in Russia is because the Russians have yet to produce anything that anybody wants to buy. See, what sells in Russia are American products or German products or something else. No one buys Russian. No. Buy oil, Vodka. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And the only reason I'm saying yeah, is because you Presbyterians are laughing about that, See? If you were a Russian, you drank three bottles of vodka a day.


[00:16:59] That's what you do. All right. If you were a Russian in Saint Petersburg, you'd need the vodka to kill the germs and the water system and the water supply. Okay. The third kind of alienation is that capitalism produces alienation between workers and other people. And look at all of the look at all of the Americans who hate other people. Have you ever seen road rage, jealousy, competition as though this were unique to the United States or the West? And then finally, capitalism produces alienation between the worker and himself, the worker and himself. Just stand here during the day. Now, I know I got now that I started that sentence, I've got to finish it. And and all of the all of the the unhappy people who come to our counseling center, counseling center. Now that I've started on this, let me. I used to give once or twice a year a series of lectures to single adults that were being ministered to by an arts graduate. He's left town now. He's. It's a great ministry, two singles. And we're talking about divorced mothers, divorced fathers who are raising children. And I've I've spent weekends with these folks. And let me tell you, I had terrible depression. I just leave those meetings and I'm depressed for a month, which means I'm I'm I'm grieving for the sake of these wonderful people who's who once had promising futures and then the marriage fell apart and they have children that they love and the care of these children has fallen upon them. And this is a there are a lot of people in America with problems. Write that down and give me credit for that. There are a lot of people in America with problems. Now, I don't deny that these poor kinds of alienation exist in the West, all over the West.


[00:19:18] Maybe some of these problems exist in our arts communities, all right. In our churches. But the problem is, these problems are not unique to the countries of the West. These problems are found worldwide. Somebody give me the latest Gallup Poll poll on happiness and Afghanistan. Okay. No, not a lot of happy people in Afghanistan. Or a whole lot of other places now. The American sociologist who looks so much like me, has made a number of has published a number of foolish statements about Herbert Marcuse. I'm talking, of course, about Tony Campolo. Tony Campolo, that handsome member of the evangelical religious left. Okay. Tony Campolo is, among other things, theologically illiterate. He really is. He's a danger. He's a danger. I mean, if you look at Tony's theological heresy history, wow, there is a Freudian slip if there ever was one. Tony has really, over the years published some really weird. He's I mean, he's he's been he's been challenged for denying the Trinity. And I know I know, as a matter of fact, that he does not believe that the Bible is the word of God. He does not believe that he holds to a new orthodox view of Scripture. I know for a certainty that in his theology he's an inclusive ist. He doesn't. He thinks heaven is going to be full of people who never believed in Jesus. That's Tony. Okay. But Tony wrote a book called We Have Met the Enemy, and they are partly right. Bad title. He should have said, We have met the enemy. And they are totally right. That's what Tony should have done because he is a disciple of Herbert Marcuse, a disciple of Herbert Marcuse. And Tony admits it because when when when he was getting his graduate education in sociology, Marcuse was the hero.


[00:21:40] You couldn't get a graduate degree in sociology back in those days without being totally brainwashed in the Marxian system. So, Tony, in his book, We have Met the Enemy, and they are partly right. Let me just finish this. He praises Marx for this for for these four kinds of alienation. When the truth is, Marx really had nothing to do about this. This is all Marxism. And you know what else Tony does? And I don't mean to pick on Tony, but I want you to understand the influence of this new kind of Marxism. It's. It's all the way through evangelical Christianity. True story. I once worked on the board of an organization that I don't have to name here, and we decided to give evangelical sociologists a big pile of money so that they could have a conference at Wheaton College. All right. And I had to go and make sure they spent the money properly. And that meant I had to sit through a week, week, week of lectures. And what I discovered in the first 40 minutes, as soon as we locked the door, I knew within 30 minutes that every other Christian sociologist in that room was a marxist. Every one of them. Of the Herbert Marcuse of school. I don't know whether Tony was. I didn't know Tony Campolo then, although I should have been able to recognize him. You know, we're in the men's room and I say, Well, that's nice. Who are you? That's what I that's what I should have said. But they were all it was all the paradigms and the terminology of Herbert Marcuse from sociologists who were teaching and you name them every major Christian college in America. Now, here's what troubles me about Tony. In the book, we have met the enemy, and they are partly right.


[00:23:37] He gives and this is a mistake. He gives Marx credit for this stuff when it wasn't Marx at all, it was Marxism. Okay. Secondly, Tony Campolo never mentions a fifth kind of alienation, which you should have mention, because there is a fifth kind of alienation that is really the cause of these first four kinds of alienation. And guess what it is? And some of you know, it is alienation from God. Read Romans chapter five. Now, you tell me how a reflective Christian who may, for one reason or another, fallen into the grips the clutches. Notice the non pejorative language that I use here. He's fallen into the clutches of a Marxian ideology. He's talking about alienation. But never once does Tony Campolo mention human alienation from God. Not all. You can't excuse this on the basis of superficiality and simplicity. Tony's thinking is, you know, just reaches a dead end here. Well, this is big stuff. If you hear about liberation theology in the church, and that's big stuff on a lot of Christian college campuses. That's Herbert Marcuse of stuff. Okay. But now we have to move along. The fourth face of Marxism is what I call chameleon Marxism. Maybe I'll think of a better name. The word chameleon is used because, as you know, a chameleon is a reptile that changes its colors to fit its environment. And this is really what this newest version of Marxism is all about. The hero, the ringleader, the founder of this fourth kind of Marxism is a man named Antonio Gramsci, whom hardly anyone has heard about, even though there are now probably 20 or 30 books published about Gramsci. Graham Scott was the founder of the Communist Party of Italy. I think he founded the Communist Party of Italy after World War One.


[00:26:00] I'm going to guess 19, 19, 1920. He was finally imprisoned by Mussolini in the 1930s. He died in prison. The basic idea of Gramsci is this We can no longer count upon the worker to produce the revolution that will overthrow capitalism and establish some established socialism. For Graham Ski, the only group of people who can be relied upon to advance a marxist revolutionary cause in the future. The only people we can rely on are the teachers. The teachers. And when you start putting all of the if you start connecting all the dots, I believe that it is this basic idea that is really behind deconstruction ism. As you know or should know, one of the ringleaders of the deconstructionist movement in the United States is Stanley Fish, who until recently taught at Duke University and who I'm told was hired by Duke University. To enhance a left wing presence on that campus. Stanley Fish is, I understand, a self-described Marxist, as are most of the other ringleaders of the deconstructionist movement. Now, if you look at one element of deconstructionist, I think the link to this new face of Marxism then becomes clear. If you cannot know and this is deconstruction ism, if if as deconstructionist teach, you cannot know the meaning of any written text, which on the surface of it is about the dumbest thing that anybody has ever said. All right. Because the World now contains about 200 books written by deconstruction. Okay, maybe I'm holding let's pretend I'm holding a deconstructionist book right here. All right? You cannot know the meaning of any written text. It's not San Fran. All right. Self-defeating nonsense. But what is this all about? Incidentally, Stanley Fish once said on the campus of Duke University, and I have to choose my language very carefully.


[00:28:57] He said. And remember, he's one of the three amigos of deconstructionist. You ever seen him in a cowboy outfit? Three amigos. He said deconstruction ism is. B. S. I don't know what those letters mean. See, because I was raised in Cleveland and people use letters like that in Cleveland, but they never tell us what they mean. You know what that tells me? How can how can Stanley Fish tell anybody anything? All right. If you can't know the meaning of any of any text, that to me says that Stanley Fish is what we should not be surprised to find a Marxian ideologue. And in the Grantski Scott's style of Marxism, what he and other postmodernists are really up to is this. They want to build a wall between America's young people and our traditions. They want to convince our young people that we can no longer trust our parents. We can no longer trust our sacred writings. We can no longer trust our Constitution, because any document can only mean what it means to you. And thus, if they ever succeed in completely alienating notice here, completely alienating dumb American students. To whom will the students turn? If the students lose confidence in their parents, in their churches, in their sacred writings, in the Constitution, in our leaders, who will the dumb students turn to? But the professors? The problem is the professors don't know what this revolution will look like, but they don't care. All they know is that to whatever extent they succeed in alienating their students, the students will regard them as the heroes of a new generation. True story. I have a friend. His name is Robert Sirico. He is today a Roman Catholic priest. He runs the Acton Institute. He is known as the capitalist priest because he's the probably the strongest advocate of capitalism and a free market system in the entire Roman Catholic Church today.


[00:31:35] But in nine, in the 1970s, Robert Sirico was a far left radical. I'll tell you his credentials. He was so far left that he attended the wedding of Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden. You you couldn't get into that wedding unless you were, you know, a marxist. Now, Sirico told me once that he was in a meeting big auditorium where Marquesa was going to speak, and the whole auditorium was filled. You know, there were no gun searches and no grenade searches. And that meeting and then all of a sudden the noise stopped. Everybody turned around and you could hear everybody in the auditorium saying, Markos, Markos. And I guess you could see people crossing themselves. I don't know. You know, Mark, who's. The totally brainless, mindless content less adoration. Of a man like Mark Kooser. This is what can happen to college students who become alienated from their families and their culture and everything else. Well, that's the new face of Marxism. And I believe if you're now with that information, maybe some of you can put some things together from your own college days. And maybe you had professors who were Graham scans or Mark Couzens or something else.