Saturday, February 10, 2007

Socialism and Christianity

I'm not a big fan of socialism. Never have been, never will be. But in his latest book, A Man Without a Country, Kurt Vonnegut does put it in an interesting perspective.

"Socialism is no more an evil word that "Christianity."
Socialism no more prescribed Joseph Stalin and his secret police and shuttered
churches than Christianity prescribed the Spanish Inquisition.
Christianity and socialism alike, in fact, prescribe a society dedicated to the
proposition that all men, women, and children are created equal and shall not
starve.
Adolph Hitler, incidentally, was a two-fer. He named his
party the National Socialists, the Nazis. Hitler's swastika wasn't a pagan
symbol, as so many people believe. It was a working person's Christian
cross, made of axes, tools.
About Stalin's shuttered churches, and those in China today:
Such supression of religion was supposedly justified by Karl Marx's statement
that "religion is the opium of the people." Marx said that back in 1844,
when opium and opium derivatives were the only effective painkillers anyone
could take. Marx himself had taken them. He was grateful for the
temporary relief they had given him. He was simply noticing, and surely
not condemning, the fact that religion could also be comforting to those in
economic or social distress. It was a casual truism, not a dictum.

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