This is a magnificent article in Catholic World Report examining the ancient roots of the socialist myth and its current manifestations.
“Comprehensive ideological systems, which determine the prevailing world view in societies and cultures, are based on so-called “grand narratives”.1 Such grand narratives are mostly of a religious nature. In earlier phases of human cultural development, myths took on the function of backing up the prevailing worldview in cultures. Christianity overcomes the mythical foundation of culture. The Grant Narrative of Christianity, which the entirety of Western Culture is based on, is not a mythical, but an historical narrative. Christianity overcomes the magical and mythical mode of dealing with the world through a rational mode of dealing with the world.2
“In modernity, this mode of rational mastering of the world falls into crisis. The rationalization, by which—according to Max Weber—the modern age is characterized, goes hand in hand with a fragmentation of the formerly integral rationality. The modern division of reason into a multiplicity of particular, heterogeneous and sometimes antagonistic separate rationalities which refuse an integration into a universal rationality of metaphysical calibre mediating them, opens a gate through which an atavistic or primitive irrationality penetrates into the space of modernity. Here it begins to exert a dominant influence, which is particularly directed against Christianity and its rational world view.
“As not least, Ernst Cassirer has shown, modernity is far less influenced by a process of secularization than by a process of remythification. In particular, totalitarianism, which is a thoroughly modern phenomenon, uses myth as a political weapon and, according to Cassirer, must therefore be seen as a relapse into a magical and mythical worldview.3
“The basic structure of the socialist myth
“Perhaps the most influential political myth of modernism is the socialist myth, which is essentially fed by the ideology of the Enlightenment and the philosophy of German Idealism, especially of that of Hegelian and Schellingian shape. Even supposedly conservative spirits are today infected—mostly without noticing it—by the socialist myth and act as a fifth column in the battle against the traditional and thus against the Christian foundations of our culture.
“Socialist myth describes history as a deterministic process that follows an underlying script shaping it. According to this script, history is structured by a process of permanent progress in the form of an irresistibly progressive human emancipation, i.e. in the form of a steady gain in freedom, made possible by the progressive dissolution of all kinds of binding attachments. The course of history then forms a dialectical process, in the course of which antagonistic positions emerge, which act as thesis and antithesis and whose conflict is overcome by being “annulled”—an Hegelian Term—in a synthesis. The synthesis obtained in this way subsequently again acts as a thesis, which in turn is opposed by an antithesis. This new antagonism is then “suspended”—also an Hegelian Term—in another synthesis and so on and so forth. The socialist myth thus presents history as a permanent revolution, and, respectively, it interprets the permanent revolution as a necessary consequence of the dialectical constitution of history.4
“According to Marx, the motor of the dialectical progress of history is the progress of civilization and, in particular, the progress of the productive forces as a result of the progress of the sciences and of the technological engineering based on them. This development, as well as the accompanying struggles for distribution, and in particular the ongoing struggle for control over the means of production, require a necessary historical sequence of successive production relations and economic systems, which also determine the political conditions.
“The last economic system in this historical sequence is capitalism, replacing feudalism. Once capitalism reaches a certain level of development, it will be replaced by socialism in a revolutionary act, due to the dialectic of capital and labour and the consequent conflicts. In this transformation process, the proletariat brought into being by capitalism is the revolutionary avant-garde, which establishes a dictatorship of the proletariat. The worldview of the proletariat is socialism, which at the same time represents the only true scientific theory of society. Socialism will then lead into communism, which forms the eschatological goal of human history, and in which the ultimate emancipation of man will become a determining social reality.
“So much for the mythical narrative on which the Communist Eastern Bloc under Soviet leadership founded its social structure. Many conservatives believe that with the collapse of the Eastern bloc, socialism has finally failed and been defeated because everyone has since realized that it did not bring social justice. Rather, it was based on a voluntary or forced self-exploitation of the masses on behalf of an elite leadership caste, a cadre party that demanded an unconditional allegiance and loyalty, and total submission to its totalitarian ideology.
“Many conservatives also believe that socialism has failed because it followed a false nineteenth-century economic theory that has since been refuted many times, for example, by the Austrian School. Thus, for example, Marx’s labour value theory is demonstrably wrong, and in the planned economy, due to state intervention in the market, necessarily arrives at the improper distribution of resources. It is therefore incomprehensible why socialism would still be appreciated by so many people. This assessment, however, is based on two assumptions: namely, first of all, that socialism intends to base itself on a coherent scientific theory, and, secondly, that the goal of socialism is to realize freedom, justice and prosperity. Both presuppositions are wrong.
“In his 11th thesis on Feuerbach, Marx writes: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world differently, what is essential is to change it”. Thus Marxist “theory” does not intend to present reality as it is, but to make of it something other than what it is. The socialist theory does not intend to provide a correct scientific analysis of reality. It is rather a mere means in the political struggle for power. It serves the manipulation of the masses an incitement to revolution.
“Moreover, it is a fatal error to assume that the origin of socialism lies in the nineteenth or perhaps the eighteenth century, and that in its origin it was bound to the historical and economic conditions of that time. An in-depth historical analysis, on the contrary, compels us to accept the insight gained by Igor Shafarevich, “that socialism is one of the universal fundamental forces that are effective throughout human history.”5 The Russian mathematician and philosopher Igor Shafarevich, a friend of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, presented his epoch-making work The Socialist Phenomenon in 1975, in which his previously formulated thesis is proved by extensive historical material.
“Shafarevich subjects socialism to an analysis both historical and systematic, which, for reasons of time, can only be traced here in a very brief and shadowy form. (The intention of this lecture is to encourage the listeners to read the work of Shafarevich themselves.)
“State socialism and chiliastic socialism
“From a systematic point of view, he distinguishes the so-called state socialism from the so-called chiliastic socialism. State socialism is basically as old as the history of advanced civilization. All ancient civilizations, be it in Mesopotamia, in Egypt or in ancient China, were just as state socialist as the Central American cultures like the Incas. State socialism is characterized by a complete state monopoly of all resources and means of production, as well as by a complete state monopolization of agricultural and artisanal handicraft production. Trade and the money economy are of little importance here due to the prevailing state storeroom economy. Private property practically does not exist, since the population receives everything it needs for living and for its work, such as food, labour materials, tools, etc., even clothes, from state storerooms, without the distributed goods being turned over into private ownership. Just as private property, the classic family is not to be found in state socialism. The entire population thus lives in complete dependence on the state, and is subject to the total control of an oligarchic ruling class that exercises a cruel reign of terror. For example, there was no general freedom of movement and travel in the old state socialist systems, as there wasn’t in the Soviet Union or as there is not in today’s North Korea.
“Chiliastic socialism is a gnostic movement by nature. It basically arises only with the rise of Christianity and as a decisive counter-movement to Christianity. Chiliastic socialism provides state socialism with its ideological justification, so that state socialism and chiliastic socialism can be regarded as two sides of the same coin.”
Retrieved September 12, 2019 from https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/09/05/the-socialist-myth-igor-shafarevich-and-modern-nihilism/