Note: special thanks to John Ray that translated it from the original in portuguese..Thanks!
For over a century Marxism, Communism & Socialism have continued to exert an allure, even on new generations as they come up. It seems that the acolytes don't care about the millions of human beings that have been sacrificed on the altar of these ideologies, rather the ideologies continue to inspire good feelings of humanism and solidarity in millions of young around the world. What is the key to this enigma? How might we open their eyes?
The first thing to be clear about is that the refutation of socialism (from now on I will use the generic term "socialism" to refer to any of the ideologies concerned) via arguments based on economic rationality simply do not work. These arguments do not make any dent in socialist feelings. Socialism has something like a "Teflon effect", ensuring that nothing sticks to it - and its utopian appeal never dies. This nature of socialism was explained by Brazilian philosopher Olavo de Carvalho in his memorable debate with Alaor Caffe: "You can see that Marxism is a philosophy, is a economic theory, is an ideology, is a revolutionary strategy, is a political regimen, is an ethical-moral system, is a cultural criticique, is a
militant political organization. It is all that at the same time" (Marxism, Right and Society "). It is hard to topple such a row of attributes effectively. Socialism finishes up running away from the debate. It slips between your fingers....
How did we get to this point? Perhaps a good hint, one of the best things produced on the subject comes from John Maynard Keynes (1934): "Communism is not a reaction against the failure of the nineteenth century to organize optimal economic output. It is a reaction against its comparative success. It is a protest against the emptiness of economic welfare, an appeal to the ascetic in us all... It is the curate in [H. G.] Wells, far from
extinguished by the scientist, which draws him to take a peep at Moscow...The idealistic youth play with communism because it is the only spiritual appeal which feels to them contemporary".
What Keynes was driving at was to say that, after the 19th Century had killed God at Darwin's hands and offerered the human salvation associated with him, the scientists had entered the scene. And they started to transform a scientific theory into the only feasible utopia for today. And it had been accomplished by the blood-stained hands of these "social" scientists: The new scientific vision nailed to a new vision of universe.
According to the book "The Sacred Earth" by Brian Leigh Molyneaux the world was born of a "great cosmic explosion" and it has to come to an end -- if man himself does not ruin it first -- in a way described as "to implode, becoming a ball of flames". On the other hand, any of the various utopias had origins in the divine promise to recoup the "lost paradise" for humanity.
Until the 19th century, the world had been created by and for God. And His promises for the human race would be fulfilled, including recovery of the "lost paradise". John Milton (English poet of the 17th century) believed that the "Paradise Lost" was here on earth, not in heaven. For this
purpose, God had created Earth to be a paradisiacal home for humanity. The Paradise had been lost, but it would be recovered by a redentor that "would prize the multitude of the right ones", and Milton concluded that "the Earth has to be a Paradise". This lost hope of one "paradise" to be recovered here on Earth, in a new "golden age" of man, derived from the belief that God
gave to the human race an assurance of it. After 19th century, however, we did not have the same God or the same concept of paradise. We did not have an old paradise to recover anymore, so the Earth would one day be transformed fatally into a cold, barren planet without life. Without God,
with only the material world surrounding us and with economic liberalism having created great economic progress, 20th century man went in search of the "spiritual" and "transcendent" with the help of the same social engineers created by materialism. Thus the communism/socialism becomes the new utopia, substituting the old religiously-based utopias . Everything became based on "transforming" man. Man would have a "new soul" under socialism. It became the "new paradise".
From that moment on, then, it did not matter how many gulags, expurgations, hunger, genocides, forced collectivizations, re-education programs, mass murders there were. Nothing will erase the strong utopian appeal of socialism to the human being. So we have the inherent solidarity of the
socialist utopians. One necessity of the utopian dream, the visionary and the perpetual search of "lost paradise", is a pressing need for human beings to champion the cause of the weak. That the cause might be better served by economic liberalism rather than socialism liberals do not even dream.
Liberalism is not a culture, nor a religion. No liberal -- even those believe in God - assumes to find a "pot of gold" in the end of the rainbow. Humanity will not be recreated or "recovered" by liberalism. No utopia will result from liberalism. Man will continue the same as from the beginning, neither better and nor worse. This lack of climax to the liberal journey it
is what is its tragedy in the eyes of the young socialist dreamers. But also it is what redeems liberalism and places it in its proper context as human. Nothing created by man could be bigger than himself. It is man - the individual - that must have the power to control the process of
progress. No king or prince will be able to do it in his place.
The human dimension of the debate between liberalism and socialism must be found and shown. Keeping in mind the "pseudo-spiritual" dimension of socialist speech is the key to refuting its arguments. Thus we will be able to prove (with some poetical license), that instead of a "stairway to heaven" socialism is a "highway you hell" ...