"In my own time governments have taken the place of people. They have also taken the place of God. Governments speak for people, dream for them, and determine absurdly their lives and deaths. This new worship of government... is a worship I lack. I have no reverence for the all-powerful and bewildered face of Government. I see it as a lessening of the human being and a final looting of his birthright."
In the absence of theology, the only religion that remains is the universal one of "being nice to other people". Take god out of the equation, and all you have left is social justice. Liberalization leads to secularization with the end result that religion becomes one gigantic "being nice to other people" project. And what is the best possible vehicle for social justice projects, but government. And so governments became gods. Their mission to build kingdoms of heaven on earth, utopias in which no one went hungry and which everyone was equally prosperous.
Socialism and Communism had their roots in religious organizations that sought to create some sort of artificial equality between men, which eventually led to thoroughly irreligious attempts at creating kingdoms of heaven on earth. Ideology replaced theology. Ethical duties were conflated with political mandates. Equality replaced charity. The pursuit of equality was centralized within political systems and government agencies, which created their own gross inequalities through their power relationships.
Since equality of wealth could never be achieved, someone had to be held to blame. Success became a sin and wealth became the Mark of Cain. A secular theology evolved in which wealth was a satanic force controlling all societies, and whose privilege and power, the committed socialist was meant to fight. Like most fanatical crusades, this one spilled untold amounts of blood, with few of the murderers ever committing to a recognition of their own madness. Instead they usually turned on each other.
The socialist kingdom of heaven on earth replaces god with government as the overwhelming force that implements an absolutely just society and enlightens the people regarding their duties and the meaning of their lives. In Communist countries, religion was often dispensed with entirely. In more moderate Socialist systems, it is tolerated only to the extent that it echoes the social justice creed of the ruling culture. Thus there is no conflict between church and state. It is only when religion presumes to reach for some higher value system, that it becomes the enemy of the state.
The religion of government justifies itself through the impossible messianic vision of equality, a state that cannot be achieved, but whose attainment provides an unlimited license for government to intervene in all human affairs. By turning government into the arbiter of equality, it gains an impossible mission and an unlimited scope of powers. A combination that historically has bred more nightmares than anything else.
and glorify my faith"
"O great Stalin, O leader of the peoples,
Thou who broughtest man to birth.
Thou who fructifies the earth,
Thou who restorest to centuries,
Thou who makest bloom the spring,
Thou who makest vibrate the musical chords...
Thou, splendour of my spring, O thou,
Sun reflected by millions of hearts."
Hymn to Stalin
“thou shalt smile!
for our President is smiling
just a man openly smiling...
let him beam
let his raw laughter flow where the fruited plains have faded, have dried.
let them slowly soak it up, that nurturing laughter.
let all the hillsides bloom with colors that no one’s seen for eight long years.
let Obama laughter ring. long may it
let it flood the high skies and tie sparkling wonder up in a silver bow."
Diane Wald, Starting Today, 100 Poems for Obama's first 100 Days
An impossible mission demands symbolic figures, leaders who transcend the political and ascend to the mystical. Who are somehow inhumanly inspirational, able to elevate their followers to a new state of being. Messiahs, so to speak. Leader-worship underlies the impossible mission. With faith in our leaders we can succeed.
Faith is required because the mission is inherently impossible. Only by believing in the latest Camelot in the latest "Communism-Over-the-Hill", can people suspend their disbelief, committing themselves to the thrill of Hope and Change, to "Yes We Can" and "We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For." The ecstasy is religious or rather pseudo-religious. It is government masquerading as god, anointing messiahs and trying to hide policy flaws under the veil of charisma.
If we replace god with government, then it stands to reason that the government are on another plane of being above ordinary people. They may not be quite gods, but they are certainly more than mortal men. Their election is premised on our failure to conduct our own affairs, requiring wiser benevolent folk to step in and look after us. To guide us in the proper path. And so government goes from tool to minister to deity, deciding who will eat and who will starve, who will live and who will die. This is the essence of that arrogance, that grasping for absolute power in the name of a lie.
Government as god is always looking forward, to a new deal, a new frontier or a great society, some vast project of social justice always out there, a faint vision of a Communist future that is always hovering over the next horizon like a mirage in the desert. A future always out of reach because human greed is in the way. And since underneath it itself is also built on human greed, like the worst of fanatics, socialism maddeningly chases its own tail. And sooner or later it always turns on the people it claims to want to help, unless they turn on it first.