Vienna, October 31 – On Halloween, it is good to be afraid, and a religious writer from Russia provides one of the best possible reasons for fear. Petr Tsyukalo argues that “the victory of communism is inevitable,” not of course the communism of Lenin and Stalin but rather that of political systems in which “the state is everything and the individual nothing.”
In an article posted this week on the religious affairs portal Baznica.info, Tsyukalo points out that the notion of the total superiority of the state or society over the individual is etymologically what communism means, a notion that takes many forms including “anti-communism” (www.baznica.info/index.php?name=Pages&op=page&pid=5262).
Throughout history, Tsyukalo says, communism understood in this way has always been present, and the reasons for its “vitality,” he says, are not far to seek. On the one hand, it justifies irresponsibility on the part of individuals; and on the other, it justifies the rule of the few over the many.
All kinds of communism, he writes, seek to reduce the individual “to the level of an animal, to the Pavlovian dog” who will bark according to stimuli organized by the elite. And with all the information technologies available, ever more elites are able to push things in that direction, especially since so many people are all too willing to go along.
According to Tsyukalo, it is only the understanding found in the Bible – and one should add although he does not, in other religious texts – that individuals are created in the image of God and thus both antecedent and superior to such social constructions as the state and that they must resist the temptation of the Grand Inquisitor to give up freedom for other things.
But insisting upon that is difficult for many, and consequently, Tsyukalo says, it is no surprise that religions look to the rule of the anti-Christ or in his terms to communism as the wave of the future. But these faiths also posit that this anti-utopia will not last all that long but will be overthrown.
The Baznica writer quotes the late Father Aleksandr Men on this point. “Although my knowledge is pessimistic,” Men said, “my faith is optimistic,” even in the fact of communism as it existed in the Soviet Union, communism as it will exist in the future, and communism as it operates under the most diverse of names.
And both men would certainly agree with a remark that Lithuania’s Vytautas Landsbergis made almost 20 years ago. Communism, he said, had not been killed with the demise of the Soviet Union. Instead, it had changed shape and name. Indeed, the Sajudis leader said, “it could even go under the name of the new world order.”
But however that may be: Happy Halloween!