The Marxist Church of England
Running the risk?
Does the Archbishop not understand that Mammon has been society’s idol for centuries, and that positioning the Church towards Karl Marx is naïvely simply supplanting one idol for another?
And Marx is in any case a curious exemplar for a church, as he sought to replace the Hegelian dialectic of the spirit with a materialistic dialectic located within the economic sphere. For Marx, the inadequacies of society were to be overcome by a transition from capitalism to Socialism and ultimately to Communism.
Perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to notice that in recent decades Socialism has become a spent force and Communism has been thoroughly discredited. Perhaps, like orthodox Marxists, Dr Williams will blame the imperfection of leaders for the non-arrival of his Utopia, but he would be something of an expert in that.
It is difficult (as ever) to fathom what the Archbishop is proposing, for his advocacy of the Marxist ideal and the repudiation of capitalism can only be accomplished through the diminution of democracy, or, what Marx oxymorincally called ‘democratic centralisation’. In fulfillment of the pattern of society set out by Plato in 'The Republic', the ultimate authority has to be intellectuals and experts – the Philosopher Rulers – and this paves the way for bureacratic authoritarianism. At best (if it be), this may be seen in the form of ‘democratic centralisation’ of the European Union. At worst, it is that of Stalin and Lenin.
Capitalism can be cruel, but so is nature. It is a manifest inconsistency for the Church of England in one week to apologise to the man who expounded a theory of survival of the fittest, and the next to denounce such a theory when it is manifest in the natural laws of economy and society. Exploitation is an undoubted evil, but this ‘extremism’ is not a capitalist necessity, but a result of the greed in the heart of man. And the Archbishop ought to know that one cannot change the human heart through legislation or external imposition.
Democracy has its imperfections, and so does capitalism. But both have been found by experience to be the better than the alternatives, and both yield a more just and less oppressed society. The ‘Protestant ethic’ identified by Weber is both rational and moral, and the history of the modern era attests to this. Marxism has failed along with the barbarities of fascism, and history attests to this also.
Cranmer hears the Archbishop of Canterbury is presently making a pilgrimage to Lourdes, and speaking at the shrine to the ‘Immaculate Conception’. It is time for him to follow the man who appointed him to Canterbury, and to take his pro-EU, anti-State, anti-individualist, Marxist, federalist, Socialist, ‘third way’ Catholic-ecumenism to another place. He belongs elsewhere.