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by Igor Shafarevich *
We begin by posing the questions: How is that socialism, which criticizes society for injustices and inequalities inevitably results in even greater injustice and inequality? How is that a system which agitates for freedom has so consistently produced slavery on a massive scale?
Socialism as a popular movement first began during the Middle Ages with a series of heresies which came to be known as Anabaptism. In spite of the numerous heresies, Anabaptists all had two traits in common: rejection of orthodoxy and a fierce hatred for the Church itself.
One of the earliest of this group was the Cathars.The Cathars, like many of these other anabaptist sects held a dualistic worldview, claiming that the physical world was the source of all evil. Cathars rejected the Old Testament and held that the Church was "The Great Whore of Babylon." Cathars preached that civil government was evil, having children an indication of demonic possession (insemination by an evil god), and that the ultimate goal of the human race was universal suicide.
Cathars preached that private property ownership was evil and that everything be held in common, including women. It was Cathar dogma that marital bonds were sinful as they symbolized a denial of holding everything open to the community. The Cathar doctrine was quite popular although vigorously opposed by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.
Following the Cathars, another heretical sect known as The Brethren of the Free Spirit became popular in the 13th century. (For those who think their "free spirit" impulses are a modern phenomenon -- read on.)
Free Spirits believed that once all property was socialized, no one would ever have to labor hard, and God's people, freed from all moral constraints, would be incapable of sin. Free Spirits believed in mass orgies; they believed that participation in orgiastic pursuits was necessary to first release the moral bonds which constrained them, which would then lead to the release of all contraints.
Free Spirits launched orgies where the entire populations of some Medieval towns were massacred. Free Spirits also delighted in raping nuns and proclaimed that anyone who raped a nun would be freed from Biblical laws. The revolutionary, violent, character of the Brethren of Free Spirits derived from a doctrine absolutely essential to all socialists: a hatred of authority.
To socialists, all hierarchies must be destroyed and all implications of superiority wiped out. This easily degrades into an obsession with erasing all differences between people on the grounds that differences are inequalities and inequalities unjust and sinful.
An offshoot sect of the Free Spirits was called the Apostolic Brethren. Their leader, Dolcino, issued apocalyptic prophesies and gathered thousands of followers into raids where they plundered, raped, and massacred any property-owner they could locate. Dolcino was finally captured by orthodox Christians in 1404 and executed putting an end to a brief period of socialist, European, mayhem.
But the respite didn't last long as another socialist sect appeared -- the Tab orites. Like the others, Taborites believed in communal property and commmunal wives. They declared that all peasants who refused to join their movement would be destroyed along with their property. The Taborites then razed towns to the ground and took delight in the butchery of pregnant women.
During the Reformation, the Anabaptist Thomas Muntzer established a socialist commune in Muhlhausen, Germany from whence he issued proclamations damning landowners, magistrates, and Reformers. He once wrote to Martin Luther, "I would like very much to smell your frying carcass." Muntzer organized the bloody so-called "Peasant Rebellion" of 1525 where he and his followers roamed the countryside robbing, burning, and pillaging everything in sight.
Eventually Muntzer was captured and executed, but shortly thereafter, another socialist named Bokelson arrived on the scene to spread his version of misery and mayhem. Bokelson ordered the socialization of all property in the town of Munster in 1535. He established a dictatorship (in the name of equality, of course) and issued an order which by now ought to be a familiar socialist refrain: No woman was to be exempt from wife-sharing. It's a curious fact that every socialist movement seems to adopt the "free love" docrine.
In Bokelson's socialist dictatorship, every girl of "marriageable age" was forced to be passed around among all men. Bokelson beheaded one woman who refused his sexual advances. As Bokelson beheaded the girl in the public square, all his wives stood by chanting, "Glory to God in the Highest." Eventually Bokelson was captured by the orthodox and put to death for his crimes -- crimes committed in the name of love and equality.
Both Muntzer and Bokelson possessed another characteristic which we've come to recognize repeatedly in conjunction with socialist leaders: They were both cowards who broke completely when caught. Both confessed, snitched on others, and begged for their lives to be spared. Throughout the eons, socialist leaders repeatedly display this personality flaw; they are men of seemingly inexhaustible energy when successful who become pitiful, terrified, nonentities the moment their luck runs against them.
The Anabaptists/socialists, while preaching free love, were the most bloodthirsty sects of the Middle Ages. In their fervor to stablish total equality, they rejected all individuality and hierarchy, ultimately declaring that man was equal to God. They attacked marriage, the family, and property ownership. Had they been victorious, the result would have been a relapse into barbarism.
But they were not victorious. They failed. Socialism parading as radical Christianity was shown to be a fraud. Orthodoxy had demonstrated that there can never be any such thing as Christian socialism because socialism is antichrist. And so the tactics changed; socialism went secular, and it went underground as well, dropping the theological approach and adopting philosophy instead.
To be continued......