Socialism as Religion

“Socialism allowed the scientific twentieth century to become the backdrop to more than one hundred million deaths: all reserved for souls who would not take on the determined shapes prepared for them by their enlightened masters.”

In perusing the philosophic documents relating to theoretical and practical socialism, one glaring theme running through the corpus of books and tracts is how transcendental traditional religion is an unvarnished blight upon the face of humanity. Acolytes of socialism have long deemed that by affixing our consciousness on the unseen hereafter, we affect a certain materialistically defined nihilism: eschewing the certain gains that could have been constructed for the benefit of Man in the concrete now for the intangible kingdom of hope and whimsy promised by arcane and discredited traditions. Socialism thus, in the vast majority of its forms, interprets the cultivation of our search and longing after God as, at best, a narcotic towards despair, and at worse, a retrograde abstention from the obligations of our humanist morality to affect a paradise derived from our own reason towards the sanctity of our own temporal ends.

It was from this secular humanist morality that Robert Owen derived his understanding of Ethical Socialism and formulated his experiments in constructing Utopian communities in Britain and in a fledging America. In purchasing property from a religious community, Owen dubbed the experiment “New Harmony” and proceeded to fabricate his little society based upon humanist liberty and egalitarian tenets while deconstructing institutions such as marriage in the service of a worldly human happiness. New Harmony, however, proved to be a colossal unsustainable flop, even with large amounts of Owen’s business capital infused into the project. Rather than labor for the common weal, the residents were more interested in meetings and parties, preferring idleness to the dreary compulsions of farming and the cottage industries that had sustained the former religious residents. As the entire enterprise ground to a dismal halt through lack of initiative and faction, New Harmony, along with the hundreds of American secular socialist experiments, proved incompatible with success because they were fundamentally incompatible with human nature. Holding wives, children, commodities, and property in common appeared to not resonate with this flourishing genius of social interaction. Robert Owen eventually , in an attempt to add content to his vague egalitarian ethic, created institutions called “Halls of Science” — a secular “church” that applauded man’s existential fraternity and goodness, replete with hymnals and pulpit exhortations for the bolstering of his brave new world of materialist harmony.


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