The 19th century witnessed important developments that would be determinant in the evolution of humanity. The preceding period had been marked by the triumph of democratic revolution and the progressive decline of the monarchical system of rule. The Industrial Revolution certainly altered the natural landscape of Western societies and the advances of science definitely contributed towards the amelioration of human conditions and the relegation of the Christian religion and its associated social norms, cultural life and political order to a vestige of the distant past. Materialism was triumphant as man was increasing his mastery over the natural world whereas Capitalism was achieving the conquest of lands, cities, nations and expanding the reach of economic production to the distant continents.
The Capitalistic objective was the increased acquisition of capital, the realization of financial profit, and the growth of economic production. The newly formed factories, these apparent parasitic sites of thrifty economic activity, employed human individuals in search for labor and remuneration, and were specially visible due to the exploitation of the latter, who labored under appalling conditions at minimum pay. It was due to the increased plight of the working proletariat, that, Karl Marx’s critique of Capitalism emerged. The German economist and philosopher was incisive in his assessment of the bourgeois economic order which he comprehended as the chief agent behind the ascending democratic political system. For Karl Marx, it was the economic factor, that is, the conception of man as solely a material being, driven by economic ends and activity, that was the driving mechanism behind the ineluctable progress of history. For Marx, the history of the 19th century, was directing towards the cause of the working proletariat and the revolutionary advent of the classless society that would govern itself without a form of political government. The German philosopher understood this development to be inevitable and the true fulfillment of the historical process.
The 20th century testified to the rise of the totalitarian regimes. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 marked the beginning of a new era for the human race. It was in the bloody Revolution, the commencement of Communism, a form of political government that would divide the world in opposite poles for decades after the Second World War. Communism, centered on the One Party system of the Bolshevik, that would dictate law, nationalize the means of production, and eliminate private property. Communism, was essentially an Earthly creed that would deprive man of his religious identity and attempt to provide a political solution to a spiritual question: the redemption of man and the salvation of the human race from the darkness of injustice and inequality. In Germany, before the Second World War, it was National Socialism that would seize political power and steer the country on the path to world domination. Everywhere in Europe, it seemed that, history would orient towards different but parallel forms of collectivism, of mass organization, and of a triumphant materialism that would reduce man to a mere cog in an enormous mechanical system.
Totalitarianism. The characteristics of totalitarianism were similar in Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, and Fascist Italy: the silencing of human freedoms, the re-education of human thought and its complete assimilation by the State into the enormous machine of propaganda, a tyrannical regime governed by a dictator surrounded by a cult of personality, the formation of a single Party that would rule and administer government, the persecution of dissidents and special “camps” for the purpose of the punishment or the “re-calibration” of human beings, the mass organization of humanity and the loss of economic initiative, a system of organization that renders the State as the end of all economic activity. Still, the essence of totalitarianism is itself found in the materialistic reasoning of militant atheism: Negation.
Totalitarianism operates a negation of religion, but also, of the soul in man. The totalitarian State, in reality, seeks to assume the totality of man, for the temporal power exists solely for temporal existence, that is, for the Earth. In the past, religion provided the force against the State’s attempt at possessing man’s conscience and molding the human being as its sole temporal creature. Currently, religious faith no longer finds an incarnation in political expression in most developed countries. Since the separation of Church and State, Christianity has retreated in many democratic countries, as a private expression of personal belief, no longer forming the basis for human law and policy. The totalitarian State, even in a developed country such as the United States, is an organized system that uses the resources of technology and education to mold man and construct a dark home for him as its material creature.
“Thus, the situation that Christians have to face today has more in common with that described by the author of the Apocalypse than with the age of St. Augustine. The world is strong and it has evil masters. But these masters are not vicious autocrats like Nero and Domitian. They are the engineers of the mechanism of world power: a mechanism that is more formidable than anything the ancient world knew, because it is not confined to external means, like the despotisms of the past, but uses all the resources of modern psychology to make the human soul the motor of its dynamic purpose.”
– “The Judgment of the Nations”, Christopher Dawson
The dynamic purpose of this totalitarianism is in truth, an Antichristian Negation that denies the spirituality of man, his eternal destiny, and affirms his materiality as an evolved animal subject to the law of chance, conflict, and amorality. The contemporary state of affairs, centered as it is on the edification of the City of Man, of the science of man, and of the love of man, is to lead to the complete assumption of the human individual by the State. The denial of the soul of man, that is vehiculated by natural science, is leading towards the disappearance of man as “image of God”, and to the canceling of God from the memory of the human person. Totalitarianism, is itself the child of atheism and scientific materialism.