Communist Eschatology: A Christian Philosophical Analysis of the Post-Capitalistic Views of Marx, Engels and Lenin – Part 3

Furthermore, it cannot be denied that some of the writings of Marx and Engels, such as Engels' The Conditions of the Working Class in England in 1844 and Marx's Capital I, do give an illuminating picture of the deplorable working conditions in some parts of Europe during the nineteenth century; norcan it be denied that Marx and Engels were correct in stressing the interaction between economics and history,65a nor that Darwin did indeed offer Marx and Engels "the basis in natural history for our view," as Marx himself put it,66 thus effectively combining the Darwinian science motive66 with the Marxian freedom motive.67

Nor can it be denied that some of the influences formatively brought to bear on Lenin, viz., Marxian socialism and Russian nihilism – were both ultimately in large measure derived from the French Revolution (from the Jacobins and Babeuf and St. Simon) – through the French socialists to Hess64 and Bakunin68 and to Marx and Engels and thence to Lenin – and through the French-socialistically influenced Russian Decembrists69 and Herzen70 and Bakunin71 and Chernyshevsky71a and Netchaiev72 and thence to Lenin73 – so that the revolutionism and utopianism inherent in the French Revolution itself also characterized the views of Marx and Engels and Lenin, Russians such as Bakunin initially working with Marx and Engels, and later Russians such as Chernyshevsky and Nikolai-on and Plekhanov themselves being in correspondence with Marx and Engels,74 and forging the link with Lenin.75

Furthermore, the historical prophecies of Marx and Engels76 and Lenin77 concerning the coming revolution ultimately proved to be correct,78 and it cannot be gainsaid that their prophecies79 regarding the post-revolutionary advent of an ultimate future communistic "golden age" of history,80 do help kindle such expectations in the human breast. And much of what Lenin achieved after the revolution during the first stages of Russian socialism"1 initially seemed to confirm the justice of this expectation.

2. Theoretical Contradictions

However, although the Marxist view of history is pretty consistent – the basis of the assumed correctness of the Marxist presuppositions – there are also a few theoretical contradictions inherent in their scheme as such.

In the first place, Engels contradicted himself on the relation between philosophy and the special sciences (including the natural sciences and history). In one place he told us that "natural scientists" are "always under the domination of philosophy," and are either "dominated by a bad, fashionable philosophy or by a form of theoretical thought which rests on acquaintance with the history of theory and its achievements, viz., by a good philosophy.""2 But elsewhere he attacked "that sort of philosophy which, queen-like, pretended to rule the remaining mob of sciences," and that "as soon as each special science is bound to make clear its position in the great totality of things and of our knowledge of things, a special science dealing with this totality is superfluous or unnecessary.""3 Yet even in this latter quotation, he quickly added: "That which still survives of all earlier philosophy, is the science of thought and its laws-formal logic and dialectics. Everything else is subsumed in the positive sciences of nature and history.""4

In other words, philosophy dominates natural science (Engels I) ;"2 no, to the contrary, as soon as each special science itself clarifies its own place in the encyclopaedia of knowledge, it no longer needs philosophy (Engels II) ;83 no, the logical and dialectical parts of philosophy do survive, but all other philosophical disciplines are subsumed to natural science and history (Engels lII)"4-whercas natural scientists arc supposed to be dominated by philosophy! (Engels I).R2

In the second place, there is a contradiction between the supposedly undianging dialectical laws which operate even in history and historical materialism, and the constant changeability or historicistic relativism of all things under the laws. On the one hand, Engels told us "nothing is eternal but eternally changing, eternally moving matter, and the laws according to which it changes.""5 But on the other hand he told us that "the whole of nature" has "its existence in eternal coming into being and passing away, in ceaseless flux, in unresting motion and change."~ But if "the whole of nature [is] . . . in ceaseless . .  ehange””5 and if “nothing is eternal but . . . moving matter, and the laws according to which it changes ,”85 it is clear that these two exceptions to the general rule of nothing being eternal (these two entities which Engels calls “matter and the laws according to which it changes”),85 cannot themselves be part of nature [for “the whole of na~ure” has “its existence in eternal coming into being and passing away, in ceaseless . . . change”]”5 unless they themselves pass away like changing nature too. But as n~atIer in motionR5a and “the laws according to which it ehanges””5 were both described by Engels as being eternal”” and therefore as not passing away [and again coming into being] with "the whole of nature,"85 it is clear that "niatter and the laws according to which it changes" are themselves distinct from "the whole of nature""5 and must therefore be extra-natural. And inasmuch as they alone are both "eternal,""3 matter being described as "primary and eternal, . . . uncreatable and indestructible,   . . the inner, final cause of everything existing" (thus Lenin)"1 and as "eternally moving matter and the laws according to which it changes" (thus Engels),"3 it is clear that matter and the laws must be supra-natural too. This, however, is quite contradictory to Lenin's statement that "in a world where matter is the primary cause, the primary foundation of everything, there is room neither for god nor any supranatural force,""7-unless matter itself be that supranatural force: but then-matter is god! But in so far as ~natter itself changes according to certain laws, it must follow that the laws them-selves are above matter and therefore supra-supranaturalistic (and therefore "supra-divine!") in a Leninistic universe where "there is room neither for god nor any supranatural force."87

Page 4 of 168« First...23456...102030...Last »