The Epoch Times here serializes a translation from Chinese of the book How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World, by the editorial team of Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party.
The collapse of the communist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe marked the end of a half-century-long Cold War between the capitalist and communist camps in the East and the West. Many were optimistic, holding the belief that communism had become a relic of the past.
The sad truth, however, is that a transmogrified communist ideology has instead taken hold and entrenched itself around the world. In China, North Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam, there are outright communist regimes; in Eastern European countries, communist ideology and customs still exert a significant influence; and in African and South American countries, socialism is practiced under the banner of democracy and republicanism. Then there are the nations of Europe and North America, whose body politics have become host to communist influences without people even realizing it.
Communism breeds war, famine, slaughter, and tyranny. These in themselves are terrifying enough, but the damage dealt by communism goes far beyond this. It has become increasingly clear to many that, unlike any other system in history, communism declares war on humanity itself — including human values and human dignity.
Over the course of a century, communism established massive dictatorships in the Soviet Union and China. It caused more than 100 million unnatural deaths. It enslaved billions, and it brought the world to the brink of nuclear war and destruction. Moreover, its deliberate and widespread destruction of the family, its fomenting of social disorder, and its attack on morality, are all ruinous to the foundations of civilization.
What is the nature of communism? What is its objective? Why does it take mankind as its enemy? How can we escape it?
1. Communism: A Devil Bent on the Destruction of Humanity
The Communist Manifesto begins with the sentence, “A specter is haunting Europe — the specter of communism.” The use of the term “specter” was not a whim of Karl Marx. As we argue in this book, communism should not be understood as an ideological movement, a political doctrine, or a failed attempt at a new way of ordering human affairs. Instead, it should be understood as a devil—an evil specter forged by hate, degeneracy, and other elemental forces in the universe.
Following the Cold War, the poison of communism not only continued to harm formerly communist countries, but also spread throughout the world. Since then, the ideological infiltration of communism has enabled the specter to influence society on a global scale, and now many people even think that the dark wishes of communism are their own. Thus, these people have lost their ability to discern right from wrong, to differentiate good from evil. The devil’s conspiracy has been carried almost to completion.
Even as the specter congratulated itself, delighted with its sinister victory, most people thought that it had been destroyed. There’s nothing more dangerous than mankind being on the verge of destruction, yet unknowingly celebrating the devil’s triumph.
2. The Devil’s Ways and Means
Man was created by God, and the compassion of gods has long protected man. The devil knew this, so it set about severing this connection, in order to corrupt man and ensure that gods would no longer take care of him. The devil’s approach has been to subvert the culture given to mankind by gods, to corrupt human morality, and thus to warp man and make him unworthy of salvation.
Both good and evil, God and the devil, reside in the heart of every person. A life can sink into moral decadence or can elevate through moral cultivation. Those who believe in God know that by striving for moral conduct and thought, one’s righteous thoughts can be strengthened by gods, and gods will allow miracles to happen. Gods will also help one’s morality rise in level to help one become a more noble person, in the end allowing that person to return to Heaven.
A person of low morality, however, is filled with selfishness: desire, greed, ignorance, and hubris. While gods will never recognize such thoughts and actions, the devil will magnify them, intensifying selfishness and wickedness, and manipulating the person to commit wrongdoing, thus creating karma and causing further moral decay, until, in the end, only Hell awaits him.
If the moral standards of human society as a whole decline, the devil will hasten these trends with the goal of causing more wrongdoing, more karma, and humanity’s eventual destruction.
The turbulence of Europe beginning in the eighteenth century and the attendant moral decline gave the devil an opportunity. It set about subverting, step by step, the criteria for discerning between good and evil. It promoted atheism, materialism, Darwinism, and the philosophy of struggle.
The devil chose Marx as its envoy among men. His Communist Manifesto of 1848 advocated the violent destruction of private enterprise, social classes, nations, religions, and the family. The Paris Commune of 1871 was the devil’s first attempt at seizing power.
Marx’s followers argue that political power is the central question of Marxian political science. This is both true and not true. When we clearly see communism’s ultimate aims, we can recognize that political power is both important and unimportant to the communist project. It is important in that access to political power allows a rapid means for humanity’s widespread corruption. With control over the levers of power, communists can promote their ideology through violence and eradicate a traditional culture in mere decades or less.
Yet power is also unimportant, in that even without the apparatus of the state, the devil has other means of exploiting the weaknesses and shortcomings of man: It can deceive, co-opt, coerce, confuse, and thus overturn traditional thought, subvert order, and create upheaval; it can divide and conquer with the objective of gaining global control.
3. Communism: The Devil’s Ideology
God established a rich culture for human society based on universal values, paving the way for humans to return to Heaven. Communism and the traditional culture of God are irreconcilable.
At the core of the evil specter are atheism and materialism: a confluence of elements from German philosophy, French social revolution, and British political economy assembled as a secular religion meant to replace the position previously occupied by God and orthodox beliefs.
Communism turns the world into its church, bringing all aspects of social life under its purview. The devil occupies people’s thoughts, causing them to revolt against God and discard tradition. This is how the devil leads man to his own destruction.
The devil chose Marx and others as its agents to oppose and destroy the principles laid down by God for human society. The devil promotes class struggle and the abolition of established social structures. In the East, it launched a violent revolution and established a totalitarian state that united politics and secular religion. In the West, it undertakes progressive, nonviolent communism through high levels of taxation and wealth redistribution.
On a worldwide scale, it seeks to spread communist ideology to political systems everywhere, with the goal of undermining nation-states and establishing a global ruling body. This is the “paradise on earth” promised in communism, a supposed collective society without class, nations, or government, based on the principles of “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need.”
Communism uses its program of creating “a paradise” on earth to promote an atheistic conception of “social progress.” It uses materialism to undermine the spiritual pursuits of mankind, including belief in the divine and religion, in order to enable communist ideology to spread to every sphere, including politics, economy, education, philosophy, history, literature, art, social science, natural science, and even religion.
Like a cancer, communism metastasizes, eliminating other beliefs, including the belief in God, as it spreads. In turn, it destroys national sovereignty and identity, and humanity’s moral and cultural traditions, thus leading man to destruction.
In The Communist Manifesto, Marx proclaimed, “The communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.” Thus, Marx himself accurately summarized the practice of communism over nearly the past two centuries.
God is the source of moral order, and God’s morality is eternal and unchanging. Moral standards are not for man to determine for himself, nor can they be changed by man’s power. Communism tries to sentence morality to death and to have the communist New Man establish a new morality. While it denies real morality, communism uses negative methods to expel all the positive factors from human traditions, with the goal of having negative factors occupy the world.
Traditional laws come from morality and are intended to uphold morality. Communism tries to separate morality from the law, then destroys morality by concocting bad laws and maliciously interpreting traditional ones.
God calls on man to be kind; communism agitates class struggle and advocates violence and killing.
God established the family as the basic social unit; communism believes that the family is a manifestation of the private, capitalist system and threatens to eliminate it.
God gives man the freedom to obtain wealth and the right to life; communism seeks to eliminate private property, expropriate assets, raise taxes, monopolize credit and capital, and completely control economic life.
God established the form that morality, government, law, society, and culture should take; communism seeks the violent overthrow of the whole existing social structure.
God transmitted to man the unique form of traditional art as a means of passing on his image. Traditional art recalls to mankind the beauty of heaven, reinforces faith in God, elevates morality, and nurtures virtue. Communism, on the other hand, would have man worship warped modern creations, artistic productions that stifle our divine nature, give full rein to the demonic impulse toward chaos and disorder, and manipulate the art world by spreading base, ugly, malformed, evil, and decadent ideas.
God wants man to be humble and full of reverence and wonder at divine creation. Communism connives at the demonic and arrogance in man, encouraging him to revolt against God. By amplifying the evil inherent and inescapable in human nature, it exploits the idea of “freedom” to encourage conduct unrestrained by morality and unfettered by a sense of duty or burden. The slogan of “equality” is used to stir up envy and vanity, as man is tempted by fame and material interests.
After World War II, the communists expanded their military and economic empire, and the communist bloc and the free world contended for decades. Communist doctrine became a secular religion in those countries — an unchallengeable dogma written into textbooks. But elsewhere, communism under other guises also took root and has had tremendous influence.
4. A Metaphysical Understanding of the Devil
The idea of the devil being referred to in this text is that of a supernatural power. One of the keys to understanding the chaos the devil has sown in the world is to fully grasp what type of thing the specter of communism is.
Simply put, the specter of communism is composed of hate; it draws its energy from the hatred that wells up in the human heart.
The communist specter is tied to Satan. Sometimes the two are indistinguishable, thus we will not make an effort to consider them separately.
The devil’s arrangements are present in both the East and the West, in every profession and in every walk of life. Sometimes its power is divided, sometimes integrated; sometimes it uses this tactic, sometimes that. It follows no simple pattern.
The devil is the initiator of an unrestricted war on mankind that has created battlefields out of religion, the family, politics, the economy, finance, military affairs, education, academia, the arts, the media, entertainment, popular culture, social affairs, and international relations.
The dark energy of the devil can spread from one sphere, group, or movement to another. For instance, after the anti-Vietnam War movement faded in the West in the 1970s, the devil manipulated rebellious adolescents to channel their energies into agitating for feminism, environmentalism, and the legalization of homosexuality. The devil then used these efforts to subvert Western civilization from within.
The devil can turn ill-intentioned people into its agents in the human world. It can use hypocrisy to deceive compassionate and innocent people, who then become its apologists.
The devil’s agents — most of whom do not even realize their role — are everywhere in society, from the elite, to the middle class, to the lower classes. Thus, its activities manifest sometimes as bottom-up revolutions, sometimes as top-down conspiracies, sometimes as reforms from the center.
The devil can change forms and exist in multiple places at once. It uses lowly beings and specters in other dimensions to do its work. These beings feed on man’s negative energies, including hate, fear, despair, arrogance, rebelliousness, jealousy, promiscuity, rage, frenzy, idleness, and more. Pornography and drug addiction are tools the devil uses.
The devil is secretive and full of guile. It uses man’s avarice, wickedness, and darkness to achieve its ends, and as long as a person’s thought aligns with these qualities, the devil can control that person. Many times, people think they are acting according to their own thoughts, but they’ve failed to realize they’re being manipulated.
5. The Devil’s Many Faces
Just as the devil goes by many names, communism manifests in many ways. The demon uses contradictory positions to deceive: a totalitarian regime or a democracy, a planned economy or a market economy, control of the press or no restraints whatsoever on speech, opposition to homosexuality in some countries or legalization of homosexuality in other countries, wanton environmental destruction or clamor for environmental protection, and so on.
It can advocate violent revolution or embrace peaceful transition. It may manifest as a political and economic system or as an ideological trend in art and culture. It may take the form of pure idealism or cold-blooded scheming. Communist totalitarian regimes are just one of the demon’s manifestations. Marxism-Leninism and Maoism form just one aspect of the devil’s fallacies.
Since utopian socialism developed in the eighteenth century, the world has seen the emergence of numerous ideological currents: scientific socialism, Fabian socialism, syndicalism, Christian socialism, democratic socialism, humanitarianism, eco-socialism, welfare capitalism, Marxism-Leninism, and Maoism. These ideologies are of two types: violent communism or nonviolent communism. The infiltration and gradual erosion of the status quo are the main tactics adopted by communism’s nonviolent strains.
One of the devil’s deceits is to make arrangements in the two opposing camps of the East and the West. As it carried out a vast invasion of the East, it also took on a new guise and stole into the West. The Fabian Society of Britain, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Second International of France, the Socialist Party in the United States, and many other socialist parties and organizations spread the seeds of destruction to Western Europe and North America.
During the Cold War, the slaughter, concentration camps, famines, and purges in the Soviet Union and China made some Westerners count themselves lucky that they still lived in luxury and freedom. Some socialists publicly condemned the violence of the Soviet Union on humanitarian grounds, which led many to let down their guard around them.
The demon of communism inhabits a variety of complex guises in the West and operates under many banners, making it almost impossible to guard against. The following schools or movements were either derived from communism or used by communism to reach its ends: liberalism, progressivism, the Frankfurt School, Neo-Marxism, critical theory, the counterculture of the 1960s, the anti-war movement, sexual liberation, legalization of homosexuality, feminism, environmentalism, social justice, political correctness, Keynesian economics, avant-garde art schools, and multiculturalism.
6. Socialism: The Preliminary Stage of Communism
In the West, many view socialism and communism as being separate, which provides fertile ground for socialism to flourish. In fact, according to Marxist-Leninist theory, socialism is simply communism’s preliminary stage.
In 1875, in Critique of the Gotha Programme, Marx put forward the idea that there is an initial phase of communism, followed by a “higher” phase. In his later years, Friedrich Engels, compelled by changes in the international situation at the time, also proposed “democratic socialism,” in which votes were used to obtain political power. Democratic socialism was adopted by social democratic party leaders and theorists of the Second International and led to the left-wing parties in many capitalist countries around the world today.
Later, Lenin set down clear definitions of socialism and communism: He considered socialism to be the preliminary phase of communism, and communism to be developed on the basis of socialism.
Thus, it is clear that socialism has always been part of Marxism and the international communist movement. The public ownership and planned economy of socialism are part of the initial preparation for communism. Presently, while branches of socialism or left-wing doctrines popular in the West seem superficially unrelated to communism, they’re simply communism’s nonviolent forms.
Instead of violent revolution, votes are used to gain power in the West. Instead of outright public ownership, high taxation in Western countries serves the same role. Instead of a state-planned economy, Western social welfare systems are used to eat away at capitalism. Left-wing parties in Western countries consider social security and welfare systems to be an important aspect of realizing socialism.
When condemning the crimes of communism, the violence and slaughter should not be the only focus. One should be able to see the dangers that socialism itself brings. Communism, under the guise of various branches of socialism, has deceived and bewildered people’s minds. To understand communism, one must recognize its preliminary phase because communism develops from that preliminary phase onward, instead of maturing overnight. It grows up gradually, just as a living being does.
Some socialist or welfare states in the West today use the idea of the “commonwealth” to sacrifice individual freedoms. Citizens in these countries retain certain political freedoms because the brand of socialism there has yet to be well-developed. But socialism is not a static concept. Socialist countries set equality of outcome as the primary goal, and thus, they are bound to deprive people of their freedom. Inevitably, socialism undergoes a transition to communism, with people continually being stripped of their individual freedoms.
If a free country turned into a totalitarian regime overnight, the drastic contrast between propaganda and reality would leave most people shocked. Many would rebel or at least passively resist. This would lead to high costs for totalitarian rule, and the regime would likely need to commit mass slaughter to eliminate the resistance. This is one of the main reasons that both the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China have engaged in the mass killing of their own citizens during peacetime.
Unlike totalitarian regimes, socialism in democratic states slowly eats away at people’s freedoms through legislation without their noticing it — like the metaphor of the boiling frog. The process of establishing a socialist system takes decades or generations, leaving people gradually numb, oblivious, and accustomed to socialism, all of which enhance the deceit. The essence and the final objective of this type of gradual socialism are no different in substance from its violent form.
Socialism uses the idea of guaranteeing “equality” through legislation, while in actuality, it drags down moral values and deprives people of the freedom to incline toward goodness.
In normal circumstances, people of all kinds naturally vary in their religious beliefs, moral standards, cultural literacy, educational backgrounds, intelligence, fortitude, diligence, sense of responsibility, aggressiveness, innovation, entrepreneurship, and more. Of course, it’s impossible to enforce equality by suddenly elevating those at lower levels, so instead, socialism artificially restrains those at higher levels.
Especially in terms of moral values, the socialism of the West uses pretexts like “anti-discrimination,” “value-neutrality,” or “political correctness” to attack basic moral discernment. This is equivalent to an attempt to eliminate morality as such. This has come along with the legalization and normalization of all manner of anti-theist and profane speech, sexual perversions, demonic art, pornography, gambling, and drug use. The result is a kind of reverse discrimination against those who believe in God and aspire to moral elevation, with the goal of marginalizing and eventually getting rid of them.
7. Romantic Notions About Communism
To this day, there are numerous Westerners who harbor romantic fantasies about communism, yet they’ve never lived in a communist country and borne the suffering there, and thus have no understanding of what communism actually means in practice.
During the Cold War, many intellectuals, artists, journalists, politicians, and young students from the free world went to Russia, China, or Cuba as tourists and travelers. What they saw — or rather, were allowed to see — was completely different from the lived reality of the people of those countries.
Communist countries have perfected their ability to deceive foreigners: Everything the foreign visitors saw was carefully crafted for their tastes, including the model villages, factories, schools, hospitals, daycare centers, and prisons. The receptionists they encountered were members of the Communist Party or others considered politically reliable.
The tours were rehearsed. The visitors were greeted with flowers, wine, dancing and singing, banquets, and smiling young children and officials. Then they were taken to see people hard at work, able to talk freely and as equals; students studying hard; and lovely weddings.
What they didn’t get to see were the sham trials, mass sentencings, mob lynchings, struggle sessions, kidnappings, brainwashing, solitary confinement, forced-labor camps, massacres, theft of land and property, famines, shortages of public services, lack of privacy, eavesdropping, surveillance, monitoring by neighbors and informants everywhere, brutal political struggles in the leadership, and extravagant luxuries of the elite. They especially weren’t allowed to see the suffering of ordinary people.
The visitors mistook what had been staged for them as the norm in a communist country. They then promoted communism in the West through books, articles, and speeches, and many of them didn’t know they had been deceived.
A small number did see cracks in the edifice, but many of them then fell into another trap: They saw themselves as “fellow travelers” and adopted the Chinese attitude of “not airing dirty laundry in front of outsiders.” They reasoned that the slaughter, famine, and suppression in communist countries were simply part of the cost of transitioning to communism. They were confident that while the path to communism was crooked, the future was bright. They refused to tell the truth because that would be blackening the name of the “socialist project.” Lacking the courage to tell the truth, they chose a shameful silence.
According to the communist fantasy, everyone is free and equal, there’s no oppression or expropriation, there’s great material abundance, everyone gives according to his ability and receives according to his need — a heaven on earth, where every individual is able to develop freely. A human society of this sort is only a fantasy, one that the devil has used as bait to deceive man.
In reality, power falls into the hands of a small elite. Real communism is a totalitarian apparatus controlled by a small group who use their monopoly on power to suppress, enslave, and deprive the majority. The time has not yet arrived for this in some socialist countries, and so they appear to be moderate. When the conditions are ripe, all of that will change, and the naïve supporters of a socialist utopia will find it too late for regrets.
8. The Destruction of Culture and Morality
The devil’s placement of its agents into every field and nation has led the ignorant and credulous to hasten their journey toward destruction.
Communism teaches people to oppose belief in God and to cast out the divine. It simultaneously launches attacks on religions from the outside while manipulating people to corrupt religion from the inside. Religions have been politicized, commercialized, and turned into entertainment. Numerous morally corrupt clergymen put forward fallacious interpretations of religious texts, misleading their followers and going so far as to commit adultery with their lay members, or even to commit pedophilia.
This chaos has left sincere religious believers bewildered and bereft of hope. Just a century ago, an unwavering belief in God was a sign of moral decency. Now, religious believers are considered foolish and superstitious. They keep their beliefs to themselves, not even discussing their faith among friends, for fear of being mocked.
Another important goal of communism is the destruction of the family through ideas like gender equality and “sharing wealth and wife.” The twentieth century, in particular, was host to modern feminist movements that promoted sexual liberation, the blurring of gender differences, attacks against “patriarchy,” and weakening the role of the father in the family.
These movements changed the definition of marriage, promoted the legalization and legitimization of homosexuality, promoted the “rights” to divorce and abortion, and used social welfare policies to effectively encourage and subsidize single parenthood. All of this resulted in the collapse of families and led to a greater incidence of poverty and crime. This has been one of the more startling transformations of society over the last several decades.
In the political sphere, while communist regimes have continued with their rigid dictatorships, party politics in free societies have come to a point of crisis. Communism exploited loopholes in the legal and political systems of democratic nations in an attempt to manipulate major political parties. To secure electoral victory, politicians have resorted to dirty tricks and made promises that they could never fulfill.
The result of the influence of communism is that political parties around the world today are often somewhere on the left of the political spectrum, advocating higher taxes, higher social welfare expenditures, big government, and interventionism — all of which they seek to entrench in legislation. The behavior of the government plays an enormous role in molding society, and with a left-leaning government, leftist ideology infiltrates the entire society, backed up with the indoctrination of youth, who in turn elect more left-leaning candidates.
Higher education, which is supposed to play the role of transmitting the essence of the wisdom and culture of the ages, has also been subverted. In the first half of the twentieth century, the communist specter arranged for the systematic destruction of the education system. China, famous for its profound ancient culture, was subjected to the New Culture Movement even before the establishment of the Communist Party. This was part of the effort to disconnect the Chinese people from their traditions.
After the communists seized power, they nationalized the education system and filled the textbooks with Party ideology, transforming generations of young Chinese into ferocious “wolf cubs,” a Chinese term for those who grew up under communism and were indoctrinated to hate and kill class enemies.
In the West, the specter launched the progressive education movement, using the banner of “science and progress” in order to gain control of philosophy, psychology, pedagogy, and eventually the entire educational system, and thus indoctrinate teachers and school administrators. High school education began excluding orthodox ideas and traditional morality. Academic standards were lowered to make students less literate and numerate, and less able to form their own judgments or use common sense. Atheism, the theory of evolution, materialism, and the philosophy of struggle were all instilled in students.
Following the counterculture of the 1960s, advocates of political correctness have become thought police, forcing teachers to indoctrinate students with all manner of twisted ideas. Students now graduate from school without a strong moral compass, with no foundation in their own culture, and with little common sense or sense of responsibility. They are left to blindly follow the crowd, thus joining society’s downward trend.
Out in society, there is widespread drug abuse, rising rates of crime, a media sphere full of sex and violence, an art world that treats grotesquerie as beauty, and all manner of evil cults and occult groups. Young people blindly adore film and television stars, waste their time on online games and social media, and end up dispirited and demoralized. The senseless violence of this terrorism against innocents violates all moral parameters established by tradition and makes people worry desperately about the security of the world and what the future holds.
9. Returning to God and Tradition
Human civilization was transmitted to man by gods. Chinese civilization has seen the prosperity of the Han and Tang dynasties, and Western civilization reached its peak during the Renaissance. If human beings can maintain the civilization that gods gave them, then when gods return, man will be able to maintain a connection with them and understand the Law that they teach.
If humans destroy their culture and tradition, and the morality of society collapses, then when gods return, people will fail to understand the divine teachings because their karma and sins are too great, and their thinking has departed too far from the instructions of the divine. This is dangerous for mankind.
This is an era of both despair and hope. Those who don’t believe in God pass lives of sensuous pleasure. Those who believe in God await his return in confusion and disquiet.
Communism is a scourge of humanity. Its goal is the destruction of mankind, and its arrangements are meticulous and specific. The conspiracy has been so successful that it has almost been carried out to completion, and now the devil is ruling our world.
The ancient wisdom of mankind tells us this: One righteous thought can conquer one hundred evils, and when a person’s Buddha-nature emerges, it shakes the world in ten directions. The devil seems powerful but is nothing before God. If humans can maintain their sincerity, kindness, compassion, tolerance, and patience, they will be protected by God, and the devil will have no dominion over them.
The mercy of the Creator is limitless, and every life has a chance to escape catastrophe. If humankind can restore tradition, elevate morality, and hear the compassionate call of the Creator and the Heavenly Law that provides salvation, man will be able to break through the devil’s attempt at destruction, embark on the road to salvation, and move toward the future.
Read Chapter One here.