Sunday, February 7, 2010

Who is Hegel, Burgess and Rauschenbusch?

This is the question I ask myself as I read this article that I found at the Heritage Foundation website.

The reason? Because from that article, I read this:

For Hegel, whose philosophy strongly influenced the Progressives, "the state is the divine idea as it exists on earth." John Burgess, a prominent Progressive political scientist, wrote that the purpose of the state is the "perfection of humanity, the civilization of the world; the perfect development of the human reason and its attainment to universal command over individualism; the apotheosis of man" (man becoming God). Progressive-Era theologians like Walter Rauschenbusch redefined Christianity as the social gospel of progress.

This bold statement on the part of these progressives confirms the supposition from conservatives that socialism is a Godless philosophy. I grew up seeing statements made by lampooned, warmongering generals in movies and television spouting stuff like "those godless commies", and such. The notion of the lunacy of the commentary was accepted without question by my young brain. It was just rhetoric from some fanatics in our own country. Now, as I read more and more writings from the progressive movement, communists, etc, I find that, in their own words, they have discarded any notion of faith in God.

If you go to the ivory tower of progressive thought, you will not find God in it. He does not belong. However people may believe downstream from there might think or belief, the foundational philosophy and belief system of collectivism and all its unholy children and relatives, is that Man is perfectable by Man, and God is not required, or desired.

This is not some crazy, paranoid, Christian radical talking; this is the progressive intellectual themselves talking from their own writings. It is not a matter of debate, but rather of exposure to the original source.

I am tired of the political banter in my country and its rank dishonesty. Not because all of the participants are dishonest, but rather ignorant. I believe people on the left when they say they have no allegiance to Stalin or Mao or Marx or even Hitler. But I also believe that the part of those characters that they reject is simply the unsavory reputations, and if you were to somehow present to them the philosophies of these men to modern liberals, without revealing the sources, they would find much to be admired.

The problem with collectivism is not the goals, necessarily (although with more understanding we can find problems with these as well), but rather, it is the necessary conclusion and implementation of those goals. They either don't think through the conclusions of their ideas, or don't believe bad things can happen if they just have good intentions.

The good and the bad? The good thing is that if people actually understood what progressives actually thought and said behind closed doors, they would never get elected to office in this country except in the most radical leftist corners of our society and perhaps not even then. The bad? Collectivist thought has become very good at disguising itself as something else and coopting language and words that sound like things people want and believe in. It is truly Orwellian, the use of language in politics and, if we want to keep our liberty, we truly must become what John Adams once observed in the America of his day:
It has been observed that we are all of us lawyers, divines, politicians,
and philosophers." - The 5000 Year Leap, Cleon Skousen, p. 250

I would add historians to that list, particularly the era of the American Revolution and that of the Progressive movement between 1880 and 1920. Only with that proper historical and philosophical perspective can we truly understand current events and modern politics of any stripe.


  1. The thing that our friendly, modern progessives have in common with the historic figures they feign to eschew (Stalin, Marx, Mao, etc.) is the presumption that the state as an entity actually exists, and matters. Moreover, (and this is the really obnoxious part) they alone know how the state should operate, and why it should pre-empt individual freedom and initiative wherever possible.

  2. These three guys are very interesting characters. Rauschenbusch, is a Christian minister that rejected the notion of substitutionary atonement. He rejected the Gospel of Christ and the entire message of Christ dying on the cross for our sins, and decided that his real religion was to create paradise on earth. Jesus became just a nice guy that responded with love to those that hated him. It is astonishing intellectual drivel and hard to believe that anyone familiar with the Bible could come to such a conclusion. I might dig into this guy further at some point.