This article was previously published by The Lepanto Institute
“The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic.”
― Gilbert Keith Chesterton, The Blue Cross: A Father Brown Mystery
Chesterton is right only if one looks a a criminal act in a vacuum, isolated from everything else. The criminal’s objective is to commit a perfect crime, something that detectives would be unable to distinguish from honest activities. The profits from the crime, and the inevitable clues have to be hidden from view. The criminal has to prepare the scene in such a way that no one observing it may detect the crime committed. The policeman in this case is the critic, and the criminal is the artist, the creator being criticized.
“Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they’re unable to do it themselves.” ― Brendan Francis Behan.
This would be true of Chesterton’s detective. He is unable to commit the crime he is criticizing because he is bound by strong morals. However, Brendan Francis Behan is looking at criticism from a different point of view. He his looking at critics from a higher hill, cutting them with their own sword so to speak. In doing that, Behan discovers something essential: critics are not creators but they depend of someone creating something. Once that something is before them, then they can display their skills, they can de-construct the creation process, they can tell what went wrong and when. But when it comes to actual creation, they are as impotent as the eunuch in Behan’s analogy.
The developers of the last wave of modernist philosophies believe that Karl Marx proposed something going beyond a critique of the capitalist economy. They believe that was only the beginning of a radical critique of everything. Christians easily recognize the satanic imprint of that idea. It will teach us a lot to see how we got from Marx in the 19th century, to the present state of things.
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)
There are a group of ignoramuses that like to erroneously label people like me as fascist. In fact, here in Buenos Aires, they use the term fachista (sic) which is a blatant mispronunciation of the original Italian fascista (Italian pron. fah-schee-stah, plural fascisti, fah-schee-stee) which, is correctly pronounced in Spanish as fascista (fahs-cee-stah)— how could someone use a derogatory term while not being able to pronounce it properly is one of those mysteries surrounding the leftist intelligentsia, a sort of contradictory expression.
Now, what is a Fascist? Well, I happen to have some relatives by marriage, who were rabid anti-Fascists and had members of their families fight the German and Italian Fascists from hiding places up in the mountainous regions of Italy, France, and Austria. Not that they were Communists, not at all (although most of their descendants are,) they were definitely anti-Fascist. They did not love Mussolini or Hitler, Fascists leaders of National-Socialist fame.
You see, by the end of the Great War (1914-1918) most Marxists became aware that the class-struggle was mostly a figment of their imagination. When the nations of Europe were called to war, the workers, the bourgeois, and even the upper classes, quickly lined up to go to the front to defend their national colors. Although the Marxists had been calling the workers of the world to unite for about half a century, the workers of the world did not unite but joined their national armies and were happy to butcher each other for the next five years regardless of their position in the social order of that age.
Two members of the Italian Socialist Party, Enrico Corradini and Alfredo Rocco, realized quite early that the Socialist workers were never going to join workers in other countries to overthrow the existing order. Entire Socialist countries would have to fight Capitalist countries if they wanted to have any success in defeating Capitalism. Hence the idea of National-Socialism was born. A very intelligent English lady, a friend of mine, made the following observation which some people these days would unjustly qualify as bigoted: “In the 20th century, Italian ideas generally follow the model of Italian men and Italian cars: they look good, they are expensive, and they don’t work.” [She said it, not me. Don’t send me letters.] In the end Italian National Socialism did not work and ended up lasting a little longer than its German counterpart when some Argentine Army General named Juan Perón adopted their ideas, taking them to a far away land unreachable to world wars, economic good sense, and logic.
That is the origin of Fascism. It comes from a split in the Italian Socialist Party. It did not take long for all members of the International Socialist to adopt the ideas of Corradini and Rocco. The Fascist model was adopted by all Socialists but they kept calling themselves Socialists nevertheless. They simply concluded that nations would have to be the agents of the worldwide revolution. No social class (constricted naturally by strong national borders and culture) could bring about world revolution. That early observation was confirmed by the resounding success of postwar Capitalism in the western world. The working class in Capitalist countries were living quite well at the time, while the experience of workers in Socialist countries was unsatisfactory to say the least. ‘Exploited’ nations were now dependent on the economic assistance of more successful ones as they integrated into a more complex and interdependent world order. The movement for international Socialism had failed in both fronts: with the ‘proletariat’ and the ‘exploited nations.’
Promoters of Socialism had to find new problems, new contradictions they could use as a wedge to destroy this newly successful Capitalism. Criticizing economic injustices was not enough since they were rapidly disappearing. Marxists had to find new groups to pitch one against the other, faults and failures in new areas that could be used to create social friction.
This short story of Socialism you are reading is not meant to be a defense of Capitalism, although it can be used by some for that purpose. The idea is to highlight the emergence of the Marxist ‘radical criticism of everything’ as a new and more effective instrument of societal destruction. We must remember that the main objective of Marxism was (and is) the destruction of the western world and its main generator of stability and prosperity: the Christian faith.
Since the economic stress points of western societies could no longer be exploited, it was necessary to find new internal contradictions that could be used to destroy the West from inside. The tool designed to constantly find such ‘useful points’ was called ‘negative dialectic’ and consisted in analyzing the negative aspects of everything that exists. Since sin and human imperfection pervades everything humans do in this world, the critics could expect a plentiful harvest of defects to self-righteously point at.
Thus man and woman, parents and offspring, physicians and patients, teachers and students, etc. all became fertile soil to seed discord and conflict. Karl Marx’s dream of developing a ‘radical criticism of everything’ was finally ushered into the world. Nothing was off limits: moral, media, law, economy, commerce, marriage, education, state administration, every human activity or institution, everything was going to be placed under the magnifying glass to find some kind of evil defect. The Left has been busy doing that for about half a century now. They are paving the way for the advent of the Antichrist.
When a person or entity practices such radical form of criticism, it becomes a sort of judge of everything. The radical critic has placed himself above reality, in a way becoming the owner of reality, a mighty god. That is why those pushing for the universal imposition of Marxism are not content with modifying human institutions and systems of governance but have progressed to the modification of the natural order as well. As St. Paul predicted long ago, this ‘man of lawlessness’ will make himself into a god. His appearance in the world scene is one of the final signs of the impending second coming of Christ.
… the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)
The leftist system of ideas has finally reached its ultimate goal: they have become not God but a false god, the devil. It is quite evident that God created the world to love it, to save it, to redeem it even from rebelling against Him. That ‘radical love’ of God for His creation is perfectly opposed to the devil’s radical criticism. We recognize that love in Jesus’ words:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
Saul Alinsky, the American leftist ideologue and political theorist, dedicated his book Rules for Radicals to the devil. In the end, it is quite evident that the agents of the political left are not working for the good of mankind but have always been an instrument of the enemy of humanity.
One of the signs of the end of this age occurs when that kind of abominable ideas and methods reach the upper echelons of the Church. It is a terrible thing to contemplate but Our Lord has told us:
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (Luke 21:28, see also Matthew 24:15)
Man was not made to inspect and criticize the natural order of Creation. Everything that God has made is good and will ultimately serve God’s purpose. It is God who will eventually come to inspect this world and see what mankind have done with it. In the end we have to agree with G. K. Chesterton: “The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic.” In this case the perfect detective is God. Nothing can be hidden from his sight, He can’t be fooled into accepting ‘alternate realities’ because He is the owner of all reality.
The imperfect self-appointed critics will prove to be like the eunuch in Behan’s parable: the impotent makers of a man-made world condemned to fail, thieves who came only to steal, kill, and destroy because they are incapable of creating anything worth loving.