“When we get ready to take the United States, we will not take it under the label of socialism….We will take the United States under labels we have made very lovable; we will take it under liberalism, under progressivism, under democracy. But take it we will.”
Many Americans heard this quotation from Alexander Trachtenberg – Moscow’s “enforcer” among American communists – with fear during the fifties. By the time that the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, that fear had become derision. As the third decade of the twenty-first century begins, it looks prophetic.
Perhaps the election of Donald Trump in 2016 delayed things, but the socialists have only accelerated their labors during his presidency. Far-left positions at the turn of the millennium have assumed the status of “settled law.” Topics that would have been routinely scorned twenty years ago are now being treated as serious social issues. Serious discourse has dissolved into “cancel culture,” “wokeness” and “mostly peaceful protest.”
A Penetrating Look at the Roots of the Current Crisis
In this atmosphere, The Devil and Karl Marx: Communism’s Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration by Paul Kengor is valuable. It examines the intersection between faith and Marxism – an intersection that many Marxists will claim does not exist. They have proudly proclaimed their atheism since Karl Marx first put pen to paper in the 1830s. “Religion is the opiate of the masses,” may well be Marx’s most famous statement.
However, atheism is a religion – and Dr. Kengor makes this fact readily apparent.
Paul Kengor’s name may be familiar to some readers. He is a professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in American Spectator, the National Catholic Register, and the online Crisis Magazine. His books include A Pope and a President, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century. His venture into the Marxist occult provides insight into how evil the philosophical sect is.
The Link Between Marxism and Satanism
The book’s title might give the impression that it is a biography of Marx. It is actually a biography of Marxism – with a particular emphasis on its supernatural aspects. Most doctrinaire Marxists deny that there is anything mystical about Marxism. However, Marx wrote a lot about God and Satan, pledging his allegiance to the battle’s dark side.
One stanza of a poem by Karl Marx suffices to illustrate this connection. His The Pale Maiden includes:
Thus Heaven I’ve forfeited,
I know it full well.
My soul, once true to God,
Is chosen for Hell.
Marx wrote the poem when he was nineteen, but it illustrates the path he laid out for himself. He would point his children down that path as well. Perhaps the most poignant passage in the book describes the effects of Marx on his six daughters: “When their daughters hit the depths of despair, they had no God to turn to; their mom and dad had taught them that God did not exist – that religion was false, that it was opium for the masses. Instead of smoking opium, they ingested poison.”
The last phrase was both figuratively and literally accurate. Most of the Marx children died young. The two that survived past their father’s death committed suicide.
However, Karl Marx exits from the scene about a quarter of the way through this 402-page book. After dispensing with Marx, Dr. Kengor describes how Lenin and Stalin waged war against religion and specifically Christianity. In 1909, Lenin wrote, “We must know how to combat religion, and to do so, we must explain the source of faith and religion in a materialist way.”
Most of the book describes how communists fought this battle in Russia, Europe and the United States. It was through a system in which Moscow issued the orders, and communists worldwide followed them. The descriptions of unfortunate Christians who fell under the Kremlin’s political power are harrowing, detailed and extremely distasteful.
The book also describes the battle between Catholicism and Marxism at the highest levels. The writings of Popes Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII are well presented. The book also mentions the unfortunate Ostpolitik, a policy of dialogue with the communists, that thrived under John XXIII and Paul VI. These topics are handled deftly, with enough detail to inform but never becomes dreary.
Economic and Cultural Marxism
However, the book’s best work comes toward the end when Dr. Kengor describes how Marxism morphed from an economic philosophy to a cultural revolution responsible for so much of the social anarchy that one sees today.
The transition begins with a series of character sketches of Marxist/Satanists who came onto the intellectual scene in the early years of the twentieth century, including Alistair Crowley, Walter Duranty, Harry Hay and the “Frankfurt School.” It then moves into feminism, specifically discussing Kate Millet, whose book Sexual Politics helped popularize the “Sexual Revolution” of the sixties and seventies.
Dr. Kengor quotes Miss Millet’s sister, who eventually reclaimed her family’s Catholic Faith. “’It was clear they desired nothing less than the utter destruction of Western society,’ she said. How would they do this? They would do so via the method laid out by the cultural Marxists, by the Frankfurt School, by the spirit of Antonio Gramsci and the ‘long march through generations’ of the culture, from media to education. They would ‘invade every American institution. Everyone must be permeated with ‘The Revolution.’”
The book deftly compares today’s cultural Marxists with their more economically-oriented predecessors.
“The call to total transformation resonates today among cultural and sexual Marxists. While very different from classical Marxists,…they bear a crucial commonality with their forebears in this ongoing objective of fundamental transformation via criticizing all that exists, especially traditional Judeo-Christian values and institutions. The original ambition of an economic/class-based revolution has failed. And so, instead, today’s Marxists…have gone cultural and sexual.”
Highly Informative, but Not for Everyone
Paul Kengor does the world a service in writing The Devil and Karl Marx. He has taken piles of indecipherable prose – an inability to write well seems to be a common Marxist characteristic – and renders it into an easily understandable narrative.
It is crucial to point out that only those with a well-formed and mature conscience should read this book. Parts of the book, especially those describing the sexual revolution, are quite lurid. This book is to be read and digested by those who need the information to do battle against Satan.