There comes a time to stop beating a dead horse. But there are full-time beaters of dead horses who just cannot bring themselves to admit that the horse is dead.
A recent example of dead-besting is a documentary, Agenda: Grinding America Down (2010). It argues that Communism in America is not only alive and well, it is about to conquer America. In fact, we are almost out of time. Communism is about to take over.
I assume that your initial reaction is this: “This is nuts.” That was my reaction when I first viewed it. But, believe it or not, this documentary has begun to gain a following among fundamentalists who believe that Jesus is coming soon to set up His millennial kingdom. This theory of history teaches that everything must get worse and worse until a time when Christians are about to be overwhelmed by the forces of evil. Jesus will come and take them all to heaven for seven years, and then Jesus, His angels, and the resurrected perfect and immortal followers will return to set up an international bureaucracy to run the world. This theory is called premillennial, pretribulational dispensationalism. (That’s a mouthful.)
The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 created a major crisis for this system of Bible interpretation. The “Beast from the North,” the USSR, collapsed. This ended the USSR’s supposed threat to the nation of Israel, which is central to this theory of world history. The nation of the north was now gone. So, how could Jesus’ return to whisk away his helpless church be imminent? I wrote a book on this topic in 1993, Rapture Fever. It’s here for free: http://bit.ly/gnrapture.
Then, in 2010, a fundamentalist offered the answer. Communism really did not die. Not at all. It is about to take over the USA. The visible collapse of Communism was really part of a Communist plot.
The fall of the USSR was not a hoax. The collapse of Communism in America immediately followed. Hardly anyone noticed. That was because American working class members had never accepted the idea of bloody proletarian revolution as an inevitable way of liberation. They hated Communism.
Why would anyone believe this documentary? Because it’s slick. It is based on a omplete misreading of Communist history. It is also based on a series of deceptions. Conservatives cannot believe that someone would deliberately deceive them. So, they believe this message.
But what if the deception was based on self-deception? What if the producer is simply misinformed? What if he is a self-taught man who picked up a few unconnected (and erroneous) bits of information and tried to connect them by means of a thesis that seems superficially plausible? What if his sincerity is not backed up by the facts? What if the average viewer of his documentary is ignorant about these supposed facts? Then the viewer becomes a victim.
I don’t want you to be a victim. That is why I am writing this report.
THE LEGACY OF FRED SCHWARZ
The documentary is dedicated to Fred Schwarz. This indicates the degree of the writer-producer’s ignorance.
In 1996, Schwarz, the anti-Communist lecturer who brought me into the conservative movement in 1956 with one powerful speech, wrote a testament: Beating the Unbeatable Foe: One Man’s Victory Over Communism, Leviathan, and the Last Enemy.
That testament resonated with me. His one-hour lecture in 1956 was the most important lecture I ever heard, before or since. I was confronted with what seemed to be a well-organized, ruthless, and relentless enemy: international Communism. It controlled the USSR. The USSR controlled Eastern Europe. Communism controlled China. It had a vision of victory. It had an agenda. It had a comprehensive theory of historical causation: dialectical materialism. The USSR had enormous military power. It looked unbeatable.
Nevertheless, I signed up with Schwarz’s Christian Anti-Communism Crusade. I was not yet a Christian. I even sent him $100 for a lifetime membership, which was about $850 in today’s purchasing power. I was 14 years old. I earned $1 an hour before taxes at a local record store.
A decade later, I began work on my book, Marx’s Religion of Revolution. It was published in 1968. Download it here: http://bit.ly/gnmror. That book goes into detail on the philosophy of Marx and Engels. That philosophy is now dead. So is its economic analysis.
On December 31, 1991, the Communist Party of the USSR committed suicide. It disbursed the funds and shut down. The war was over.
Today, all that remains are North Korea and Cuba. The defeat of Communism is best seen in the satellite photograph of the Korean peninsula.
Schwarz knew it was over for Communism by 1996. He admitted that he was amazed that it fell so fast.
(For my full report, click the link.)