Fulton Sheen: Communism and Truth
The subject for this telecast, as you know, is Communism and Truth. And the first part of it is going to be very heavy, but bear with us, because we trust we will have explained considerable about Communist tactics.
There is a world of difference between the notion of truth in the Western World and the Communist notion of truth.
For the Western World, for right reason, truth is something that can be discovered. In other words, we are searchers for the truth. Hence, thanks to science, we are making progressive knowledge about the laws of nature. There has been a revelation of Divine Truth. Thanks to reason, we’re able to to deepen an understanding of those mysteries. But truth is not final and complete here, though we are discovering it bit by bit. The ultimate truth is beyond. Perfect truth is God himself. “I am the truth.”
The Communist notion of truth however is that we are not searchers for truth because truth has been discovered. The final and absolute truth is the philosophy of Marx and Lenin. There is no more truth to be known in the history of the world. All of the contradictions in history, all of the class conflicts, and the slow evolution of men through the ages, all of that has finally come to its full development in perfect truth which is held by the Communist Party, namely the philosophy of Marx and Lenin. That’s one difference.
A second difference has to do with the test of truth. How do we know that anything is true? Well the common-sense view of the Western World is we know whether a thing is true by looking at reality. For example, you say where are the socks? and someone says, “well, they’re on the chair.” Another one says, “they’re on the windowsill.” And someone else says, “they’re on top of the television set.” Well, is there a way of finding out which statement is true? Sure, there is. Go to reality, find out where the socks really are. They happen to be in the drawer. In other words, you test everything by reality. That’s the Western and the common-sense way of judging anything.
And what’s the Communist view of truth? How do you know whether a thing is true under Communism? You know whether it is true or not if it conforms to the party line. A bureaucratic directive is the determinant of truth. The party takes the place of God. There’s not God with the fullness of truth, it’s the party. And anything is true simply because it’s in accordance with that line. Therefore if you say, “where are the socks?” Well, Molotov, would say “the socks, they’re in the hands of capitalists because they rob them from the feet of the poor workers.” That’s party line.
You see, you’re not testing anything by reality. Hence, under Communism you do not have truth as we do in the Western World. Rather, you just have a myth. Now, that being true, let’s numerate some consequences.
First consequence of this Communist notion of truth is there must be an iron curtain–there has to be. And why must there be an iron curtain? Well, here’s the reason why there must be an iron curtain…
Suppose there was a mother who had a little boy but she always wanted a little girl, so she dresses up the little boy as a little girl, and she curls his hair and so forth, and she tells him, “there are no little boys in the world. The world is just full of little girls.” That’s the party line. That’s not reality.
Now, in order to maintain that party line, what was she do? She has to erect an iron curtain so that he will never ever in his life see a little boy. Because if he sees the truth, reality over here, then lo and behold, the myth is completely exploded.
And so it is with the Communists. Why do they have to have an iron curtain? Because they’re telling the people that the inside of Soviet Russia is peace, is prosperity, is all that is good in the perfect in the world; that’s the myth in order to perpetuate the myth, constant propaganda; they cannot let anyone cost that iron curtain. They cannot allow any broadcast to come over from the real world, because the real world will completely disprove everything that is told here, in this land of myth.
That is why the Soviet diplomats are all spied upon by other Soviet agents with three layers of espionage, and each layer of Communist intelligence reports back without ever letting himself or themselves be known to another layer of spies. Everyone has to be protected against getting real knowledge. The iron curtain.
The police state is essential in the land of myth, where there is a denial that reality is the determinant of truth, so that if the Communist people are very poor, and they go without shoes, Soviets have got the answer: they say, “you’re without shoes? Oh, my good people, don’t you know that in America, the people have no feet?” Well, that’s the first consequence: the necessity of an iron curtain.
And the second consequence of their false concept of truth is the fluctuation of their tactics. Their strategy, their approach to the Western World, the Communists have, first of all, an ultimate truth. The ultimate truth for them is world revolution and the establishment of the party line throughout the world. Then they have proximate truth.
Oh yes, I should have told you before–I just now thought of it. A good example of that iron curtain, there was that song, remember–years ago? “How are you going to keep him down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree.” Four million Russian soldiers deserted during the first world war. Sure, the reason they deserted: they got over into the real world.
So, now, here the Communists say there is such a thing as a proximate truth. “Our tactic,” so Lenin says, “we have to zigzag. We do not go up straight up a mountain. We every now and then will retreat. And we will present ourselves as favorable to the enemy, but another moment is unfavorable.” And hence, the tactics are always like the tactics of a boxer, to throw the opponent off guard, so at one time the Communist line is the Nazis are our enemies, then they sign a treaty with the Nazis, then they turn against the Nazis. Why? Because it was considered good tactics for the moment. In other words, truth is relative to any historical moment. And they will say anything that will further the ultimate truth, which is world revolution. The Communists are upset sometimes when the party line is changed, but there’s nothing they can do about it.
One of our missionaries in China was asked by the Communists when he was on trial, give us the definition of truth, and this missionary said, “truth is the conformity of the mind with reality,” and this Communist judge, says “no, that’s not true.” He said, “this is the definition of truth: whatever the party says today, is true for today. Whatever they say for tomorrow is true for tomorrow, hence. We came into China we wrote freedom of religion on all of the fences. That was true for that day. Now we persecute you, that’s true for today.”
Now, the pity is that our Western diplomats, instead of judging Communism by its philosophy, judge the Soviets by their attitude toward the Western World. And when the attitude is favorable, they say Communism is alright. When it’s unfavorable, then they say Communism is all wrong.
No, Communism must be judged by its philosophy. And what is its philosophy? They are bent on world revolution. They will use any strategy, any lie, they will even speak of a Geneva spirit, for which we fell. Our Western World should know that materialists have no spirit, that a spirit is impossible for a materialist.
And then the third conclusion that is to be drawn from their false concept of truth is the impossibility of ever arguing with a Communist.
Why? Suppose you give a baby an open safety pin, a bottle of milk, a rattle, a pencil, an old razor blade, and suppose you begin reasoning with the two or three-year-old child, and say, “now, I want you to take what is best. I want to prove to you that the very best thing for you is the milk. This milk is homogenized, it’s full of vitamins, and it’ll make you strong. You’ll grow to be the big American boy. You’ll never have to eat breakfast food if you take the milk now.” You can go on giving arguments from now until the crack of doom, but how does the baby judge things? By whether or not he can get the things into his mouth. Your reason is absolutely useless with that child.
How do the Communists judge things? Go to the United Nations, talk about Korea, talk about Vietnam, talk about Eastern Germany, talk about the nations that are behind the iron curtain, talk about China. The Communists do not hear the arguments. How do they judge things? By whether or not these things can be swallowed by the Soviets. They are as incapable of understanding reason about these things as the child.
We know there’s such a thing, for example, in the world, paranoiacs. Paranoiacs, very often, are intelligent people, but they always have a fixed idea: some Great Delusion. When they have this delusion, the only way you can satisfy them is to bow down to it. For example, somebody has the delusion that that you were to go on a trip with him to Saskatchewan. He will call five, ten, fifteen, times a day, for thirty or forty days. You say, “no, I’m not going to Saskatchewan.” Gets away from the house, he’s forgotten all about it. got Saskatchewan in his mind. When he gets the trip to Saskatchewan out of his head, he’s alright, but while they are possessed of that myth, that delusion, you can do nothing with a paranoid.
Soviets are possessed of a myth of the delusion. And when we talk, for example, about problems of the world, they do not hear the arguments. They are absolutely impervious to logic or to argument. They do not understand them. Cannot follow them. So they will attack, they will slander, they will reverse the argument and speak of the Soviets of being a land of peace, and so forth. As far as the argument is concerned, they never seem to hear it.
What are we doing in the Western World? We’re appealing to facts, were appealing to a world of reality. And, we see, we’ll test these things by facts. But the Communists do not test things by facts. Their idea of truth is not judged by a reality, it’s judged by conformity to the party line. And give all the facts you please, when a party line comes over to them at the United Nations, they speak the party line. And they cannot understand or reason. When they get out of that delusion–when they go to a cocktail party–they’re normal–talk like anybody else–they’ll be very reasonable–they’re human–your evidence is a reason. But get them back where they are they have to affirm that myth–nothing can be done. Is there anything that we could ever do with people of this kind?
Really it makes one wonder if there is not a kind of a possession. Gospel mentions occasions cases of individual possessions where an individual had a devil such as the demoniac, the Gerasenes, but here we’ve got collective possession. All of these people together who believe the truth is in the party line, they are not like people in an insane asylum, because they’re one crazy person balances another. The man that thinks he’s Napoleon is balanced off of the man who thinks he’s the Duke of Wellington. But here, what is that you’ve got here? You’ve got a collectivity, you’ve got a possession. They do not know precisely what there is that they are driven to, they only know that there’s some drive in them.
How explain the fact for example the Chinese young girls want to see their mothers killed how explain the fact that boys will watch the assassination of their fathers what is this terrible thing? This great vampire that sucking blood out of the human brain all over the world? It’s a form of paranoia? Maybe. It’s a formal possession? Has to be something very real to destroy goodness and morality and law and order.
Is there anything we can do, maybe there’s something we can do, we cannot talk about the western world because this is a world of reality and they do not understand reality, we should not be just attacking them, because that gets nowhere. Maybe there’s one thing we could do, and that is, if, at the United nations, we brought up one subject, namely the subject of Poland and Lithuania and Albania and Hungary and every other country behind the iron curtain, and all the countries behind the bamboo curtain, we brought up that subject, and we asked that this question of the free determinations of people be decided before any other question is settled, and suppose we said to the Soviets, “here is the statement we want you to hear, do we want free determination?” Because there’s reality and there’s there’s myth. The people are real. They want the truth, but they’re submerged by this myth.
So we say to them, “listen to this statement. I will tell you later who said it.” Would we address it to the Soviets: “If any nation whatsoever is detained by force within the boundaries of a certain state and if that nation, contrary to its expressed desire, is not given the right to determine the form of its state life by free voting, and completely free from the presence of troops of the annexing or stronger state, and without any pressure, then the incorporation of that nation by the stronger state is annexation, it is seizure by force, it is violence.”
Who said this? Nikolai Lenin. Then Soviets, under God, follow it.
Free these people; that’s the first thing that we have to solve in the world, then all other problems will be solved. No other problem will be solved until we liberate them.
They’re strong. They’re very strong. Why? Because they believe in an absolute. They believe in a truth: the truth of the party line, and they believe in it with such fervor and faith. They have a faith in an absolute and that gives them great strength and great zeal.
Our weakness really is the fact that we are not sure in America that there is any truth. We’re something like Pontius Pilate. When our Blessed Lord appeared before him, Our Lord said, “I am come to give testimony of the truth and all aware of the truth hear my voice.” Then Pilate turned his back on Truth and sneered, “what is truth?”
They have thrown down the gauntlet. They have reminded us that the choice before the world is not some humanitarian society and Communism. It is either brotherhood in Christ or comradeship in Antichrist. They have chosen that particular comradeship. It is for us as a free nation to choose the truth, to choose the good, to choose and affirm God and the freedom of the peoples of the world.
Transcript provided by WQPH