Visiting Bulgaria this past summer was an education in the legacy of communism, which brings death and oppression wherever it gains a foothold. Francis Schaeffer analyzed it well in HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE. Communism has to bring oppression because it imposes an economic regime that is not rooted in reality and destroys natural incentives. The only way you can achieve an artificial equality of economic result is by force—and those wielding the force will not participate in the forced equality. Power tends to corrupt, and the absolute power required for the dictatorship, not of the proletariat but of the self-appointed elite acting in their name, corrupts absolutely. These outcomes are not avoidable; they are coded into the DNA of the system by its very nature, and not all the good intentions in the world can avoid them.
The results in Bulgaria were unmistakable. What was built before the communist regime was villages that looked like English country villages from the Cotswolds, only with red-tile roofs rather than thatch, and cities that looked like European elegance–central Sofia could be Vienna, with Romanesque Orthodox churches instead of Gothic Catholic ones. These are both environments in which human beings could live with dignity. What was built during communism was universally ugly and dehumanizing: Orwellian factories (empty) and worse than Orwellian high rises (crammed full), sprouting like a cancer on the outskirts of the cities. The contrast was stark.
What was left behind after the Marxist regime fell was cynicism. I was surprised when the Evangelical pastors in Sofia asked me to talk on PostModernism, thinking it a Western problem. No, they said, they had their own version of it, a result of people knowing they had been systematically lied to by the communist government for two generations. The resulting cynicism about truth has opened the people to a philosophy that denies determinative meaning to texts. The genesis of their cynicism about meaning is different from ours, but the results are the same. Preaching the Good News that personal Truth has entered our history becomes harder when there is no concept of truth; discipling Christian converts into the meaning of the Text which records that revelation becomes harder when there is no concept of objective meaning. It is what Schaeffer described as the loss of “true truth,” now on the steroids provided by Post-Modern “theory.”
It is no coincidence that Post-Modern scholars often also tend to be Marxists. Both systems have no place for any objective truth to which their results must be submitted; both subordinate truth to their social agendas, which become self-justifying. Evil supports evil and attracts it. The connection was hard to miss in that former Soviet satellite. And the damage takes generations to heal.
Have no truck then with these two allied philosophies and yield them no quarter! They are both straight from the Pit.
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