‘The end of ideology?’

‘Words have no meaning if Islamic terror is simply garden-variety violence’

Robert P. Barnidge Jr. is a professor of international relations at Webster University and at the University of Haifa. He is author of “Self-Determination, Statehood, and the Law of Negotiations: The Case of Palestine” (Hart 2016). In an article for the Washington Times he disconcertingly argues that Pope Francis’s explanation of Islamic violence has a Marxist (materialist) basis. Professor Barnidge presents a powerful case with a careful analysis of the Pope’s recent comments, comments that must come across to the ordinary person as perversely biased towards Islam and Muslims. The opening paragraphs that follow are a lucid account of the key elements of Marx’s dialectical materialism leading into the professor’s compelling analysis.

Historical materialism, a theory popularized by Karl Marx and further developed and refined by others, holds that humanity progresses through stages to a class-free society. For Marxists, the course of history is best appreciated through a scientific lens, with class struggle inevitably leading to a communist future. Marx famously captured the predestined nature of history in the 1859 preface to his tome “A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy”: “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence determines their consciousness.”

The Catholic Church has rejected Marxism for any number of reasons. Its inherent godlessness, the idea that man can find his liberation in the absence of God (indeed, in outright rebellion against God), is one such reason. No less significant is the Marxist insistence that man is, in a very real sense, the plaything of forces beyond his control, so often robbed of free (moral) choice, and best understood, to quote Pope John Paul II’s 1991 encyclical, “Centesimus Annus,” “simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism.” Read on