by Bill Nugent
We often think of Mao Tse-Tung as a champion of Marxism but in this article I’ll point out that Mao’s reign of mass murder and despotism owes more to Darwin than Marx. To begin let me say that Darwinism was and remains the great underpinning of atheism. There were atheists before Darwin such as British philosopher Thomas Hobbes but these were few in number. Atheism failed as an undergirding philosophy because it had no explanation of human origin.
Darwinism offered for the first time an explanation of human origin without a creator. I know that many who are reading these words subscribe to the popular “theistic evolution” syncretism that attempts to combine Christianity and evolution by claiming that God used evolution to form life. This view crumbles under scholarly scrutiny because it contradicts both the plain teaching of the Bible and does not surmount the growing evidence in the fossil record and elsewhere that disproves evolution. Suffice it to say that the major thrust of the teaching of evolution in virtually every state funded school from primary level to graduate school is the claim that life came about by naturalistic forces alone. The evolution taught in the school classrooms of the world is overwhelmingly of the atheistic variety.
Thus Darwinism had the effect of denying that God is the Supreme Being and by default asserting that man is the supreme being. This has led to the present state of affairs in which man is the supreme lawgiver. Man makes the laws or should I say men make the laws. The dominant males of humanity make the rules for others to live by. Strong, testosterone laden men make the rules. Or someone concerned with political correctness might dare to say “Strong men of both sexes” make the rules. These strong people are accountable to no one. In an implicitly atheistic world there is no guiding light, no moral absolute.
Let me get back to Mao. Mao was one of these strong men. He came from humble origins, the son of a peasant farmer, born in 1893 in Hunan province of southern China. His family provided a decent primary education for their bright son. Mao went on to study at the University of Peking in 1918. He worked his way through college as a library assistant where he had access to the works of Karl Marx and plenty of time to devour this revolutionary literature. He also read Darwin and Huxley. In fact, Raymond Hall, in his article Darwin’s Impact [Creation 27(2) Mar-May ’05] states that Mao was known to have regarded Darwin and radical evolutionist Huxley as his two favorite authors.
The dependence of Marxist thought on Darwinism is profound and undeniable. Darwin gave such momentum to atheism and naturalistic materialism that God’s law, particularly His eighth commandment “Thou shalt not steal” began to recede from the minds of radical intellectuals of whom Marx was but one. “Thou shalt not steal” forms the basis for private property and is the foundation of capitalism and free enterprise.
Several times on the radio I’ve heard discussion of Communist China’s ‘re-education’ camps and they always mention that Darwinism was the first subject taught. This is but further proof that the basis of Marxism was atheistic materialism and the basis of atheistic materialism is evolution.
Mao was a founding member of the Chinese Communist party in 1921. By the 1930s he was head of a small ‘soviet’ communist rural enclave in southeastern China. He and his guerrilla band were driven out by the nationalists in 1934 and began the famous ‘long march’ to a new stronghold in northwestern China. Mao ultimately prevailed over the nationalists and became leader of all mainland China in 1949.
Over the next 27 years Mao launched more than a dozen major ideologically driven campaigns to revolutionize Chinese society under communism. His brutal wiping out of the landlord class, confiscation of land and his murder and imprisonment of religious people were conducted on a massive scale. Even that was dwarfed by Mao’s greatest folly: the “Great Leap Forward” of 1958-1961 in which approximately 38 million people died. He drew people off the farms and in to industry. Agricultural production collapsed yet he exported grain to the USSR to pay for weapons and China’s nuclear armament program. It was the worst famine in world history. Untold numbers also died from forced labor.
Marxism with its denial that human life is created in God’s image always minimized the value of the individual. Marxism emphasized the value of the state, the society as a whole, as having some sort of transcendent value. Individuals meant nothing. An agglomeration of individuals meant everything because in Marxist thought the state was more valuable than the sum of its parts. Thus individuals were ground up by the machinery of despotic government.
The last ten years of Mao’s life comprised the years of the “Cultural Revolution” from 1966-76. Radical students were recruited to be “Red Guards” and they attacked all who were in authority. The goal of the cultural revolution was to shake up the complacent ruling bureaucrats and party functionaries and destroy every remaining vestige of capitalism. China plunged into chaos and more than a million people were killed.
Mao’s life and career demonstrated the depths of brutality to which a society can descend when its leaders abandon belief in God and claim that people are mere products of nature, descended from apes.