The year 1989 is often viewed as the conclusion of the post-war period: in the long conflict Marxism has finally lost, while the Eastern countries are progressively taking their place in the unified world of freedom, well-being, consumption, democracy. Regarding this victory of the West, however, let us be careful: in the years immediately following 1945 the conflict was thought to be in terms of a struggle between Christian civilization and Marxism; later the opposition of democracy and totalitarianism became prevalent. It has also been said that in the post-war period the struggle between Fascism and anti-Fascism continued, at a different level. Supposedly, the present moment is when Communism is shedding the features it had in common with Fascism.
Now, nothing of this is true. Marxism has fully realized itself, but disproving its premises and promises. It did not do so due to mistakes or to betrayal by its leaders, but by the necessity of its nature. It has not expressed the radical alternative between the thesis represented by capitalism and the antithesis represented by the proletariat, it has not been the creation of an entirely new humanity. Instead, historically, it represented the transition from one stage of the bourgeoisie to another, the ulterior and definitive stage. About it, in his important and original book, Marcello Veneziani cites St. Anselm’s ontological argument, according to which today’s Occidentalism presents itself as the Id quo maius cogitari nequit, that than which nothing greater can be conceived; and he refers to some exponents of the new liberalism, who aim to establish the insuperability of the current stage reached by the neo-bourgeois society, which they conceive as the final stage.
Marxism has been the culture of the transition from the Christian-bourgeois society—of which we find the insuperable example in the work of Benedetto Croce—to the bourgeois society in its pure state. We could even say that Marxism represented the “transition to the worst” in the sense that, through Marxism, bourgeois society has shed every residual moral and religious sense, unburdening itself of all “impurities” that still tied it to traditional society, thus presenting itself as full materialism and full secularism. The West has realized everything of Marxism, except its messianic hope. “Socialism” Veneziani writes “has not inherited capitalist society, but has become included, entangled in capitalism itself; in many respects, it has been the intermediate stop on the journey from capitalism to neo-capitalism.” Veneziani notices that Western society realizes the essence of Marxism: “radical atheism and materialism, internationalism and universal non-belonging, the primacy of praxis and the death of philosophy, the domination of production and the universal manipulation of nature, technological Faustianism and equality that realizes itself as homogenization.” The new globalist liberalism, Veneziani observes, absorbs the lesson of Marxism, purifying it of all prophetic, gnostic and anti-modern slag, and of solidaristic suggestions.
Therefore we can say that the West is Marxism’s full secularization, as well as its perfect realization. It is Capitalism that absorbs Communism, using it to erase religious sacredness and national sacredness, a goal it could not have reached in any other way.
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