By Libor Brom
Three distinctive periods have marked my life. The first period encompassed my youth before German socialism, or Nazism. The second period covered my young adult life before Soviet socialism, or Communism. The third period of my life began in America.
During the first period of my life gigantic demonstrations were prevalent in Europe. Mobs shouted "Peace! Peace! Peace!" The Nazis themselves called for "peace" as they took Europe piece by piece. Democracies began to give in little by little until ultimately they gave up completely. They participated in the Munich peace conference that was to conclude "peace in our time." Munich did relieve, temporarily, many weary minds, and although a people (my people, the Czechs) had been sacrificed, many felt that they had finally arrived at some sort of peace. Churchill protested: "If you do not fight for what is right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you do not fight when the victory will be easy and not too costly, the moment may come when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and with only a precarious chance of survival.... You may even have to fight when there is no hope of victory, for it is better to perish than to live as slaves.
This call for a fight brought cries of "plutocrat, " "warmonger ... .. imperialist," "mass murderer," and "enemy of the people" from many Europeans. Two years later when the German socialists and the Soviet socialists had invaded the independent Republic of Poland and the Western powers had found it necessary to defend themselves, Churchill was called to lead the flight for ultimate survival."
During the second part of my life, before Communism, Europe experienced mass movements and demonstrations once more, all in the name of peace and justice. Czechoslovakia, my country, believed in her historical mission. Her people proudly proclaimed themselves to be the bridge linking the Western democracies with Eastern totalitarianism, capitalism with Communism. Czechoslovaks did their best to prove their good intentions to the Marxist-Leninists. But in their approach to the Marxist-Leninist aggressor, the Czechoslovaks made a crucial mistake. They forgave and forgot what the Marxist-Leninists had done to millions of their own people in the Soviet Union and to the other peoples of the world. We must be reminded that to forgive is divine, but to forget is idiotic.
The steps leading to the downfall of a once prosperous Czechoslovakia have been identified by scholars as the blueprint for a Marxist-Leninist takeover through peaceful means. The same steps have been at work in all parts of the free world. The symptoms of this vanishing democracy are:
1. Internationally: The agonizing atmosphere of "Munich," which rejects the responsibilities of collective security and maintains the conception that democracies can save their existence by appeasing the power appetite of totalitarian aggressors.
2. Nationally: The delusive thinking of conscience-stricken democratic leaders who believe that constant concessions to aggressive minority groups manipulating nationality against nationality, class against class, race against race, and threatening with violence and revolution will bring about, in the long run, the desired equilibrium of order and justice in the country.
3. Legislatively: Hasty laws of broad social and economic reforms by old-fashioned politicians that imitate the so-called successful socialist countries, undermine the upper and middle-class backbone of the country, and gradually replace the initiative of a free enterprise system with the bitter impotence of a mushrooming bureaucracy.
4. Administratively: The creation of a deceptive coalition (national front) virtually functioning as an instrument of international Communism to brainwash the population, infiltrate public offices, and channel all organs of federal and state power toward a Communist takeover.
5. Judicially: Institutionalized permissiveness with an unchallenged growth of criminality leading to out-right plundering of entire regions and conditioning the public to a feeling of general insecurity and fear.
6. Morally: Common rejection of absolute values such as truth, honesty, decency, patriotism, as outlived and impractical, especially among the youth brought up under the impact of an unprincipled progressive education.
7. Spiritually: General abandonment of the Judeo--Christian belief in a life under God and man's responsibilities as a free moral agent, alternated by seductive demagoguery of materialist humanism and secular collectivism.
Many countries in our present world find themselves in the wrecking process that Czechoslovakia went through before February '948. They are headed down the bankrupt road of a one-party political system, to bureaucratic socialism, materialist humanism, and collective cynicism.
Since my arrival in the free world, the third period of my life, I have witnessed the same demonstrations for peace and the same impotence-free people challenged by the expanding Marxist-Leninist ideology of arbitrary invasions, expropriations, and deportations. I have witnessed the same fragmentation of originally proud nations into selfish minorities, of helpless minorities into antagonistic classes, of decimated classes into manipulated masses, and of terrorized masses into obedient robots toiling under the yoke of the same totalitarian despots. The largest emigration in history goes on. People continue to flee the existing tyranny, poverty, despair, and fraud in a frantic attempt to save their lives and their human dignity.
The fatal intellectual environment is also present. The theological alienation of man from God is com-pounded by the ethical alienation of man from man, by the psychological alienation of man from himself and by the ecological alienation of man from nature. Its features are unchanged:
1. Secular materialism - the operating assumption that the temporal horizon is all that there is or all that man ever needs to consider - continues to represent a tragic fundamental bias and to permeate every aspect of life.
2. Irrationalism - the concept that the universe does not necessarily make sense - continues to deny man the hope to deal with basic issues.
3. Relativism - the peculiar
notion that nothing is good or bad in itself and that everything is either
better or worse when compared with some alternative - continues to give reason
an excuse to merely discriminate rather than finally decide.
4. Syncretism in philosophy - the decay of speculative thinking which eliminates the search for ultimate truth - continues to synthesize everything, including irreconcilable polarities.
As a result of this intellectual environment, individuals are tormented by a confusion of twisted tensions and find themselves overcome by the meaninglessness of life.
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