Many young people don’t even remember the Cold War. It was considered over by the time they were born. Many others only have a vague understanding of it. The Cold War is a very broad subject with many different facets. There was the Cold War in Europe after WWII where the United States and the USSR competed for control and influence in Europe. There was the space race where the US and the USSR competed for dominance in space and related science and technology. There was the arms race where the US and the USSR competed to have the world’s most powerful military, and the related nuclear arms race. There was the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the later years there were hot conflicts, where the US and the USSR supported various factions in revolutions and attempts at revolutions in third world countries in Asia Central and South America and Africa.
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union many if not most of these Cold War conflicts have subsided. By most measures the United States has been determined to be the victor. But there is one more aspect to the Cold War and it is the most important one, which is the war of ideas. You see the Cold War was not about guns, influence and control; it was foundationally about political ideas and philosophies. The Soviet Union was based, at least in theory on Marxism/Leninism or Communism.
Communism theory sees all of human history and all present social problems as based on money. That is there is a separation among classes of people, the haves and the have-nots. Marxism says that if we could only eliminate the inequity between the haves and the have-nots then peace and prosperity would reign. The solution is communism, eliminating personal property and redistributing wealth. Everyone will work according to their ability and receive according to their need. In ideal communism all of the things that divide people are eliminated. Everyone is equal. It is the ultimate democracy. Everyone receives to their need so there are no rich and no poor. There is no jealousy or keeping up with the Joneses. There are no personal possessions, everything is held in common. There is no selfishness because everything is done for the good of all. There is no religion because religion is viewed as divisive. So the only religion is the religion of humanism, seeking of the good of all mankind. Every man’s believes and values are supported as long as they are accepting of everyone and work to the common good. Any beliefs that separate or draw distinctions between people are not tolerated. In such a system there is no need for war. There is nothing to fight about. There are no countries; no divisions among peoples.
It all sounds pretty good. Why would anyone be opposed to such a world? The problem is that it didn’t work. The Soviet Union never achieved communism; in fact the Soviet Union produced a Communist Party class (the privileged class that held all of the money, power and influence) and the people’s class (the common people without money, power and influence). The system was riddled with corruption, infighting, jealousy and competition. Poverty was pervasive.
So how can I say that the Soviet Union won the cold war? Their ideals did not succeed in their county let alone in the United States or the rest of the world, or did they? The ideals did win out in a number of ways but even that is not the main issue. We tend to think of Marxism as an economic or political theory but it is primarily a World View. Marxism is a framework of thinking. It sees the world through certain filters. It has a system of measurements by which to judge all things. The overarching goal is to eliminate divisions and distinctions among people. These divisions are termed as classes and the major dividing factor is money. Marxism views the world through the filter of divisions and the measure is money.
This is a world view—and the world has adopted this view. Nowhere has it been adopted more strongly than America. You see when it comes to philosophical debates the group that defines the parameters of the debate and the terminology of the debate usually wins the debate before it starts. The Soviet Union said the debate is about Communism—an economic and political system. So America jumped into the debate. If their economic system is Communism then what is ours? The answer was Capitalism. The problem here is that the Communists framed the debate. They said it is all about money, class, economic and political structure. America responded to the argument base on money, class, economic and political structure. Once we did that we accepted the Communist World View as the structure for the debate. We lost the debate before it even started. Since that time Americans have seen everything as related to money. Every time we see the news or a study or an analysis the subject is the economy or how this or that will affect the economy. It is true that we don’t seek to eliminate classes, but we always talk about classes, the class struggle dominates our thinking. We think like Marxists. The goal becomes to increase the middle class, reduce those in poverty, and tax the top 2%. The entire discussion is done within the framework of a class structure.
Our education system has changed. Now education is viewed as a means to traverse the barriers of class. If you can get a good college education then you can get a high paying job and move up the social classes. We also teach equality in education. Everyone is entitled to a good education so they have an equal opportunity. We even go further than that, in education we fully adopt the communist mantra, “work to your ability and receive to your need”. Schools with the lowest performing students receive the greatest amount of money and resources and the bill is carried by everyone, including those that are not attending school. Money and class dominate our thinking when it comes to education.
Another area that America has adopted the Marxist World View is race relations. In America race has been closely correlated with class and largely still is. So in our attempt to eliminate class distinctions we have sought racial equality. The “War on Poverty” and the “Civil Rights Movement” were both based largely on Marxist ideas of money and class.
By this time some of you are saying, “These are all good things, what is wrong with eliminating poverty, providing equal opportunity or treating all peoples of all races with respect and dignity?” There is nothing wrong with these ideals. The problem is that in the Marxist World View poverty and class distinctions are viewed as the only evils in the world and by curing these two evils you cure everything. That is a very narrow view and it was not the American World View before the Cold War.
Before the Cold War American culture was an amalgamation of different values from various cultures and the American experience. Below are a few of these cultural values.
A Reverence for God
Americans maintained a belief that our primary responsibility is to God and to live a life that honors Him and that one day each individual will stand before God and every deed of their lives will be judged. Of course this was not held strongly by all Americans but it was an underpinning theme. Churches were a central feature in every town. Most towns maintained a number of Churches to serve specific belief systems and styles of worship. God and moral good was considered in most decisions personal and public.
Puritan Work Ethic
God designed men to work. Work gives meaning and purpose to life and good honest work is a reward in itself. An individual will reap the reward of consistent labor. God rewards morally upright people with material and spiritual rewards.
Before the industrial revolution America was largely structured around small communities. In this structure each person or family would provide a service to the community. There was a balance of individualism and mutual support. Communities provided a base for corporate worship, social interaction and commerce.
The settling of America was accomplished by a constant westward movement through a series of frontiers. At each frontier people showed self-reliance and independence. Each family would work to tame the wilderness, carving out the home and developing their own property. The individual saw personal effort and providence of God as the key to his success or failure.
Schools were established very early in American history. The first colleges were developed to train ministers and missionaries. The belief was that for America to succeed it must be made up of a moral and religious people, personally committed to godly principles. For this to happen, all Americans need to be able to read God’s Word, the Bible, and to be able to apply it to their lives. Local schools were designed to give a broad liberal education. The idea here is that education made us better people. An educated people could think for themselves and select good responsible people to govern them.
People in America sought fulfillment in life through a number of personal endeavors, including spiritual, social, educational and occupational. The overriding concept was that in America you could pursue the life that you want.
American life and world view was wide and diverse. It could not fit into a few books or a manifesto. Because it could not be easily packaged and explained when the debate about communism arrived we fell into the trap of defining ourselves in contrast to communism so we became capitalist.
Another place that the Soviet Union won the Cold War is the area of individualism. Americans use to see themselves and their God as the key to their success and security. Now we see various groups as the key to our success and security. The group as the most important entity and the elimination of the individual is a Communist ideal and Americans have accepted it whole heartedly.
Here are a few examples:
We use to call these “an act of God”. The phrase pointed to God as the controller of all things. In such situations we would enter into a period of self-examination and seeking God for an explanation, comfort and assistance. Now we look to FEMA or some other governmental agency as our savior. If it is not the government then it may be our insurance. You know insurance; that is where a large group of people pool their money and then it is given to the individuals with the greatest need. That sounds surprisingly like Marxism.
What is true of insurance for natural disasters is also true for all other forms of insurance, health insurance, unemployment insurance, fire insurance, earthquake insurance, mortgage insurance and so on.
In corporations we no longer work for individual profit. The direct link between labor and reward is muddled. The group works and the group receives the benefit. Well that is not true because there are board members that make all of the decisions and there are stockholders who are entitled to the rewards. The idea is that there are people making money and there is money making money, but it is all done in a communal (communist) structure. When something positive happens then the group is responsible not any individual (except that the CEO will claim credit). When something bad happens the individuals are protected from liability. No one is responsible.
Retirement is no longer an individual responsibility. Now retirement is a communal effort. Money is pooled in government programs like Social Security (it even uses a word from the USSR—United Soviet Socialist Republic), and then the money is redistributed based on a formula. But not all retirement programs are run by the government. Well that is not true. Nearly all programs are controlled, monitored and heavily regulated by the government. Your company can have a pension plan according to government regulations. In these plans you may invest your own money and create your own individual returns. But all of your investments must pool your money with other people’s money in a communal investment like stocks or bonds. It is amazing how communist our “capitalist” system is.
Oddly enough communist structures have even invaded the “American Dream” of home ownership. Increasingly we are opting for condos and town houses where a large portion of the investment is in communal property.
We have done the same with vacations. We now invest in times shares where the individual owns shares in communal property.
Even our mortgages are no longer individual loans. As soon as they are written they are often bundled together with other loans and sold as a block to a large investment banking firm.
Did the Soviet Union win the Cold War? Many would still say no, but I disagree. As a nation and as individuals we have adopted a Marxist World View. We now see the world, the world’s problems and the solutions as being related to money and social class. We have adopted a Communist Social Structure. We maintain a facade of functioning as individuals but on practical level we pool our money and our responsibility. We depend on these structures for our security. We have given up our freedoms for the protection and security provided by the government. Definitely the Soviet Union won the Cold War.
The worst part about it is that we forgot God. America use to have a broad, full and diverse structure. The dominant world view was a Christian World View. Even when the majority of citizens were not devout Christians, the Christian World View still dominated. Christian values permeated society. Christians and Christian values were honored. Morality and right and wrong were constant considerations. The Marxist World View changed the focus to only money. Money became the savior of all and the solution to all social ills.
Jesus was right when he summarized the Cold War this way. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Even though Jesus was not live on earth during the Cold War He explained that there are two world views: a Communist World View that focuses on money as the savior and answer to all of the world’s problems; Or a Christian World View that see Jesus as the savior of mankind. The only hope for a better world is for individuals to repent of their sins, look to Jesus as their savior and to live moral and upright lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.