Are Roots of Baracks's Spectacularly Failed Presidency Medieval Heresy?
Obama, the Duke of Babylon & the Christian Origins of Marxism
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Whether convenient to believe, or not—almost the entire worldview of leftism is derived from heretic, medieval Christians. And while it may be stupefying how much Obama’s presidency mimics doctrinaire Marxism, the underlying socialist writings are likewise dull stuff, indeed. Yet, the actual origin of socialist ideas and symbolism is fascinating. Mistaken biblical exegesis of the Book of Revelation is responsible for much socialist ideology. Yet, one hardly thinks of Christianity when pondering Marxism’s roots—especially bearing in mind how utterly godless it is.
Considered a seminal thinker who profoundly influenced all future leftist movements was the 12th century priest and writer Joachim of Flora. His writings laid down the template for socialist ideology, delivering a three-part schema for history in which the last phase represents a paradise for mankind. For example, the Nazis’ Third Reich is taken from Joachim’s model. This essay briefly examines how medieval ideas influence modern socialism, especially in lockstep followers like Obama, and the promised reign of the Duke of Babylon (Dux e Babylone), secular messiah.
I. Medieval Sources of Leftism
A. Modern Socialism is Medieval Heresies
Virtually all secular liberalism originates in heretic offshoots of medieval Christianity. But why should that interest us? After all, don’t all ideas have to come from somewhere? Of course, but who would guess that definitive modern atheist beliefs came directly out of the Dark Ages Church? More than anything, this fact helps us understand the strange attraction secular atheistic humanism holds, despite invariably failing when applied. It should, therefore have been abandoned long ago. You see, it is really a type of bastardized and dispirited Christianity.
In other words, a huge part of the appeal of modern liberalism, aka socialism, is it has stolen unacknowledged parts of biblical religion which then helps satisfy its adherents natural human instinct to serve a higher power. Even if such supporters have no idea of the true source of their beliefs.
B. Pursuit of the Millennium
Norman Cohn wrote a groundbreaking study of heretic Christian groups, The Pursuit of the Millennium, the first history of medieval heresy and its political aftermath. Cohn was trying to trace from where the great murderous political regimes—Nazi’s, Italian Fascism and Communism—which almost destroyed civilization in World War II—got their ideas. This book is listed by the London Times as among the 100 most influential books published since WWII.
Most people do not know that during the medieval period, aka Dark Ages, there was not one simple monolithic Church. Instead, separate Christian sects were continually springing up across Europe, often being knocked down as heretical movements. Some are seen today as genuinely biblical in theology, and precursors to the Reformation, such as the Hussites, Waldensians, and John Wycliffe’s followers the Lollards.
Yet, many other medieval sects were clearly theologically deviant, including the notorious Free Spirit sects, Adamites, Cathars, Taborites, Beghards, Beguines, Albigensians, Neo-Manicheans, Ranters, Diggers, Anabaptists, and Joachites.
II. Joachim of Flora
The medieval theologian and heretic priest Joachim, a Calabrian Cistercian abbot, has had an enormous influence on successive generations of religious radicals. Of him, Time magazine wrote,
Joachim of Flora (circa 1132-1202), whom Dante called “the Calabrian abbot filled with the spirit of high prophecy,” was the first Christian to pervert the hope of salvation into a systematic belief in an earthly society of purified and perfected men. Joachim, not finding materials for his formula in Christian or Greek thought, turned to another source: Gnosticism.
III. Joachim of Flora’s Theology of Revelation
A. Joachim’s Mission
Within the context of classic liberal imagery and ideas, Joachim laid out much of what is standard to this day in socialism, Marxism, progressivism, and all true leftisms. Writes PBS Frontline:
Joachim of Fiore is the most important medieval apocalyptic thinker, & after the prophet John, the most influential in Christian history. Joachim was fundamentally a Bible commentator. He tried to write a commentary on the Book of Revelation, the Apocalypse, but found it impossible. He couldn’t interpret its symbolism after wrestling with it for a number of months. He felt stymied and gave up his interpretation. Then, one Easter morning, he awakened—as a new person, with a spiritual understanding (”spiritualis intelligentia”) Revelation in concord, as related to all books in the Bible. From that moment of insight, Joachim launched into his long exposition on the Book of the Apocalypse, one of the most important commentaries ever written.
B. Joachim’s Ages
Joachim broke with Augustine’s classic description of Christian society when he suggested the Trinity itself is the shape of history. His age of mankind has tripartate. Cohn describes them as:
The first age was the Age of the Father, or of the Law; the second age was the Age of the Son or of the Gospel; the third age would be the Age of the Spirit…
These ages are ones of increasing spiritual enlightenment and knowledge. And the last age is also the end of ages, ie the Apocalypse. But instead of the classic story of Armageddon where mankind faces a final battle between good and evil, the end of age results, instead—in paradise on earth. Joachim himself claimed his third age would supersede all known revelation:
As the standards of the Age of the Father (“an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”) gave way to those of the the Age of the Son (“turn the other cheek”), so must those of the Age of the Son give way to those of the dawning new age—the egalitarian, communal life of mutual love. (Ozment, 106).
C. Joachim’s Four Symbol’s
Eric Voegelin describes the impact of Joachim’s writings in one of the great works of 20th century political philosophy, The New Science of Politics. He claims Joachim established the outline and the four symbols of all later leftisms.
1. First, is a history laid out in three distinct phases. For example, when Marx describes his Dialectic of History, as going from capitalism, into socialism, and finally into communism, he is using the Joachite model. Another example is the academic historian’s attempt to turn the history of man into the ancient, medieval and modern periods,which can only be achieved through synthetic means. Writes Voegelin: “The first of these symbols is the conception of history as a sequence of three ages, of which the third age is intelligibly the final Third Realm.”
2. The Second Joachite symbol is that of The Leader. This was thought to be immediately recognized in the ascent of Saint Francis. It was later the foundation of Machiavelli’s Prince. The later cult of “Superman,” so typical of Marxist thinking—such as that of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and even Obama—can be traced to Joachim.
3. The Third of Joachim’s symbols, which is normally blended into the second, is the Prophet of the New Age. This individual began as a Gnostic Prophet, but then morphs into the Gnostic Intellectual, which was presumed when the Church-based society was superseded by the secular state, dominated by secular universities. It goes without saying that when Bill Clinton, Hillary, or Barack are touted as the smartest men or women in history, we are tapping this rich vein of Joachite symbolism.
4. The Fourth symbol is that of the Joachite Brotherhood of Autonomous Persons. Fascinatingly, the last epoch is transformed into a church-less age where group membership delivers grace and salvation without need of sacrament, and the church itself will cease to exist. This claim that people are saved by the group is a perpetual idea in Marxism, and all socialist endeavors.
There were also three supreme figures who opened each age. The first was Abraham, the second Christ, and the third—the Dux e Babylone—the Duke of Babylon.
IV. The Duke of Babylon—Dux e Babylone—And Earthly Paradise
A. Duke of Babylon
The Duke of Babylon is the final supreme human. Of him, and the third age, Time writes:
Joachim believed the story of man on earth was divided into three periods or realms, each corresponding to a person of the Trinity. The Third Realm, said Joachim, begins with the appearance of Dux e Babylone. (In terms of modern Gnosticism, the leader from Babylon would be called Superman or Der F√ºhrer, or “the dictatorship of the proletariat in the form of the democratic centralism of the Party.”) The Third Realm was to be characterized by wisdom, and after the Third Realm’s beginning (set by Joachim for year 1260), men would soon be so perfect they would not need any Dux or government or discipline. (Marx’s translation: After the triumph of scientific socialism in classless society, the state would “wither away” because men, purged of evil of class conflict, would not need it.)
What fascinates about Joachim’s ideas is how the last age will become the times of human perfection and God’s heaven created on earth by purified humans. Here fits Voegelin’s Gnostic ideal, where the spiritual giant morphs into an intellectual magi, who is saved by his mastering the appropriate knowledge the saved must know to pass into enlightenment. Of course, Obama is an archetype of this, especially since the final age cannot be heralded until the Dux e Babylon ushers it in.
Joachim describes the end of the age as a giant monastery, but socialist writers used this to envision a communist state, where government will wipe away every tear. Into this ideal, Marx developed his final society of positive anarchy, an exact secular model of Joachim’s perfect, church-less society.
B. Elite of Amoral Supermen
Cohn’s description of “The Elite of Amoral Supermen” well-covers modern liberals view of morality. As most thoughtful persons have noticed, in leftism, personal morality is a non-issue as long as the adherents support important issues.
Much like today, medieval religious rogues were detected by amoral lifestyles. Adherents scoffed at external rules, believing themselves perfected from sin, and therefore above rules. This is much like today’s liberals who find all sin to only consist in bad external behavior, such as polluting, making racist comments, or failing to demand higher taxes and more government spending. But their private sexual activities, ironically—even if done in public, cannot be a foundation for moral claims against them, for example.
But fascinatingly, it was sexual license, in particular which marked-out the followers of the Free Spirit. Cohn writes,
In a Christian civilization, valuing chastity and regarding sexual intercourse outside marriage as particularly sinful, such antinomianism most commonly took the form of promiscuity on principle.
When accusations of promiscuity were directed against Free Spirit acolytes, these accusations take on a unique character. What emerges is an entirely convincing picture of an eroticism which, far from springing from a carefree sensuality, possessed above all a symbolic value as a sign of spiritual emancipation which incidentally is the value which ‘free love’ has often possessed in our own times.
Modern examples include Bill Clinton’s reckless pursuit of sex with any possible partner. Also, married presidential candidate frontrunner Gary Hart’s escapades with Model Donna Rice—exposed when he goaded the press to tail him on rumors of his infidelities. Afterward, Hart bitterly complained about being caught. He latter claimed adulterous behavior is no measure of leadership aptitude. Again, Jonathan Edward’s siring a child born out of wedlock while running for vice president.
V. Modern Leftism’s Failed Medieval Political Structure
As intriguing as it may be to trace the conception of the socialist state to Joachim’s writings, it is also highly unnerving to understand this model was stolen from medieval heretics, and is therefore too simplistic and out-of-context to work in the modern world.
But such origins explain a few difficult problems of the “modern welfare state.” First, it would tend to describe why socialists tend to take on the air of prophets and priests when they force their ideas on others. A second would be how leftism takes on a religious fervor, a fundamentalist air, which defies its secular origins while ignoring the history of failure of all progressive attempts to make life better on earth.. Third, it tends to give reason for why leftism always fails, since it is essentially medieval millennial Christianity, torn from its moorings, yet expected to succeed spectacularly, nonetheless.
One cannot say that simply because leftism originates in medieval heresy that it will therefore fail. But it is a simple fact of history and current observation that leftism always implodes in practice. And it is therefore fair to ask Obamatons, or any other socialist activists—whether the history of the ideas behind leftism might not be a huge clue as to why it’s a doomed theory for mankind on earth today.