Charlie's Blog: How To Change the World


How To Change the World

I will fight with all the weapons within my reach rather than let myself be nailed to a cross or whatever.

Che Guevara wanted to change the world. Che was a true believer in Marxism-Leninism and was the closest thing that system ever had to creating a saint. Che was uncompromising both in his willingness to fight and die for his beliefs and also his willingness to kill for those beliefs. And what is his legacy today? His image sells a lot of t-shirts, and the world has retreated utterly from the system he fought to establish in the world. Despite the failure of his efforts, the life of Che Guevara has become a template for those who seek to change the world. This template is one where the end justifies all means, and all sins can be forgiven so long as the intentions are pure. This is utter folly and madness.

You can't be a great humanitarian while also killing a lot of people. Che killed a lot of people. People weep over his martyrdom while forgetting the numerous people Che killed in his revolution. His death was sad while the deaths of his victims mattered little. Maybe they should put their images on T-shirts. Here is a list of Che's victims in Cuba.

The popularity of Che Guevara is bedeviling. His appeal is simple. People want to change the world. They yearn for violent revolution. They want to overturn the old and fix what is wrong with the world. The desire for change is a proper one because the world is messed up, but the means for that change are inherently flawed and will never bring about that change. Che fought on behalf of Fidel Castro and to rid Cuba of dictatorship. The irony is that Castro was every bit as bad or worse than Batista. Other revolutions produced similar results leaving people to conclude that the more things change the more they remain the same.

As a former libertarian, I desired revolution and change. As an atheist, I wanted some sort of cause to live and die for in life, so I chose human liberty and freedom. My belief was that change happens when people are free to do their own thing. If we could just roll back the oppression of the government, human freedom and ingenuity would fix what ails us. Unfortunately, the only things libertarians think ails us are the income tax and the drug laws. They miss the problem completely. The great conservative Russell Kirk did not miss the problem. Here is what he had to say on the matter of libertarianism:
Libertarians (like anarchists and Marxists) generally believe that human nature is good, though damaged by certain social institutions. Conservatives, on the contrary, hold that "in Adam's fall we sinned all": human nature, though compounded of both good and evil, is irremediably flawed; so the perfection of society is impossible, all human beings being imperfect.
Human nature is not good. This is why all revolutions are doomed to failure. Even the celebrated American Revolution yielded a federal government every bit as oppressive as anything King George had for us. And the Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson were slave owning hypocrites. The problem with revolution is that once the destruction is done you are left to rebuild with the same inferior materials that comprised the old regime. The problem with the world is not outside but within. People are evil, and their hearts are inclined to wickedness.

The desire for revolution was what Jesus encountered in His life. The messiah was expected to be the first century version of Che Guevara. But Jesus did not take that path. In hindsight, it is obvious why He did not take the path of the revolutionary. It would have been failure. What difference would it make if the tyrant was Roman or Jewish? Jesus struck to the root of the problem with the world which is the sinfulness of humanity. Unlike Che, Jesus actually did change the world. He offered a way out of the abyss that we find ourselves in.

In order to change the world, people need to become good. There is no point in trying to separate the good from the bad and simply destroy the bad. This was what Che attempted by his mass murder. It is also the lesson of Noah's Ark. You can cleanse the world of humanity and begin again, but human nature remains stubbornly sinful. You can't kill your way to utopia. It will never happen. And no systemic change, political arrangement, policy changes, or new laws will ever bring about the change people desire. This is why all utopian revolutions end up becoming campaigns of mass murder. They are exercises in futility.

The opposite of the revolutionary is the conservative. Think Edmund Burke instead of Fox News. To be a conservative in the mold of Burke and Kirk is to be pessimistic about revolution and human nature. It is to accept humanity's flawed condition and turn to the only thing that has ever helped to remedy it which is the Christian religion. The irony is that this pessimism actually brings hope and change. Freedom and humane treatment of all people are the consequences of embracing the Christian religion as the only answer to the problem with the world. Critics will point their fingers at the flaws in Christians and the Catholic Church, but I point the finger right back at those critics. Where have they done better? The answer is that they haven't done better. The only perfect thing these critics ever achieved was to be perfect murder machines in their revolutions.

If you want to change the world, the first step is to accept what is wrong with the world which is the evil in every human heart. The second step is to embrace the only thing that can fix this evil in the human heart which is the grace of Almighty God offered through Jesus Christ our Lord. The third step is to pray that others will accept and embrace the same things you have. The fourth step is to cooperate with God's grace to become a saint and inspire others to follow the same path.

You have to decide which path you want to take. Do you want to be a revolutionary? Or, do you want to be a saint? If you look at the results from history, you will find that it was our saints and not our revolutionaries who made the world a better place. The world will never become better until people become better. Be the change you want to see in others.