I just finished a documentary on the story of Jim Jones and The People’s Temple. The story is one of the most disturbing chapters in American history, one that most people aren’t taught about today. I imagine it’s because, in light of the resurgence of Social Justice activism in the last decade, revisiting a tragedy like Jonestown is not a high priority for those who lauded it at the time as a wonderful social experiment.
918 people committed mass suicide by drinking Flavor Aid laced with cyanide. Interesting sidebar: this is where we get the phrase “Drink the Kool-Aid,” meaning that someone is blindly going along with a person or idea. 304 of those killed were children and infants. Audio from the mass suicide is included in the documentary. It is a horrifying record of their final moments. It includes Jim Jones imploring mothers “don’t do this!” as they try to prevent the poison from being injected into their babies’ mouths. “Die with a degree of dignity” he calmly repeats. And they do.
Only a few people survived by fleeing into the jungle in Guyana, where the commune had moved. They are interviewed for the documentary, and their tale is nothing short of heartbreaking. They lost everyone and everything they knew to a cause. Everyone thought they were creating heaven on earth. Instead, they created hell.
The Lure of Heaven on Earth
At the heart of Social Justice is a desire to right the wrongs of society. It seeks to create a society in which everyone is equal and every voice is heard. A society in which everyone takes care of the poor, the elderly, and the afflicted. To give it the media creed: “The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” To give it in plain language: to create heaven on earth.
This was the central theme of The People’s Temple, it is the central theme of every Progressive Left-wing ideologue since the French Revolution, and it’s the theme of the modern Social Justice movement.
They argue that outside elements – greed, profits, racism, bigotry, sexism, etc – get in the way of true equality. Their solution, therefore, revolves around eliminating all of the social and economic differences between people groups in order to create the best society possible. A truly wonderful vision. But ultimately a false hope.
The problem and, ultimately, the fatal flaw in this vision is that it fails to take into account the sinful heart of man. Social Justice advocates are trying to domesticate a wild animal, and they are basing their entire world view on their success in doing so.
As Garrett Mullet pointed out in a previous article – Social Justice simply creates another injustice by favoring the “afflicted” over the “comfortable” regardless of circumstances. He is right. You cannot balance a teetertotter simply by changing which side is on the top. Similarly, you cannot create justice by reversing which group has the supposed advantage.
Blind justice is depicted in our legal system as a woman with a blindfold holding a set of scales and a sword. The idea is that she weighs the evidence without prejudice. Social Justice, conversely, attempts to make up for perceived societal wrongs and advantages by influencing the scales. It weighs matters with prejudice, favoring some groups over others. Examples of this are Affirmative Action programs and financial reparations for the past wrongs of slavery.
But Economist Thomas Sowell summarizes the monumental difficulty of such a mentality, saying:
The challenge of determining the net balance of numerous windfall advantages and disadvantages for one individual at one given time is sufficiently daunting. To attempt the same for whole broad-brush categories of people, each in differing stages of their individual life cycles, in a complex and changing society, suggests hubris.Sowell, Thomas. 1999. The Quest for Cosmic Justice (p. 14). Free Press. Kindle Edition.
Hubris, yes…and false hope.
Oppression and Social Justice
Throughout the history of the Left, the quest for equality has been paramount. Yet, as Sowell states above, how does a person possibly distill the massive amounts of information necessary in order to measure the cause and effects of societal inequalities? The short answer is that it cannot be done. The long answer is that every attempt to do so has yielded utter disaster and the worst kinds of oppression.
The French Revolution saw horrible and barbaric atrocities committed by the revolutionaries against the aristocracy, even though they had valid grievances. Similarly, millions upon millions of people died under Stalin and Pol Pot, who called them “comrade”. 70 million Chinese died in peacetime during Mao’s reign, all in the name of justice.
All of these oppressive regimes used the vision of equality as a means to justify their actions. This is the Left’s vision of heaven on earth. Yet because there are people – namely Conservatives – who oppose this vision, the Left must seize power in order to bring about their vision. This can only be accomplished through a two-fold plan.
The Left’s Plan for America
First is Reformation. As the godfather of community organizing, Saul Alinsky, said:
“Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution.”Alinsky, Saul. 1971. Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
The reformation he speaks of is Social Justice. It’s entire purpose is to bring society to a point where we accept the control of the government and the limit of freedom and individualism necessary for societal changes. Massive change requires power to order things as you wish. In a country like the United States, with checks and balances on control of power, this becomes a difficult task.
All of the Left’s primary activities in today’s political environment – from illegal immigration, to the #resist movement against President Donald Trump, to the attempt to eliminate the Electoral College, to the aims of Social Justice, to stalling SCOTUS nominations, to expanding the court, to lower the voting age, and on and on we go – are all focused on one defining element: power.
Second is the Revolution. Revolution must limit freedom in two areas in order to gain power: freedom of speech (and thought) and the freedom to defend yourself. If you can’t think for yourself or defend yourself, you cannot resist revolution. The Founding Fathers recognized this, which is why the first two amendments in the Bill of Rights give the American people the right of free speech and the right to own, keep, and bare arms. This is why the Left continually attacks these two freedoms. As long as these freedoms exist, they cannot bring about their vision for the world.
Our Struggle Is Not Against Flesh And Blood
Satan is ever the Counterfeit-In-Chief. In heaven, he attempted in his pride to supplant God. In Eden, he sold Eve on the idea that she could become like the gods if only she disobeyed God, thus plunging humanity into sin. On earth, he undermines the lost by spreading the false hope of manmade systems bringing heaven to earth.
The story of Jim Jones and The People’s Temple is a sobering reminder of the consequences of this, and why we must be vigilant. We must both recognize these ideas when they re-invent themselves and be willing to stand against them when they masquerade as biblical realizations. They are empty mass graves, waiting to be filled.
For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.2 Corinthians 11:13-14 (NIV)