“Inequality is the root of all evil” said left-wing senator Barbara Boxer recently, while lecturing a Catholic priest about Catholicism. Boxer claimed to be quoting Pope Francis, referencing a tweet he sent in April 2014. Yet despite the fact she was reading prepared notes, she misquoted the pope, who actually said “Inequality is the root of social evil.” Defenders such as Ramesh Ponnuru have said that Francis’ words must be placed in perspective, that they allude to the evil of prenatal infanticide, along with many other things. Whatever the case, Boxer’s formulation is certainly an authentic Marxist idea — and this is not hyperbole.
In fact, Boxer’s spun quotation is a central tenet of Marxism. Marx (who was mentally ill) taught that if economic inequality could be eliminated, people would live so harmoniously in a state of economic bliss that the government could just melt away, at which point civilization would have reached the culmination of the socialist revolution — communism (yes, under Marxist doctrine, communism is when there is no longer any government). This gives us a window into Marx’s psyche: he likely was a very greedy, envious, covetous man. For just as only a person who is hung-up on race could believe that eliminating racial differences would yield a blissful world, only a man who cannot tolerate others’ being wealthier than he — and who is thoroughly hung-up on the idea — could believe that eliminating such differences would create Heaven on Earth. As Pope Benedict XVI put it, Marx made the mistake of viewing man as merely an “economic being.”