Communism in Central Europe in the Time of the Reformation

Communism in Central Europe in the Time of the Reformation

Communism in Central Europe in the Time of the Reformation

Communism in Central Europe in the Time of the Reformation

Excerpt

Nothing can be more erroneous than the widespread idea that communism is antagonistic to the existence of man--antagonistic indeed to human nature itself. This is not the case. Communism dates from the childhood of the race, and has been the social foundation of almost all nations, even to the present day.

The history of communism bristles with far greater difficulties than those encountered by the historian of other phases of national growth. But, obscure as the subject is, owing to the lack of trustworthy sources of enlightenment, we believe that such knowledge as we possess will be sufficient to enable us to give some insight into its character and tendencies. As some assistance to our scanty information, we propose to glance over all the better-known evidences we can gather of the progress of communism during the period of the Reformation, and to consider its political effects, even though so little is known of the course of its inner development that all statements with regard to it must rest on conjecture alone.

The great difficulties which confront us in our efforts to gain a more intimate knowledge of the growth of communism lie in the purely oral character of the teaching, and the secrecy with which heretical sects were forced to carry out their propaganda and organisation. Our information is derived, not from the literature of the communists themselves, but solely from that of their opponents. Their mysticism . . .

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