How does Robert Orlando follow his books and films about 2020, war, and Cold War? By exploring hell, of course, and the bizarre dreams of Karl Marx still messing with so many to this day.
Few know that Marx, the founding father of communism, based his seminal Das Capital on Dante’s Inferno, considered by theologians to be the best portrait and explanation of the dark fires of hell itself.
In other words, Orlando shows, Marx wasn’t just writing about economic or political history but was trying to recast Dante’s Inferno as capitalism.
In To Hell With Karl Marx: The American Exorcism, author and film director Robert Orlando returns to the intersection of history, politics, theology, current affairs, and the search for “self,” taking a personal journey looking at how we got back here.
Just two years ago, Orlando was collaborating with historian/political scientist Paul Kengor, exploring the amazingly fruitful partnership between Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II that crushed communism throughout the West. Or did they?
Reagan and John Paul, who studied Marx and communist authors in great depth, both agreed that a communist was someone who read Marx, but an anti-communist actually understood Marx’s meaning, purpose, and true goals.
At times, John Paul was known to carry around Marxist tracts (rather than his Bible) to understand the enemy better.
So it seems fitting that both Orlando and Kengor would follow up their Cold War stories with detailed studies of the demonic roots of those communist ideas that took on new attention in 2020.
Kengor’s 2020 book, The Devil and Karl Marx, offers readers a masterful, well-researched detailed look at Marx’s fascination with the devil, the enemy of his enemy: Marx dreamed of an atheistic, government-on-top-down worldwide system that would banish God.
A more personal look at the origins and ways of Marxism
In fall 2021, Orlando’s To Hell With Karl Marx gets even more personal, offering an exposition of Marx’s life work based on Dante’s disturbing Inferno. Part dream, part vision, Orlando “shines a klieg light into the dark chambers of the mind of Marx in Hell.”
“Marxist theories have duped many in today’s culture,” Orlando argues. “The result is a growing flirtation with socialism. To Hell with Karl Marx offers ‘the hard shake’ American society needs right now, a rebuke of the romanticized myth of Marx, and an indictment of a utopian philosophy that has dehumanized millions.”
Traditionalism vs. communism is really a choice as old as the story of the Garden of Eden:
- The eternal, fatherly voice deep within your conscience is calling us to follow The Way, building on what’s been learned over thousands of years.
- That fatherly advice is constantly competing with a friendly but persuasive voice of the world whispering, “Go your own way. You know best. Don’t trust your father. Have it your way.”
And in today’s fatherless culture (at least 40 percent are born outside of marriage), we are taught to blame our problems on inadequate, failed fathers who came before, distrusting authority, and even our families.
Do you think your family is dysfunctional? During Karl Marx’s troubled life, nearly every relationship eventually broke down. Some grew tortured and cruel. The Way of trusting authority or a father figure rarely worked for Marx, who became obsessed with demons.
“Marx, on a psychological level, offers a deranged view of human nature — a real cynical view seeing all society in terms of alienation and power only,’’ Orlando argues. “That’s opposed to Dante’s Christian worldview of suffering and life, but in the end redemption found in his love for Beatrice: the love that moves the sun and the other stars.”
Marx, in contrast, is fixated on “a dark view of life, with only a wishful utopia, that wrecks human nature and the result is people die. That’s the point. It’s not about being old-fashioned. It’s actually a distortion of our past, our nature, and the rest, and in the end, leaves, what I write in the book, a long road of skulls.’’
The great British author, Charles Dickens, was Marx’s contemporary and witnessed the same world Marx saw. Yet, Dickens saw 19th-century Great British capitalism and concluded, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Orlando added that Dickens’s more spiritual vision — as in A Christmas Carol’s Scrooge where the cruel capitalist eventually is redeemed as loving and generous — still reaches out to humanity. Contrast Scrooge’s transformation with the Marxist set-classes and races always ready to be at war.
Out with the old, in with the new? Marx (and many Americans) would have cheered on John Milton’s advice that it was better to lead in our own self-created hell than to serve in Heaven.
We see this debate continue in our own world: one side trusting Founding Fathers and their Constitution and the other saying those fathers were racists and scoundrels, so let’s remove their statues and trust “something new” instead.
“With so much curiosity, insights, reading and writing, in the end, Marx was not a thinker so much as an activist whose thoughts would ensnare millions, on the fringe, weak, vulnerable, with an angry mind locked in perpetual adolescence” Orlando adds.
He calls this journey an American Exorcism, “an inevitable confrontation to save the West.”
Orlando is painting a vision of his own confrontation with Marx in hell. A semi-autobiographical story, Orlando shows how we all go through this same eternal choice of which road to take.
Conceived in a dream and born of Orlando’s lifelong passion for laying bare the dark underworld of Marxism, To Hell With Marx is the filmmaker’s deepest dive yet into the dark chambers of the Cold War.
We stand on the shoulder of giants, building our own history on the father figures’ culture, history, and theology of those who came before us. But when we become convinced that the existing world offers no hope, like Marx, we fall for the dark demonic belief that “no one cares about you. Trust no one.”
What we fail to see — until it’s too late — is that friendly-sounding voice saying “to hell with them and their world” is deceiving and dividing us, promoting the opposite of love and truth.
And that’s how you connect the dots from previous larger-than-life heroes Orlando has chronicled: St. Paul, General George Patton, John Paul, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Trump. All were disrupters telling us to trust age-old history, theology, and common sense — to reject the voices of division, moving forward with faith, hope, and trust in God.
To Hell with Karl Marx is what Orlando calls his “last stand against Marx’s wicked and beguiling death-of-the-west fairy tale.”