The function of objective morality is to enlarge the quality and the span of human life. The result of false morality, and of its enforcement by law, is death. Prior to the last century, this death was meted out primarily to individuals who were believed, whether falsely or accurately, to have broken the many laws that enforced the false moralities of their age. The last century, beginning in the 1930s, added democide - mass death of millions, many of them visibly innocent of any individual breach of the proclaimed moral law - to false moralities' toll.
The author of the first democide by enforcement of a false morality was Joseph Stalin. Marx, Engels, and most of their Russian followers were consistent materialists, and had no use for the concept or the language of "morality." Stalin, who became the de facto dictator of the Soviet Union in the late 1920s, largely on the strength of his genuine proletarian origins was not, as far as anyone knows, either a systematic materialist or an Atheist. Stalin had been educated for priesthood in the Orthodox Christian Church, and there is controversy about whether or not he was duly ordained as an Orthodox priest. Two successive Patriarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church vouched for Stalin as an Orthodox Christian believer in good standing with the Church - and while their endorsement may have been made under duress, Stalin's understanding that he needed this endorsement was a radical turn away from the explicitly materialist stance of his predecessors. Stalin frequently appealed to "God's Will," both in his official speeches and in his everyday conversation. More than any other dictator in history, Stalin engineered popular assent to his power by appeal to (a false) "morality." It helped that Stalin's "Socialist Morality" was largely identical to the traditional Altruist "morality" of Orthodox Christianity.
Stalin was the first tyrant to use, possibly without any overt understanding, the fact that it was possible to eliminate humans by the million with relatively little direct use of gallows, gas chambers, or firing squads. It was enough to make it impossible for men to use their minds to support and extend their lives. The human is the animal that lives by its mind, and dies when denied its use.
By 1930 Stalin had achieved nearly complete totalitarian control of every aspect of life in the Soviet Union, including its economy. The only significant exception was agriculture. For a thousand years, what was now the Western quarter of the Soviet Union, and especially Ukraine, was the "Breadbasket of Europe," growing much of the Old Continent's harvest of wheat. Its productive, prosperous independent farmers (in Ukrainian "kulaks") were the Soviet Union's last men outside the economic power of the State. It was against them that Stalin deployed the first exercise of enforced "morality" as a means of democide.
Stalin drew on two religious notions. The first, whose roots go back to the pre-history of religion, is that food is not created by human agriculture, but is a holy gift of God or Gods, to be treated as sacred, and consumed only as part of a religious ritual. The second, peculiar to Christianity and going back to the New Testament episode of Jesus driving the money changers out of the Temple, is the notion that it is immoral, and sacrilegious, to trade, for selfish commercial profit, in the stuff of sacred religious ritual. Stalin's fusion of these notions was that food, the sacred stuff of life, belonged to all people, and for individuals to trade it for selfish profit was contrary to Socialist Morality. Therefore commercial trade in food was banned. Farms were systematically searched for grain that had not been turned over to the Soviet State. Farmers convicted of trading or hoarding grain were shot. The resulting famine, the Holodomor, killed between 7 and 15 million people, including 5 to 10 million Ukrainians. The Holodomor was also remarkable for the lack of any resistance. Because they were being murdered in the name of a "morality" that they also shared, Stalin's first democide enjoyed a unanimous sanction, and even a kind of endorsement, from its victims.
Next Part: Three Democides by False Morality - Part II, The Ban on DDT.