Is The Communist Manifesto Misunderstood?

 

In college, I was surprised when an honest and charitable philosophy professor I very much admired claimed that Karl Marx is misunderstood. Marx would not have supported communism as we have known it, he told me. What was seen at the hands of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, or even Gorbachev was not communism as Marx envisioned it.

Next week, Ubisoft will release the next grand episode in its popular series of historical playgrounds, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. Because the overarching theme of the Assassin’s Creed series (about as philosophically consistent as Star Wars) is a conflict between the freedom-loving Assassins and conspiring Templar oppressors, the game’s setting in Victorian London will emphasize struggles for power among the classes of industrial British society.

Is my professor’s claim about Karl Marx and his Communist Manifesto just the same dangerous delusion that has made forced redistribution of property and flattening of culture the foundation of the Democratic Party? Or were the published ideas of Marx distorted and misapplied by people who wanted communism to be something fundamentally different?

What should students learn about Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and the The Communist Manifesto? Is that the true origin of communism?

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  1. Jordan Wiegand Inactive
    Jordan Wiegand
    @Jordan

    Could be Anyone: The reason why there is a confusion is because the Left uses the two words interchangeable and that confuses those arguing against it. I do agree that Marx was a fool and in particularly a lethal one.

    Marx’s thought has little resemblance to what passes for Marxism.  At least Classical Marxism is observably inconsistent and deeply flawed.

    The later disciples who called themselves Marxist didn’t bother fixing the foundational problems within Marxism, but turned the bad assumptions of Classical Marxism into what passes for the metaphysics of the new version.

    • #31
  2. Jennifer Johnson Inactive
    Jennifer Johnson
    @JenniferJohnson

    Could be Anyone: Our humanity (rationality; what differs us from other animals) does not matter to them at all, only the results of what they want does. This collective has dozens of names. Proletariat, 99%, working class, etc. are all different names to create some illusory perfect class that is a victim but also the majority at the same time and what they want is “good”.

    Maybe I’m getting Marx mixed up with Marxists, but I’ve done some reading at Marxists.org, and it seems to me Marx did did care about the individual, at least superficially. I’ve seen references to “the new man,” and the worker’s paradise they were trying to create for him. This superficial care for the individual also explains the Marxist push for “free love.” It was an attempt to free people from the limitations of traditional morality. At least, that’s how I read it.

    I’ve never seen this point mentioned when conservatives/libertarians talk about Marx/Marxism: it is how they defined “freedom,” and how seductive that idea of freedom was. When we talk about those ideas, we always talk about the tyrannical role of the state, but Marxists don’t view it that way at all. They frame their ideas around freedom, and I think we overlook this when discussing Marx and Marxism.

    • #32
  3. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Frank Soto:This is a long topic.

    It is true that Marx never directly says what the post revolution world will exactly look like. So it isn’t unreasonable for someone to claim he pictured something different than 20th century communism.

    However, I would suggest that his critiques of capitalism reveal a great deal about what his preferred economic system would look like.

    When Marx talks about specific ways in which capitalism is wasteful of resources, he is telling us that his system would not be wasteful in those ways.

    When taken all together, he lays out an economy that must be every bit as authoritarian as real world communism turned out to be.

    I agree that some aspects of Marx’s economics are pretty terrible, although Thomas Sowell defends him effectively against the charges of believing in a labor theory of value. I don’t hold that against Marx too much, though, because that wasn’t really Marx’s area of expertise and most of his views on those subjects were mainstream at the time. I don’t hold it against Ricardo that he really did have a labor theory of value; his insights about free trade were still tremendously valuable.

    Marx was pretty clear that the end of history would see people being more, not less, free. He thought that the state would eventually melt away. Marx thought that the end of capitalism would come when capitalism solved the problem of scarcity. I agree with Kojeve and others who believe that this is essentially what happened in the US in the 20th century; because the Middle Class is now bigger than the Working Class, the largest class now controls the means of production. If you want to see how a Marxist paradise appears to have turned out in practice, look out a window. There are still first world problems, of course, but there’s no meaningful starvation. The problems that Marx identified have, for the most part, been solved, and they’ve been solved because of social transformations similar to those that Marx predicted.

    Why Nations Fail is one of the best updatings of classical Marxism, highly praised by Russ Roberts and other conservative economists (they use “extractive economies” to refer to what Marx would have called economies on the capitalist/ feudal boundary, and a different buzzword for those on the capitalist/ communist boundary, but the concepts are the same). If you want a less economically focused version, though, The Better Angels of Our Nature is mostly a walk through the data on the correctness of Marx’s vision of how the end of scarcity would affect us.

    • #33
  4. Hank Rhody Contributor
    Hank Rhody
    @HankRhody

    Don Tillman:

    Eric Wallace:Does this mean we have to read Das Kapital to understand Marx? Because I really, really don’t want to.

    The folks at marxists.org have a free downloadable pdf version of Das Kapital here.

    I recommend reading a single page chosen at random, and then walking away, slowly, backwards.

    Alternatively there’s a podcast I listen to called Marxism Today which provides insight about how two modern functioning Marxists in Madison, Wisconsin think about things. It’s sad and unintentionally humorous at the same time, if you are the sort who is able to find humor in utter cluelessness.

    There are marxists in Madison, Wisconsin? Color me shocked.

    • #34
  5. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Hank Rhody:

    Don Tillman:

    Eric Wallace:Does this mean we have to read Das Kapital to understand Marx? Because I really, really don’t want to.

    The folks at marxists.org have a free downloadable pdf version of Das Kapital here.

    I recommend reading a single page chosen at random, and then walking away, slowly, backwards.

    Alternatively there’s a podcast I listen to called Marxism Today which provides insight about how two modern functioning Marxists in Madison, Wisconsin think about things. It’s sad and unintentionally humorous at the same time, if you are the sort who is able to find humor in utter cluelessness.

    There are marxists in Madison, Wisconsin? Color me shocked.

    I was dancing in Madison last night. We had one person who was willing to out herself as not a Sanders fan (she was for Clinton), and thus won’t be attending the Blues for Sanders event in a couple of weeks. The sample size was maybe twenty.

    • #35
  6. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Jennifer Johnson: Maybe I’m getting Marx mixed up with Marxists, but I’ve done some reading at Marxists.org, and it seems to me Marx did did care about the individual, at least superficially. I’ve seen references to “the new man,” and the worker’s paradise they were trying to create for him. This superficial care for the individual also explains the Marxist push for “free love.” It was an attempt to free people from the limitations of traditional morality. At least, that’s how I read it. I’ve never seen this point mentioned when conservatives/libertarians talk about Marx/Marxism: it is how they defined “freedom,” and how seductive that idea of freedom was. When we talk about those ideas, we always talk about the tyrannical role of the state, but Marxists don’t view it that way at all. They frame their ideas around freedom, and I think we overlook this when discussing Marx and Marxism.

    Jennifer this is an example of you reading the words without the meaning. Marx saw the individual as a component of the socialist society and not as a being with dignity unto himself. The Communist “New Man” was not an expression of individuality but rather a new type of man who, free from scarcity, would be a willing cog in the communist society.

    • #36
  7. Jennifer Johnson Inactive
    Jennifer Johnson
    @JenniferJohnson

    Jamie Lockett:Jennifer this is an example of you reading the words without the meaning. Marx saw the individual as a component of the socialist society and not as a being with dignity unto himself. The Communist “New Man” was not an expression of individuality but rather a new type of man who, free from scarcity, would be a willing cog in the communist society.

    I don’t think “willing cog” can be found in the Marxist canon. ;) But really, I do think that the individual was very much on Marx’ mind, and that creating a tyrannical state was not part of his plan at all. Here is one example that I found, very easily, at Marxists.org:

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01d.htm

    I see a strong emphasis on the individual there. There is, according to Marx, a definite relationship between the individual and the community. If you are arguing that he cared more for the community than he did the individual, then I disagree.

    • #37
  8. viruscop Member
    viruscop
    @Viruscop

    I know this isn’t the topic of your post, but Assassin’s Creed is one of those games that I would feel embarrassed talking about the plot.

    Also, are Queen Victoria and Karl Marx on the same side?

    • #38
  9. Jennifer Johnson Inactive
    Jennifer Johnson
    @JenniferJohnson

    Jennifer Johnson:https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01d.htm

    I see a strong emphasis on the individual there. There is, according to Marx, a definite relationship between the individual and the community. If you are arguing that he cared more for the community than he did the individual, then I disagree.

    Here is one quote from the link:

    It follows from all we have been saying up till now that the communal relationship into which the individuals of a class entered, and which was determined by their common interests over against a third party, was always a community to which these individuals belonged only as average individuals, only insofar as they lived within the conditions of existence of their class — a relationship in which they participated not as individuals but as members of a class. With the community of revolutionary proletarians, on the other hand, who take their conditions of existence and those of all members of society under their control, it is just the reverse; it is as individuals that the individuals participate in it. 

    • #39
  10. hokiecon Inactive
    hokiecon
    @hokiecon

    Excuse my ignorance, but wasn’t Hegel Marx’s intellectual antecedent, who is revered in conservative thought?

    • #40
  11. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    anonymous: This was an unambiguous and falsifiable prediction, and it has been duly falsified by subsequent events.  The socialist revolution did not occur in Germany, the most developed industrial society, but in Russia (and later China), largely pre-industrial agrarian economies.

    I don’t believe that this did falsify his prediction. The attempt was made in Russia and China, and they had revolutions that called themselves communist, but they were not, in fact, communist. The end of scarcity did not arrive, as any holomodor survivor can tell you. They called themselves communists not because they were actually communist, but as an aspirational title. Most good soviet theorists will tell you that they were moving toward communism.

    What’s the name for a society that has successfully cast off feudalism by has not yet achieved communism? Oh, yes, capitalism. Things are much closer to communism now in Russia and China, but they’re clearly not there yet. When they get there, it’ll be after a capitalist century at the very least, and long after America and the West.

    anonymous: The maturation of capitalist economies in Britain, the U.S., and other developed countries did not create an impoverished class of proletarians, but rather a middle class who saw their standard of living consistently increase.

    In his later writings he suggests that this was achieved through imperialism; better communications allowed Britain to outsource its poverty (the US and Russia had a sort of domestic empire in the West and the East, respectively). He didn’t live to discuss the shift from imperial trade to free trade, but it doesn’t present much of an obstacle.

    anonymous: In World War I, the proletarians did not unite internationally in solidarity with their class, but rather marched off to war on behalf of their nations.

    If you think of the revolution (Marxist revolutions don’t have to be violent; they can take the form of social and political change) as coming at least partly before the First World War, which is in line with the political and economic changes of the time, then you wouldn’t expect people to side against their countrymen from other classes. The First World War was a democratic war in which control over the means of production lay with the people. When the populist with a genuine feel for the mood of the country (Lloyd George) took over, it was on a platform of prosecuting the war with more vigor, not less. There’s an image of the Great War being unpopular that comes from cherry picking poets and artists who didn’t like it, but saving the world from terrible evil has a real constituency. Germany, of course, was not there yet (that was partly what it was fighting to avoid).

    anonymous: Marxism was falsified, and every since people have been trying to patch it up, by invoking imperialism (Lenin) and other doctrines.  Stalin rejected Marx’s internationalism in favour of “communism in one country”.

    I don’t think that Lenin was making up his claims about imperialism, although he certainly concentrated on them a good deal more. Stalin, yes, was engaging in a real departure.

    anonymous: A good introduction to Marxism can be obtained from Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol. 2: Hegel and Marx, and Thomas Sowell’s Marxism.  Both respect Marx and give his theories the weight they deserve.

    I haven’t read Popper’s book, and I agree that Sowell’s book is very good, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a first taste. He’s not so much writing an introduction as a series of thoughts on Marx. The trouble with introductions to Marx, on the other hand, is that he revolutionized so many fields that it’s very easy for an academic to get overly focused on one of them.

    • #41
  12. Augustine Member
    Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Aaron Miller: What should students learn about Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and the The Communist Manifesto?

    An important question, and I’m not sure I should answer.  But since I do teach Marx in PHIL 202, I might as well come clean with my answer.

    But I don’t know what it is, so I’ll copy some stuff from my lesson plans (and modify as needed, mainly for clarity).  (Heaven knows what might happen to the formatting.)

    I. Meet Karl Marx

    A. 1800s German philosopher (and economist).

    B. Famous for his atheism and for inventing Communism.

    C. His moral and political philosophy has been very influential in the last two centuries.

    D. Influenced by Hegel.  For example:

    1. The view that history is the story of the development of society.

    2. Hegel’s passage on the master-slave relationship is influential on Marx’s view of the struggle between different classes in society.

    II. Marx’s philosophy of history

    A. Marx’s moral philosophy is rooted in his philosophy of history.

    B. Marx’s philosophy of history is an interesting reflection on the results of the Industrial Revolution.

    C. “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”  History is the story of the struggle of the oppressed class and the oppressing class.

    D. History has led to the current situation in which the perennial class struggle has solidified into the struggle of two classes who are openly clashing: the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat.

    • #42
  13. Augustine Member
    Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    III. The Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat

    A. The Bourgeoisie: the middle class; the people who control manufacturing.

    B. The Proletariat: the lower class; the working class; the people who do the manufacturing; the class employed, and exploited, by the Bourgeoisie.

    C. See footnote (a).

    D. The B. class developed as the result of modern economic history.  This history began with the breakdown of the medieval feudal system.  Various factors—such as the discovery of the American continents, the rise of global trade, and the inventions that make modern manufacturing possible—shifted the means of economic production to the hands of “the manufacturing middle class.”

    E. Now, says Marx, “the modern State” serves the interests of the B. class.

    F. Now, says Marx, economic exploitation of the lower class is open; it is “shameless, direct, brutal,” although in previous eras exploitation had been veiled by religion and politics.

    • #43
  14. Augustine Member
    Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    IV. The communist revolution

    A. Marx thinks it is necessary that the Proletariat seize power from the Bourgeoisie.

    B. It is necessary for two reasons.

    1. It is morally necessary, so that it can end the exploitation.

    2. It is economically necessary because the broken economy of capitalism makes this revolution inevitable.

    C. Private property as the Bourgeoisie practice it is “the most complete expression” of the system of economic exploitation.

    D. Thus, the revolution in which the Proletariat seize power from the Bourgeoisie is, thus, the abolition of private property!

    E. The communist revolution is not necessarily a violent one.  Rather, Marx says “the first step in the revolution” is “to win the battle of democracy.”  Through controlling each country through victory in democratic elections, the Proletariat will gradually abolish private property.

    F. At the end of Section IV Marx lists ten steps that the Proletariat should take in most countries.  For example, there should be a heavily graduated income tax, free public education, and abolition of private land ownership.

    G. The communist revolution is the culmination of the history of class struggles.  After taking over, the Proletariat will eliminate all class distinctions and thereby cease to exist as a class.

    H. “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.  They have a world to win.”  “Workingmen of all countries unite!”

    • #44
  15. Augustine Member
    Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    So, “What should students learn about Karl Marx?”

    Now that I’ve copied my lesson plan, I guess my answers are:

    • that he’s very influential,
    • what exactly he was thinking,
    • and that there’s a big influence of Hegel in the background–plus materialism.

    But they should also know that really, really, really good economist-philosophers have some really, really, really good critiques.

    That’s why the next lesson plan (influenced considerably by the Ricocheti) has some basics on Ricardo, Bastiat, Von Mises, Keynes, Hayek, Friedman, Menger, Malthus, Rand, Gary Becker, and Ronald Coase.  (With mentions of Jevons, Mill, Marshall, THE MAN Sowell, Laffer, Ricochet’s Larry Kudlow, Krugman, de Soto, Dambisa Moyo, Grudem/Asmus, Picketty, and Skidelsky/Skidelsky.)

    It’s way too much for one day.  I’ll probably have to print the lesson plan as a handout and just go over the main points in class.

    • #45
  16. Augustine Member
    Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    hokiecon:Excuse my ignorance, but wasn’t Hegel Marx’s intellectual antecedent, . . .

    Yes.  Marx has a lotta Hegel in him, but Marx the materialist moves some of Hegel’s ideas into a materialist worldview.

    . . . who is revered in conservative thought?

    Not that I know of.  My understanding of the history of human thought leads me to believe that Hegel is about the biggest enemy of conservative thought there is.

    • #46
  17. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Aaron Miller: Because the overarching theme of the Assassin’s Creed series (about as philosophically consistent as Star Wars) is a conflict between the freedom-loving Assassins and conspiring Templar oppressors

    I’m more of a Knight Tippler type.

    • #47
  18. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    anonymous: Hence, capitalism was a necessary precursor to socialism, just as capitalism developed from earlier economic systems.

    This sounds like the dot-com boom and bust.

    • #48
  19. Great Ghost of Gödel Inactive
    Great Ghost of Gödel
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    Manfred Arcane:

    Jamie Lockett:My god that trailer was awful, pure propaganda.

    But it is the coolest CGI propaganda I have ever seen. And they have made the whole game look like this? Not possible! Thanks for the post.

    The Assassin’s Creed franchise is notable for its deep appreciation of beauty and an apprehension of the longevity of power politics. Sure, it reads as a virulently anti-Catholic screed as a consequence, but when you look at the actual history of the medieval Roman Catholic church, well, it’s kinda hard to gainsay it (although Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood‘s buying into the Lucrezia Borgia incest myth did make me roll my eyes in disgust).

    As for the graphic quality, that, folks, is where we are. As a friendly reminder, here’s a short from Epic Games, recorded on a single 3.something GHz Core i7 CPU and a single top-end consumer nVidia GPU—i.e. a modern gaming rig—running at 30 FPS:

    Some making of:

    More making of:

    • #49
  20. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Aaron,

    I think that the difference that your professor was talking about is the difference between a Menshevik and a Bolshevik Communist. The Menshevik believes all of Das Kapital and doctrinaire Marxism. Marx believes that the Capitalist State will collapse on its own and the Marxists will be able to just take over. The Bolshevik interpretation that is not in Marx is that they can “kick in the rotten door”. Meaning that once the Capitalist State gets weak enough it is OK to use force to finish it off and install the Communist Party to absolute power.

    Lenin’s adaption that is not in Marx is to emphasize that the workers of the advanced colonialist countries will help the capitalists exploit the colonies. Stalin’s adaption that is not in Marx is to emphasize that the revolution will only succeed in one country and it must be secured in that one before it can be spread. Mao’s adaption that is not in Marx is to emphasize that all of the industrial countries including Communist industrialized countries will exploit the peasant agrarian countries. Pol Pot’s adaption that is not in Marx is to emphasize that the even the peasant countries including communist ones will exploit the tribal people.

    All of this ignores the total distortion of history and the fantasy that is the structure of socialism. It really should be called “Scientific Feudalism” (James Gawron’s term). It has all of the negative economic structures of feudalism and a cold merciless materialist ideology instead of Christianity as its state religion. In short if it doesn’t starve you to death it will probably hang you, shoot you, or let you die of exposure in a slave labor camp.

    I hope this was helpful.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #50
  21. Great Ghost of Gödel Inactive
    Great Ghost of Gödel
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    BrentB67:

    I am a bit rusty on my Keynes history since I dismissed him early on, but I think what is attributed as Keynesian economics was just a paper he wrote or something like that and wasn’t originally published as some kind of progressive intervention manifesto.

    What we’ve actually got is the Neoclassical Synthesis, which is much more Samuelson’s brainchild, and maybe Hicks’, than Keynes’. Steve Keen tackles it from the Schumpeter-Minsky angle in Debunking Economics; essentially all Austrian economists tackle it from the Austrian angle.

    • #51
  22. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Great Ghost of Gödel:

    Manfred Arcane:

    Jamie Lockett:My god that trailer was awful, pure propaganda.

    But it is the coolest CGI propaganda I have ever seen. And they have made the whole game look like this? Not possible! Thanks for the post.

    The Assassin’s Creed franchise is notable for its deep appreciation of beauty and an apprehension of the longevity of power politics. Sure, it reads as a virulently anti-Catholic screed as a consequence, but when you look at the actual history of the medieval Roman Catholic church, well, it’s kinda hard to gainsay it (although Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood‘s buying into the Lucrezia Borgia incest myth did make me roll my eyes in disgust).

    As for the graphic quality, that, folks, is where we are. As a friendly reminder, here’s a short from Epic Games, recorded on a single 3.something GHz Core i7 CPU and a single top-end consumer nVidia GPU—i.e. a modern gaming rig—running at 30 FPS:

    Some making of:

    More making of:

    Un-freaking believeable.  Does anyone want to conjecture what 20 years more development is going to mean for humans?  Who will write novels anymore when a small team can make hours of a movie bringing your fiction to life?  Why write descriptive narrative anymore when it is easier just to pixelize the shrubbery?

    • #52
  23. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Great Ghost of Gödel: The Assassin’s Creed franchise is notable for its deep appreciation of beauty and an apprehension of the longevity of power politics. Sure, it reads as a virulently anti-Catholic screed as a consequence, but when you look at the actual history of the medieval Roman Catholic church, well, it’s kinda hard to gainsay it (although Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood‘s buying into the Lucrezia Borgia incest myth did make me roll my eyes in disgust).

    The first game was set during the Crusades. That’s when European nobles sold their castles and impoverished their families, often dying along the long and difficult journey, to free the Holy Land from Muslim conquerors. The first armies marched around Jerusalem in songs of prayer, harassed and pelted by rocks, before storming the city. If ever there was a setting when the Church and Templars were obviously the good guys, that was it. But no, the Templars would be Ubisoft’s villains.

    It’s actually a science fiction series, which the upcoming Hollywood film will undoubtedly make clear.

    The games and the movie will ensure millions of people are exposed to these portrayals of historical figures like Karl Marx. The majority of learning occurs by passive observation, not by schools and debates.

    • #53
  24. Jordan Wiegand Inactive
    Jordan Wiegand
    @Jordan

    Aaron Miller: The games and the movie will ensure millions of people are exposed to these portrayals of historical figures like Karl Marx. The majority of learning occurs by passive observation, not by schools and debates.

    This is why people like us need to make video games btw.

    If we hand over all the institutions of culture, and right now the big one is these big production video games, which have production budgets to rival (and exceed in some cases) major motion pictures, then we shouldn’t be surprised if we get the same thing that happened in Hollywood and televisions happens in the video game industry.

    Games are more powerful cultural media than TV and movies as well, since you participate.  You affirm the protagonists actions because you in a real sense make things happen.

    • #54
  25. Great Ghost of Gödel Inactive
    Great Ghost of Gödel
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    Aaron Miller:

    The games and the movie will ensure millions of people are exposed to these portrayals of historical figures like Karl Marx. The majority of learning occurs by passive observation, not by schools and debates.

    Quite right. So I continue to recommend Hitman: Absolution as a very satisfying chaser.

    Update: forgot to add: very non-CoC-compliant language abounds in this title—it’s an excruciatingly clear neutral-to-bad-guy marker.

    • #55
  26. Autistic License Thatcher
    Autistic License
    @AutisticLicense

    Marx’s context included the disruptive effects of the Industrial Revolution, during which many people blamed their discomfort not on a transitional phase in technology, but in what they saw as an inexorable decrease in the quality of life.  This made his more complimentary readers susceptible to idyllic theories of a return to a state of nature (Rousseau), some kind of natural equilibrium of resources, a belief that there must always be enough to go around once we get rid of the cheaters (more successful people), and so on.

    It’s not an original theory, but a series of colorful statements that work well as bumper stickers or sound bites, provided that they’re not examined at any length.

    There is, of course, the meme popular in the 19th C. that anything called “scientific,” will be rational, fair, good.  There’s the idea that old institutions such as popular ethics and the Church are merely one of many ways that the game was always rigged to justify injustices like Bill Gates having more money than me.

    It has heroes and villains, which appeals strongly to the teenager in all of us.  That last part makes it a great subtext for Assassin’s Creed, Iron Storm, and numerous other games that require a conspiratorial government, cabal, or mega-corporation pulling the strings.  It needs someone like John Houseman or William C. Davis in a boardroom saying,  ” you obviously don’t understand what’s at stake here.”

    Marxism is philosophy for teenagers.

    • #56
  27. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Hi hokiecon. Hegel is indeed Marx’s antecedent. But Marx himself says he has ‘stood Hegel on his head’.

    Frank Soto has it quite right. As a good materialist, Marx does not speculate on what will happen after the Revolution. So we can’t be certain whether or not he would agree or disagree with how Communism has been implemented. So your professor is also speculating when he opines that Marx would not approve…. We can’t say for sure, because Marx never told us.

    That being said … We have pretty good hints that indicate he’d probably agree in large part with whats been created in his name.

    • #57
  28. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    The problem with Marx is that he is just plain wrong … And demonstrably wrong. All of Marx rests on the foundation of the Labor Theory of Value. And LTV is wrong. LTV is NOT how prices are determined. It is simple to find counter examples that demonstrate LTV’s falsehood. And without LTV, all of Marx is fantasy.

    • #58
  29. Jordan Wiegand Inactive
    Jordan Wiegand
    @Jordan

    Ekosj:The problem with Marx is that he is just plain wrong … And demonstrably wrong. All of Marx rests on the foundation of the Labor Theory of Value.And LTV is wrong. LTV is NOT how prices are determined. It is simple to find counter examples that demonstrate LTV’s falsehood. And without LTV, all of Marx is fantasy.

    I think LTV is off, but intrinsic value theories seem to have some truth to them.  I guess the problem is “who gets to decide value, and how is it not just price eventually.”  But theres something to assessing value independently.

    I tend to think that value is really intrinsic, or at least objectively measurable.  Where price is whatever the market is willing to pay you or be paid, at that moment.

    • #59
  30. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Those who insist that Marxism does not inevitably lead to murderous tyranny need to explain why murderous tyranny has been the result literally every single time Marx’s self-proclaimed disciples have attempted to implement his policies. Over nearly 100 years and dozens of countries not one self-proclaimed communist leader looked at what his party had wrought and said, “This is not how it’s supposed to work.”

    The closest anyone came to that realization was Mikhail Gorbachev, and his reforms brought the whole thing crashing down.

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