onsdag 8 juni 2011

Marxism - the undead corpse

Marxism is like a corpse that people will not accept is dead. The present difficulties with the economy have led to a revival of interest in his ideas. All the old stuff is coming up again.

The rise of evil regimes is an inevitable consequence of following Marxist ideology. The underlying philosophy is false. It rests on a false view of human nature. All the rest follows, Gulags, the NKVD. Pol Pot. And that is before the mixture of nonsense laced with half-truths that is his economics, which is bound to lead Marxist followers into chaos, poverty and dictatorship.

Marxist apologists give all sort of excuses, such as this

"The rise of evil regimes was a historical contingency, engendered by many other historical contingencies, such as: communism was not introduced on a global scale; the first communist revolution happened in a poor and backward country like Tsarist Russia, instead in democratic countries like Britain, France or USA with strong, politically conscious working classes and a tradition of relatively democratic politics; World War I diverted everyone`s attention from class struggle to national struggle; authoritarian tendencies of Tsarist ruling classes were carried over to the Russian communist ruling classes; Stalin was a paranoid and unhinged person (Trotsky for example was against anything totalitarian, with him in charge it would have been a different story); western capitalist countries were hostile to communist ones and helped curb any beginnings of democracy there by the constant threat of war."

The trouble is that there always is a historical contingency. It is interesting how the name of Trotsky so often comes up, as if there is some kind of lost paradise that is waiting to be brought back into being. Trotsky himself was as murderous as the rest of his gang, who demonstrated their proclivities in that direction the moment that Lenin came to power. There is no lost paradise. But even to blame it on contingency is to demonstrate the flaw in the Marxist system of thought.

Marxist apologists have more than a little of the religious fanatic about them. On indicator is a failure to look further than Marx. Thus

"To say that there is something inherently evil in Marx`s system of thought, the basic tenet of which is removing a flawed system of economy and replacing it with a fairer one, where people don`t exploit other people and keep them in poverty to get rich themselves, is about as ridiculous as saying Catcher in the Rye directly inspired Mark Chapman to shoot John Lennon, unless there is a line in the novel that says SHOOT HIM MARK!! that I seemed to have missed."

The assumptions in this statement are that the Marxist system of economy is not also flawed ort exploitative and that it actually addresses the wrongs of the "capitalist" system without replacing it with a fresh set of flaws of its own. That is a very big and unjustified assumption.

I would agree with Marxists that the capitalist system of production is flawed, but I would suggest that Marx was far from identifying the genesis and nature of the flaws. More plausible explanations exist and solutions have been proposed that would stand a better chance of success.

I suspect that most people who are attracted to Marxism simply because he was amongst the first to draw attention to the problems that arose in the years immediately after the Industrial Revolution and put forwards suggestions for doing something about them. And his followers made a lot of noise. Subsequent and more precise analysts have simply failed to get much of a hearing. In part this is because their analysis is more subtle (though not more complex), and not easily translated into slogans.

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