Saturday, December 11, 2010

Liberals and Karl Marx 100

Marxism is an economic and socio-political worldview that contains within it a political ideology for how to change and improve society by implementing socialism. Originally developed in the early to mid nineteenth century by two German émigrés living in Britain, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Marxism is based upon a materialist interpretation of history. Taking the idea that social change occurs because of the struggle between different classes within society who are constantly competing to improve their conditions, the Marxist analysis leads to the conclusion that capitalism, the currently dominant form of economic management, leads to the oppression of the proletariat, who not only make up the majority of the world's populace but who also spend their lives working for the benefit of the bourgeoisie, or the wealthy ruling class in society.

“To correct this inequality between the bourgeoisie, who are the wealthy minority, and the proletariat, who are the poorer majority, Marxism advocates, and believes in the historical inevitability of, a proletarian revolution, when the proletariat take control of government, and then implement reforms to benefit their class, namely the confiscation of private property which is then taken under state control and run for the benefit of the people rather than for the interests of private profit. Such a system is socialism, although Marxists believe that eventually a socialist society would develop into an entirely classless system, which is known as communism in Marxist thought.

A Marxist understanding of history and of society has been adopted by academics studying in a wide range of disciplines, including archaeology, anthropology, media studies, political science, theater, history, sociological theory, cultural studies, education, economics, geography, , , critical psychology, and philosophy.

“Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Marxist governments have taken power in a variety of nations across the world, and implemented socialist reforms. The first, and most powerful Marxist-run nation state was the Soviet Union, founded in 1922 following the Russian revolution of 1917. Several of its leaders, most notably Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin were also important Marxist theoreticians, formulating the theoretical trends of Marxism-Leninism, Trotskyism and Stalinism respectively. The other prominent Marxist power of the twentieth century was the People's Republic of China, instituted in 1949 following the Chinese Civil War, and its first leader, Mao Zedong, was also a noted theoretician, developing Maoism. Today, a number of nations continue to be run by Marxist leaders, including Cuba, North Korea, Nepal, large parts of India, and debatably Venezuela.”

With one glaring exception we will deal with below, this is an expert summary of Marxism. It hints at the covert religion: why would an economic approach to politics need a theory of theater (?!) or education or critical psychology or philosophy? This mimics the fights the Christian right picks over evolution, education, philosophy and popular entertainment. Marxism's proud atheism does not tell us what in fact the communists and socialist themselves worship, though it is clear that they idolize something because of what they meddle with in areas that should be irrelevant to economics and the “oppression” of blue collar workers (the “proletariat.”)

The central flat out lie of Marxism is that “class” is central to a permanent feuding between groups seeking governmental and institutional power. This is not always the case. This blog maintains that the central political event in all of recorded history was the fury in England over the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury by the King's knights, which led to Magna Carta (a direct and effective assault on the divine right of kings). Everybody was furious over Beckett's assassination, from Norman Barons to earls to freemen to serfs. The King stood alone and had to sign it in 1215. He did so, but he tried to repudiate it. That wasn't effective because he died in 1216.

Unanimous rage across class lines isn't supposed to happen, anywhere, according to Marxism. But it does, and it makes history. Therefore Marxism contains central errors.

Another feature outside Marxism is English Common Law, which is decided by judges and applied to subsequent cases, with the opportunity for reversal based on better reasoning or by statute coming out of parliament. This is case law, a triumphant form of empiricism based on common sense, not by any materialistic philosophy at all. It has also lasted for centuries. This workable legal approach shouldn't exist under Marxism, especially the Leninist variety in which courts serve a social purpose. An antagonistic alternative approach is that courts enforce justice tempered with mercy. The alternative has been grossly more successful both socially and economically. Further, Marxism has no traffic with nor tolerance of the concept of due process, even though the originators of due process have never been successfully invaded on their own turf since implementing it hundreds of years ago.

Pure Marxism has been reduced in the past few decades to rump dictatorships in North Korea and Cuba. It interests me that in both cases the position of head of state passes from the revolutionary leader to family members in obvious imitation of absolute monarchy. In both nations the tiny group of leaders will allow the citizenry to starve rather than adjust centralized policies. In both nations there are relatively enormous concentration camps for real -- or imagined – dissidents and their families. The mental illness of counter-revolutionary tendencies must be controlled and monitored at all costs!

Central error of the Wikipedia summary on Marxism: Karl Marx was a virulent anti-Semite. This was a central element in his doctrine. The sort of devotion to clan, church and ethnic group represented by Judaism was considered treason-in-waiting by Marx. Stalin, a classic Marxist in this respect, never evinced any slight objection to the oppression of Jews by his anti-aggression pact partner Adolph Hitler. Stalin was planning a complete purge of Jews in the Soviet Union that was stopped only by his sudden death in 1953.

The ruthless opposition to Catholicism by Stalin and his planned pogrom against Soviet Jewry indicate that there is an antagonistic religious impulse in Marxism. We will attempt to track this down using auditing techniques in this blog, especially as they apply to academics.

                                           Next: Liberals versus Labor politicians in Great Britain

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