Monday, June 10, 2024

Karl Marx is alive and well in 2024 America

Marxism was easily the most destructive political theory to ever be put into practice.  Over the course of the 20th century it was responsible for the purposeful killing of well over 100 million people.  To put that evil into context, the slave trade into the United States was 400,000 people, the number of Congolese dead during the reign of King Leopold II of Belgium is estimated as high as 10 million and the total number of deaths during WWII was 73 million.  But Communism beats them all, combined.  And the vast majority of those numbers came from governments killing their own citizens!  I mention all of this is because the father of Communism, Karl Marx, has been on my mind lately. 

Marx was a despicable human being.  It’s often said that he never had a job in his life.  That’s not technically true. Although he had a doctorate, his radicalism kept most universities from hiring him.  He was a writer and editor for a number of publications, most of which went bankrupt because no one was reading them, or were shuttered by governments seeking to quell what they saw as sedition. He was a writer for the New-York Daily Tribune for a decade and later for the New York Sun. None of these jobs paid particularly well or consistently (other than the Tribune) and what they did pay Marx often spent on alcohol and tobacco. 

Marx’s family lived in poverty and debt his entire life and often they went hungry and were evicted a number of times.  This, despite Marx having received substantial inheritances from his parents and his taking numerous “loans” from friends. He fathered at least seven children with his wife, but only three survived to adulthood, in part due to the family’s poverty and its consequent malnutrition. But Marx never once took a job that would economically support his family and give them sufficient sustenance.  In reality, Marx spent most of his adult life supported by his friend, co-author and defacto vassal, Friedrich Engels, the son of a textile manufacturer. Aside from being a hypocrite, arrogant, condescending, violent with words and sometimes deeds, Marx was also a slovenly man.  He drank to excess, smoked and almost never bathed.  A German spy, after visiting Marx, reported “[Marx] leads the existence of a Bohemian intellectual. Washing, grooming and changing his linen are things he does rarely, and he is often drunk.” And he was a racist and an antisemite as well, despite his father having converted to Christianity for political and economic reasons

Marx spent virtually his entire adult life decrying the inequality and “failures” of Capitalism and proffering the replacement of Capitalism & democracy with Communism as outlined in he and Engels in The Communist Manifesto.  But the thing is, Marx had no direct connection to actual Capitalism other than taking the money produced by it to support him and his family.  He had no experience starting a business, building a business, managing payroll, insurance, suppliers, customers, employees, unions or anything else.  No, he learned everything he knew about business and economics from reading. 

Not that it’s impossible to learn about economics from reading. I’ve read Thomas Sowell’s books and feel better informed for it.  But unlike Marx, Sowell actually worked in the government and observed in real life the consequences of government programs. In addition, he directly ties his work to specific data from a wide variety of real-world sources. He cites specific companies, government programs, economic measures and studies when he writes.  Marx does none of that.  Most of the information Marx gathered during his career was that of various philosophers, political, economic and otherwise.  These included among others Adam Smith, James Mill, Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, and of course Friedrich Hegel. But he never visited a factory, a mill, a mine or interacted with the proletariat he championed.  He did interact with one virtual slave, however, his lifelong family maid who he never paid, and with whom he fathered a child he refused to acknowledge

Engels on the other hand did have experience, in his family’s manufacturing business, his German father sending him to Manchester, England in 1842 to get the impressionable lad away from the radical politics infecting Prussia. Too late however as Engels was already radicalized and headed on the path that would define his legacy.  Engels would visit the most downtrodden slums of England and would share his observations with Marx. He would leave the company in 1844 and would not return until 1850, two years after the publication of The Communist Manifesto.  Much of what Engels would write however was either embellished, taken out of context or an outright lie, a characteristic he and Marx shared.

Although Engels had limited experience with the proletariat, Marx had none and wanted none.  He demurred when Engels invited him to visit factories with him, nor would he query his merchant uncle about business other than on a single family matter.  But lack of actual evidence or experience with anything outside of reading didn’t stop Marx from writing about the destruction of the entirety of western civilization.  Individual liberty and private property would be gone while the government would control the means of communication, transportation and production and simultaneously undermining the family and dictating where citizens would live. He proffered a world of Communism with no understanding of how the world actually works, ignoring the lessons from New Harmony, Indiana, Robert Owen’s failed attempt to build a socialist nirvana in America, about which Marx would most certainly have known. His means of accomplishing this was not via democracy, but rather violence, writing in 1848 “there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.

Which brings me to why Marx has been on my mind.  Does any of the above sound familiar?  A vile, self-centered and arrogant individual with poor hygiene, highly educated, with little or no experience doing anything resembling productive and spending his time railing against society and advocating for its violent overthrow?  It should, because we’ seeing thousands of individuals – many highly educated (including lawyers!) and most with no experience in producing anything in the real world – violently demonstrating for the overthrow the United States as we know it. From Portland to New York to Atlanta to Tampa every time we get the mugshots and reports from the police of the arrestees, they look exactly like you would expect, unkempt, modern day wannabe Karl Marxs. A majority of them are professional agitators, going from place to place causing trouble. 

While Marx had a vision (albeit an absurd and impossible one) with which he wanted to replace democracy and Capitalism, today’s agitators are nihilists with no plan beyond destroying America. They, like Marx, are parasites who do nothing productive for society.  They have no idea how the world actually works, how to build anything productive, nor an idea how to do anything but throw fists, stones and Molotov Cocktails while complaining about the society that nourishes them. But then that’s the beauty of the left, there never needs to be a connection between ideas and reality.  It’s enough to criticize, theorize and legislate, no proof necessary, then let the chips fall where they may. With Marx humanity paid a terrible toll for such folly.  You’d think Americans would have learned something from that history. Sadly however, looking at the support the Democrat party maintains – and make no mistake, the Democrat party of today is a modern incarnation of Marx’s theory – many apparently haven’t.