Thanks to Michael Fox for writing this critique of Marxism.
I appreciate your website on The Communist Manifesto. The analysis was good
as were your responses to challenging emails. I wanted to address some of
the presumptions behind Marxian ideas.
- Marx's ideas are readily accepted as self-evident, putting capitalism
on defense, as if Marxian ideas need not be proven. Marxian theory is
presumptuously made the standard by which capitalism should be measured.
- Any explanation of Marxian theory is portrayed in an ideal setting,
whereas capitalism is typically shown in a negative and over-simplified
- Marxian theory treats the subjective notion of fairness as a sort of
natural law desired by all, but it is only the Marxian definition of
fairness that is considered legitimate. Marxian theory presumes life can be
made fair, and that unfairness is manufactured only by capitalist mindsets,
meaning greed or selfishness.
- Capitalist criticism of supposedly Marxian societies (i.e., the former
Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cuba, etc.) is dismissed as criticism of
illegitimate examples of Marxian theory, because those states are not "pure"
or ideal Marxian societies. Likewise, when the United States is described by
Marxian followers as the preeminent example of a greedy and selfish society,
the fact that the U.S. also is not a "pure" capitalist society
(because it is heavily influenced by socialist/Marxian ideas) is
conveniently forgotten. In fact, the failed examples of Marxian nations
usually follow the path of failure predicted by Capitalists (i.e., the
Soviet Union being run by Stalin naturally devolves into a totalitarian
society, because making life "fair" for everyone requires the sacrifice of
most freedoms). Similarly, in ignoring the impure capitalism of the United
States, Marxians may use a "dog eat dog" metaphor to describe a logical
extension of capitalism, while avoiding the "equal misery" reality of
Marxian ideals which contaminate American capitalism.
- Capitalist attitudes are childishly described as inherently greedy or
selfish. The "capitalist mindset" (meaning selfishness) criticized by
Marxians may not be a result of capitalism or so-called greed; such
attitudes could be the natural state of individuals when allowed to make
their own choices. Though a "selfish nature" is sometimes acknowledged, it
is improperly attributed to "capitalist mindsets" by Marxians. This
selfishness (which indeed exists and is common) may be inherent to humanity
itself. Marxian theory prefers the dubious belief that humanity is not
naturally selfish, but is made selfish by capitalism or by society in
- Self-interest is unjustly equated with selfishness when criticized by
Marxian followers. Marxian theory does not acknowledge the fact that greed
can exist in any society, especially one where resources are scarce, which
is very common among nations implementing Marxian ideas (and Cuba does
engage in trade with many nations).
- Capitalism seems to be deliberately misunderstood by Marxians, as may
be observed by their criticism of it (i.e., a lack of incentive for
working one's best is often misconstrued as "a lack of incentive to work at
all"). It is seldom (if ever) mentioned by Marxians that Capitalism survives
only by serving the community, which is fickle, diverse, and too large and
complex to be sufficiently understood by any theory or paradigm,
socio-economic or otherwise, a fact Marxians often use to justify their
rejection of Capitalism. Capitalism demands that individuals serve the
community in some way.
- Marxians presume they know what is best for others, and the price
required by Marxism (i.e., individualism, freedom, private property,
religion and family) is justified for everyone, and should be enforced even
by violent means, if necessary. In the Marxian mindset, fairness is valued
above freedom, and those who value freedom above fairness are reflexively
accused of being "greedy" or lacking compassion. Capitalist examples of
compassion are ignored or explained away as something contrary to capitalist
mindsets; and religion is certainly not given credit for compassionate acts.
- Marxian theory oversimplifies human history by focusing on and
defining it in the limited mindset of class struggle: the "oppressors and
the oppressed". Though this perspective is not in itself inaccurate, the
insistence that the study of society be approached only from this point of
view is at best intellectually irresponsible and creates a biased and
inaccurate understanding of human experience.
Thanks for your time and effort put into discussing Marxism.
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