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Communist Presumptions

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Any explanation of Marxian theory is portrayed in an ideal setting, whereas capitalism is typically shown in a negative and over-simplified light.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 general.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

M Fox

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