Thursday, August 16, 2012

Karl Marx Meant Well......

He just didn't know his human race very well.
(c) 2012 by Tom King

Got into a debate with an economist the other day over Marxism vs. Communism. He took a swipe at Ronald Reagan for not understanding that Marxism and Communism are two different things (according to economists). No matter that Marx wrote the Communist Manifest (and yes, Engels helped, but he gave all the credit for the ideas to Marx).  Apparently the pure Marxist ideology is that the ideal worker's paradise should be a virtually leaderless society where the collective makes all the decisions and no strong leader exists.  That is actually an idea a died-in-the-wool capitalist could get behind actually. 

Karl Marx's great difficulty was that he looked to create a heaven on Earth. It was an admirable dream, but it does not work here on this planet. Marx's utopia requires a couple of things that Marx never accepted as necessary.  Marx later got involved with communism because he hoped to work out his worker's paradise in the real world and had, I believed, figured out that some system of authority was essential to make it work, whether he wanted to admit it or not.

The truth is, the ideals behind collectivism only work if all the people in the collective are good and altruistic people. There is no such group of people. The progressive movement still believes there is despite abundant evidence to the contrary. 

I'm pro capitalist because it seems the most effective way to create a healthy economy in a world where  the baseline is greed and self-interest. 
We live in a sinful world, let's face it. With capitalism, if you over-extend and get piggish, you fail unless some government decides you're too big to fail and protects your depredations upon the system by bailing you out with tax dollars.

Our problem here is that we are trying to blend two system - one that believes that, if you meet a baseline of needs, people will be basically good and another that believes people are basically bad.  As a Christian, for instance, I believe the latter. I also believe that our experiences here and with the help of God, a goodly number of us will one day achieve that altruistic goodness that Marx mistakenly thought he could bring out in people by sharing the wealth around.

What Marx did not understand was that  free will is a wonderful, but double-edged sword.
The communists hoped to somehow control free will and negate its effects. At first they tried through providing everybody's baseline needs as equitably as possible.  When that didn't work, they created the KGB and attempted to create altruism through fear and the gulags - Communisms own brand of hell.

It is tempting to intellectuals to believe that smart leaders can somehow create a centrally planned society where everyone is content if not truly happy.  Even Einstein, as smart as he was, wondered why we couldn't manage it.

The problem is in man's nature.  He does have free will (despite BF Skinner's assurances to the contrary).  He is born with two contrary natures.  The new born child knows how to love without reservation - he loves himself.  Sadly, many children never get far beyond that. It is the work of a lifetime to become a selfless person - the kind of people you absolutely must have in order to maintain Marx's leaderless collective. 

To base a political and economic system on the hope that  somehow you can somehow create rules or provide sufficient bread and circuses to cause people to spontaneously become self-less is an exercise in wishful thinking.

Marx had an admirable goal. It's just not achievable without two things.
  1. People who want to be good above all things.
  2. An all-knowing, all-caring leader to manage the details.
#1 is, I think, what will occur at the  Second Coming.
#2 I believe, requires the existence of God.

If neither of those elements are in place; if God does not exist, if people people who want to be good are not separated from those who choose to be bad, then we're well and truly hopeless because we're trying to make up flocks of sheep that include hungry wolves as members. Inevitably, this takes a terrible toll on the poor sheep as last century's experiment in Marxist sheep herding clearly demonstrates.

Just one man's opinion,

Tom King

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