March 31, 2014

The New York Time wonders: “Was Marx Right?”

From there, it puts together a panel of debaters to address this very serious — and ridiculously loaded — question.

I suppose you can go read the intellectual back and forth, which from my cursory skimming was, as one might expect, bogged down with question begging and strawman of every kind (though mostly, the kind that wear monocles and spats); but there’s probably an easier way to answer the question.

To wit:  Hire a voodoo priestess and have her read the bones of the hundreds of millions who have been killed by regimes intent on bringing us to Nirvana through the various attempts at implementing socialism and radical egalitarianism.  They’re easy enough to find, after all.  Just go find the countries who have followed Marxism in the past and look for the mass graves.

My guess is, the bones will answer the NYT’s question with something along the lines of, “you’re fucking kidding us, right?” — though that’s a loose translation from any number of languages, from Vietnamese to Chinese to Russian to Cuban to German and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…

(h/t Weasel Zippers)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:33am

Comments (35)

  1. The short answer is , No.
    The aqusition and dispersal of capital is not a zero sum game. The actors and motivations are in constant flux. To think of any of the players to be fixed is to misrepresent the idea of a market.
    Marxism; A wonderful fantasy
    markets; How the actors actually behave.

  2. What happened to the short question (nevermind the short answer) — right about what?

  3. sdferr says March 31, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I’m inclined to agree. Marx was almost certainly right about something, just not economics.

  4. But in more recent years many of the forces that Marx said would lead to capitalism’s demise – the concentration and globalization of wealth, the permanence of unemployment, the lowering of wages – have become real, and troubling, once again.

    Funny thing that with the rise to power of the forces that align Left-New Left around the world [such as the EU and our own administration] that all the ills that Marx said were due to “capitalism” are on the increase. Marxism the cure that causes the disease and makes it horribly fatal.

  5. As between the contest of parasites to determine which holds the championship for the deadliest killer of its hosts, and hence the assurance of doom to its ultimate propagation, Marxism is running ahead by a few orders of magnitude.

  6. sdferr says March 31, 2014 at 11:09 am
    What happened to the short question (nevermind the short answer) — right about what?

    That industrial England was a shithole. Pre industrial England wasn’t any better.

  7. “Was Marx Right?”

    About what? History? Obviously not. Politics? Well, that’s subjective, but was Hitler right too then? Economics? Fuck no!

  8. Is the New York Times ever right about much anymore?

  9. A good Marx presages Maureen Dowd.

  10. I suspect that Marx was in fact “right”… of a few folks, although, I would not have wanted to hang out with them. He was likely “left” of many, many more.

  11. Groucho was no fool:

    “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”

  12. I think it is worth pointing out that while Hitler is almost unanimously derided as ‘History’s biggest Monster’, he only ranks 3rd on the all-time murder list.

    The top two? Both Marxist countries. (Other countries that revere(d) Marx — Vietnam, Warsaw Pact nations, North Korea, et alia — also rank fairly high on the Mega-Murderers list, but they just don’t have the raw numbers to work with…)

    Not on that list? Countries that do not follow that economic/political persuasion, such as the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, etc..

  13. Was Marx even serious? I once heard he wrote it all up for the money. Kinda of like I doubt L. Ron Hubbard really thought he was creating a religion (at first).

  14. Marx’s father often declared his opinion that die Junge just ain’t right.

  15. Harpo never said anything, so, hard for me to say whether or not he was right. Although, as Calvin Coolidge once said: “Nothing I didn’t say ever came back to haunt me.” (too lazy to look up the actual quote)

    Groucho said some pretty witty things that were right on, so, yes, Groucho was probably right.

    As for Zepo, no idea.

  16. Reading that was painful. Why do you hate us?

    The thing is, as I was taking economic classes in college imagining myself pumping myself up with knowledge and understanding I came to realize no matter the class, macro or micro, each little theory and each graph presented can only address one itty bitty little corner, one aspect, or two at a time, it will be one viewpoint from one angle and never anything so grand as macro econometrics that effectively measures all adjustments made to all vessels sloshing from one to another and all over the board, leaking and clogging, and slopping, mopping up, wringing, and flinging around, and what interference does to that, what measuring it does to change what is measured. Reading that piece is like watching a mouse nibble a the edges of sets of encyclopedia and proclaiming the whole thing digested and leaving a little pile of shreds and mouse poo.

  17. Marxism: A wonderful fantasy

    Only if you’re a psychopath. David Thompson reminds us that:

    …we’re not supposed to actually read the more sadistic ravings of Marx and Engels – which, shall we say, hint quite strongly at what should fill the conspicuous gaps in the Greatest Theory Ever™. Those bothersome practical details about “the middle-class owner of property” who “must be swept away and made impossible.” You know, the salacious stuff about “revolutionary terror,” the “murderous death agonies of the old society” and the “complete extirpation” of “reactionary peoples” – i.e., thee, me and most of the infidels reading this. Just as we’re not supposed to think about all those Marxist intellectuals – including Lukacs, Gramsci, Althusser and Hobsbawm, and of course Marx, Engels and Lenin – who were pretty sure that their utopia necessarily required a little pushing and shoving… a little unpleasantness.

    And furthermore, Dalrymple observes that the Marxists who exist in polite society are harmless not because of their innate disposition but because of their circumstances:

    No one would feel personally threatened by [Eric Hobsbawm] at a social gathering, where he would be amusing, polite, charming, and accomplished; if you had him to dinner, you wouldn’t have to count the spoons afterward, even though he theoretically opposes the idea of private wealth. In short, there would be no reason to suspect that he was about to commit a common crime against you. In this sense, he is what one might call a moderate Marxist.

    But Hobsbawm has stated quite openly that, had the Soviet Union managed to create a functioning and prosperous socialist society, 20 million deaths would have been a worthwhile price to pay; and since he didn’t recognise, even partially, that the Soviet Union was not in fact on the path to such a society until many years after it had murdered 20 million of its people (if not more), it is fair to assume that, if things had turned out another way in his own country, Hobsbawm would have applauded, justified, and perhaps even instigated the murders of the very people to whom he was now, under the current dispensation, being amusing, charming, and polite.

    In other words, what saved Hobsbawm from committing utter evil was not his own scruples or ratiocination, and certainly not the doctrine he espoused, but the force of historical circumstance. His current moderation would have counted for nothing if world events had been different.

  18. To profess Marxism is to profess mass murder. Period.

  19. Marxism: New, Different, and On the Cutting Edge since…1848?

  20. >To profess Marxism is to profess we be proggtarded mass murder.

  21. “You’re a Marxist? Bless yore heart. Yore cast-iron, evil, baby-devourin’ heart.”

  22. jeez baal needs fed or yellin

  23. Hell, Ayers is committed Marxist and he even admitted that he expected 25 million or more American citizens would have to be killed in order to usher in the New Improved™ Marxism: Now with more societal cleansing!

  24. we’re not supposed to actually read the more sadistic ravings of Marx and Engels

    Why not?

    They are mild only compared to those which come later and today’s rabid dogs of the left.

  25. “You’re a Marxist? Bless yore heart. Yore cast-iron, evil, baby-devourin’ heart.”

    Bless it with lightning, parasites, gator teeth…whatever gets the job done.

  26. Telekinesis…

  27. Which one? Groucho?

  28. History is just something that happened to other people.

    Good and hard.

  29. ratiocination,

    I had to look that up.

  30. President Obama would be well-advised to cooperate with Republicans after the 2014 election to fashion a “reform-and-rescue” legislative package that could help create some bipartisan support for his reform. If not, his signature program will remain highly vulnerable to political change.

    Vote R for reform and rescue.

  31. That guy who wrote the piece StrangernFiction links says moderate Republicans can rescue Obamacare.

    The solution is obvious.

  32. I dig the comments section. Someone actually attempted to stake a claim on “Marx is right because he hasn’t been proven wrong before”, which is a lie and a logical fallacy all wrapped up in one socialist soundbite.

    Fuck Marx, and the horse he rode in on. You need political power to make Marxism work, and you know what happens when you give political power to people who can stand to make gain from it.