Thursday, December 08, 2005


"One who believes as I do, that free intellect is the chief engine of human progress, cannot but be fundamentally opposed to Bolshevism as much as to the Church of Rome. The hopes which inspire communism are, in the main, as admirable as those instilled by the Sermon on the Mount, but they are held as fanatically and are as likely to do as much harm."
— Bertrand Russell, The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism, 1920

I understand the marxist and utopian impulse but feel it's ultimately naive and futile, especially in regards to the economy of America. In Europe perhaps a leisure economy might eventually come about--in England or US unlikely (except for the wealthy or the heirs and heiresses of the wealthy--who already do live that life). Besides, the vindictive and retributive aspects of leftism are driving the engine as much as the utopian do. And there are so many other problems which Marxism really never addressed-- basic pathopsychology for one. Bosses and capitalists enjoy power and even sadism. So do lots of people. Prostitutes won't be eliminated in the near future either, no will soldiers or criminals. Marxism again seems very close in ways to the sort of, well, nearly Blakean visions--or perhaps zionist-- of pastoral bliss which poets and preachers always refer to, and as much a sentimental and a-historical fairy tale as is protestantism.

Additionally, the blogger left has little interest in say the specifics of socialist agriculture or technology: their hatred of "capitalism" is more akin to lower-management's resentment for executives at the top: they don't really envision some pastoral-Maoist communism, they envision themselves with a management niche, which they cannot presently obtain with their English or philosophy degree or whatever. In the dreamt-of Marxist pleasure-dome, they will have that management job (tho paid for by the Peoples) an office and some real power

Marxism, whatever it once may have been--and we would do well to recall the disdain for Marxism and the so-called "class sruggle" shown by Keynes, a far better economist and thinker than Marx, as well as the trenchant criticisms of Lenin and the bolsheviks raised by Russell, who visited Russia in the 20s---now functions primarily as ideological support for black nationalism and Islam. There is this incredibly hostile attitude to any traces of Western rationalism or culture; a complete rejection of not only capitalism but of the entire tradition of European intellectual life. And really even if you were to join forces with say some of these groups--the WSWS--you put on your gulag rags as you do it; i.e. your race is guilty of historical crimes, even though they may have fought in WWII against the fascists.

People act out of their self-interest: if someone is marginalized, or victim of prejucice, poor, so forth, Marxism might appeal; if not, or stands to lose were the Revolution to be enacted, it probably won't. To demonstrate that this imagined statist utopia is Good (however you define that today) across the board is an issue rarely taken up. Most of the marxist "theorists" continually neglect this basic situationalism: they in effect ask the European or American "bourgeois" to sort of admit that he is part of the oligarchy and a problem to be eliminated.

Having said that, I think there is a valid Marxist point regarding the injustice of the division of labor , yet most of these literary-leftist types don't acknowledge it. There may be something fundamentally wrong with a society which permits one group of people to be teachers, professionals, technicians, etc. while another group must do the dirty work--mechanics, food, assembly, custodial, etc.. Marx's rather abstract approach doesn't really address the potential injustice of the division of labor in much detail, and I feel that without some fundamental notion of entitlement attacks on the division of labor are meaningless. I empathize with the type of old-school social realist who desired to rip lawyers out of their offices and put them in overalls and into the fields--and the same for priests, financiers, bureaucrats of all types-- perhaps humanities professors also could join them in the tractor mechanic job re-hab workshop. Furthermore, who does the maintenance, food service or, egads, custodial work at the shop? Revolving duties it would seem if some egalitarianism is assumed across the board.

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