Great news everybody, celebration is in order. For yesterday was the 200th birthday of one of history’s greatest thinkers. But did Marx understand what his ideas would bring about? That his philosophy would spawn history’s greatest monsters?
All throughout his writings Marx makes it pretty clear what he had in mind. He certainly got the bloodbath, it just didn’t come with his expected results. Because basically Marx (lauded as he is) didn’t understand the essentials of human nature. One of which is: When you give one man, any one man unlimited power, regardless of motivation, the end stage is evil.
For all the people who are ready to shout ‘Nazi’ at Trump, it’s always astounded me that the same argument isn’t made on the Communist side. As we’ve previously written, the death of Castro was a particular note.
I stand by every word of this:
Castro goes into my column as the consummate example of a guy who pours honey potion into your ear while he rams a stiletto dagger into your kidney. The dude’s appeal to the bulk of humanity was all talk. Castro talked a good game of social justice and equality. Then he turned around and enriched his own personal elite and destroyed his country. Depending on how you count, thousands or tens-of-thousands of Cubans were executed during his reign. Tens-of-thousands more died at sea fleeing his utopia. Also depending on how you count, perhaps 10-20% of Cubans left during the last five decades. The equivalent number is if around 30 million Americans felt the country was so bad they moved to Canada, with the understanding that say two million would die during the journey.
The end result of Marx to me is not the idea of social justice or class struggle. It’s the idea that humans can do just about anything to their fellow humans provided they use social justice as the justification of their cause. That’s the great evil of Marx. You can liquidate a few million fellow humans, but as long as your end goals were supposedly noble, folks will let you get away with it and apologize for your actions. That’s an interesting construct, unless you’re one of the broken eggs.
Marx was a pretty smart guy with a lot of interesting ideas. But, ultimately he didn’t understand the end game of his ideas. You can have whatever motivation you want, but when all you do is place all power into the hands of the few, and then provide them with the false moral cover of utopian progress, there is no limit on how cruel and ultimately evil a person can get. It’s why history’s two greatest serial killers are Stalin and Mao, and Hitler doesn’t even come close to their number of murders.
Marx wasn’t alive when all this happened. So you can possibly give him a pass for what subsequently occurred. He wasn’t around to potentially call bullshit to evil men who perverted his ideas and basically used them to do the same evil deeds as one would have seen from an 11th Century Khan. But still, ideas are ideas and they have power. Marx, and history, have to own up to what his ideas meant to the course of human history. Not to blindly celebrate them without deep thought as to the terror they wrought.