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Monday, May 07, 2018

Marx and Violence, and the Blank Slate

Some defenders of Marx like to claim that we shouldn't blame him for the violence and deaths of Communism (which, incidentally, far outnumber those of Nazism, which naturally leads to it being celebrated by leftists instead of condemned, but that is another story).

As one defence of Marx I read today went:

"attributing the illiberal horrors of totalitarian communism to karl marx is just a mistake. he was a philosopher in favor of more freedom and individual well-being, not less; he just got the philosophy wrong.

blame him for leninism and maoism, and you might as well blame nietzsche for the 3rd reich.

which is to say, you might as well be wrong"

This put me in the mind of the modern leftist's political compass:

It is clear from Marx's writings that he wasn't promoting peace and love.

Most people know the famous ending of the Communist Manifesto:

"The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win."

Perhaps this "forcible overthrow", the "revolution" which other "classes" will "tremble at" where a world will be won is clue enough.

Yet, Marx apologists might claim that he was speaking metaphorically, or otherwise explain away this line.

Fortunately, Marx also wrote this commentary responding to 1848's Vienna Uprising, where he certainly wasn't speaking about abstractions:

"The crushing counter-blow of the June revolution will be struck in Paris. With the victory of the "red republic" in Paris, armies will be rushed from the interior of their countries to the frontiers and across them, and the real strength of the fighting parties will become evident. We shall then remember this June and this October and we too shall exclaim:

Vae victis!

The purposeless massacres perpetrated since the June and October events, the tedious offering of sacrifices since February and March, the very cannibalism of the counterrevolution will convince the nations that there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror."

--- The Victory of the Counter-Revolution in Vienna, Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 136 November 1848

As a bonus, here's a quote from Engels where he orgasms over upcoming violence:

"The next world war will result in the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples. And that, too, is a step forward."

--- The Magyar Struggle / Neue Rheinsiche Zeitung No. 194 January 1849

Interestingly, it seems that Marxism promotes the Blank Slate philosophy too (this makes so much sense in retrospect):

"the human essence has no true reality"

"It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness."

"As individuals express their life, so they are. What they are, therefore, coincides with their production, both with what they produce and with how they produce. The nature of individuals thus depends on the material conditions determining their production."
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