After reading this piece on the personal socioeconomic dynamics of Karl Marx’s life, I began to do some thinking about the man who so many current day progressives worship as a demigod in their futile pursuit of absolute equality. Here are some things that I pondered in that process.
This article is a look into his personal life and it digs a little deeper than many who worship his ideology will want people to know. It certainly reveals more than the Wikipedia version, where it just mentions he lived in poverty. It’s is more of a contrast than many have been led to believe. The portrait progressives paint of this man is an idea is based on a driven academic who labored tirelessly to defeat a perceived enemy. He wanted to beat down bourgeois capitalism and at the same time, elevate the status of the worker. He wanted to take property that was owned and give it those whom he felt it was owed. What they do not want us to know is how Marx neglected his own family in the process.
Marx was an outcast by his own choice and developed an attitude that the world owed him something, which is not unusual for those who are easily given over to class envy. Marx had the education. He could have used the opportunities afforded him, which could have put him in a better position to advance his causes and beliefs without making his family suffer in the process. But he didn’t and it begs the question: If a man does not demonstrate responsibility on a micro level, how can he be trusted to do so on a macro level?
Marx gets the lion’s share of the credit for the concept of socialism. While he wrote more about it than anyone else up to that time, he was not the father of it (by any means). From the beginning of time, there has been greed, lust, and envy. With the best intentions in their hearts, many men have come along the way and attributed them as direct causes of poverty, proclaiming the need to rid the world of them. If only there could be a society that was based on equality, a place where everyone would share the wealth equally. There would be know need for money. They could just trade services and help one another, from the kindness of their hearts–knowing that all needs would be met.
This fallacy has played out many times before with similar results, with each retrial being a “different” approach by someone who thought they knew a little more about how to make it work. Each retrial has the same outcome.
One only needs to read the story of Robert Owen and his utopian experiment of New Harmony, a little town that sits on the banks of the Wabash River in Indiana. (He bought it from George Rapp, who failed at his own attempts to create a utopian society, based on religion and the second coming of Christ.)
Owen’s goal was to create an egalitarian society based on the utopian socialist principles that Marx had yet to discover for himself. As you might guess, the Owen colony failed miserably within four years. The reasons for the short existence of this community can be safely surmised by people who are capable thinkers and understand the human condition. It doesn’t take a doctorate in sociology or human studies to figure it out.
Greed is a necessary evil that drives humans. You can take a human being out of a mainstream society that is filled with it, but you cannot take the inherent greed out of the human. Even with the promise that no one would get preferential treatment over another, Owen’s society could not succeed because people watched other people getting the same rewards for doing less and less. What was the use for a citizen to work hard, when his neighbor was getting the same reward…. for goofing off?
It’s difficult to believe that the outcomes of experiments such as Owens’ were not known to Marx, for New Harmony was busy failing while Marx was just a lad. Owens’ stature was elevated in the democratic socialist circles back in Britain, while he was away in the U.S. failing. He was well-known to many like Francis Scott Piven is known in today’s socialist academic community. And with the notoriety in that clique, you have to ask, what it was they failed to see in the world of research.
Marx likely had all kinds of access to the works of Owens and his contemporaries, it’s difficult to see why he didn’t look at those failures and realize that it was a useless notion that people could ever be equal in socioeconomic terms. The only reasoning I can come up with is, he was stubborn. He thought that Owens just didn’t do it right and he would need to correct his mistakes and the others who failed up to that point.
Marx continued his pursuits (all the while his family suffered) thinking that he could get it right, where others hadn’t. He likely became obsessed with it and overlooked feeding his own family, while feeding that obsession. He never realized his own influence while alive, but the nations that were beset with the poor outcomes from trying to prove his system was viable were sacrificed under the same stubborn spirit and misguided will.
The Soviet Union and Communist China failed miserably economically under much of his teaching. For the greater part of the 20th century, both nations were deceived into thinking that this was the answer for the world’s poverty and injustices. With both having now realized the error and having adopted capitalism as a basis for their economies, it’s evident more than ever that Marx was not right in his larger assertions. Even Vietnam has a booming capitalist economy, after the many years of attempting to demonstrate that forced Marxism was the hope for Southeast Asia.
Those nations that have made the conversion have done as well as could be expected, while others like Cuba and North Korea have maintained their status quo. In their continued contempt for free market enterprise, both are starving their people because of the stubbornness of their leadership. If this wasn’t enough to make you shake your head, we now have Venezuela making a useless attempt to drive the calendar backward one more time, in an attempt to once again demonstrate that the others didn’t do it right.
This flies firmly into the face of modern day progressives who are still telling themselves that Lenin, Mao, Castro, and the rest of the Communist goons, all had the right idea but just went about it wrong. They think that Obama’s model of socialism will do better than those that have failed before him. They are just arrogant enough to think they have more answers than those who spent their lives trying to implement utopia on the earth many years ago, when life was so much simpler and wants were far fewer.
In all of the modern day progressive thought patterns and the variables they dream up to make their way better, they fail to take into account the one constant that cannot be removed. Greed.
The Soviets saw what Americans had and noted they did not have them. They saw their ruling class with everything given to them, for doing nothing more than being in the ruling class. In all of the many years of Communist indoctrination taught to the masses, they could not remove greed, lust and envy from the human condition. They could force the people to repeat chants, regurgitate socialist theories, and become endeared to a system that preached the evils of capitalism. But they could not take reality from their minds and remove the desire to accumulate wealth for their own selfish purposes.
They saw, they lusted, they envied. And so it goes today.