“In each variant of Socialism that appeared from about 1900 onwards the aim of establishing liberty and equality was more and more openly abandoned. The new movements which appeared in the middle years of the century . . . had the conscious aim of perpetuating unfreedom and inequality”; because the true goal was to end history upon becoming the perpetual High ruling class — composed not of aristocrats or plutocrats, but of “bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organisers, publicity experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists and professional politicians” originally from “the salaried middle class and the upper grades of the working class”.
There are times in life when I look back at what I did and feel like I invested my time and energy well. Then, there was that time I signed up for the course in Marxian Economics. The primary text was Das Kapital (In English, thank God!) If you’ve never read Marx, have someone who doesn’t have a life to squander read it for you and write up some Cliff’s Notes. Calling the prose lugubrious unfairly insults the Ancient and Honorable Lugubrian Order.
However, there are positives in having a good grounding in the maunderings of St. Karl. John Maynard Keynes would never have been as obnoxious without him. As Keynes’ friend and confidant at Oxford, Joan Robinson, wrote in her Open Letter From a Keynesian to a Marxist, “What I mean is that I have Marx in my bones and you have him in your mouth.” Also, there is the fact that Marx can be seen as a philosophical limit; beyond which madness and deracination run rampant like the Scots, the Picts and the Gaels once did beyond Hadrian’s Wall. Today I delve into how Barack Obama landed convincingly to the left of what Karl Marx considered rational economic policy back in his day.
On August 29th of this year, George Magnus wrote an Op-ed entitled “Give Karl Marx a Chance to Save the World Economy.” At first I thought “Bravo, let’s just drop the cloak and dagger crap and get to the real issue of who American Liberals actually are!” On second thought, I came to a rather thought-jarring conclusion. In comparison to the staid and boring Beardo The Weirdo, those creeps camping out on Wall Street are bat-beep insane.
Compared to President Obama’s American Jobs Act, Karl Marx would be a breath of fresh air. You see, Marx once said he wasn’t down with that sort of venture socialism in his text entitled The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon.
Marx wrote this as a polemic against the coup mounted by Louis Napoleon in late 1851. Predictably, Marx is far more pro-Democracy than the Democrat currently serving as Governor in The Great State of North Carolina. In Chapter V, he expressly condemns Louis Napoleon’s machinations against the French National Assembly.
In his Daily Caller Piece entitled “Karl Marx on Obama’s jobs plan,” Alan Reynolds reads Marx so that you don’t have to. Reynolds identifies something very striking. He describes Karl Marx’s denunciation of Louis Napoleon’s proposed efforts to prevent the French Economy from falling into a state of extended high unemployment. Louis Napoleon’s Uncle, Napoleon Bonaparte, frequently used government sinecures as a way to provide livelihood for otherwise unemployable individuals. Like good old Uncle Napolean, the new Bonaparte paid for these positions by going into National Debt. Marx’s critique of this policy would go well with the crumpets at a local Tea Party if someone not named Karl Marx offered it up.
“Industry and trade, hence the business affairs of the middle class, are to prosper in hot-house fashion under the strong government,” Marx explained. “The people are to be given employment. Inauguration of public works. But the public works increase the obligations of people with respect to taxes.”
As Marx is wont to do, he continues writing.
“An unemployed surplus population,” wrote Marx, “reaches out for state offices as a sort of respectable alms, and provokes the creation of state posts.” Indeed, he added, “an enormous bureaucracy, well-dressed and well-fed, is the ‘idée napoléonienne’ which is most congenial of all to the second Bonaparte.”
It’s a genuine shame when politicians use stimulus bills to buy themselves electoral popularity. But then he lays out precisely why this has deleterious impact on the future of any nation.
“Taxes are the source of life for the bureaucracy,” Marx explained, “[and] for the whole apparatus of executive power. Strong government and heavy taxes are identical.” These taxes, he added, “rob [the peasant’s] industry of its last resources and aid and complete his powerlessness to resist pauperism.” For the taxpaying class, he added, “strong and unlimited government … has become a vampire that sucks out its blood and marrow.”
Wouldn’t it be cool if someone were to actually say this at the next GOP debate! What a sound bite. Workers of the world unite! Vote out the Democrats in 2012.
Of course, this misrepresents Karl Marx by taking his beliefs out of the context of his times. In the 19th Century, Marx was poison to the civil decency of his age. His acolyte, Vladimir Lenin, was later shipped to Russia as an act of ideological terrorism against the Russian Czars. What a shame that it worked.
However, it also demonstrates what George Orwell was discussing in the quote I pulled atop this post. The Left is bad now. But just 20 more years, and they will worsen like a fish, rotting on the docks in Late-August. Every election is an election that the Left must lose.
Encouraging them at all will only make our nation’s survival more tenuous. Had their ideological drift stopped after Marx, Mitt Romney would mutter aghast at their troglodytic Paleo-Conservatism. We don’t just vote against the vile left of today’s Barack Obama; we must also vote to stop the unnamed nut-job who will lead them still further from reason 20 years hence.