4 Responses to The Pathetic Premises and Argumentation of “The Communist Manifesto”

  1. RD June 6, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    This was an unexpected topic! 🙂 Interesting. Why did you feel led to write about Marx?

    Clearly, his (and Engels’) views are not, when implemented, very practical (as history has proven). Still, I do think there is value in carefully reviewing Marx and his views. As with ALL significant written texts, they don’t appear in a vaccum. It’s no accident that The Communist Manifesto was written when it was. For decades prior to its publication all of europe had been undergoing political, technological, economic and cultural change. The Manifesto was published in early 1848 and later that year major revolutions took place in 30-40 countries across Europe and even into Latin America. The Manifesto is rooted squarly in the center of the times in which it was written (as are all texts). We shouldn’t JUST read it through a 21st century American lens. We have to read it within the context of its origin.

    Again, it is clearly idealistic and naive in many respects, but it is a reaction to the political and economic realities of Marx’s times. It’s no surprise that it re-emerged in importance during the Bolshevik upheavals and also during later unrests of the mid-20th century.

    Still, there are aspects of Marx’s thought that we shouldn’t necessarily dismiss out of hand. In some aspects he’s correct when he talks about conflicts arising from a clash between the “haves” and the “have nots”. It was so in Jesus’ day, certainly. And Jesus himself spoke on several occasions about the fact that the economic realities of 1st century Rome would be turned upside down with the poor and the meak ruling the rich and the powerful (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Mount is much more of an economic/class struggle discourse than is Mattew’s account).

    Even in the OT, God’s decree of the Year of Jubilee is thought to be a means by which the steady accumulation of material possesions (land and the power it provides, in this case) must be purged from societal consciouness. The Jubilee leveled the economic playing field (had it ever been actually followed) so that the focus of the Hebrews would be on God and not on their earthly economic circumstances.

    Make no mistake. I own a business and am ALL about profits and capitalism and free enterprise. But, all systems carry within them a seed of abuse and distruction. Jesus warned about it, and even though his theories went too far and ultimately were grounded in faulty understandings, Marx still has some things to say about the make-up of society and the realities of economies that we should not just dismiss out of hand.

    • JMH June 6, 2011 at 9:55 am #

      Thanks RD, I read Marx, and I’ve checked out Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” I’m also really enjoying Whittaker Chambers’ “Witness.” What a book!

      I’m reading these things because I want to be sure that I understand liberals and communists and socialists.

      I’m trying to verify my working hypothesis, which is that the liberals want everything that Christianity offers, it’s just that they want it the way that Satan wants it–with themselves in place of God, or at least without God in the picture at all . . .

      So I think it’s interesting that just as in the book of Revelation all Satan can do is imitate what God has done with cheap perversions, so in Marxism, Marx has nothing better than phrases like “New Jerusalem” and “social Gospel” to describe what he wants and how it will be achieved.

      The Lord reigns, and the Bible is his word.

  2. RD June 6, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Is this for a new writing project or just for your own understanding?

    Wm F. Buckley, Jr. knew Chambers and has written quite a bit about him. You might check out some of his thoughts. Buckley and I corresponded briefly back in the 80s and I always enjoyed reading him. Buckley was an interesting guy. Arguably the father of modern conservatism, yet he wasn’t happy with the angry, exclusivist direction that the conservatism of the past 20 years has taken. There are, indeed, Buckley conservatives and there are Ann Coulter conservatives. A particular label isn’t necessarily all emcompassing.

    I offer one bit of caution to you – for what it’s worth – as you proceed. When you approach any group of people – in this case “liberals” – with a “working hypothesis… that the liberals want everything that Christianity offers, it’s just that they want it the way that Satan wants it–with themselves in place of God” take time to reflect and remember your own reaction to Marx’s predetermined view of the proletariat struggle: “This is a terrible oversimplification… [and] it fail to account for the complexity of human life”

    People, individually, are complex and complicated. Groups of people (Nations, governments, cultures, religious affilations, parents of little leaguers, etc) are even more complex and complicated.

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