The twentieth century was a period in world history that saw more than one dramatic reshaping of the world's political and economic landscapes. Many of Europe's oldest monarchies collapsed giving way to other forms of government. Two world wars were fought that brought an end to European imperialism and saw the formation of new governments in parts of the world that had never been ruled by an organized and centralized indigenous government. Much of the political turmoil of the twentieth century is at least tangentially related to the ideas of Karl Marx whose Communist Manifesto begins, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”
The lens through which Marxism views the world presumes that the rich exploit the poor, the powerful oppress the weak, and that every human relationship between non-situational equals involves oppression, exploitation, and struggle. As a result, all of society is divided into two basic classes: the oppressed and the oppressors. Marxism claims to have the remedy to end these struggles and to place all men on equal situational and economic grounds. The fact is, Marxism is fatally flawed and the Marxist formula for ending class warfare simply produces nothing but death, suffering, and misery. In the twenty-first century, an estimated 85 million to 100 million people died as the result of Marxist experiments around the world, and many more hundreds of millions have been subjected to deprivation and poverty.
Marxism is evil. Marxism is nothing short of demonic, in fact. Marxism seeks to create an unattainable Utopia that looks remarkably similar to the eschatological promises of the Judeo-Christian tradition. The problem, however, is that Marxism seeks to create this Utopia now, rather than to wait to see the people hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks when the Lord returns to bring an end to all war and usher in eternal peace. Marxism gets a bit ahead of itself and tries to build the perfect society without the benefit of a perfect King and perfected people.
The newly formed Soviet Union experienced an abysmal decline in agricultural production in the first years following the October Revolution. In response, even Lenin himself backed away from pure Marxism/Communism and allowed for the privatization of small farms. This type of moderated Marxism is what we know as socialism, and while socialism is not as drastic as pure Marxism, it is Marxism none-the-less and infected by the same faulty assumptions.
Economist Thomas Sowell wrote, “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” This evasion of facts is fueled by an ideology that appreciates the goals of Marxism, but presumes materialism and fails to understand the fundamental flaws and inconsistencies of Marxist ideas.
This is the first of four posts that I am writing on the faulty assumptions of Marxism that infect every manifestation of the idea from the most ardent, militant Soviet-style Communism to the broadly accepted socialist welfare states of the west that we see manifested in Western Europe and beginning to emerge in the United States. I will not address every flaw of Marxism, or even flesh out all of the depth of the flaws that I do discuss. I do hope, however, that these posts will be helpful for those struggling to understand the implications and significance of the infection of Marxist ideas in our society.
Kramer, Mark, ed., The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, and Repression
Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto