In an earlier post, I identified the third erroneous Marxist assumption that I would be addressing as the assumption that the family does not matter. As I prepare this post, however, I think that a better way to describe a catastrophic flaw in the Marxist worldview is that it is morally bankrupt. Marxism hides behind a veneer that articulates the goals of the system in a morally admirable way. Who can argue that freeing the oppressed from oppression is a good thing? Anyone who has read the Minor Prophets knows that God cares about the way that nations treat the poor among them. Any believer who takes his faith seriously knows that while we are to be primarily concerned with the condition of men’s souls, we follow Christ’s example when we do good works that eliminate temporal human suffering. There is no doubt that there are well-intentioned Marxist idealists out there who believe that Marxism presents the best formula for accomplishing many laudable goals. As genuine as their belief may be, it is no less wrong. Marxism presents a system in which theft is institutionalized as personal property rights are eliminated. It also unnecessarily pits employee against employer, assuming that any situationally unequal relationship must be exploitative in some way. The most grievous moral defect, however, is Marxism’s goal of abolishing the family.
Marx concedes that the abolition of the family is radical, but the family as an institution is an oppressive bourgeois institution itself. Children, according to Marx, are exploited by their parents because they are educated within the system for purposes of perpetuating the class. Women are exploited by their husbands because they are "mere instruments of production." By eliminating the institution of the family, Marx purports to eliminate one of the tools of bourgeois oppression, leveling the social relationships between husband and wife and parent and child. Marx’s contemporary critics rightly argued that this would simply create a “community of women.” In a perfect world, no husband would ever exploit or otherwise marginalize his wife and no parent would ever abuse his or her children, but this is not a perfect world. The family is the institution that the Lord has provided for the care and nurture of children and it is the family that is the vehicle through which God uniquely blesses a society.
A society without strong families is a society that lacks a stable and solid foundation. THESE are the societies where women are valued only as objects and children are viewed as a hazard of sexual recreation. Every productive activity (i.e. “labor”) is comodified in a Marxist system—labor is understood to be property. If the “means of production” is property to be bought, sold, and stolen, then the “means of production” of children has the same status. Sex becomes a commodity and those members of the community of women who trade it like other commodities become prostitutes and those from whom it is stolen become victims.
In a Marxist system children are to be provided an education by the state from the earliest possible age. Children are to be disconnected from their parents and taught to be subservient to the state. They no longer function as a member of a family where they find love and provision. They are a part of the state where they are required to contribute. Certainly, all parents want their children to learn to work hard, to be generous, and to contribute. Unless a child loves to learn and trust, however, he will never be motivated to altruism. The family is where children learn to love and trust, not in state-sponsored “baby mills.”
It may seem that Marxism is a distant threat. The Soviet Union has collapsed and the nations that still hold to any pure form of Marxism are isolated and on the margins of the world scene. As mentioned in earlier posts, however, socialism is a pragmatically modified manifestation of Marxism. As the state provides more and more, the family becomes less and less critical. Members of society look to the state to provide healthcare, to solve problems, and ultimately, to raise their children. Socialism, like Marxism, results in the erosion of the family and as a result, the erosion of every institution (including the state, ironically) that is founded upon the family. Marxism eliminates respect for the spiritual and socialism only gives it passing mention, but no serious consideration. A Marxist dystopia may seem worlds away from us now, but the slide into it is both subtle and steep. Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises wrote, “The Marxians love of democratic institutions was a stratagem only, a pious fraud for the deception of the masses. Within a socialist community there is no room left for freedom.” Every revolution begins with democratic rhetoric and ends with the foreclosure of personal freedom and the elevation of the state above the value of the individual.