Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Marxism is intellectualism for stupid people"

I try to be careful and say that holding a stupid idea does not necessarily make someone stupid, but I still had a good laugh at a brief Moe Lane post when it read:

Marxism is intellectualism for stupid people – and, believe me: if you’ve got books by Stalin in your library and you’re using those books to look for ideas… yes, you are a stupid person.
I figured he was being unfair. Surely modern Marxists are tripping over themselves to dismiss the Soviet Union as not-real communism because "real communism has never been tried," a tired and dishonest claim because communism has been tried over and over again, it just doesn't produce what a primitive writer promised it would. The recipe is flawed.

But, sure enough, the Russia Today clip of a trendy New York City overwhelmingly-white Marxist clubhouse clearly showed books by Stalin literally sitting on the shelf.

I'm reminded of the amusing anecdote of what Robert Conquest suggested when he was asked to give a new title to The Great Terror. It had to be updated because his original estimates of 20 million murdered by the Soviet Union were too low. However, I have a strict blogging policy against vulgarity so I'm outsourcing that title to another blogger.

The modern advocates of Marxism are so frustrated with their own failures that they have to claim capitalist countries as success stories for socialism and move the goalpost to things like the literacy rate or claim gulag slave labor defeated unemployment.

When it's 2011 and the intellectual support for your belief has crumbled and the only advocates left are on the fringe, when you are one of the richest persons both in history and the world but still complain you don't have enough and when you seek answers from dusty half-developed recipe books responsible for a nine-digit body count, well, maybe that is enough to call you stupid.

Update: I hope most progressives will notice I'm not talking about left-wing views in general - I'm talking about Marxism in particular. This isn't about people who support, for example, government-run health care, it's about people who want to replace capitalism with central planning.


  1. Ouch, Michael! That was one hell of an invective! I'm humbled by the truth and conviction of this post. I'll likely have to link it to my fbook for all to read! Can't wait for the liberal replies to come!

  2. Good call Abner, I added an update to make sure the only left wingers who get offended are the ones who deserve to be.

  3. Yes. I even know someone who is incredibly smart and calls himself a socialist, but has said you can't have a society without some form of capitalism. I am refering to modern-day Marxists, and I've met plenty of them at college.

  4. "And that attracts the worst kind of hippie...the college know-it-all hippie."

  5. I have to disagree a bit - I think Marxism is pervasive on the left. Seeing humanity as a collective to be managed, dividing men into classes and pitting them in envy-based warfare against one another are signatures of the modern left inherited from Marx. Environmentalism is a kind of post-modern Marxism in which humanity itself is the bourgeousie and the planet is the proletariat. The names change but fundamentally things stay the same. Smart people are drawn to all-encompassing ideologies. And on the right there is little offered in the way of ideology - just an appeal to tradition/patriotism and the occasional practical argument.

  6. Well Mark just proves my whole point when I argue with leftists. Most human beings are motivated more by their physicality than by their mentality or spirituality, which is why a right wing society, however bankrupt of intellectual capital, is almost always going to work more efficiently than a left-wing one.(I must add that there are a few freakish exceptions - Sweden you're weird)
    I'm not stupid, and I can say that I have a profound respect for Marx himself and many left-wing ideologies, but I can't say that I'm not just as tempted by limitless wealth, recreational drug use without consequences, and loads of non-committal sex as much anyone else is.

  7. >>"real communism has never been tried,"a tired and dishonest claim because communism has been tried over and over again..

    You haven't actually read Marx. You can't "try" Communism, since Marx postulated that Communism would develop naturally from State Socialism -- which would in turn develop in advanced Capitalist societies first. He also wrote approximately five sentences about what that society might look like. He knew you could not predict such a society any more than you could predict Capitalism during Feudalism. Lenin recognized that Russia -- as a backward peasant society -- would need to instead go through the stage of State Capitalism first, through rapid industrialization, and act as a sort of "place-holder" while the real revolution happened first in Germany. When that didn't happen, Stalin deviated from Marx and came up with the idea of "Socialism in one country." He also became permanently reliant on global markets. Those who critique an Enlightenment philosopher such as Marx usually do so from an extremely shallow understanding of him -- and quite often, directly from Cold-War era propaganda. The original definition of Socialism was that the means of production is controlled democratically through worker councils. Name a single self-described Socialist/Communist regime where this has been the case.

    1. It was clear the author of this trash hadn't bothered reading any of the ideas he was ridiculing from the title of this post. In fact, that is precisely why I read it. It had almost the opposite effect I hoped for, instead of giggling I reached the end in a slightly sadder state. Fortunately your comment fully redeemed my bad decision and I ended up having a giggle after all. Thanks for that. Also, thanks for defending historical truth and what I consider brilliant ideas of an all-too-often and incorrectly demonized man.

  8. My observation is that leftists tend to value logic based on its ability to make themselves feel good rather than based on its soundness. Due to this, they tend to be paternalistic - they believe that they are more capable of making decisions for other people than individuals are capable of making decisions for themselves. I had sympathies for socialism when I was much younger, but one lesson in economics (my teacher was a democrat by the way) was enough to show me reality. I forgive myself for my youthful arrogance, as I was only 14 at the time. It was the year I took economics that I realized how paternalistic and naive some of my beliefs were. Learning how the price system works was very integral for my worldview.

  9. the only socialism that is fair is the socialism that people have the option to get out of the socialist country and move to a capitalist one - the we would see if the state can survive itself