Saturday, August 01, 2020

Heaven on Earth in Two Easy Steps

For someone who hates capitalism, Marx is quite the salesman. Here's his pitch for communism:

It is the definitive resolution of the antagonism between man and nature, and between man and man. It is the true solution of the conflict between existence and essence, between freedom and necessity, between individual and species. It is the solution of the riddle of history and knows itself to be this solution (in Taylor).

Sold! I'll take one in moonlight blue metallic.

Sorry. Only have black. And those are out of stock. How about size 13 work boot in moonlight blue metallic?

Marx does indeed make an attractive offer. The problem -- one problem, anyway -- is that if one limits oneself to Marxist categories, no such claim is possible. But the founder of an ideology always makes an exception for himself, and this is one of its giveaways.

For Marx, consciousness is conditioned by class. Except for Marx, who is totally classless. As it so happens, everyone who knew Marx agrees that this was the case, but we're not taking about manners, hygiene, and body odor.

I was introduced to this problem back in graduate school. For example, Freud claims that all our thoughts and actions are motivated by unconscious conflict. Except for Freudianism. At the other end, Skinner claims that everything is reducible to conditioned responses. Except for the ideology of behaviorism, which is unconditionally true. Others prefer to reduce consciousness to electrochemical brain activity, but nevertheless expect us to take their brain activity seriously.

Back to Marx. Let's evaluate his claim. First of all, it is definitive, which means absolute and final. It is unsurpassable, just like any other revelation.

In the past we've explained that one of the enduring and ineradicable appeals of leftism is its promise of political solutions to inevitable existential problems that are part of the human condition. It can even make this appeal in a sincere and intellectually consistent manner by merely turning the cosmos upside down and inside out. Thus, by placing existence ontologically prior to essence, it follows that man has it within his power to transform both himself and the world.

Therefore, communism can indeed make the honest claim to resolve the antagonism between man and everything. As indicated in the paragraph above, it is the True Solution to the conflict between existence and essence, because it makes the latter a side effect of the former. It resolves freedom and necessity by conflating the two in the dialectic of history, and resolves the conflict between individual and species by subsuming them in the same inevitable movement.

Are you confused by the complexity of reality? Your perplexity is over: Marx has given us the definitive solution to the conundrum of history. He has seen the blueprint, "the laws which govern man and history with an iron necessity."

But before committing ourself to the sale, we might want to conduct a bit of due diligence, because Marx has an inflexible policy: all sales final. No returns. One vote, one time. Purchaser assumes all risk.

It reminds me of those signs that say You break it, you bought it. With Marxism, it's Since you bought it, your common sense must be broken. Or, If you buy it, make sure it's the Elite Package, because then you get to break lots of other people. Eggs & omelets.

Let's think about this product before we pull the trigger. Are there any other philosophies on offer that make the same extravagant claims as Marxism? National Socialism? Maybe, except for the bit about resolving the antagonism between man and man. Unlike Hitler's national socialism, Stalin's international socialism is totally nonviolent.

Wait. Christianity. Or, more to the point, the Incarnation. The purpose of the Incarnation is similar to that of communism, in that it too claims to be the definitive and unsurpassable resolution to various existential and ontological rifts between man and man, man and cosmos, man and God -- even man and woman!

The Incarnation is the very synthesis of existence and essence, freedom and necessity, individual and species. Why, it's the perfect (!) to the (?) of history.

So, now our choice is complicated. Or, perhaps not. For Marxism doesn't actually offer us a choice, since it is a science: unlike previous versions, this is scientific socialism, AKA dialectical materialism. All you anti-science conservative rubes don't get it: it doesn't matter whether you join Marx and Obama on the right side of history, it's coming anyway, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

Except perhaps join the vanguard of the revolution and participate in the dictatorship of the proletariat. That's the only way Lenin could figure out how to square Marx's absurcular thesis.

There's another commonality between communism and Marxism, and it is the "leap." Both require one and result in one. For Christianity there is the leap symbolized by vertical rebirth into the Kingdom, into open engagement with the divine attractor.

As to the communist leap into paradise, Marx

had an extremely simple-minded view of the transition. The revolution would abolish bourgeois society and hence the laws of its operation, and a united class of proletarians would take over and dispose freely of the economy it inherited....

[I]t is as though the laws of bourgeois society fall away with the abolition of this society the way the technology of carburetors would fall into irrelevance if we got rid of the internal combustion engine (ibid.).

So, paradise in two easy steps: 1) destroy existing power structures, and 2) usher in heaven on earth. Like what's happening in Democrat-run cities across the nation.

We're about out of time. The bottom line for today is that Marx makes claims and promises that literally only God could fulfill. No worries: as his followers might say, there is no God, and Marx is his prophet.

18 comments:

Cousin Dupree said...

Right on cue, leftists are burning Bibles in the streets of Portland. I don't think they should be spending all day knocking the other guy's product, rather, selling their own.

Oracle of Vidanatru said...

We must never forget that absolute power corrupts absolutely, yet forget most of us still do.

Petey said...

Eh. Power only frees latent corruption. For which reason all contemporary schemes of "empowerment" should be viewed with alarm, since the only barrier between these losers and the ability to avenge their self-imposed loserhood is the absence of power to do so. Leftism is but a promise to empower a new class of oppressors -- cf. the movement to force us to praise BLM.

Anonymous said...

So if I should wait to become powerful before I come out of the closet?

Oracle of Vidanatru said...

Yes. You must wait. And never comment here again.

Gagdad Bob said...

Why they will not and cannot engage in honest debate. Wordy but coonologically correct:

"the first thing everyone needs to understand about this ideology: it is a complete worldview with its own ethics, epistemology, and morality, and theirs is not the same worldview the rest of us use. Theirs is, very much in particular, not liberal....

"Debate and conversation, especially when they rely upon reason, rationality, science, evidence, epistemic adequacy, and other Enlightenment-based tools of persuasion are the very thing they think produced injustice in the world in the first place.... Their methods are, instead, storytelling and counter-storytelling, appealing to emotions and subjectively interpreted lived experience, and problematizing arguments morally, on their moral terms. Because they know the dominant liberal order values those things sense far less than rigor, evidence, and reasoned argument, they believe the whole conversation and debate game is intrinsically rigged against them in a way that not only leads to their certain loss but also that props up the existing system and then further delegitimizes the approaches they advance in their place. Critical Social Justice Theorists genuinely believe getting away from the “master’s tools” is necessary to break the hegemony of the dominant modes of thought. Debate is a no-win for them....

"You really do have to understand this like a religious view, very much like a Holy Spirit that is the Word, where the “Word” is the prevailing discourses, and the “Spirit” isn’t really holy: it’s systems of power and attempts at their disruption. Power is viewed to work through all people at all times as a result of the discourses that they accept and participate in, and so participating in conversation or debate with people who uphold the dominant discourses causes that power to work through you as well. That makes you complicit in the dominant discourses, even if you think you reject them, which makes having a conversation with the wrong person tantamount to a sin...."

And as our troll never stops reminding us:

"the Critical Social Justice view sees people who occupy positions of systemic power and privilege and yet who refuse to acknowledge and work to dismantle them, to the full satisfaction of the Critical Social Justice Theorists, to be utterly morally reprehensible. They are racists. They are misogynists. They hate trans people and want to deny their very existence. They are bigots. They are fascists. They are “literal” Nazis. Not only that, they are willfully so, and their main objective is to defend and spread their hateful ideology in the world."

Gagdad Bob said...

What's remarkable is the way in which this style of "thinking" has swept through the culture, even though I'm sure the average Dem doesn't understand a thing about Critical Social Justice theory, and would probably even disavow it if it were explained to them.

Gagdad Bob said...

The question is, what is the psycho-spiritual or pneumo-cognitive weakness this mind parasite is so easily able to exploit? What's the point of entry, and what is the mechanism it appropriates, mimics, and destroys?

Gagdad Bob said...

Some important clues, courtesy of Dávila:

--“Social justice” is the term for claiming anything to which we do not have a right.

--Socialism is the philosophy of the guilt of others.

--The left claims that the guilty party in a conflict is not the one who covets another’s goods but the one who defends his own.

--When one does not concede to the leftist all that he demands, he proclaims himself the victim of an institutional violence that is licit to repel with physical violence.

--Activism is the asylum for one who has nowhere to dwell and nowhere to go.

--Social problems are the delightful refuge of those fleeing from their own problems.

--When the progressive condemns, every intelligent man must feel alluded to.

Gagdad Bob said...

Or, maybe it's just mental illness. Which isn't an insult if it's true; rather, it's compassion.

Anonymous said...

Angsty protest mobs are as American as apple pie. Historically, it's been how elites got motivated to tweak Rule of Law.

Mandating participants of such things to treatment or mental institutions might be considered authoritarian. We've got a ways to go before authoritarianism becomes as American as apple pie.

Gagdad Bob said...

Except in this case it's elites using mobs to destroy the rule of law and consolidate their power.

julie said...

It is the definitive resolution of the antagonism between man and nature, and between man and man. It is the true solution of the conflict between existence and essence, between freedom and necessity, between individual and species. It is the solution of the riddle of history and knows itself to be this solution

...

The question is, what is the psycho-spiritual or pneumo-cognitive weakness this mind parasite is so easily able to exploit?

Easy: over the course of generations, encourage and support the breakdown of the family; teach children that Godlessness is just as valid as faith - no, more so, because science!; encourage them to live "in the moment" and indulge every fantasy and emotion without regard to consequences; push a pornographic, hedonistic lifestyle which nevertheless leaves a significant number of people feeling left out, hopeless and disaffected; help them develop a massive sense of both unfairness and guilt; then, offer them an "answer" that promises to solve all the problems and bring about utopia, which coincidentally looks like exactly the same things they've been doing but without the guilt.

Gagdad Bob said...

"The modern man is the man who forgets what man knows about man."

I'm a member of the generation that accomplished this to the full. Future generations may never be able to pay the bill.

julie said...

There will always be a remnant. In some generations, or series of generations, the only choice a person has is whether to be a part of it, or to throw in his lot with the world.

Going back to the "whys," it starts with both attacks on linking and attacks on the family. Ideally (which of course means everyone falls short, but that nevertheless we have something to aim for), the family structure should be a type of the church, complete with a hierarchy that serves not to keep any member down, but rather to lift each one up. Marxism, conversely, aims to (in theory) destroy hierarchy even as it effectively (in practice) creates a permanent underclass ruled by a small subset of privileged elites, in a hierarchy which serves only to keep almost everyone down. For the "common good" of course.

Gagdad Bob said...

I can't recommend Sowell's Knowledge & Decisions highly enough. It might be his best book, but wait for a cheap copy. 40 years ago he was able to describe everything that's happening now.

Anonymous said...

Except in this case it's elites using mobs to destroy the rule of law and consolidate their power.

I'm intrigued. We need to know more about how our corporate-intellectual-gayloving elites are using these protests against the American Way Of Life.

Anonymous said...

Easy: over the course of generations, encourage and support the breakdown of the family; teach children that Godlessness is just as valid as faith - no, more so, because science!; encourage them to live "in the moment" and indulge every fantasy and emotion without regard to consequences; push a pornographic, hedonistic lifestyle which nevertheless leaves a significant number of people feeling left out, hopeless and disaffected; help them develop a massive sense of both unfairness and guilt; then, offer them an "answer" that promises to solve all the problems and bring about utopia, which coincidentally looks like exactly the same things they've been doing but without the guilt.

Indeed. Not to mention the ownership of government by a handful of corporate elites determined to send jobs and technologies overseas (to "enhance global capitalism") while encouraging illegal visa-overstay immigration and mindless consumerism, for their own few extra quarterly bonus bucks, resulting in the hopelessness which causes what you described.

I'd suggest trying to bring back the Billy Graham Leave It To Beaver My Three Sons days of American salt of the earth culture, but things were pretty economically progressive back then.