I believe modern society would be far saner and healthier if it worshiped Groucho Marx rather than Karl Marx, but as with most things, I find myself in a small and persecuted minority. (If you must know, I am also left-handed.)
Rounding down, let’s conservatively estimate that those who tried to put Karl Marx’s theories into practice caused the deaths of 100 million people, whether purposely or by accident. I’ll also arbitrarily presume a median height of 5’6” once you factor in all the males, females, strapping Russians, and diminutive Chinamen that Marxist regimes slaughtered. If you were to stack these people head-to-toe, Marxism’s victims would extend from planet Earth into outer space more than 100,000 miles. That’s a lot of corpses. But that’s also if you assume that ideas inevitably lead to actions.
Still, Marx’s name doesn’t have nearly the taint of Adolf Hitler’s—at least not these days. This is almost the complete inverse of how it was during my childhood in the 1960s. Back then, Hitler was merely some guy with a Chaplin mustache who lost a war and whose only lasting impact on society was to inspire biker-gang couture. Nazis seemed roughly as dangerous to the status quo as Eric von Zipper hassling Frankie and Annette in beach-party movies. Back then, it was Marx whom you couldn’t mention favorably without risking the loss of your job, social ostracism, and perhaps a right bloody ass-kicking. George Orwell, the 20th century’s greatest prophet, knew that society’s demons change once power shifts in the opposite direction. So instead of Karl Marx, it is Hitler who now wears the Devil costume.
Since Marx was primarily an economic theorist rather than a cultural one, I don’t even think he would approve of the modern lynch-mob mentality so honkingly ubiquitous amid Cultural Marxism’s useful idiots. Then again, I don’t think most modern Cultural Marxists would approve of many of the things Karl Marx said about Jews and blacks.
When dealing with such a controversial figure—one who wrote in another language, no less—quoting Marx invariably leads to possible problems of translation, context, and misattribution. I sifted through mountains of potentially damning citations, tried to determine their veracity as best I could, and only “cherry-picked” the ones that seem properly sourced, realizing that if one “t” is not crossed and a single “i” is not dotted, Marx’s legions of rabid acolytes will dismiss this article entirely—hell, most of them will do that, anyway. That’s just what fanatics do. Wealth redistribution is the religion of the opium-smoking masses.
Here are some quotes that would get Karl Marx ostracized from all modern cultural discourse—especially, as fate’s cruel irony would have it, among modern Cultural Marxists:
…the Jewish nigger [Ferdinand] Lassalle….It is now completely clear to me, that, as proven by the shape of his head and the growth of his hair, he stems from the Negroes who joined the march of Moses out of Egypt (if his mother or grandmother on his father’s side did not mate with a nigger). Now this combination of Jewry and Germanism with the negroid basic substance must bring forth a peculiar product. The pushiness of this lad is also nigger-like.
—Letter to Friedrich Engels, July 30, 1862
Indian society has no history at all, at least no known history. What we call its history is but the history of the successive intruders who founded their empires on the passive basis of that unresisting and unchanging society.
—The Future Results of British Rule in India, July 22, 1853
The French need a thrashing.
—Letter to Friedrich Engels, July 20, 1870
…the Spaniards are completely degenerated. But in the presence of a Mexican, a degenerated Spaniard constitutes an ideal. They have all the vices, arrogance, thuggery and quixoticism of the Spaniards to the third degree, but by no means all the solid things that they possess.
The Jews of Poland are the smeariest of all races.
—Neue Rheinische Zeitung, April 29, 1849
What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. … We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time, an element which through historical development – to which in this harmful respect the Jews have zealously contributed – has been brought to its present high level, at which it must necessarily begin to disintegrate. … The god of the Jews has become secularized and has become the god of the world. The bill of exchange is the real god of the Jew. His god is only an illusory bill of exchange. … Once society has succeeded in abolishing the empirical essence of Judaism – huckstering and its preconditions – the Jew will have become impossible….
—On The Jewish Question, 1844
There are several other citations attributed to Marx—as well as to Friedrich Engels, his benefactor and co-author of The Communist Manifesto—that would conclusively demonstrate to the handful of open-minded people who remain alive and unmuted in the Western world that he was at least as bigoted as, say, “Dog” the Bounty Hunter.
Marx’s battalions of blind apologists, yapping lapdogs that they are, will immediately scream that none of the above quotes detract from Marx’s general economic theories, that you can separate such isolated comments from the rest of his philosophy, and that he was merely a product of his time.
Fine. Then apply the same standards to Hitler and Robert E. Lee.
Whenever I hear someone say that the massively inhumane, soul-crushing, thought-murdering regimes that sprang from Marx’s philosophy didn’t represent “true” Marxism, the obvious rejoinder is that the Nazis and the Confederacy did not represent “true” ethnic nationalism.
Just as believing that wealth should be equitably distributed—a subjective notion if ever there was one—doesn’t mean you automatically will begin herding people into gulags, it is likewise true that disbelieving in the myth of innate human equality doesn’t instantly translate into a desire to start hanging people from trees and shoving them into ovens.
Ideas, no matter how misguided, should be allowed to roam freely. It’s humans who fuck them up. Ideas are separate from actions. Ideas do not automatically lead to harmful behavior. And attacking the character of a person who espouses ideas does not in any way discount his or her ideas. For the love of all that is holy and profane, I have no idea why any of this needs explaining, but apparently it can’t be explained enough.
So the minute you crazed and increasingly intolerant egalitotalitarians are willing to concede that ad-hominem attacks do not substitute for a legitimate argument, I’ll stop reminding you that Karl Marx said things that would send you all into a social-media Tweeting frenzy screaming for his blood. You lose the argument even by your own stupid rules. And the moment you show the guts and honesty to discuss ideas the right way—using “logic,” it’s a word you can look up in the dictionary—you’ll lose that argument, too.
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