Karl Marx’s opium
by Cathy N.
“Capital”, along with the “Communist Manifesto” by Marx and Engels, has been a holy book for millions of people all over the world for many decades. Many countries and regimes have adopted it in the exact same way devoted believers adopt their bible and to this day North Korea, China, and a few other countries and communities claim that this book is their essential guide. In many ways, “Capital” is similar to sacred religious scriptures as it claims to have the one and only valid set of commands. It diagnoses the societies’ illnesses and prescribes the remedy to elevate the masses’ suffering. If you happened to disagree with what Marx wrote, then you are the evil enemy of the people and hence must be eliminated, according to the devotees. For many years, if you disagreed with Marx’s ideas in China, you could be considered mentally sick by psychiatrist and would be held in a mental institution.
A subjective & biased understanding of a narrow segment of reality
On 30th April, 2018 the New York Times put a picture of Marx’s statue next to an article by Jason Barker entitled “Happy Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were right!”. Surprisingly, there are people all over the world who still claim that Marxism was good and practical. It was the faulty implementation, they argue when confronted with the disastrous consequences every country that adopted these ideas suffered.
Over the ages, many scholars have penned hefty books to analyse and criticise Marx’s writings – see for example “Marxism: Philosophy and Economics” by Thomas Sowell. Most of these books, unfortunately, are complex and technical, and thus not very accessible. For that reason, here we will analyse the book without the jargon used by specialists and without the usual sugar-coating used by many writers to seem neutral.
In a nutshell, “Capital” is a script based on a biased personal understanding of a specific makeup and one type of relationships within certain European societies. This understanding is written in vague, philosophical language borrowed mainly from Hegel and formalised into laws that are supposed to apply to the diverse human societies. The book is neither scientific nor philosophical and it lacks clear definitions of the issues it discusses. Its theory is vague, naive, and it cannot be falsified which makes it appealing to specific types of people. (A theory must be falsifiable to be considered scientific. Religious dogma, for instance, is not falsifiable.)
Is ambition bad?
Marxism ignores the individual differences, capabilities, and desires. It overlooks the fact that greed, self-actualization, self-esteem, entrepreneurship, and competition are important motives that contribute immensely to the wellbeing of humans as well as advance societies. They are not necessarily evil nor destructive. Loving yourself and desiring to live a better life than others is the essential force that encourages people to work hard, invent new things and come up with solutions. It is related to imagination as well as to ambition. Each person thinks of himself/herself as special and this belief, which is valid since everyone is genetically unique, motivates them to find their passion and excel in it. Ambitious people can be described as greedy but at the same time it was them who contributed to human civilization and made the world a better place. The ones who invented all these machines as well as medications, created art and architecture could be described as greedy as they desired recognition and fame, so is this bad?
Enemy number 1.
The most dangerous aspect of Marx’s ideas is the way he divides the society and pits people against each other. Rich people are presented as enemies of the workers. There is a zero-sum struggle between the social classes, where the poor are the good and the wealthy are the evil. This notion is an oversimplification; it is false and dangerous. In the history of humanity, societies have taken different shapes for different reasons. The existence of a hierarchy within any community is a given and a necessity as it reflects the fact that people are not equal in their aspirations or their abilities. In order for humans to survive, they need organizations as well as motives. The main issue is not the fact that there are some rich people who have more than many of the poor people. The issue is whether these people have accumulated their wealth through legitimate ways or through exploitation of others. The cause of poverty cannot be attributed to injustice alone, as in many cases it is the result of bad decisions, laziness, and shortcomings. Being rich is not the result of evil and greed solely. In many cases, it results from hard work, exceptional abilities, and good planning.
The notion that prices of commodities must be regulated by governmental employees based on the relationship of the production cost is illogical as many commodities’ costs are immeasurable. How can an administration measure the cost of producing a litre of milk or a bar of soap? Is it sensible to evaluate a nurse’s, a scientist’s, a policeman’s, and a comedian’s work on the same ladder? Can we say that the ones who worked for 200 hours to invent a vaccine must receive what any shop keeper would receive for that length of work?
Why did many people believe in Karl Marx’s ideas?
First of all, we need to realise that different people accepted these authoritarian ideas for different reasons. There are the dreamers, the psychopaths, the self-serving and the attention-seekers.
Psychopaths have been fascinated by the writings of Karl Marx for decades. His ideology provides them with the needed philosophical means to attain power and subjugate other people with impunity. For instance, Stalin was a mentally disturbed Georgian criminal from an impoverished background, thus, in a normal society which understands the importance of accountability, collective identity as well as values merit, he would have had very limited chances of avoiding jail, let alone become an absolute ruler of a nation whose majority belongs to a different ethnicity, culture, and language than his. It was through the rationale that ethnicities, language, backgrounds and merits are irrelevant, which was advanced by other communists who themselves were criminals and underachievers and who blame the society for their failure, that Stalin became a tsar. He introduced himself as a selfless member of the proletariat struggling to salvage the good people from the corrupt rich men. This construction made him able to claim that he was better for Russians than the Romanov and all the other Russian intellectuals. All his failures as a human were attributed to the unjust system rather than his own decisions and evil traits.
Psychopaths still defend all the crimes committed by Stalin through to this day. The murder of millions of people and the destruction of the great nation from which it did not recover have been described as necessary and sometimes even as good by people who are considered sane.
The second group is made up of dissatisfied people who seek attention, usually as a self-defence mechanism. Over the years I have met many fiery Marxists, who wanted to liberate the masses and destroy the state. Once you know them well, you see that what they have in common is that they have been suffering psychologically because they haven’t been able to satisfy their sexual desires. They insult the governments and the rich people with passion whenever they open their mouths. They hate Israel, America, and the white people who took advantage of the kind and nice coloured folks. They love Bernie, and they care about the environment. You see them participating in protests, screaming into the megaphones and clashing with the police. They demand justice for everyone but their own victims. Many of them live a parasitic life. They take advantage of people around them. They are too busy to work and hence, cannot commit to marriage or to a serious relationship, but they want sex and some money all the time. They support abortion because it is the best solution for the women they got pregnant and do not intend to support. They are the leaders of humanity, thus, must not be held to the same standards as the commoners whom they are trying to salvage. When they are old and lonely, they tend to find naïve, submissive young girls who forgot all the talk about equality and women emancipation to take care of them.
The self-serving Marxist
Many selfish, arrogant, evil people tend to present themselves as socialists and communists who have a deep respect for the writings of the great Karl Marx. They live in the United States, Canada, Europe. They have millions of dollars and own huge houses but they are against the free economy. They are against the greedy, wealthy people but they are themselves greedy, wealthy people who live off other people’s hard work without any significant contribution. A journalist who has a well-paid job, never gave anything to the poor except when he volunteered for two weeks in South America, never worked hard in his life, never struggled to pay his bills, is talking in order to satisfy his swollen ego. A medical doctor who deceived countless girls and hurt them, neglected his patients and took advantage of people around presents himself as a compassionate person who cares about the impoverished. He would never treat a patient for free unless it is part of the show but wants the masses to worship him because he is giving them his empty talk. Bernie Sanders who worked as a carpenter before getting into politics has been living off the taxpayer’s dollar for many decades. His net worth is over 3 million dollars and he sells his memoir: “Our revolution: a future to Believe” on Amazon for £25. Nothing is for free, not even the amazing ideas.
Adopting such ideas through talk is an easy way for the freeloaders to feel good about themselves.
The biggest number of followers by far are the dreamers. They are usually individuals who come from privileged backgrounds. They sincerely feel for the impoverished and want to believe that it is not at all their fault that they are suffering. They also want to revolt against their parents. “A man who doesn’t have a steady income but would spend what he makes on drugs and have many kids and neglect them is a victim and he is not worse than my father who works hard and has been supporting me and paying my university fees.” The criminals who steal and kill are victims of the society part of which are the doctors because they were privileged to get into medical schools, no matter that they work more than 50 hours a week. The rich people are the villains.
When it comes to “poor” criminals, it is not their fault but when it comes to the rich, then they brought it onto themselves. They have been exploiting the workers and they must be banished . The people who come from the poor background but worked hard and succeeded are not better than the ones who went into crime or unemployment and they need to give up what they have acquired to the ones who don’t want to work.
I was one of the dreamers
I hated my father because he was bourgeois. His father (my granddad) died when my dad was a child and left him four younger siblings and debts. He worked various jobs before owning his business. He was frugal and very harsh on himself. He would use whatever he could spare to improve his business. Our house was beautiful but what me and my siblings got as pocket money was less than what our friends got, even the ones whose parents worked for my parents. Some of my dad’s workers were spending much more on holidays and going out than us. I hated my dad’s frugalness and I hated his ambition much more. He was pushing me to be successful and I didn’t like it coming from him.
I was very fascinated by Marx’s idea about social equality, about the struggle for justice. I hated the rich people, particularly my dad. I was so impressed by a number of radical Marxist professors at the university who would publicly call for a revolution. I would attend their talks and lectures, missing my classes. They introduced me to all the fiery leftist thinkers.
I attended many of Chomsky’s talks, watched his lectures and debates and read his books. I was so fascinated by the halo created for him by the herd. Nevertheless, the constant insults and attacks against America and Europe as well as the endless praise for China, Cuba, and Venezuela by the influential thinkers of the left, Chomsky included, were puzzling for me. They were contradicting the obvious, but still I had to believe them as I was, too, a Marxist. After these states failed and I saw what was happening to their people and how the leftist would not admit that they were wrong in supporting evil dictators, I was disillusioned, at last. My visits to Venezuela and Cuba made me realise that the intellectuals of the left are among the worst kind of mercenaries and hypocrites that walked this earth.
After years of being hypnotized, I woke up to discover that I was deceived by a bunch of crooks who made fortunes through empty rhetoric. They were allies of poverty and injustice, not the poor nor the victims. They lived in the freest country on earth while praising ruthless dictators.
On a personal level, the disappointment was much, much greater. Each and every one of the influential Marxist I knew personally turned out to be a parasite that lived off the vulnerable people’s blood and sweat. The eloquent professor who introduced me to Marx and Chomsky turned out to be a womaniser and a rapist that took advantage of many distressed girls who were, like me, searching for guidance, passion, and a role model. I was not his first nor his last love/victim. He was not the only one who used the Marxist propaganda about justice and equality to numb his victims while taking advantage of them. His best friend, who had immigrated from Iran to teach the Americans how to live their lives, would praise the Islamic regime but disparage every democratic government. That friend would not help his own mother, and when he got an 18-year-old student pregnant, he pressured her to abort the baby. He told her that she needed to focus on her career, and he would do his utmost to help her achieve her goals. We discovered after years that he was still married to his first cousin and they had four children. His wife was not allowed to work or go to university or even go out without her hijab.
It took me years to realise that many of the Marxists and socialists who keep arguing that we as humans are not free and hence should not be held accountable for our deeds are doing that for selfish reasons. This argument, which is usually promoted by individuals who seek to alleviate their feelings of guilt coming from what they are doing to other people, has been presented fraudulently as scientific despite its detrimental consequences. Constructing criminals as victims is a bottomless abyss and once it has been adopted by a society, there is no way back. But dreamers didn’t know that, and I was among them. I wanted to be guided by a noble guy who cares about the people. I wanted someone who was different from my successful father who believed in personal responsibility. And that’s who they are.