Rehabbing Karl Marx Yet Again
Dr. Tim Stanley weighs in on the Left's continued attempts to rewrite history.
November 8, 2013 - 11:00 am
For decades, the Left has waged a war to bend history to suit their narrative. From the disinformation tactics of the former Soviet Union (and even Russia today) to the dishonesty in modern American textbooks, the Left has no compunction about changing the facts of history. Most recently, British leftist Owen Jones appeared on a BBC program and attempted to wash the hands of Karl Marx of the damage caused by his followers. Earlier this month, columnist and author Dr. Tim Stanley weighed in on Jones’ rehab attempts on Marx’s image:
I can’t quite believe that I’ve just sat through ten minutes of BBC television in which British journalists Owen Jones and Zoe Williams have defended Karl Marx as the prophet of the End of Capitalism. Unbelievable because I had thought Marxism was over with the fall of the Berlin Wall – when we discovered that socialism was one part bloodshed, one part farce. But unbelievable also because you’d have to be a pretty lacking in moral sensitivity to defend a thinker whose work sent millions of people to an early grave.
I don’t want to have to rehearse the numbers but, apparently, they’re not being taught in schools anymore – so here goes. Sixty-five million were murdered in China – starved, hounded to suicide, shot as class traitors. Twenty million in the USSR, 2 million in North Korea, 1.7 million in Africa. The nightmare of Cambodia (2 million dead) is especially vivid. “Reactionaries” were sorted out from the base population on the grounds of being supporters of the old regime, having gone to school or just for wearing glasses. They were taken to the side of paddy fields and hacked to death by teenagers.
On the BBC broadcast, Jones and journalist Zoe Williams both dismissed Marx as “just an economist,” yet Stanley neatly draws the line from Marx’s theorizing to the natural result of Marxism’s implementation:
It’s possible to argue that Marx was an economist rather than a politician – that he only analysed the failings of Capitalism and never offered the blue-print for building socialism that would end in disaster in the 20th century. But that misses the point that Marx’s analysis was what informed that blue-print and, so, he bears intellectual responsibility for it. His view that all human relations are shaped by economics and that everything we do is measured in purely material terms reduced the individual to a pawn in a historic war between competing classes. You’re not a person – you’re either an exploiter or an alienated peasant… Throw into the mix Karl’s belief that the working-class could not lose – historical determinism – and you get the kind of fanatical, anti-human view of life that would end inevitably in gulags. “To keep you is no benefit, to destroy you is no loss,” said the teenage vanguard of the Cambodian communists. Compelling logic to the intellectually unformed.