Rehabbing Karl Marx Yet Again

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.

Of course, there’s a distinction between socialism as evolved through democratic reform movements and the poisonous philosophy of Karl Marx. But what’s troubling is that a new generation of Leftists – when either occupying Wall Street or the BBC – doesn’t bother to make it. It speaks to a kind of moral amnesia, a forgetfulness about the facts of the past and an inability to judge what is really right and wrong.

As a former leftist, Stanley understands where Jones is coming from, and sees right through it:

I write about this subject with the ferocity of a convert. I was once a Marxist and I once fooled myself that there was a distinction between economic analysis and practical despotism. There isn’t. I wish this could be patiently explained to the dumb kids who put Marx on their wall and wail about the unique EVIL of a capitalist system that has actually lifted millions from misery and proven to be a close ally of democracy. It’s an education every bit as vital as the one we give about fascism.

Whether it’s a deliberate attempt to change history by lying about it — as the Soviets did — or just denying the cause and effect of a particular philosophy with “adolescent abandon,” as Jones appears to do in his BBC appearance, the revision of history by the Left deserves our laser-focused attention. When leftists dismiss facts and truth as cavalierly as they do, freedom-loving (and truth-loving) people should stand up and expose them.

The facts of history have proven that freedom wins nearly every time it is implemented, so freedom has truth on its side. As long as we allow leftists to obscure, bend, or dismiss those facts, we lose the battles to preserve and defend freedom. True history deserves to be heard, and it’s up to us to ensure that it has a voice.

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