From the Archives: Why Marxism Failed

This is a paper that I wrote in College, originally posted on my LiveJournal on April 5th, 2005

________________

Karl Marx believed that man, when civil society is abolished will be in a perfect free state, namely, that of Communism. For Marx, all of humanity is altruistic, a devotion to others or to Humanity (The New Webster Dictionary), and will do what is right for the other members of a society. Marx must have simply been ignoring what was staring him in the face, as both the state of affairs in Germany at the time he was writing and World History were the complete opposites of altruism. Man is selfish and egotistical. The Communist society, which is based on the idea that man is altruistic, would never and will never work anywhere except in the theoretical realm of Marx’s mind
Marx states that once distribution of labor is destroyed and a Communist state comes into being,
Society… thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic. (Page 160)

He also says that you will go down to the factory and have the machine make shirts, pants, shoes and blouses as they are needed. Well this is all fine and dandy if everything goes according to the perfectly structured plan, but what if you have people that like hunting, fishing, rearing cattle, criticising, playing baseball, writing poetry or something else, and they really do not like cutting hair or plumbing? If this is a society of normal human beings, then he is going to do the thing that he enjoys and not the grunt work. As Marx says on page 156, “life involves before everything else eating and drinking, a habitation, clothing, and many other things. The first historical act is thus the production of the means to satisfy these needs, the production of material life itself.” So, once man is “Free,” then all he has to worry about is how to take care of these needs, and if man is the same as he was before the Communist revolution, then he won’t worry about everyone else, he will just look out for number one. He is going to do what he wants to and not worry about all of the other things that need to be done in order for the society to go according to Marx’s plan. If there is a society of one-hundred thousand citizens and eighty thousand of them would rather do what they want instead of what the guidelines for the society says that they should do, then we have a society of unequal citizens, or even, individuals. Marx seems to think that as soon as man is placed within the Communist society the entire race will change its nature and that once the Bourgeois is overthrown, they will not simply see this as an opportunity to grab property for themselves and not give it to the society. Marx thinks that Man is simply an economic being, and that once money and classes are done away with, people are going to want to be equal to everyone else, when, in fact, man is a being that always wants to have an edge over his fellow man so that he is thought better of, both by others and by himself.
Property is part of economy and, according to Marx, man is an economic being. So, Marx is mistaken that when the pecuniary aspect of economy has disappeared that man will not try to acquire as much property for himself as possible. There will always be more misers that do not want to give up all private property, because no man wants another to have an edge over him and that part of Human Nature will not be given up at the drop of a hat. It is the same with the government, if the government has all of the power in the society the control over every person, all property, and what they say goes, everyone will want to have a position in the government, as it gives the mass man all of the power that he could ever want. Once that power is gained, no one in their right mind would want to give it up. All that they would need to do is just not go and hunt or fish or go to the factory.
Marx states on page one-hundred sixty-one that, “Social power… they thus cannot control, which on the contrary passes through a peculiar series of phases and stages independent of the will and the action of man, nay even being the prime governor of these.” So if the social power, or the government is something beyond the mass man and in Marxist society all men are mass men then the government and the outlines of Communist society will be beyond everyone’s comprehension. This will, in turn, lead to a society in which everyone is free to do whatsoever they please, but no one knows the reason that they are in this government and social structures, or, indeed, no one knows what the government or social structures are anymore. So, there is no God to govern morality and there is no government to rule over what is correct and incorrect in the society as man, “cannot control,” and they are ignorant of the functioning of the government, or if it is functioning at all. So, by logical conclusion, if you take what Marx says, from a society that is Communist it disintegrates into Anarchy. As, part of the definition of anarchy is political confusion, and if confusion does not come from the loss of God, loss of class structure, loss of individuality, and loss of a government that is understandable, then I do not know what confusion is.
Order tends towards chaos and chaos tends towards order. These seem like two contradictory statements but they are two intertwined truths. As order is brought about, it gives rise to chaos and vice versa. A perfectly ordered society, like Communism, will lead to uprisings and discontent, and a society of discontent will tend towards an ordered system. A prime example is that of the society in Germany that Marx was writing against. Aristocrats, Bourgeoisie, and Proletariats; an ordered society that in its form at the time of Marx was ordered so that nothing should have gone amiss, but from the order…Chaos ensued.
Marx made a mistake that other political philosophers have made, namely, a reduction of man. Helvetius, Locke, Calvin, Hobbes and others all thought, along with Marx, that they could reduce man to one quality and make a perfect society for man. However, they could not have succeeded, as man is not simply a being with one quality, but hundreds. You cannot impose a new system upon man that only serves the purpose of one aspect of a complex race and expect that man will just fall into it perfectly content with the system. T. S. Eliot, in his essay, Tradition and The Individual Talent, talks about poetry, in the sense that you cannot have a complete break with Tradition and still be within poetry, tradition links the past, present, and future. Although Eliot was writing about poetry, you can apply this idea to political structures as well. A complete break with tradition cannot, and will not, work with either poetry or societies, as there is a reason that certain aspects of poetry, and of society hold through the ages. “These are principles that every man, of every race can embrace! (Boondock Saints – The Movie)” They are things that, in society, relate to the beggar, the shopkeeper, the public official, the business mogul, the C. E. O., and the leader of a nation. When Marx creates a totally new system, breaking irreparably with tradition, he also removes those qualities that people can relate to. That is why Communism will never work out and The United States, whose Declaration of Independence was written, “Of the people, by the people, and for the people,” this is a statement proclaiming that this nation’s laws are those that are for every American and that they can all stand behind. With Communism, there is nothing of the sort.
Communism was inherently flawed. What with altruism, reductionism, believing that it was for everyone, and its breaking with tradition, there is no way that Marx’s idea of the perfectly free society could ever work. Man is too complex a being to ever accept something so different. With Communism, you are free, but at the same time your Humanity is suppressed. Abolishment of civil society would also be an abolishment of the possibility of man’s changing and improving the world in which he lives.

Leave a Reply