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Reframe of Marxism in America What a great article below. Unfortunately, I don't have time to comment on it much at this moment. But there's plenty to get going. For now, this article is one of the most important reframes of Marxism vs. Liberalism (classic Liberalism dealing with liberty, not the word game liberalism dealing with propaganda jargon) I have read recently. Full disclosure: I don't read much in this area, but the headline attracted me and the content even more. So I read it. Then I marveled... The Challenge of Marxism by Yoram Hazony There are some deep insights chugging along in this article. Whereas the culture is throwing muddied waters and smokescreens at everyone, Hazony brings daylight and clarity. I don't agree with him on a few points, for example, I don't agree with the way he attributes meanings to certain words (like reason), but he's definitely touched on the essence of why Marxism grows today. Here is a quote as a teaser. The gist of Hazony's article is that humans live in groups. The individual rights foundation of liberalism does not take into account a fundamental aspect of groups (hierarchical organization of groups qua groups, not just hierarchies of individuals within groups), whereas that aspect is the primary foundation of Marxism. Marx, on the other hand, did not take into account the nature of individuals. There's a lot to go into here. But Hazony is right. If the foundation of social organization is structured in a manner that the founding and maintaining intellectuals simply walked away from a fundamental aspect of human nature, that void will be filled by whoever shows up and deals with it. Such people will be empowered. And if there is a lack of strong central voices to exploit this vulnerability, reality itself will take over and punish the society. This is why liberalism always drifts toward Marxism these days. And this is why Marxist societies always result in societal ruin and/or piles of state-executed corpses of innocents. Some of what I just said is not the way Hazony said it, but it is congruent with what he said. I am sorely tempted to dig in right now, but I just don't have the time. If you have the time to at least read this thing, you will be well rewarded. I believe that. It will make a lot of things clearer in the societal swirl and churn going on right now. There are many parts to the tumult, but what Hazony has tapped into is one of the fundamental elements. It's not the whole answer to why Marxism surged up again, but it explains a lot of the why. Michael
I used to post regularly on the FARK.com forums, and I remembered the website as being somewhat left-leaning but overall very libertarian-oriented. A fairly large percentage of the posters self-identified as libertarian at the time (2005-2008), and the site was particularly enthusiastic about Ron Paul's candidacy in 2008. I checked the forum today for the first time since 2009, and I was surprised to find hundreds of leftist comments stomping on libertarian caricatures with very few posters defending: http://www.fark.com/comments/7869485/This-just-in-The-more-you-personally-rely-on-US-government-to-take-care-of-everything-in-your-life-more-likely-you-are-to-be-a-raging-libertarian A disappointing number of commenters fell into the lazy, cut-and-paste "libertarians who use roads are hypocrites" attack pattern to which other posters gleefully piled on. The FARK I remember was full of intelligent, technically inclined people who were skeptical of expanding government and human nature generally - very constrained in their outlook. I hope this massive shift isn't indicative of an overall trend in the U.S. toward progressive/socialist ideology, Obama cult-of-personality, and tolerance for the ever-expanding administrative state. At a minimum, it looks like libertarianism isn't the "cool kid" in the technical/online community anymore. Oh well.
The topic "What Dictionary did Ayn Rand use?" drifted into statements about Karl Popper and Mont Pelerin that indicated an incomplete understanding of the club, its members, and their goals. Friedrich A. von Hayek called the first Mont Pelerin Society meeting April 1-10, 1947, inviting many of the world's leading liberal intellectuals and politicians. Among them was Walter Lippmann. In my RoR article, Walter Lippmann: Chronicler of Evil, I wrote: My point here is expressly that this latitude of opinion is precisely what defines liberalism as Hayek, Lippmann, and Popper understood it. If you read The Open Society and Its Enemies, you see that Popper did not at all advance a specific ideology of liberty and freedom, but only warned against those who claim absolute truth for political purposes. As I wrote more recently on RoR, the Library of Economics and Liberty carries two essays on what the Founders of the American republic read: Locke, Hume, and Hobbes; St. Paul and Machiavelli; Pufendorf, Grotius, Montesquieu... In short, we Objectivists think that we have a monopoly on truth. That way lies the Dark Side of the Force. In fact, as noted here on OL elsewhere, the Enlightenment which the Islamic jihadists fear was self-consciously a time of variances of thought and a multiplicity of opinions. The liberals of the Mont Pelerin Society had guidelines and a mandate not to extend human freedom - admirable as that is to us - but to protect liberty from encroachment, constraint, and obliteration by those who use political power for their own ideological ends.