Friday, 5 September 2014

REVIEW: "THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO" BY KARL MARX & FRIEDRICH ENGELS

The Communist Manifesto
By Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels
Point Blank Classics, 80 Pages
Available for purchase from Amazon here

Reviewed by Matt Forney

Ah yes, the original. The big kahuna. The pamphlet that killed hundreds of millions of people, drove half the world’s countries to economic ruin, and forms the foundation of the ideology rotting America from within. The turd at the bottom of the planet’s biggest pile of bullshit.

Okay, that’s a little too harsh.

The Communist Manifesto is worth reading just because; as a foundational document of our modern world, you need to understand it in order to understand America. The other shocking thing I noticed about re-reading the book is that Marx, as wrong as he was, had a far better grip on reality then the hysterical crybabies who make up the modern left. Indeed, reading the Manifesto lets you better understand the psychopathology of leftists.

It only took a century and a half, but Marxism has finally reached the base of the demographic pyramid.

Mind you, actually reading the Manifesto is a minor struggle on its own. From an artistic standpoint, Karl Marx has to be the worst writer to ever exert any influence on philosophy and literature. His prose has all the life of a asphyxiated catfish, flopping about uselessly and causing your eyes to glaze over with every sentence:
"The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones. Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive feature: it has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes, directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat."
It’s tempting to blame this on translation issues, but I read a completely different translation when I was in college and I still had difficulty forcing my way through the book. The Manifesto is saved in part by the fact that it’s short, barely forty pages; any longer and no one would have bothered with it.

Though the ineptness of Marx and Engels’ writing might be a good thing given all the people that Marxism ended up killing: had they a speck of talent between them, the human race would have been driven to extinction.

Skull map of Cambodia, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
As I mentioned before, the Manifesto is interesting in that it presents a clearer vision of reality than modern leftists do. For example, Marx admits that in a capitalist, transactional economy, labor is a commodity like everything else, subject to the laws of supply and demand. If you increase the supply of labor, you lower demand and the price (i.e. wages) by extension:
"In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed–a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piece-meal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market."
Try getting a social justice warrior to admit that today. All you’ll get is hysterical screaming: “HUMAN BEINGS ARE NOT THINGS THEY’RE PEOPLE IT’S NOT FAIR LIVING WAGE NOW!!!!!!″

But as I mentioned, The Communist Manifesto is more valuable for what it says about the left, not its political program. Pretty much all the pathologies of leftists—opposition to generalizations and stereotypes, “non-judgmentalism,” and a nauseating confidence in their beliefs in the face of reality—exist in the Manifesto in larval form. For example, Marx was an early feminist, and he rails against the injustice of capitalist patriarchy in the book’s second half:
"On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution."
This is absolutely ridiculous, but it’s the exact same style of argumentation feminists use when railing against patriarchy and traditional sex roles. They’ll bring up every obscure Amazon tribe, every no-name cult you’ve never heard of as evidence that gender is a social construct, oblivious to the fact that none of these matriarchal or egalitarian utopias ever accomplished anything and have always been rolled over by their patriarchal neighbors. Similarly, Marx viewed the family unit of mid-1800’s Europe as an artificial creation of capitalism, oblivious to the fact that the family pre-dated not only capitalism but Europe itself.
Every single nation or civilization in history that did anything of importance, whether based in Europe, Asia or the Americas, was based on the exact same foundation: patriarchal, father-led families.
The nicest thing I can say about Karl Marx is that he was a man for his time. Exempting his fetish for open marriage and sexual promiscuity, communism makes a certain kind of sense… from a 19th century perspective. Unfortunately, the world has left economic Marxism behind. As James Burnham showed us in The Managerial Revolution, modern society is too complex and involved to be controlled by people as dim and talentless as the proles. Marxism is an undead ideology, adapted for a world that is long gone.
It’s too bad that Marx’s acolytes are still around and still screwing things up for the rest of us.
That’s why, as deluded and poorly-written as The Communist Manifesto is, it’s a necessary book. Without it, the vagaries of modern society make no sense at all. Marx’s shadow looms large over us, and his ideas, while moronic and destructive, appeal to people for a reason. Reading the Manifesto lets you figure out why.


mattforney.com

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