Karl Marx and the American Dream
You cannot use Karl Marx's ideas to help the middle class.
You can't do it.
Anyone who claims otherwise is stupid, ignorant, crazy, a liar, or some combination of the above. Even the laziest student can open a copy of the Communist Manifesto and read the first page, where Marx launches in to an attack on the middle class (the "bourgeoisie," as he calls them) -- an attack that continues to the end of his article. At no point does Marx say anything good about the middle class. Never does Marx propose a way to help the middle class. The whole Manifesto is a recipe for destroying the bourgeoisie and the economic system that creates and supports them (capitalism).
Basically, Marx advocated a return to the medieval lifestyle: a time when the barons and princes looked out for and took care of the happy serfs, who spent their days dancing around the maypole and praising their lords. Marx saw it as a time when everyone shared, everyone took pride in what he did, and everyone looked out for his neighbor.
But there was a problem in this paradise. It was the evil middle class who, unhappy and ungrateful in their place, rose up and destroyed the perfect social order.
The only problem with trying to return to the middle-age way of doing things is that Marx and his friends might not be at the top of the pecking order. Thankfully, Marx had a solution for this, too: "the people" would get together and, after voting, put Marx (and his friends) in charge. After all, someone has to lead these unwashed idiots. There would be only one vote: the one where Marx is elected king. After that, everything would be said to be the "will of the people."
This is why you'll never run into a follower of Marx. Communism/Socialism are completely followerless movements. If you ever talk to a Communist or a Marxist, you'll get the same story -- when the revolution comes, my friends and I will be in charge. You'll never hear a Marxist smile and say, "When the revolution comes I'm going to polish the leader's boots".
Marx wanted his system immediately -- preferably consisting of a violent destruction of the middle class, with blood running like rivers in the streets. But being a pragmatic man, he was willing to wait.
The true genius of the modern Marxists is that they have managed to convince a majority of middle-classers that Marx's ideas really can help the bourgeoisie. And it's hard to distinguish between those who actually believe that Socialism is a viable system and those opportunists who are simply planning to use such a system to their own ends.
How many of these modern Marxists are really this ignorant of their document? How often do we hear that "[this Marxist idea] needs to be done to help working families" or "[that Marxist idea] needs to be implemented to help the middle class"?
The Marxists espouse this nonsense because people believe it. Middle-classers have now become the ones voting for and supporting these ideas. Arrest records from the Marxist celebration of Occupy Wall Street show that most of those involved in that movement are from comfortable (dare we call them "bourgeoisie"?) backgrounds. But it goes deeper than that. In any given poll, middle-class people overwhelmingly like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, government subsidies of education and housing -- the list is endless, and the demands are never-ending.
But none of these programs is designed to help the middle class -- not any more than a drug dealer despite giving out medicines is interested in the health and well-being of his clientele. A little bit always leads to a demand for more. And after decades of calls for more, more, more, we get what we're looking at in 2013: the imminent total collapse of capitalist system.
When was the last time you heard some politician calling for any of the following?
1) A heavily progressive income tax. The more you make, the more they'll take. The rich are to pay their "fair share." We just had one of the biggest tax increases in American history starting January 1, but this hasn't stopped liberal politicians from demanding more hikes.
2) Seizing of inheritances. One of the most insidious taxes around is the death tax. Grieving families are forced to give half or more of their loved ones' property to the government. Interestingly enough, this idea is now working its way into gun control legislation. There are calls for "assault weapons" being forfeited at their owners' death.
3) Government takeover of the credit system. Already the government owns loans on a lot of houses. ObamaCare mandates that only the government can now give student loans. Meanwhile, the government is its own biggest debtor, swelling the amount we owe to levels never before seen in world history.
4) A takeover of the media. From "non Citizen" legislation, which would stop groups and businesses from speaking during elections to media "bailouts," which would come with government strings, or just outright nationalizations of media outlets, the government has big ideas for a "transformation" of the meaning of "free speech."
5) Overhaul of transportation. How often do we hear the phrase "shovel-ready jobs" or "roads and bridges"? They are pushing a train from Las Vegas to LA and another train that will run down the California coast. Transportation projects are a popular subject, even as the government coffers shrink and the costs of such projects explode.
6) Regulations of industry, especially in an environmental sense. Obama has one of the most active and overbearing EPAs since that agency was founded.
7) Expansion of education. Everyone shall go to school -- kindergarten through college -- and it will all be paid for by the government.
8) Government ownership of business. We've already watched the government gobble up the banks and auto-makers. Now we're watching them take over the medical system. Gun companies are probably on the horizon as well.
How many of these ideas sound familiar? Every single one of them is laid out in the Communist Manifesto as a way to destroy the middle class. Every single one. Forget good-sounding talk about "fair shares" and making the evil rich pay. They're coming after you, Mr. and Mrs. American.
Marx gave those ideas above their own bullet points in the Manifesto, but he had other ideas. Would you like to hear some of those?
1) Abolition of borders. The lower class (the "proletariat," as Marx called them) need to be free to move to other nations -- the better to corrupt the vote in those places.
2) A takeover of education. Not just through government ownership, but through like-minded Communists and Socialists populating the educators and lecturing students about the goodness of Marxism. The results have made a profound difference in our culture.
Every single time these ideas are implemented, the middle class takes more damage, which in turn leads to the bourgeoisie Marxists calling for more Marxism -- and the little merry-go-round keeps spinning in the halls of our government.
All of this is culminating exactly as Marx envisioned: a healthy, prosperous ruling elite lording it over a rapidly growing population of serfs. This hasn't been lost on the people paying attention: California is becoming a feudal society. There are stories leaking out that the same thing is happening in other liberal Marxist enclaves like New York and Washington, D.C.
This is a huge problem for our government, our system, our culture, and our society -- namely because the United States is a middle-class dream. The Founding Fathers were all from the "bourgeoisie" who rebelled because the government in England didn't feel that it had to respond to the concerns of peasants and underlings.
The idea that someone can start with nothing and, using hard work, creativity, and ingenuity, raise himself to a higher level is the American Dream. To own one's own house, own one's own car, to start a business, to work where one chooses, to take risks and reap the rewards of those risks -- that's the American Dream. It's why immigrants used to sacrifice everything to come here: the idea that one's birth wouldn't dictate his entire life and how far he could go. People are still willing to risk their lives for this. People are not locked into a caste system in America.
And all of that is anathema to the Marxist vision. Even Marx himself admits this:
Modern industry has established the world market, for which the discovery of America paved the way. This market has given an immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication by land. This development has, in turn, reacted on the extension of industry; and in proportion as industry, commerce, navigation, railways extended, in the same proportion the bourgeoisie developed, increased its capital, and pushed into the background every class handed down from the Middle Ages. (The Communist Manifesto)
There is a small bright spot, however. Right now, we're still mostly a middle-class society. In a system where the vote is everything, there is still a chance to stop all of this destruction. But the first thing we as a society have to do is start being honest with ourselves. We cannot use Marx's ideas to obtain the American Dream.
The first step to fixing a problem is to admit that you have one.
Jeremy Meister works in film and radio in the Midwest. He can be reached at Meister@windstream.net.