Marx and the Rioters
If the cultural cancer of 21st century progressivism is ever to be successfully eradicated it will first be necessary for it to be seen for what it really is: a form of neo-Marxism that aims to destroy capitalism, and with it, Western civilization. The roots of the current wave of pathological irrationality, intellectual deformity, and moral underdevelopment reach far back into the early 19th century in Europe, with the German idealist philosopher GWF Hegel’s idea of historical determinism.
Marx seized on Hegel's dialectical system (thesis-antithesis-synthesis) and his philosophy of history and combined these with his own theory of class conflict as the determinants of social, economic, and political progress. Marx claimed that history led deterministically to the one defining moment of the age and that it was left to a unique historically determined genius -- Marx himself -- to educate the world about this.
Marx viewed human society as being basically materialist, that is to say, founded on economic activity. He constructed a version of economic history in which the faults of industrial capitalism would inexorably lead to its own overthrow by violent revolution, a spontaneous uprising of the workers. Given that his history and his economics are flawed and not one of his predictions has proved accurate, it is understandable that the credibility of Marx's ideology remains in dispute.
Marx’s stroke of evil genius was his collectivist ideology of oppression based on economic class. The property-less workers are inevitably being exploited by the oppressor class of rich capitalists and their bourgeois helpers (the professional middle-classes). Motivated by an idealistic conception of the unalienated labourer owning by right all the products of his toil, Marx took it as an unchallengeable truth that profiting from the alienated labour of others was intolerable. Only violent revolution by the workers of the world would overthrow the capitalists and their lackeys, ushering in a new world in which everyone would be happy again, just as they had been in the past.
The flaw in all this is that there is no evidence of any society ever having existed in which all the inhabitants were happy and there was no conflict, even before the emergence of complex organised societies and the development of capitalism. If allowed uninhibited expression, the diverse traits in human nature will always cause conflict. So, there is no reason to suppose that abolishing capitalism will make any difference. The key to human happiness, if there is one, lies elsewhere.
But Marx gave all those people in the world who are disaffected, resentful, and angry an excuse to see themselves as the innocent, virtuous 'oppressed,' united around a group-identity that gave them a common cause and an ideological uniform, and thus able to denounce and seek to overthrow the evil 'oppressor' class. When Marx’s predicted proletarian uprising failed to materialize, a third element was invented -- the wise and virtuous savior class -- which would instigate and lead the revolution (that was Lenin’s contribution).
Marx was an amoralist for whom the end always justifies any means, however barbaric and destructive. Hence the arbitrary and copious violence and brutality of all Marxist revolutions, and the subsequent authoritarian repression once they attain power. Which is why Marxist revolutionaries consider collateral casualties to be acceptable, necessary, and inevitable -- and eminently desirable if doing so discourages their opponents from resisting them.
An additional component in the ideology of today's neo-Marxists is derived from a development in 20th-century French rationalist philosophy, whereby the “sign” (as in words, symbols) is considered to be determinative of reality -- the primacy of the sign. This has allowed Marx’s concept of class to be spun out into a tapestry of disparate identity-groups, and for each group to claim its own relativistic version of reality, characterized by a culture of offense, grievance and outrage. And it is infinitely malleable for political ends.
Having combined the worst aspects of German idealist philosophy and the worst aspects of French rationalist philosophy, the new neo-Marxists calling themselves progressives are intent on using their perverted ideology as a weapon with which to destroy Western civilization.
Marxist ideology (courtesy of its founder) also gives the mobs of social revolutionaries permission to lie, cheat, deceive, steal, slander, demonise, harass, intimidate, brutalise, and kill if that will push the revolution forwards. Which is why Marxism and its variants are so appealing to narcissists, nihilists, psychopaths, and violent criminals. It gives them everything they desire, all the opportunities they want to “be themselves”, and for free. And they need never feel guilty because Marx told them they needn't. It’s a perfect disguise for career psychopaths, then, and a convenient outlet for the energies of the idealistic, naive, gullible, credulous, and ignorant enthusiasts who want to believe they are changing the world for the better without bothering to examine how malignant their activities actually are in destroying the lives and achievements -- and happiness -- of others.
If you look at the slogans on the placards and banners waved by the “protestors” demonstrating against the wholly unjustifiable and tragic death of George Floyd and listen to the rhetoric of those addressing the crowds, you'll see and hear all these sentiments on display. You can see revolutionary Marxism made real in the violence and destructiveness of these “protests”, and you can see the narcissism and nihilism being expressed in the self-justificatory rhetoric of the participants and the demonizing of anyone the mob decides ought to be hated and destroyed.
The current social unrest and disorder will eventually pass, and the mobs will return to their homes having convinced themselves they've brought the revolution a little bit closer. They'll be called out again, though, one can be sure of that, just as soon as another excuse presents itself or is manufactured by the progressive ideologues who push the buttons of the angry mob.
Current progressive ideology turns the original version of Marxism into an open sore of pathological irrationality and amorality, even as it pretends to be the answer to all human social and political ills. In reality its activists exploit almost every possible existing source of human suffering and misery as a means to make social divisions worse, in order to induce anger, hostility, confrontation, and conflict for political ends, which results in an amplification of human suffering and misery which they then blame on their opponents. If you read Marx, you'll find that this is exactly what he advocated.
Today’s radical progressives are really neo-Marxists in disguise. They offer the world nothing but more, and worse, suffering and misery. A boot stomping on a human face forever, as George Orwell correctly predicted. That’s how all Marxist revolutions end, because that outcome is inevitable due to the in-built amorality of Marxism and its variants.
And the sooner the ordinary people of the West can be convinced of this the sooner it will be possible to consign this malignant ideology to the pages of history, where it belongs, and turn its current adherents back into decent, civilized people who actually have something positive to contribute to society.
Graphic credit: Pixabay
Wen Wryte is the pseudonym of a retired teacher of philosophy who likes a quiet life.