Marxism’s Final Argument, Rebutted
The problem with espousing Marxist political philosophy, in any of its many modified iterations, is that every time Marxism is attempted in any kind of systematic way, it fails. It fails economically, and it fails morally. It devolves into corruption, scarcity, criminality, violence, and starvation. It fails so profoundly that the world’s enlightened academics are consistently reduced to shaking their heads, half-embarrassed, while asking with mock earnestness, “What went wrong?”
Of course, they know the answer: Nothing went wrong. Rather, it is precisely what went right, from the Marxist point of view, that precipitated all the poverty, bloodshed, and societal decay into which these grand experiments inevitably collapsed. But seeing as how their goal, generally but quietly acknowledged, is to infuse their own democratic societies in Marxist premises and aims in order to ease all mankind, step by authoritarian step, into the joys of totalitarian communism, they must pretend to be engaged in a sincere mission to root out the real causes of the abject failure of each of their erstwhile utopias, since of course the progressive social philosophy itself must never be blamed.
Necessity is the mother of invention, however. Thus, this peculiar and increasingly urgent intellectual quandary, namely the ever-growing and evermore undeniable evidence of Marxism’s practical failure, has given rise to a uniquely universal answer, the only real argument the true believers (i.e., authoritarian liars) have left at this point, and the one they therefore trot out consistently, with perfect predictability, every time they are confronted with the inevitable question, “Doesn’t this latest collapse of yet another socialist utopia into destitution and brutality cause you to question your basic underlying theory at last?”
Their stock answer, and final line of defense: “But that failed regime was not real Marxism. A true Marxist (or ‘communist’ or ‘socialist’) state would succeed, but such a state has not yet been attempted in its pure and proper form.”
There it is, in a nutshell. The last desperate apologetics for the political “theory” responsible for more death and inhumanity than any other system or regime in history. We have all heard it so many times. Venezuela was a noble socialist experiment and a land of equality and revolutionary optimism, until it quickly decayed into draconian abuses of power, extreme deprivation, and counter-revolutionary violence. Then, right on cue, we heard that this had not really been proper socialism, but some corrupt, bastardized pretense at socialism. Likewise with Nicaragua, Cuba, the African National Congress in South Africa, China, the Soviet Union, and on and on. The regime’s corruption and bloodshed, and the people’s starvation and loss of will, are never the fault of the inhuman workers’ paradise being imposed on them. No, the fault always lies with the imperfection or power lust of the men who imposed the system; they simply turned out to be less pure in their theoretical understanding or less sincere in their desire to implement Marxist justice than had initially appeared to be the case.
The problem with this last ditch argument in defense of Marxism is that it is self-defeating, precisely to the extent that one takes it at face value.
“No, this failure doesn’t prove that Marxism doesn’t work, because real Marxism hasn’t been tried yet.”
Answer: Yes, that is exactly the point. “Pure” implementation and maintenance of a Marxist revolutionary system of governance would require conditions that have proved to be entirely untenable and unrealizable a thousand times over, both in theory and in practice.
For a pure implementation and maintenance of Marxism would require, among other things, perfect unanimity among the leading revolutionaries about long-term goals and specific practical methods.
It would require universal purity of heart among the leading faction, with no tincture of even potential corruption of anyone by the attainment of power.
It would require unanimous agreement among all these pure hearts about who shall make all the relevant decisions regarding all the complicated matters that would have to be decided, and then about who shall carry out these decisions in practice — decisions that must be made, flawlessly, by a leadership cadre tasked with seizing and sustaining total control over an economy, an agricultural system, a food distribution system, an educational system, a labor assignment system, a family and community organization system, an anti-capitalist social monitoring system, and so on and on.
But to say that if all these conditions had been met, Marxism would have resulted in perfect peace and happiness, is self-defeating, because these conditions are precisely what cannot be met, at least until after the utopian social structure has already been achieved and borne its carefully cultivated human fruit — which achievement and cultivation are exactly what cannot happen without first meeting all the above conditions.
Both in principle and in point of historical fact, Marxism in practice leads only to exactly what we always see, to whatever degree it is implemented anywhere: death. But when the Marxists attempt to salvage their man-hating lie with their last available argument — “That wasn’t true Marxism” — they only compound their complicity with evil with the intellectual sin of murderous illogic. Utopia itself is the precondition for producing the kind of men Marxism (as advertised) would require in order to be implemented. But this means Marxism as a political goal is unattainable in practice, which explains — if we accept the apologists’ false premise that Marxism was ever about freedom and equality — why it does and always will, to the extent it is attempted, inevitably and necessarily lead to the kind of catastrophe that we unenlightened ones naïvely mistake for “real Marxism.”
That is to say, regardless of whether or not we accept the utopian pipe dreams of the Marxist propagandizing thugs and their academic sympathizers, Marxism in practice will always have the same brutal and despotic outcome, and there is no escaping this.
Human nature is a complex system of dangerous weaknesses for evil and compensatory incentives to good, of foolish blindness tempered by the capacity for modesty and self-restraint, and of innate ignorance gloriously saved and ennobled by humble self-knowledge and the tenuous miracle of civilized discourse.
Marxism as practiced demands that we forget all these hard-earned lessons in favor of placing the faith of religious supplicants in men no better than ourselves, and then that we pretend not to understand what went wrong when human nature and the winds of eternity quickly assert themselves against this self-forgetful hubris, as they always do, and always will.