Here is the first paragraph from The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx, 1848, “A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.” In 1848, Metternich was Chancellor of the Austrian Empire, and Guizot was Prime Minister of France. Europe did not like communism then, and I find it odd that the only place that Marx could find where he could develop his theories on communism was in England at the British Library. There is a plaque in the Library today indicating which desk Marx used to do his writing. Europe wanted Marx out; and although The Communist Manifesto was written in mainland Europe, Das Kapital was written in London.
I first read those words around the year 1987. They sent chills down my back then and they do now. Notice that Marx uses the word “spectre”. A spectre is a ghost. I think he means an evil spirit. Communism has certainly proven itself to be evil. But, if we are going to talk about communism, let us review what communism is. I did some of this in my previous articles on The French Revolution, but let us do this again to make sure we are all on the same page.
Communism is based on something called the Hegelian Dialectic. Georg Wilhelm Fredrick Hegel proposed that history is a battle of ideas. One is called the Thesis, and its opposite is called the Antithesis. These two contrary ideas collide and are destroyed, resulting in the Synthesis. Hegel says that all of human history is this; thus implying that his Hegelian Dialectic is the best philosophy to date because it is the latest synthesis, circa 1807.
To my knowledge, Hegel spells this theory out in a book called Phenomenology of Spirit. I tried to read this book; but like most Northern European philosophers, Hegel spends more time introducing new definitions, playing tricks with sentences, and just will not get to the point. So, I put that book away. I will take the Mediterranean philosophers any day.
Marx comes along right after Hegel, and starts to apply the Hegelian Dialectic. The problem is that he applies it not just to ideas, but to people and physical reality. Two physical and opposite realities colliding and destroying each other can never be a good thing. Marx proposes that the Capitalist and the Proletariat be collided and destroyed; thus, forming the Worker’s Paradise. I have read quite a bit of Karl Marx and this idea is scattered throughout his writings in bits and fragments. To be honest, reading Marx is worse than reading Hegel. Marx wonders aimlessly in his discussions, and only every now and then has a brief moment of clarity. Quite frankly, Karl Marx sounds like his is insane.
In my opinion, Marxism is alive and well in our national institutions. Let us take a small and trivial example, our legal system. I have spoken to many lawyers and they are trained to believe that the truth can only be synthesized by the collision of two opposite forces: the prosecution and the defense. Even if the prosecutor knows the defendant is innocent, he feels that it is his job to put up the best prosecution that he can. If the defendant goes to prison; well, then so be it. That is justice.
Think about what our Congress is doing. Two opposite forces are colliding. I see the destruction but I do not see the constructive synthesis. I will elaborate more on this latter.