Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

The Communist Manifesto
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Published 1848

Oh, joy. I get to review this book. 

First...Should you read this book?

If you are a champion of Communism or Socialism, you better read it because it is one of the foundational books of such philosophies, and you better know what you argue, just as a Christian should know his Bible. 

If you are curious...it is super short, rather empty and, in my opinion, dated. Some have considered it dull and boring. It is not riveting reading, and personally, Marx does not impress me. 

Now, for more important points:

I hate Communism/Socialism. I lump them together because they are cousins. One leads to the other, and it is all the same: another failed attempt at utopia. Both philosophies hate individual liberties, loathe freedom of anything, and despise religion, specifically God (the Creator). Furthermore, both ideologies have a very poor understanding of human nature or man. 

Marx and Engels recognized that there was a universal, distinct class struggle between two groups of people: the bourgeoise (business owner) and the proletariat (worker). The bourgeoise were considered selfish and greedy; the workers were poor, innocent, and oppressed. The bourgeoise also manipulated the governing class in order to get what they wanted and to easily control the workers. (Sound familiar?)

By publishing the Manifesto, the authors hoped to unite workers all over the world and overthrow the bourgeoise. They wanted to incite a violent, bloody revolution. Hence, they wrote this public declaration, published in many languages, and distributed it immediately. It flopped. Unfortunately, it survived and is still feeding man's confusion today.

While the authors were correct about class struggle and distinction, their terrible solution was to take the property (capital, business) away from the Bourgeoise and transfer it to the workers. Essentially, it would be publicly owned, but really it would be controlled by the State (the governing class). 

Other terrible ideas included:
  • State control of and free education for all children;
  • End of child labor;
  • State controlled distribution of the population; end of town, county, and city distinctions;
  • State control of factories and manufacturing and production;
  • State control of the environment and agriculture;
  • State control of the bank;
  • End of personal and private inheritance;
  • Heavy progressive income tax;
  • No private property; the State owns the land!

WOW! That looks strangely familiar. 

That's because my government, in America, land of the free, has adopted many of these ideas. 

So I ask you...have we eliminated the problem of class distinction or struggle, yet? Have we eliminated poverty? Have we eliminated inequality? 

No. No we have not. And we will never eliminate class struggle or poverty or inequality, especially by handing control or power to the elite group in a centralized government.

Communism has proven to be the worst thing to ever happen to society, to personal liberty, and to individual creativity. The end result has been utter destruction. It has been said that the only equality  Communism creates is the equal distribution of misery. Like Tocqueville said - my paraphrase: man has always tried to force equality, but he complicates matters. Better to preserve liberty because you cannot have equality without liberty.

Recently, my kids and I saw a theater production of Newsies, a musical inspired by the true events of the Newsies Strike, of 1899. The poor young workers were striking against the greedy, wealthy newspaper owners, who raised the price of the paper for distribution; but I was most struck by the comment made by one character who declared that it wasn't a sin to be poor; they just wanted what was fair. They were not asking beyond that - only what was reasonable. 

It is not a sin to be poor. And society will always have the poor with them. We will never have equal circumstances or equal outcomes, let alone inputs. No matter how much government has control, we will still have inequality, poverty, and class struggles; we will never have a perfect society or utopia. 

The best society is a free society. And Communism is not it.



15 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're right, it's a boring read. They are not very believable or persuasive at all. What's funny is all of the millennial's today that support communism/socialism. They think it some superdiduper and equitable new economic plan. I guess that old adage is true - insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Great review!

Ruth said...

Is is insanity...!

Why can't people love liberty and freedom more?

Sharon Wilfong said...

Very bold statement. I was just talking to my husband about this. We were discussing people we know who are Christians, or claim to be Christians, yet vote for a political party that wants to preserve the right to kill babies, make doctors assist in suicide and champion sexual perversion.

Then there's socialism, which breaks at least two of the ten commandments: stealing and coveting.

I just bought this book. We read it in school years ago when we were required to take a class called "Comparative, Political and Economic Systems." They don't require it anymore, which is a shame.

To answer your above comment: we are living in a fallen world. Man is hopelessly corrupt in his thinking and rebellious against God.

Ruth said...

Yep. I know. (sigh)

It bothers me, too...Christians who support abortion and other wickedness. I wonder if may be they haven't had their eyes opened yet to those things or they truly aren't saved. I have had "Christian relatives" throw down the morality card and ask me, "Why can't you live off of $$ (enter a certain amount of monthly allowance from the government)?" And they don't see that as sick, to be content to live off an amount that government decides to give to each family to live off.

Do you think you'll do a book review of that book? I've own a DVD from John Birch Society that compares political and economic systems. Even though JBS are a little too radical for me, this information is good to know.

Marian H said...

I read this once... it was oddly boring and forgettable.

As a companion reading, I would strongly recommend an essay called "The Power of the Powerless" by Vaclav Havel, a Soviet dissident. It's sadly relevant to things happening today in the West.

On a personal level, the increase in collectivist ideas is especially depressing. My dad and a family friend literally risked their lives escaping communist countries to come here. I don't think the communists really lost the Cold War, because that ideology is still strong in China. We are headed down the same path if we don't course-correct soon.

Sharon Wilfong said...

The problem is a minority has a stranglehold on our media (Hollywood) and they have been relentlessly pushing socialist ideas for year. It's hypocritical because they're the richest capitalists in the world.

That's interesting about your dad. Where is he from?

Marian H said...

He's from Vietnam. :) Economically it has got better since he left there in the post-war years. But there is still plenty of corruption.

Silvia said...

Very interesting. I have only read the ten principles of the Manifesto and Charlotte Mason's refutation of all but one which seemed reasonable but unrealistic.
People today won't believe how Marx proposed to confiscate the belongings of immigrants. Or how the proletariat, eventually, as it gained power, would be in turned taxed and subject to the same treatment than what he called burgoise. Also the owners of parks had them open to the public at a loss and still he insisted they had to be public or government owned.
I don't mind arguing with socialist supporters, what I mind is that they just present me with a few platitudes and nothing else. If we can't look at issues with some knowledge and objectively, there's no future and no point in arguing.
Many blogging friends I know are left wing people. They are respectful and intelligent. I learn a lot from their views. Ignorance and hypocrisy is what kills me.

Silvia said...

In turn no turned, sorry.

Sharon Wilfong said...

That's very interesting, Marion. I had a number of Vietnamese friends when I lived in Florida in the eighties. It is where the boat people came and stayed as refugees. I had the greatest respect for them. They came here with nothing, but got work, put themselves through college, got professional jobs and used their earnings to bring more family members over.

I would like one day to visit there.

Sharon Wilfong said...

That is also what frustrates me. There are friends of mine who claim to be Christian but are very left wing. They block anything I say with a sound bite. We can't discuss anything. And they think they're so much smarter than me, which gets on my nerves.

Ruth said...

Yep, my good friend and her mom and sister fled Vietnam, too.

Marion, I will take a look at the book you suggested. I think it is important to read the personal narratives of those who survived these destructive ideologies.

Ruth said...

Silvia...I have read all five of CM's books some time ago. I'm assuming her refutation is in one of them; do you know off hand which volume or title? It would be good to reread them. (Or I can just Google it, right?)

Like both you and Sharon....I don't mind arguing with people who have different views. But I have to remember that there are people who do not agree with liberty, freedom, individualism, and the like. THEY LOOK TO GOVERNMENT as the ONLY PROVIDER of safety, well-being, income, equality, solutions, education, health, and basic needs, etc. Once you cannot go beyond that lie, you cannot convince them that socialism and especially communism are wrong, dangerous, and end in misery and death!

James said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. Having read this and other works by Marx I find him not only boring, but illogical when he is not just wrong. That having been said it is worth reading texts like his to know what he said and, like you, be able to recognize his ideas when you see them in action.

Ruth said...

Agree, regretfully...we do need to read these texts. A professor of mine taught that people should try to understand why others think the way they do. Hence, first we should know what others think, and then try to figure out why. That I have not done, yet.