Posts Tagged ‘socialism’

Marxist Anti-Marxists

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

Ronald Osborn convincingly argues that the religious nationalist Yoram Hazony is, in form, remarkably Marxist in his anti-Marxism. In Osborn’s words: “Hazony’s anti-Marxism ironically bears its own striking resemblance to Marxian ideology. Together with Marx, Hazony sees the present social order through a lens of a Manichean moral dualism, albeit one in which the forces of good and evil have been reversed from Marx’s script. It is progressives and Leftists who are the actual oppressing class, while conservatives and their allies are the heroic saviors of history.”

Summarizing Hazony, Osborn lists four main characteristics of the Marxist take on the world: A social class division into oppressors and oppressed, “false consciousness” of the oppressed, the need for violent class struggle wherein the oppressed seize power from the oppressors, and the final accomplishment of this.

The problem, Osborn notes, is that this too-general conception of Marxism lets Hazony “find” Marxism all over the place. And, by these standards, Hazony himself is a sort of Marxist.

Incidentally, libertarians also generally follow the Marxist form (as many libertarians have observed), basically splitting the world into the classes of rights-violating oppressors (which many libertarians equate with agents of government) and violated oppressed.

Now, there really are oppressors and oppressed in the world. This was especially obvious in the era of slavery. The problem that Osborn is getting at is that many people have a very easy time imagining themselves as champions of the “oppressed” and their opponents as “oppressors” who must be vanquished. Such thinking can very easily leave reality behind.

Socialism on a Spectrum

Sunday, July 26th, 2020

My Tweet: “Here’s an analogy I think is helpful. Everyone has some psychopathic traits, but a psychopath is someone who scores very high for most psychopathic traits. Similarly, many societies (including ours) have some traits of socialism and fascism but are neither socialist nor fascist.” It’s not a perfect analogy, of course. I think psychopaths stay remain at pretty much the same level of psychopathy (at least after a certain point) throughout their lives, whereas societies change. Also, whereas some psychopathic traits are or can be positive for people, I want to say that traits of socialism and fascism always are bad. But then I may have trouble talking about things like roads and the welfare state.