For some reason, every time a modern capitalist economy faces a problem such as our current fiscal crisis here in the United States, members of the academy trout out Karl Marx as the solution. The latest example comes from The Chronicle Review, the literary supplement of The Chronicle of Higher Education. It is written by the British activist and writer Terry Eagleton, and is based on his new book, Why Marx was Right.
We all are all too familiar with the fact that while the world is moving away from social democracy, not to speak of Marxism as a philosophy, it always remains alive and well in our institutions of higher learning. Eagleton is too smart to not be unaware of the serious challenges to Marxism, especially the major defeat it suffered after the fall of the Soviet Union. So he acknowledges this at the start. He writes:
“Were not Marx’s ideas responsible for despotism, mass murder, labor camps, economic catastrophe, and the loss of liberty for millions of men and women? Was not one of his devoted disciples a paranoid Georgian peasant by the name of Stalin, and another a brutal Chinese dictator who may well have had the blood of some 30 million of his people on his hands?”
You know what is coming next, if you are even slightly bit familiar with the Left’s fallback position: Marx was not responsible for the wrong interpretations made of his work by the totalitarians of the last century. Sure enough, Eagleton argues that “Marx was no more responsible for the monstrous oppression of the communist world than Jesus was responsible for the Inquisition.”
Well, that sets up a nice false equivalency. See how Radosh handles it here.