communism

Critical Marx

In the discussion on Ayn Rand’s works, the Lady Rowyn sagely suggests:

There are a lot of authors worth reading whether or not you agree with their conclusions. And whether or not people make fun of them.

Indeed. I’ve read much of Karl Marx, and am amazed that he has any followers at all.  Especially women, but really anyone who thinks the notions through.

Marx is worshiped today in academia; Rand is reasonable, which lets her out of that club.  I’ve got a college textbook next to me called The Critical Experience (edited by David L. Cowles), an analysis of techniques of literary criticism.  The great majority of them are Marxist, or spin-offs of Marxist techniques.  (Amusingly, Google Books helpfully suggests that a “related work” to this textbook is The Communist Manifesto.  No surprise.)

By one page into the Introduction, the textbook is complaining that literary criticism was dominated by “white, male, American, Protestant, upper-middle-class, and highly educated.”  They have been successful in reducing each one of these, I think, especially the highly educated part.

The writers of this college book are effusive in their praise of Karl Marx, granting only the possibility of Charles Darwin having greater influence upon “history and thought.” This was written (or at least published) in 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union:

Marx’s contributions to the political philosophy that bears his name are well known, but his writings have also influenced such diverse disciplines as history, economics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, theology, and literary criticism. The proliferation of Marxist theorists in in dozens of academic fields has given rise to a number of diverse scholarly traditions…”

Feminist Theory, Reader Response Criticism, New Historicism, Cultural Materialism, Pluralism and others all are described as having Marxist roots, so that everything can be read in terms of the class struggle, substituting gender or whatever for the oppressed class.  (In Feminist criticism, we are cautioned to avoid “rigid phallogocentric” ideas, an odd sort of double meaning under the circumstances.)

But the glow when Marx is mentioned practically radiates from the page. They like him, they really like him.

I do not.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle