I actually disagree with Marx.  But - I understand Marx well enough to disagree with him.  Most people think they disagree with Marx, but they actually don't.  They disagree with a phantom, a misunderstood imaginary caricature of what they think Marx said.  To actually disagree with Marx, you must study his work, and study it extremely carefully, and that is very hard work.  To truly disagree with Marx, you must not strawman Marx, but steelman his work - understand it in the most charitable way possible, trying to construct the strongest, most powerful version of his argument.  This takes many, many years of difficult study.  Only then can you disagree with Marx.

Has anyone achieved this?  Hardly anyone.  Perhaps no one.  Probably the best criticism of Marx from a right wing perspective is in the writings of Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk - and even he makes some crucial mistakes, misunderstanding Marx in some fundamental ways.

Furthermore - don't trust someone who says, "Oh I used to be a Marxist, when I was young.  Then I got older...."  Not that they're lying to you, but they're probably lying to themselves, out of weakness.  Such people probably never actually understood Marx.  Throughout the whole period of life they describe, they were dealing with a phantasm, a projection of what they thought Marx was - or what they wanted him to be.  They were never disagreeing with Marx; they were disagreeing with themselves.

I cannot promise that you will succeed in the arduous quest of disagreeing with Marx.  But I can promise that it is worth it to try.  There is no better thinker to wrestle with.  Whatever the result may be, through the process, you will become a better thinker.  Steel sharpens steel.

It's particularly important for Americans to grapple with Marx's writings, because we have been so thoroughly indoctrinated in a system of propaganda in which Marx is a bogeyman, an archetypal representation of everything that we have been taught to fear.  Facing his work is often a psychological process of facing our own fears - the intense, inner work of confrontation with the shadow-self, a dark night of the soul, played out in a kind of psychodrama.  But as this process works itself out, and we come face to face with this repressed and terrifying otherness, we gradually discover that our fears were misplaced, that we are experiencing and becoming conscious of what is not a monster but a man. 


Popular posts from this blog

The One, True, Correct Interpretation of Nietzsche (Aesthetic Materialism V)

Why I Love Religion

A Defense of the Ego