Economic vs. Cultural Marxism: The Most Important Distinction

By Steven Kessler, AMERICAN THINKER

Many on both ends of the political spectrum are aware of the fact that social justice is simply Marxism, masquerading as a new ideological movement.  Like Marxism, social justice’s goal is to make the world a more balanced and equitable place.

As Marx phrased it in Das Kapital, “[i]n order to establish equality, we must first establish inequality” (1).  By finding the inequalities of the world, the Marxist can then begin eliminating the obstacles that impede equality.  The more of these sources of inequality the Marxist eliminates, the closer we move to an equitable socialist utopia.  This is why Marx was so adamant about abolishing certain fixtures of society.

Among the ills of society perpetuating inequality that need abolition, according to Marx, were history, private property, the family, eternal truths, nations and borders, and religion (2).  By destroying these sources of inequality, the Marxist is one step closer to the equitable world the Marxist knows is possible.  Marx believed that economic issues are the driving force of conflict in the world (3).  Eliminating class structure was the central goal of Marx’s Communist Manifesto.

Marx’s Manifesto influenced a group of intellectuals known as “The Frankfurt School” (4), who expanded on Marx’s foundational premises.  They shifted the front from class to cultural struggle.  One of these intellectuals, György Lukács, is credited as the first person to advocate for the application of Marx’s economic principles to cultural struggles: “he justified culture to the Marxists by showing how to condemn it in Marxist terms. And in doing so … he provided crucial concepts to … the thinkers of the Frankfurt School” (5).

The Frankfurt Schoolers elaborated on and furthered Lukács’s cultural Marxism.  While the foundational tenets of economic Marxism are still present in their cultural Marxist works, there is a tenet that militates more with cultural than economic Marxism.  In shifting fronts from class to culture, a different aspect of Marxism mandates emphasis.

That aspect is Marx’s desire to abolish individuality.  As Marx himself wrote: “And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom!” (6).  The social justice warriors of today are using this tenet of Marxism most frequently and strongly in their quest to create an equitable society.

The modern social justice advocate uses the abolition of individuality as a tool to strip human beings of their individuality and bifurcate society.  A bifurcation is a logical fallacy where a person makes things one or another, with no area in between.  For example, a bifurcation would be the faulty assumption of saying a person is either a Trump-supporter or a Hillary-supporter.  What about those who like Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz?  What about those who like both Trump and Hillary?  What about those who like neither?

For Marx, his bifurcation was the bourgeois versus the proletariat.  You were either a rich person or a working stiff.  There was no in between.  For the social justice warrior, you are either privileged or oppressed.  Look at the diagram below for a visual interpretation of the bifurcation the social justice warrior uses (7):

This diagram is the axis of privilege versus oppression. You’re either privileged or oppressed, with little to no in between.  The more demographic characteristics one has from the privilege side, the more unfair advantages he has in life that are unearned (8).  These unearned advantages must be taken from the privileged and given to the oppressed (9).  This is where the abolition of individuality really comes into the picture.

Thomas Sowell, visionary economist, referred to social justice as “the quest for cosmic justice” (1999) (10).  He articulated that:

One of the many contrasts between traditional justice and cosmic justice is that traditional justice involves the rules under which flesh-and-blood human beings interact, while cosmic justice encompasses not only contemporary individuals and groups, but also group abstractions extending over generations, or even centuries. (11)

Social justice is not just about living individuals involved in the current world; rather, it is about abstractions, generalizations, and the past.  Sowell explained that “cosmic justice must be hand-made by holders of power who impose their own decision on how these flesh-and-blood individuals should be categorized into abstraction, and how these abstractions should then be forcibly configured to fit the vision of the power-holders” (12).

The social justice–Marxist strips the individual of individuality and then turns the person into an abstraction.  If a human being is an individual, then we can be held accountable only for our own actions; we cannot be held accountable for the actions of another person, let alone the actions of a group of people who lived and died long before our time.  If we are not individuals, then we can be turned into abstractions.  As abstractions, we can then be blamed for the actions of others who classify as members of these abstractions.  Those in power are the ones dictating the terms of these abstractions.

For an example of this, take race relations.  If I am an individual, I had nothing to do with slavery, Jim Crow, waging war with the American Indians, or anyone who did anything hundreds of years before I was born.  However, if my individuality is abolished, I am not a unique individual with specific characteristics.  I can be broken down into an abstraction designated by those in power.

When the rubber meets the road between theory and practice, it looks something like this: “you’re a straight white male, and straight white males have committed crimes against people of color, therefore you have committed crimes against people color.”  Knowing the Marxist tenet driving this, the implicit basis for stripping white males of privilege and then assigning those privileges to people of color is no longer camouflaged.

Sowell really understood the latent heart of the issue: “It is about putting particular segments of society in the position that they would have been in but for some undeserved misfortune” (13).  Sowell astutely recognized that it is not about real justice, but rather about an ideological matrix built to take things away from one segment of the population and give them to another.  Sowell concluded this thought by saying, “This conception of fairness requires that third parties must wield the power to control outcomes” (14).

These third parties are the politicians, academics, movie stars, and athletes.  These people are using Marxism, many without even knowing it, to advance certain peoples and ideas, while simultaneously penalizing others for issues they are not responsible for.

This is possible only by abolishing individuality.  In a world with individuals, we are responsible only for our own actions.  In a world without individuality, we, as individuals, can be held accountable for the actions of others.  It does not matter if these crimes and abuses were committed by the dead against the dead from hundreds of years before either party was born.

The next time you hear someone advocating to rectify injustices committed by the dead against other dead people, pay attention.  This is merely the Marxist charade to abolish individuality.

Endnotes

1. Marx, as quoted by Kirk, 1954, p. 264.
2. Marx, 1848.
3. Ibid.
4. Scruton, 2015; Walsh, 2015; and Kengor, 2015.
5. Scruton, pp. 117–118.
6. Marx, 1848.
7. Haidt, and Lukianoff, 2018.
8. Macintosh
9. Ibid.
10. Sowell, 1999.
11. Ibid, p. 31.
12. Ibid, p. 46.
13. Ibid, p. 12.
14. Ibid, p. 12.

References

Haidt, J. & Lukianoff, G. (2018). The coddling of the American mind: how good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

Kirk, R. (1953). The conservative mind: from Burke to Elliot. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.

Kengor, P. (2015). Takedown: from communists to progressives, how the left has sabotaged family and marriage. Washington, D.C.: WND Books.

McIntosh, P. (1989). White privilege: unpacking the invisible knapsack. Retrieved from: https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mcintosh.pdf

Marx, K. (1848). The communist manifesto. Retrieved from: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm

Scruton, R. (2015). Fools, frauds and firebrands: Thinkers of the new left. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Continuum.

Sowell, T. (1999). The quest for cosmic justice. New York, NY: Touchstone Books.

Walsh, Michael. (2015). The Devil’s pleasure palace: the cult of critical theory and the subversion of the West. New York, NY: Encounter Books.

January 2, 2020 | Comments » | 736 views

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*