Purple and Green: The Macro

Link to mupetblast/Dain’s Entitled to an Opinion post:

Egalitarianism in most cases is not based on a real wish for all people to be equal in social and economic condition. It is rather the stratagem of those who wish to advance their own social and economic status at the expense of others whose status is higher. Rather than working to advance themselves within the extant structure of civil society, they seek to alter political arrangements so as to cast down those whom they envy and despise, and to exalt themselves in their stead. Marxism is an ideology designed to order for this purpose.

It’s worth noting that Karl Marx was a pretty complete failure: economically, socially, and interpersonally. Of his seven children, only three survived to adulthood. Marx came from an middle-class background, and fell about as far as it was possible to fall in his world without dying as a result. I’m reasonably confident he felt he was inherently entitled to more than he received, and I suspect he was constitutionally incapable of even considering the possibility that he was to blame for his status and state. The result?

Well, you know the rest. Perhaps. Have you ever actually read Marx’s works? I have – and they are every bit as absurd as his most scathing critics have suggested.

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10 Responses to “Purple and Green: The Macro”

  1. That was actually my post. I co-blog with TGGP.

    Thanks for the pingback!

    • I was aware there were other bloggers on the site, but I hadn’t noticed that post wasn’t authered by TGGP. My apologies.

      The post has been updated with correction.

  2. Chris T Says:

    I can at least forgive Marx, he wrote down his ideas without the benefit of hindsight (and may have genuinely believed them to be the best way forward). It’s the people who still believe his ideas today that I find truly reprehensible.

  3. mupetblast/Dain wrote that post, not me.

  4. Marx came from an upper-class background, and fell about as far as it was possible to fall in his world without dying as a result.

    Nonsense. He was of middle class German origins with a Jewish background, his family having only recently converted. There was nothing upper class about him, apart from his wife.

    • The sources I’ve consulted mostly say he was middle-class. Don’t know why I wrote ‘upper’ there.

      Post updated with correction.

  5. Michael Says:

    To describe Marx as “middle class” is not strictly inaccurate, but the words do not convey the same meaning today that they did in the nineteenth century. He was not upper class, because he was not noble; but his family were bankers, and his father a lawyer, thus belonging to the commercial elite. They would have been identified as part of the haute bourgeoisie. That is very far from “middle class” as understood today to mean anyone who is gainfully employed and lives in a mortgaged house. Marx fathered a bastard child on one of his domestic servants. The salient point here is that he had domestic servants – which is not something that people identified as middle class do today. Yet within his family, he was a poor relative.

    I believe the suggestion that he, with his PhD from a German university, felt

    • Michael Says:

      (continued) entitled to more than he received, and resented the world for not giving him what he believed was his just due, is a reasonable one. While psycho-biographical speculation is not always illuminating, in Marx’s case it appears to explain a lot.

      Engels was the real champagne socialist. He, too, was an haut-bourgeois rather than a noble – the son of a prosperous textile manufacturer, who came to England to run a thread mill his family had established in Birmingham. He was a subscriber to the Cheshire hunt, where he rode to hounds with the earls of Cholmondely and Crewe, and Lord Grosvenor, the future duke of Westminster. This placed him in the midst of the high society of his day, although as a foreigner and a commoner, he could never be fully part of it.

      Surely Marx and Engels were a very odd pair of advocates for the working class, and it is hard to imagine that persons so imbued with dissatisfaction about their own social and economic status were motivated purely by altruistic concern for the downtrodden.

      • He was not upper class, because he was not noble; but his family were bankers, and his father a lawyer, thus belonging to the commercial elite. They would have been identified as part of the haute bourgeoisie.

        The first sentence is accurate, the second is wrong as far as it goes. They would only have qualified as “haute bourgeoisie” (in continental European terms) if they had also had a professional connection to the ruling class – as the Rothschilds did, when they started on their way up.

        The salient point here is that he had domestic servants – which is not something that people identified as middle class do today.

        Practically everybody did, at some point in their lives. Even those from the “servant classes” did, since that didn’t mean classes of servants but classes from which servants were drawn; they typically went into service when young, and apart from the minority who went on to be upper servants they used that to set themselves up – so the servant classes were actually lower middle class, and when older had at least a maid if not a cook. Only the working classes, right at the bottom, didn’t have servants.

        The salient point is an observation Agatha Christie made in her diary when young, that she expected never to be rich enough to afford a motorcar, nor to be so poor as not to afford servants.

        Oh, and even my own family had servants – in developing countries.

        Engels … was a subscriber to the Cheshire hunt, where he rode to hounds with the earls of Cholmondely and Crewe, and Lord Grosvenor, the future duke of Westminster. This placed him in the midst of the high society of his day …

        No, it didn’t, except in the sense that the British class system always was far more open to interactions between the classes. Read the Jorrocks books, by Robert Smith Surtees; these show just how readily the middle classes always could plug into that – even the lower middle class could follow the hounds at some level, for those who were dedicated enough to forego other discretionary expenditures.

      • Surely Marx and Engels were a very odd pair of advocates for the working class

        Wasn’t Che Guevara also a member of the ‘haute bourgeoisie’ by Argentinian standards?

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