The Great Blunder of Karl Marx

Karl Marx wrote in a time of many labor abuses. He saw the ills, critiqued them, and offered alternatives. In that regard, we should be grateful for his thoughts, for one could argue that Marx provided an insightful perspective on how to be a caring manager.

But where Marx blundered tragically is that he made violent revolution a core tenet. You cannot be a Marxist, Socialist, or Communist without believing that violence is necessary. So, who then do these theories attract? People who desire violent revolution.

History has shown the results of such thinking. Look at the Soviet Union. Look at China. How many died in the violence of revolution? And then what happened after? Many more were killed. Revolutionaries generally aren’t experienced in all the challenges of operating a healthy economy. They put their own inexperienced, unqualified people in charge. So often, the economy fails. The failure leads these leaders who believe in violence as an answer to problems to then, of course, proceed with more violence.

Some examples can be brought up to counter this argument. But what is common in counter-examples is that those countries or movements tend to be much more democratic and less socialist in nature. By being democratic, they are movements for all the people instead of an oppressed/oppressor class struggle position.

Why is this all important? Because there are rising voices and movements around the world, particularly in the United States, that espouse these theories. We can disagree on the strength and momentum of each movement. Its existence and increasing prominence, however, seem clear. And while no two movements perfectly mirror each other, reasonable outcomes can be predicted for present movements using a historical lens. And the prediction, given the destruction history shows us, is not one to aspire towards.

Notes

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Click here to read a historical fiction short story from the Russian Revolution.