Monday, March 19

My Comrades

So I'm reading the Communist Manifesto by Marx for my environmental studies class. I'm almost done with it. It's actually rather concise; the actual text is only 50 small pages in 4 parts. Big things with huge effects do come in little packages.

I went to the university bookstore to pick it up because it's probably the bookstore around here that endorses it the least. I couldn't find it on the shelves, so I asked the lady. When I first asked her, I could barely get it out louder than a whisper. I didn't even intend to do it that way, it's just such a dirty phrase to say in public.

I would say it's pretty "mind-melting", or perhaps "air-thefting". I'm definitely going to have to pour over it several times.

Don't worry though, having read Atlas Shrugged and Anthem over winter break (Adam Smith is sitting on my shelf, in case all else fails) and turned quasi-libertarian, I'm fortified against it. Yet it is food for thought.

He/they offer some nice promises. In particular, he says that you're worth more than just your labor value and you should have lots of time to reach your highest potential. Yet, in his 10 guidelines for creating a communist society, you don't get to own anything, or inherit anything, or leave the country, or disagree. (They've achieved 2 of their 10 goals: a progressive tax, and free education for children. Hmm)

It seems he favors replacing wealthy investors, entrepreneurs, and risk-takers with a monopoly of the majority. The majority is not a good way to run or judge anything. Everyone wants a say when the going's good, and everyone disappears when it gets tough. (Have you ever worked on a committee before?)

Capitalism is not the best system, but it's a hell of a lot better than communism or feudalism. I'll be getting back about this after reading and analyzing it some more.


Steve S said...

"The majority is not a good way to run or judge anything."

Hm. Interesting comment in light of how the US is know ... run.

Mike said...

Democracy is tyranny of the majority. That's why we're mostly a constitutional republic.

Ryan Gallentine said...

Ah yes, I read the Manifesto my senior year of high school. Actually I went through a socialism phase that lasted the better part of a year.

I've always felt Engels and Marx (particularly Marx) were better sociologists than political scientists. Of course, it's easier to say that with 150 years and several failed attempts of hindsight. Still, the gusto with which the prose is delivered is quite powerful and revolutionary.

Coincidentally I recently purchased Atlas Shrugged and it's in my queue. I find it refreshing to read outside the ideological box from time to time. I'll let you know what I think of it.

Mike said...

Yes, it is very well written, there's no wasted or filler text. I, too, enjoy reading different perspectives. I wish I had more time to read.

As for Atlas Shrugged, I think it's fair to say that she beats the dead horse to a pulp. But don't not read it. As you'll find, Rand is quite different from Marx--I don't want to ruin it for you. I enjoyed it, lots of plot (she was a script writer beforehand) and she, I believe, really liked engineers.