In Brief: Who Was Karl Marx?
Everyone’s heard of him, but not many people really know much about him.
Most Americans would have to have grown up under a rock to not know the name Karl Marx or at least have vague familiarity with the ideology of Marxism he developed. But journalist Daniel Greenfield rhetorically asks, “Who was Karl Marx beyond the bearded guy on t-shirts in Berkeley and Austin?”
He in turn reviews the book Who Was Karl Marx?: The Men, the Motives and the Menace Behind Today’s Rampaging American Left by investigative journalist James Simpson, which he says “paints a scathing picture of Marx, his disciplines, and the political movement created by the fake prophet of a real catastrophe.”
Marx was “hypocritically greedy, petty, arrogant, lazy, selfish, dishonest, two-faced, lecherous, bigoted and brimming with hatred”, Simpson writes, backing that up with historical anecdotes.
Does it matter that Marx was a virulent bigot, that he hated most people, and even sired an illegitimate son, kept him in poverty, and never let him go past the servants’ quarters?
It might not matter if Marx were just a writer whose work was disconnected from his loathsome personality, but Simpson convincingly argues that, “progressivism’s end product is merely the reflection of Marx’s personality, played out to devastating effect on the world stage.”
Marxism, in other words, is terrible because Karl Marx was a miserable human being.
Other than that, it’s great.
But Who Was Karl Marx? is not a biography of Marx, so much as it’s a sketch of key leftist figures, and the influence of their ideas on the present. The book may begin with Marx, but it goes on to Black Lives Matter and Antifa. It touches on Lenin’s obsession with destroying his opponents through relentless dehumanization and smear campaigns in order to clarify the contemporary leftist obsession with political correctness and cancel culture.
The war on truth and reality are not an accidental derangement, but a calculated strategy.
The rest of the strategy is using “an army of front groups” to push the ideology behind the scenes, often quietly. They wage war on truth by changing the definitions of words. They rely on identity politics. They renew and repackage old ideas. And they attack people personally.
As America debates critical race theory, Who Was Karl Marx? notes that Marx had called for “a ruthless criticism of everything existing.” Obviously that is a privilege that the Left reserves for itself. While its activists and agitators have the right to criticise everything, they are immune from criticism. Critical race theory advances radical criticisms of America, but any criticism of it is deemed racist. The Left’s idea of criticism is not a marketplace of ideas, but a cultural tyranny.
Marx’s own brand of criticism was hateful, ignorant, and racist. And despite reserving the right to criticise everything, he was thin-skinned to the point of violent derangement, responding to any disagreement with frenzies of rage and vendettas that would last for decades. The revolutionary leader was, like most leftists of the period, more consumed with fighting other leftists.
It is because of Karl Marx, concludes Greenfield, that “leftist politics is a school for sociopaths who aspire to manipulate and destroy others.”
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