Fayetteville resident Harold DeRienzo tried to stealthily argue the case for Marxian Political Economy in his letter published here on May 14.
The casual reader can take the time to refute the factual errors DeRienzo made. A more careful reader can even point out the disjointed logic in his arguments. But what is the point?
This conversation takes place daily on social media, and yet there are still hard-core proponents for the many-headed-hydra of socialist thought. The abject failure of socialism to achieve its desired ends is all the evidence anyone should need. But the socialist will simply protest that “true socialism has never been tried.”
Could that be because as you approach true socialism, the share of society that is either imprisoned or starved approaches 100 percent?
The fundamental flaw of Marx was the presumption that society involves the exploitation of one group of individuals by another. Marx’s fundamental claim is that the bourgeoisie exploits the proletariat. Or, as DeRienzo stated “business entities … run the country.”
The precise mechanism by which this exploitation is accomplished is never very well defined, so the socialist instead turns to broad generalizations that propose a sinister and secretive alliance of powerful actors who work to subvert the interests of the people. Coincidentally, that is also the definition of a “conspiracy theory”.
Indeed, as pointed out by F. A. Hayek in his book “The Fatal Conceit,” socialism lacks any kind of framework which is able to account for all the myriad interactions which occur in an economy, and therefore cannot explain the outcomes in any other way except through conspiracy.
Something else that Marxism is unable to explain is the phenomena of charity. The Marxian model of continuous class struggle and exploitation is at a loss to explain why people freely give their money, time, and labor to humanitarian and social welfare causes while harboring no expectation of a return.
Marx made almost no attempts at an effective explanation for the broad efforts mounted by religious organizations in the West to alleviate the suffering of the poor and infirm, instead choosing to dismiss religion as yet another instrument of exploitation by the bourgeoisie.
In this context, he cynically denounced the Judeo-Christian tendency to view suffering as a consequence of being by writing that “religion … is the opiate of the people.” Marx, however, clearly didn’t find strength in his own arguments, since the essay containing this infamous line wasn’t published until after his death.
Contrary to the ugly Marxist model of society, the reality that we live with today and which is visibly evident in the interplay of society under laissez-faire free-market capitalism is this: people are good, people are kind, and people are beneficent. This is evident by the billions of dollars that flow to charitable organizations each year, or the millions of hours of volunteer time that is done in lieu of wages by everyday people. It is a fundamental aspect of the human condition that we experience empathy for those who are suffering, and we are compelled by our nature to help them.
Americans have historically rejected the nihilistic visions of socialists, and continue to do so today. Instead of the cudgel of tax policy by which the socialist seeks to fleece the productive class in order to buy the sympathy (and votes) of the downtrodden, Americans instead seek the freedoms to direct the surplus of their own labor to the causes they individually support.
Instead of a common treasury of the State as administered by technocrats, Americans look to the democratic act of organizing themselves voluntarily to address needs as they arise.
This is the spirit of freedom and democratic principles upon which our republic is organized, and the principles of Marxian Political Economy are antithetical to those principles. Therefore, we reject its call.
Peachtree City, Ga.