For this week’s installment for my series about the evils of Socialism, I thought it might be good to go directly to a founding document that inspired the deconstructionism of postmodernism, the ‘woke’ religion of identity politics, Critical Theories, and all other forms of Socialism, by sharing a video where Jordan Peterson goes through the major points of the Communist Manifesto. I’m using this video because he shares an important concept that seems to be lost in our current culture, and that’s the ability to think through these things critically. It seems that many of our young people have accepted this particular ideology without actually having thought through what it is they’ve accepted.
As Jordan Peterson points out, when we read something like The Communist Manifesto, we need to ask ourselves, “Is this true?”, and, “Are there counter arguments that can be put forth that are credible?” Peterson mentions that he’s never read a tract that made as many conceptual errors. I also read it at a young age, and have reviewed it again, and while I’m not an acedemic authority like Peterson, I would have to agree with his assessment.
You can read this famous (or infamous) document for yourself here. And, after hearing Peterson’s critique, you can form your own conclusions.
Jordan Peterson outlines ten of the fundamental axioms of the Communist Manifesto, giving his critique as follows. I’ve included time links (in parentheses) in the video for your convenience:
- (4:10) History is to be viewed primarily as an economic class struggle. But there are many other motivations that drive human beings that have to be taken into account. And, as Peterson points out, Marx’s view of the hierarchical struggle doesn’t go nearly far enough. It’s actually a biological struggle (including with animals) that goes way deeper than an economic one. Marx also ignores the positive and necessary elements of hierchical structure.
- (6:24) It ignores our struggle with nature, including human nature itself. Marx seems to act as if nature doesn’t exist! And that human beings struggle with nature, and even stuggle within themselves. Judeo-Christian thought, and history (including over 100 years of Socialist regimes), would prove that human beings are capable of great evil, apart from capitalist heirarchies.
- (9:40) Marx assumes you can think of history as a binary class struggle (Proletariat vs. Bourgeoisie). But it’s an oversimplification of the problem to reduce everything down to “oppressor” and the “oppressed.” Sometimes, the same people can be the exploiter, and another time, the exploitee. Peterson points out that this turned out to be a tremendous problem for the Russian Revolution.
- (11:48) Marx adopts group identity thinking. He assumed that all of the good was on the side of the proletariat (the oppressed masses), and all of the bad is on the side of the bourgeoise (the wealthy ruling class), which is classic tribalism. This type of prejudicial thinking is always divisive and detrimental to creating a healthy culture.
- (12:49) That the ‘dictatorship of the Proletariat’ would be a good thing. The a priori assumption that the capitalist boureoisie are the source of all evil, again, totally disregards human nature, which leads to the crazy notion that a minority of the proletariat who rise to the top could not be corrupted. Of course, we have ample evidence that this is false. To quote the Who song, “Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.”
- (16:16) Assuming that all capitalist forms of labor are evil. Marx’s thinking here may’ve been skewed by the times he lived in. While probably true with the dissolute aristocrats of the early 1800’s, whose labor value was zero, it ignores the value of innovative and industrious business men and women upon whom the success of a company (and ecomony in general) depends.
- (17:34) The criticism of profit. Marx assumed that profit was theft. But if the capitalist is adding value to the company, then he or she has a right to receive from that added value. It also overlooks the company’s ability to grow, continue to innovate, be more competative, provide more worker benefits, and withstand economic downturns.
- (20:00) That the ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ would somehow become magically hyper-productive. Marx postulates this without providing any theory about how it would work! The inferrence is that once you rid society of all the capitalists and seize their property, and eradicate the profit motive, that somehow the proletariat at the top will create a system that is hyper-productive.
- (21:23) It assumes that a system that provides for every need would necessarily be a utopian society for everyone. This is a very shallow view of humanity because there are great differences between people. And, as Dostoyevsky observed, we were built to overcome trouble and challenges. If we were ever handed everything we needed on a silver platter, the first thing we would probably do is engage in some form of creative destruction just so we could have some adventure!
- (23:15) Marx repeatedly admits that capitalism is the most effective system of production for generating material commodities! So, if your proposition is that we should get as much material security for everyone to create your utopia, and if capitalism is already doing that, wouldn’t it be logical to just use capitalism for the means of production?
Peterson’s closing remarks about Marxism were brilliant, especially this one:
“I just can’t think how anyone could come up with an idea like a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’—especially after advocating its implementation with violent means—and actually think, if they were thinking, if they knew anything about human beings and the proclivity for malevolence that’s part and parcel of the individual human being, that it could do anything but lead to a special form of hell. Which is precisely what did happen.”
Here’s the video.