How do we make a living? All of these were issues of the same political philosophy, and for the most part, political philosophy is a matter of economics and of power. In politics, money and power are fundamental. Even the most well-intentioned politician is no more without a personal fortune than a beggar without food. And yet this is what most of us believe.
Political philosophy is really an extension of the economic philosophy. Because it is based on the very foundation of economics—that men make their own lives by cooperating with and helping each other—there are very few ways to disagree with political philosophy, except by changing the economy. That’s what Marx and Marxists were all about.
But to say that Marx and Marxists made a difference is very unfair. Marx made it all up. He made a huge leap of faith. Marxists were an attempt to make Marxism credible. They were an attempt to make people think that economics might be more than just a theory of the workings of capitalism.
Marx made all this up.
That was a major error in the ideology of Communism. But not so far as Marxist theorists seem to think. It seems that the Communist Manifesto was a great source of inspiration for them.
In the early Soviet regime, Marxists tried to present themselves as the true heirs of Marx himself. They didn’t want to be called Marxists. They knew that they were simply following the legacy of a master. In their ideology, all Marxists were the heirs of Marx, all Marxists thought of themselves as heirs to Marx.
Even Marxist theory, and even some of the ideas from Marx, had an intellectual tinge of socialism. There were a few who came back to communism after the Stalinist collapse. I remember seeing him at a meeting once. He was a very intelligent man. He was not an orthodox communist. He was not a committed Communist. He wasn’t even a Marxist. He was some sort of thinker. He had a political and economic notion that was similar to Marx’s.
That was one reason why Communists thought they had the monopoly on intellectual honesty. They did not want to talk about Marx. They had other ideas. There was no need for Marx. You can see why Marx’s ideas became important. But of course there are those who think that Marx did the most valuable work that mankind has ever done. They think the most brilliant thing ever done has been done by Marx and Marxists alone.
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