Ideas have consequences. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. And sometimes catastrophic – like the ideas of Karl Marx.
Born in Trier, Germany in 1818, Marx didn’t invent communism. But it was on his ideas that Lenin and Stalin built the Soviet Union, Mao built communist China, and innumerable other tyrants, from the Kims in North Korea to the Castros in Cuba, built their communist regimes. Ultimately, those regimes and movements calling themselves “Marxist” murdered about 100 million people and enslaved more than a billion. Marx believed that workers, specifically those who did manual labor, were exploited by capitalists – the people who owned, as Marx put it, “the means of production” (specifically, factories) – but who did very little physical labor themselves.
Only a workers’ revolution, Marx wrote in Das Kapital, could correct this injustice. What would that revolution look like? Marx and his collaborator, Friedrich Engels, spelled it out point-by-point in The Communist Manifesto. It included the “abolition of property and inheritance” and the “centralization of credit, communication, and transport in the hands of the state.” And a lot more along the same lines. In other words, the state owns and controls pretty much everything.
This notion was widely discussed and debated in European intellectual circles during Marx’s lifetime, but nothing much came of it until Vladimir Lenin took power in Russia in 1917. This changed everything. Despite its repeated economic failures, Lenin’s Russia, which became known as the Soviet Union, became the model for dictators around the world. Wherever Marx’s ideas were practiced, life got worse – not by a little; but by a lot. There is not a single exception to this rule. Not the Soviet Union, not Eastern Europe, not China, not North Korea, not Vietnam, not Cuba, not Venezuela, not Bolivia, not Zimbabwe. Wherever Marxism goes, economic collapse, terror and famine follow.
So, if cataclysmic failure – meaning terrible human suffering – is the inevitable legacy of Marxism, why do so many people – and now, especially, young people – defend it? The most common answer Marxism’s advocates offer is that “they” – whoever “they” are: Lenin, Stalin, Chavez – never really practiced Marxism. They all somehow got it wrong. Marxism, we are told, is, at its essence, about sharing what we have: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” as Marx put it. Maybe that sounds good to you. But what does it mean? Who determines ability? Who determines need?
Courtesy: PragerU: For the complete script, visit https://www.prageru.com/videos/who-ka…