(Extremely busy yesterday so no post. Sorry.)
Today’s post was prompted by a recent news item about a statue to Karl Marx being vandalized. A monument to a vile philosophy of the past being damaged if not outright destroyed? Well, I wouldn’t be surprised given what’s been done with other monuments except this one, sad to say, is not “of the past.” If you don’t go looking, you may not realize how much Marx saturates the “intelligentsia” in the US. He’s been ascendant in the Education-Entertainment Complex for generations (plural). Arguments that are, at best, thinly veiled Marxism are treated as serious and, indeed, conventional. Opposition is considered extremism.
How can this be allowed to continue?
Consider: The number of Africans shipped to the US as slaves was never very great, totaling under 400,000. Most of the more than 10 million Africans sent overseas to be slaves in the “new world” went to the Caribean and South America. Frankly, I do not think that the US can be held accountable for the slave trade elsewhere. Of course there were many more slaves in the US than that over time, thanks to the “natural increase” (i.e. slave women having children born in slavery and growing up to be slaves) but even so, the 1790 census reported just under 700,000 slaves in the United States. By 1860, the eve of the Civil War, the number had risen to just under 4 million.
Given average lifespan even under the harsh conditions of slavery the total number of slaves in the US over the entire history of legal slavery cannot be more than about 15-20 million.
By contrast, Marx’s “ideas” have been responsible for over 100 million deaths and many more subject to oppression every bit as crushing as that of slavery. It’s just the oppressor was the “government” (acting entirely for “the people” It Says Here).
If the institution of Slavery is so vile that we must erase people like Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry from history (slave owners, although of mixed feelings on the subject–Patrick Henry being a particularly interesting case) let alone folk like Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson, remove their names from schools and street signs, and pull down statues to them, then how much more should we not destroy the monuments to Marx? (And, seriously, how can anybody wear those revolting “Che” shirts given what a monster Che was–a monster molded by Marx.)
If slavery was, and is, a blight upon the Earth (and I assure you, it was), how much more, than the greater blight of Marx?
Some might argue that it’s unfair to compare slavery in the US with the horrors of Marxism worldwide but that speaks to the influence the individuals and cultures memorialized in the US have had–which was strictly American at the time with the US only becoming a world leader well after the abolition of slavery–with that of Marx which has been global. He and his ideas have led to far more misery and death than Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee, Patrick Henry, and every other slave owner in the US combined.
My position is relatively straightforward. While neither should be removed from history, both should be left in the past where they belong:
Cautionary tales, bad ideas unworthy of emulation.