Class Morality

Although Karl Marx, not Adolf Hiter, was arguably the most destructive German ever born, Bret Stephens writes in the New York Times that Western intellectuals will go to extreme lengths to deny it.

Why is Marxism still taken seriously on college campuses and in the progressive press? … These aren’t original questions. But they’re worth asking because so many of today’s progressives remain in a permanent and dangerous state of semi-denial …

They will insist that there is an essential difference between Nazism and Communism … balance acknowledgment of the repression and mass murder of Communism with references to its “real advances and achievements.”

“They will write about Stalinist playwright Lillian Hellman in tones of sympathy and understanding they never extend to film director Elia Kazan” because Marxism is ostensibly a moral enterprise. However many millions it killed it meant well. The irony of this defense is that the Communist Manifesto argued morality doesn’t exist. It was simply a construct of the Party. Chapter 2 of the Manifesto says:

When the ancient world was in its last throes, the ancient religions were overcome by Christianity. When Christian ideas succumbed in the 18th century to rationalist ideas, feudal society fought its death battle with the then revolutionary bourgeoisie. The ideas of religious liberty and freedom of conscience merely gave expression to the sway of free competition within the domain of knowledge.

“Undoubtedly,” it will be said, “religious, moral, philosophical, and juridical ideas have been modified in the course of historical development. But religion, morality, philosophy, political science, and law, constantly survived this change.”

“There are, besides, eternal truths, such as Freedom, Justice, etc., that are common to all states of society. But Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience.”

If you want to know what’s moral read the papers, the right ones of course because it’s changing all the time. There is no morality but class morality and the party defines what class morality means. Marxism styles itself not as the servant of some objective virtue but it’s maker. It defines good. Through this the Manifesto deliberately sets itself against the psalmist who acknowledges an external truth which it is man’s purpose to discover. In the familiar words “the Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” It is there. I will find it.

The psalmist tries to understand reality in contrast to the progressive who decides what virtue is to be and re-evaluates the past accordingly. They are two points of view and ways of thinking with Marxism winning the argument — at least in the academy, the media and entertainment — through most of the 20th century. But in the 21st century, first slowly but with gathering speed the Internet has collapsed the Narrative and laid bare the corruption of Hollywood, politics and the media. For the first time in a century the assumption progressives are a uniquely moral people pursuing a virtuous enterprise is impossible to sustain.


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