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Posted by: Frenchy on January 29, 19100 at 12:47:46:

Sam #1
Chap. 10; The Legacy of Marx.
Karl Marx left many very different legacies, to many individuals, groups, fields, and institutions. His intellectual legacy, especially some of his insights concerning history, are now p;art of the general intellectual equipment of Western man. Marx's political theories nave inspired both social democrats and Communists. His approach to analyzing the dynamics of economic and social theories has reappeared in thinkers as disparate as Thorstein Veblen, and Joseph A. Schumpeter, and the reaction against Marx's assumptions about the role of ideas is apparent in Max Weber. As a distinguished philosopher has said: "Marx's contribution, in whatever modified form, have entered the consciousness of our time, affected the idiom of our language and understanding, and left an ineradicable imprint on the world of scholarship."
Some of Marx's thinking, especially as regards economic and social factors in history, is in fact now so much a part of our general intellectual tradition that it makes interpretaion of the original Maarxian theory of history more difficult. The normal tendency to view any theory in contrast to what we already believe is here misleading, for much of what we already believe contains insights contrbuted by Marx. For example, Marx's emphasis on the economic factor in history- in his peculiar, sociological conception of "economics"- often seems an overemphasisi or a monistic explanation, simply because we already give it considerable weight vis--vis ideas or great men, or other factors.
Marx's legacy is not merely an intellectual legacy, however. It is also a legacy of behavior not only in content but in style. Much as Marx may have explicitly advocated thi idea of democratic workers' government, his own personal style was dictatorial, manipulative, and intolerant. Those who complain that the Soviet Union has betrayed Marx have in mind the intellectual theories rather than the actual behavior of the man. Whether Marx would have gone as far as Lenin or Stalin or Pol Pot is one of the great unanswerable questions of history. But Marx's own behavior already pointed in that direction, however much his words proclaimed a proletarian democracy. Moreover, even in the intellectual realm, the long Marxian tradition of speaking out boldly in the name of the workers- not only without their consent but in defiance of their contrary views and actions- made Marxism an instrument of elite domination, with a clear conscience, long before Lenin or Stalin.
While Marxian theories do not require condemnations of all holding different views- and indeed Marx's writings contain numerous expressions of respect for Ricardo, Hegel, and others now thought of as conservative- nevertheless, Marx's personal style with living contemporaries was one in which vituperation and contempt were standard features. It is the style that continues in modern Marxist rhetoric. While social democrats might well claim to be truer to Marxian theories, the Communists have been truer to Marxian practices.
Marx's legacy cannot be fully appreciated until it is critically examined for internal consistency and its empirical validity tested in the harsh glare of facts. Interpretation, though a major undertaking, is not enough.
Even in Marx's own time, Marxism began to acquire so many differernt meanings that Marx himself declared "I am not a Marxist." With the rise of Communist nations in the twentieth century, the divisions and proliferations of varied versions of Marxism have become even greater. Leninism, Trotskyism, and Maoism are only some of the major divisions among Communists who claim to be lineal descendants of Marx. In addition, there have been social democreats who considered themselves to be purer Marxists than the Communists- notably the German Social Democrats in the era of Karl Kautsky, who challenged Lenin's credentials as a Marxist. Other socialists have also incorporated Marx's doctrines in their goals and policies, often in forms openly revised in the light of modern conditions.
Rather than attempt a fruitless pursuit of all the schools and sects of contemporary Marxism, the discussion here will be limited to (1) the Marxism of Marx and Engels, and (2) the mainstream of twentieth-century Communism, which takes Lenin as the central legitimate inheritor and developer of their tradition.

From "Marxism; Philosophy and Economics" Thomas Sowell. Quill 105 Madison Ave. New York, NY.




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