The Samizdata post on Marxism

The Samizdata post on Marxism is fascinating indeed, Rocket Man. The premise of the post seems to be that Marxism is alive and well on college campuses and has not lost very much face despite the collapse of Communism in Europe. But the Economist article from which Samizdata quotes suggests to me that Marxism actually has taken a massive hit and is not stirring many imaginations these days. According to the Economist, his current defenders argue that Marx was “misunderstood” and “was right about far more than he is given for credit for.” Just 30 years ago, any Marxist who uttered such sentiments would have been read right out of whatever splinter group he or she belonged to. Marx used to be regarded as a prophet. Marxism was “scientific socialism.” Today, even Marx’s defenders seem to regard him as a dreamer who had some useful insights considering the times in which he wrote. As to why anyone has any use at all for Marx today, I would suggest that some middle aged professors invested too much in Marxism to walk away from it. And I suspect that those students (very few in number, from what I can tell) who dabble in Marxism do so because they hate capitalism and the United States, and find Marxism a marginally more attractive outlet than the only other ideology grandiose enough to give proper due to their hatred, namely Islamofascism. This is a far cry from the intellectual passion that caused many of the brighest students of the 1930s (and some of the brighter ones of the 1960s) to embrace Marxism as the ideology that correctly explains and predicts everything.


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