A century ago the term "Machiavellian" was simply a negative label. On campuses today, one finds both liberal and conservative professors lauding the Florentine philosopher for original insights on the nature of politics.
Today, the term "Marxism" is currently in the state where conservatives can't use the term without being accused of labeling.
Categorizing the term as a label is detrimental to discourse. Marx, like him or not, stands among the most influential philosophers of the last two centuries. He has influenced both the left and right (radical and reactionaries) and has had a profound impact on political, education, social and business theories.
When I was a student, the belief among my professors was that Marxism was still the wave of the future. Marx was just misunderstood. We would be in a social utopia, but somehow Stalin, Mao, Hussein, Hitler, Castro and other practitioners of the philosophy applied it incorrectly.
Being a diligent student, I wasted time reading Marx.
While reading Marx, I had an epiphany. Most of us think that Marx defined Communism. I found precious little information on the day to day functioning of the social utopia. What Marx actually did was extremely underhanded. Unable to define how a social utopia would work. Marx wrote detailed treatise on how a free society could collapse.
Marx did not give us a recipe for building a better society. He gave us a recipe for destroying a free society.
The technique is called "Material Dialectics." Although the philosophy uses the term "dialectics" it is not really a form of discourse. Material dialectics sees talk as prattle. The real discourse happens at a meta level through social movement, economic trends, political movements and revolutions.
Marx would feel comfortable with technorati as it doesn't matter what one says, but where they fit in the nexus of link.
Talk is nothing more than prattle that people make as they vie for political power. I made free market style prattle because I am white and live in the mountain states.
The basic idea behind the dialectics is that the World Spirit evolves through a scientifically predictable series of thesis-antithesis conflicts. Each thesis-antithesis conflict results in a catharsis.
Marx claims that people at different levels of the evolution are unable to see what the next level brings. Such is Marx's excuse for not writing about the inner workings of the Communist utopia. He could not write about the inner workings of the social utopia because he was part of the corrupt industrial revolution. His role in history was to create a formula for overthrowing the current social order to bring about change.
The basic idea is that each society creates the seeds of its own destruction; So, Marx engaged in a detailed examination of the workings of capital to find flaws in the system that would make it become top heavy and crash.
The great irony of the modern age is that Marx did not define communism.. Marx defined capitalism.
The best way to destroy a system is to weasel your way into a position where you can define the system. You then work to define the system such that it has systemic faults.
This process is not all that difficult: An intellectual defines a central conflict for a society, and chooses what they hope to be the winning side. A group of radicals form to argue their side of the thesis antithesis conflict. Invariably, a group of reactionaries forms arguing the other side of the conflict. If you play the hand correctly, the people trying to pull off the social change end up defining both sides of an argument.
Capitalism, as we know it, was defined by the enemies of the free market. Reactionaries unwittingly accept the definition. This would be a fun irony except for the unfortunate fact that the definers of capitalism have manipulated things in such a way that there are artificial constructs in the program that keep causing systematic faults.
For example, the left has been quick to define the market with things like short selling and federal reinsurance for mortgages. Short selling increases volatility. Federal reinsurance transforms all the local real estate market into a global market with systemic faults.
When the system crashes, everyone believes the contrived failure to be the fault of the free market.
One of the Marxist mantras is to use the tools of capitalism to destroy capitalism.
A great example of using the tools created by the capitalist to bring capitalism down was George Soros's breaking of the bank of England by shorting the currency in 1992.
2008 will also stand out as a prime example of Marxist style manipulation. In an attempt to put their man in the white house, oil speculators, OPEC and others pushed the price of oil to a level that was several times the marginal cost of production. This speculation came in conjunction with the largest short selling attack in the history of the stock market.
Polls seem to indicate that the attack was successful. The blatant manipulation has many writing off the free market altogether.
We need a manipulator to protect us from the manipulators.
Marxism is a blind faith that if you destroy the current system, something better will rise in its wake. One agitates for change without much in the way of deep thought about what that change will be.
Quite frankly, I think it is in this Marxist tradition that we find the root of the current negative discourse that is shaking this world. It is an ideology where intellectuals are trained to take a relentless attack on the system. It encourages people to actively disseminate misleading information and engage activities that undermine their communities. The naïve notion is that the agitation will lead to some unspecified higher evolutionary level.
Tearing things down is a thousand times easier than building things up.
I ended rejecting Marxism because I found nothing constructive in it. The process centralizes power and destroys the local communities.
I have been in a pickle, because I realize that the reactionaries to Marxism are as bad as the Marxists themselves.
Much of the American Conservative movement is a reaction to Marxism. Reactionary movements always carry the imprint of the thing the movement is reacting against.
The 2008 election has been a nightmare for me. I voted for Barack Obama in the primary because I loved his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention. At the time of the primary, his campaign was claiming that he wanted to elevate the state of discourse in our nation.
Like it or not, the left controls the University, newspapers and most of the intellectual institutions that define our society. As such, change in the Democratic Party has a more profound effect on our culture than anything the Republicans are capable of achieving.
For example, the Civil Rights Movement happened when the Democratic Party, under the leadership of LBJ, switched from open racism to an open acceptance of diversity. Prior to the Civil Rights Movement, the party used racial tension to pass intrusive laws to enforce segregation. The Civil Rights Movement flipped and started using intrusive laws to force desegregation.
This was a positive change that Republicans were incapable of pulling off.
The environmental movement occurred when the Democratic Party switched sides from open hostility to conservation to radical demands environmental protection. As an eco-jabbering meadow muffin, I approve of the change. The pathetic attempts by the Republicans to stop environment destruction from big government projects like the TVA and related projects all pretty much were for not.
My primary concern is the dismal state of education theory.
The John Dewey and Bill Ayers crowds were the ones who yanked the study of logic out of the public school curriculum. As Barrack Obama was calling for improved discourse during the primary, I voted for him on the blind hope that the change he promised might involve reforming the public schools in ways that helped develop an appreciation for reason, logic and quality discourse.
Of course, I was doing what everyone else does. I was projecting my hopes on the candidate.
Since the primary, I have only seen empty rhetoric and an vacuum of ideas.
I have been sick to my stomach. Obama's campaign seems to be following the plan laid out by Marx and perfected by Lenin, Stalin and Mao.
The party agitates for an unspecified change. We all project our own thoughts on to the meaning of change. Then spend our days trying to pull off underhanded tricks to manifest the change.
I do not think that Obama is a Marxist. I think that Marx has been the most influential philosophy of the modern era. The result of this influence is that, although very few people take the time to read Marx, our election campaigns keep falling into the patterns that Marxist movement defined.
The problem is not exclusive to Democrats who like to run campaigns with "change" as the mantra. Conservatives is still too much of a reactionary movement. For example, we saw this in the debate regarding immigration. A functioning immigration system would offer sufficient citizen slots and temporary work permits to meet a reasonable demand. To make the system work, the county must enforce its laws. For a visa system to work, you have to deport people who violate the contract of the visa.
The debate that needed to take place was destroyed by a small racist element in the Conservative movement. Many of the most racist comments came from Union types who temporarily became conservatives to make race based arguments against immigration reform.
In conclusion, I believe that the Hegelian and Marxist movements are the source of much of the discord that affects our political process today. It is a system that encourages political groups to use underhanded tricks to rise to power. It is a system where power mongers agitate for an unspecified change. Such change is unlikely to lead to improvement. Whereas detailed analysis is a system that leads to improvement.
To actually affect a positive change in discourse, we need to be able to use the M word, otherwise we will be forever trapped in these elections where people feel they are caught between the choice of bad and worse.