3 June 2015

"On your Marx..." Part 4: Criticisms

I know something you don't know.
I have used a Classical Marxist framework in recent posts to investigate the role of Sport in Society. It must be remembered that Marxism is a tool (to say nothing of Marx himself), and that, while providing solutions to some theoretical problems, it fails to satisfactorily address a number of others.

This post then is a brief analysis of Marxism as a social framework. I want to address three particular qualms:

Firstly Marxism rides roughshod over personal agency (a fault with much of modern sociological thinking). There is far too much emphasis in classical Marxism on the coercive power of the capitalist system to suppress and oppress - especially at the unconscious level. Indeed, it is suggested, this power is wielded over the people inside the system both without their knowledge and without their consent.

I'm dissatisfied with this analysis. It seems to me that men and women are, by and large, capable of consciously and intentionally acting within and upon the systems of which they are a part. It also seems apparent that they do so - at least in western democracies, if not elsewhere - while consenting to the status quo as the least objectionable of possible alternatives.

Secondly, dialectical materialism, which is sometimes referred to as the Philosophy of Marxism, is plain bunkum.

Materialism supposes that the material world is all that is real, and that thought, consciousness and therefore 'truth' are each products of a person's interaction with that material world. Society, and social interactions are produced by the existence of a particular class system. The Marxist rejects the idea that matter is the product of the thoughts and ideas of man (idealism), but places the two in the opposite order. To be facetious then, materialism is the philosophy that the material existence of the cart requires the production of the horse.

My contention however is not that matter is the product of the mind and will of man, but rather the product of the mind and will of God. This starting point precludes materialism, and is superior to it because it provides an explanation and reason for being, as well as for the existence of objective truth.

Dialectical materialism, the keystone of Marxist thought, then is the notion that all the products of the material world are constantly shifting, acting back upon the material world to change it, progressing ever more towards an Utopian condition. How many decades of bloodshed and violence must pass before we admit that this is a fairytale for intellectuals? I reject dialectical materialism.

Finally, and crucially, it is possible that the Marxist analysis is itself a False Consciousness (see my previous post for a definition).

False consciousness blinkers the mind, and produces social explanations consistent with a preconceived ideology. In my experience of Marxist writings, there is a presupposition of capitalist motive in just about every part of human and social life. Marx saw the grubby fingers of greedy capitalists at every turn and in every corner.

Frankly, this is to overstate the case to the point of absurdity. For an example, read Marx's denouncement of marriage and family life as a bourgeois social construct which begins in the Manifesto with the words, "Abolition of the family!"

I feel a pithy and ostensibly Orwellian quote will do nicely here.

"There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them."

For 'intellectual', read 'Marxist'.

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