Do you believe in Marxism? Most people would say no but, they should think more deeply about this. The communist manifesto had ten planks that were totally revolutionary and a complete contradiction to the ideas of liberty. Well many of the planks of the Communist Manifesto are part of society today and enjoy wide support from the public. Let us consider what planks have been enacted by American society and why they benefit the communist ideal.
1. One plank was that society needed a central bank. I think that there are many reasons that Karl Marx supported a central Bank. A central bank allows the state to be in complete control of society’s wealth. A free monetary system puts money in the hands of the people. A central bank allows society’s elites to control all wealth. Communism needs such centralization of wealth to operate.
Also, having a central bank, by making credit cheap, would shorten time preferences in society and over time would change the cultural values of society. Jeffery Tucker talks about how an inflationary society leads to social decay and destroys traditional institutions. For communism to rise, it was critical that the old Bourgeoisie values be overthrown. Inflation creates a society that benefits the risk taker over the saver. The impact on society becomes evident as those with a more present orientated outlook in life start to have more success than those who have longer termed, more prudent outlooks on life. The respect for what is lasting and true is thrown out while rampant materialism becomes the norm. Marx knew that a materialistic consumer society, with its old social institutions, such as churches, overturned would be ripe for communism. With social power weakened, the state becomes supreme. Marx needed a powerful state to enact his ideals.
2. Public Schooling. Though public schooling seems like a beneficial social investment, people should pause to think about why the communists were so supportive of it as well. After a little thought, the communist reason should be obvious. Marx wanted to control the minds of society. He needed them inculcated with proletariat ideology. You might be thinking that, “well yeah, so what?” We are not communists, we are not teaching communist ideology to our children. Our education system is as objective as possible. I would contend that many philosophical ideas of the communists have tacitly embedded themselves into the American curriculum. Teachers may not be teaching communism directly or even knowingly but, proletariat/bourgeoisie class struggle is pervasive throughout our history books. In every history textbook, labor is subject to rampant abuse throughout American history and it is only the American state that intervenes to prevent abuse by the industrialists. The whole idea of “exploitation of labor” was an unknown concept before Marx. People were thought of as individuals not classes. Wage rates were considered simple contracts between an employer and an employee. This all changed after Marx, it was now thought that labor was simply given near substance level wages just to increase the profits of the capital owning class. This idea still persists today, even though it has become patently absurd when one can look around and see how the working class has improved their condition over the last one hundred years, even as this completely contradicts Marxist ideology which states that the working class will stay in poverty forever. I could also go into the economics about how supply and demand functions in labor markets the same way as other markets but, you can read it here and here if you want to know more. Simply put, public schools are the brain child of Marx and our public schools today teach Marxist class structure whether in the traditional labor class vs capitalistic class or in the new versions of Marxist class struggle of racial minorities vs racial majorities or the female sex vs the exploitative male sex. These ideas are all Marxist in origin. Whether they are true or not is a topic for another time but, their roots in Marxism are not debatable.
3. A progressive income tax. Once again the idea of the progressive income tax was one of the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto! This was one of the ideas that was so revolutionary at the time that Marx did not put his name on the Communist Manifesto until years after it was published. I find it interesting that those today who want to go to a flat tax are the radicals but, those who support a Marx’s progressive income tax are just good citizens. Is it any wonder that society is in such decay? I guess people think that the progressive income tax exists in the name of equality but, is this really true? Karl Marx certainly preached equality but, did he really mean it? I would contend that he did not. For one, it is estimated the Marx made a very good living from his writings, some estimates being 80 times that of the average German family at the time with no indication that he ever gave any substantial amount to alleviate suffering of the poor around him. He was mostly a drinker and an ideal philosophizer. I think that Marx’s hypocrisy was evident in many ways, one being that he took large amounts of money from businessmen, the very bourgeoisie that he railed against. For more on Karl Marx “the man”, here is a presentation by Gary North. From all of Marx’s hypocritical behavior, I don’t think it is unscholarly not to take Marx’s motives at his word. I think Marx simply wanted to play on the most unsavory of human emotions, mainly greed and envy. He knew that his society would need a new managerial class to rule and an intellectual class to defend the rulers. He simply wanted to uproot the traditional land owning classes and replace them with the kind of class of his own liking. To be honest, I think this is the deep unspoken motive of many of the intellectual supporters of socialism/communism. They want a society that will give them power and a steady income through the state. After all, how can you take such people seriously when study after study has shown that most of them spend such little time or money helping those that are poorer than them. I think they would rather spend their time like Karl Marx did, idly drinking coffee or martinis at there local trendy establishment rather than actually going out and helping the underclass that they claim to care for so much. Then, as today, the idea of equality of wealth and the progressive income tax in particular were simply tools that Marx wanted to use to destroy the Old Order.
So is America philosophically communist? I think the answer is no. Deep feelings of individualism and natural rights still permeate society to such a wide degree that true communism/socialism has failed to take hold. But this does not mean that communist ideology has not made tremendous inroads into American culture. Something to think about the next time you send your kid to mandatory schooling, pay your income taxes, or buy an item with a Federal Reserve note.