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A Parade of Horrors: On the Marxist Seizing of American Institutions

Over at Quillette, Yoram Hazony writes a concise analysis about the recent remarkable successes of the new Marxists in former dominions of classical liberalism: American media, culture, universities, and corporations.

While acknowledging the Marxist talking point that classes tend to exploit one another, Hazony highlights several fatal flaws which neither Marx nor historical Marxists states have been able to patch:
The Marxist goal of seizing the state and using it to eliminate all oppression is an empty promise. Marx did not know how the state could actually bring this about, and neither have any of his followers. In fact, we now have many historical cases in which Marxists have seized the state: In Russia and Eastern Europe, China, North Korea, and Cambodia, Cuba and Venezuela. But nowhere has the Marxists’ attempt at a “revolutionary reconstitution of society” by the state been anything other than a parade of horrors.

This is perhaps the most damning aspect of Marxist idealism. Its goal to eliminate oppression by oppressed classes overthrowing the oppressing class. In modern lingo, it may be framed as racial and sexual minorities overthrowing the white Protestant heterosexual male. (Indeed, much of the LGTB debate is an outgrowth of this class warfare thinking, as is Black Lives Matter.)

Hazony remarks, however, that this Marxist promise to eliminate oppression has simply never happened in history: when the oppressed classes have successfully overthrow the oppressor class, the oppressed class simply begins oppressing people. Oppression hasn't disappeared, only the actors have changed. 

And this fits perfectly with the reality that humans with power tend to do terrible things, regardless of what race or minority or background you come from. In Biblical terms, "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

Hazony also notes a flaw in Marxist thinking that mistakenly believes every hierarchical relationship is one of exploitation and oppression:

Marxism proposes an empirical investigation of the power relations among classes or groups, it simply assumes that wherever one discovers a relationship between a more powerful group and a weaker one, that relation will be one of oppressor and oppressed. This makes it seem as if every hierarchical relationship is just another version of the horrific exploitation of black slaves by Virginia plantation owners before the Civil War. But in most cases, hierarchical relationships are not enslavement. Thus, while it is true that kings have normally been more powerful than their subjects, employers more powerful than their employees, and parents more powerful than their children, these have not necessarily been straightforward relations of oppressor and oppressed. Much more common are mixed relationships, in which both the stronger and the weaker receive certain benefits, and in which both can also point to hardships that must be endured in order to maintain it.

I don't know what this new resurgence in Marxism will result in. To my eyes, it looks like a temporary moral panic, akin to the kind that happened around music and video games in the late 1980s and 1990s. Perhaps this Marxist flame will fade out as well. 

But if it does result in one class overthrowing another, if it results in a Marxist seizure of the state in America, one thing is certain: oppression will not disappear. It will merely change hands.

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