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But aside from the point about ponies, none of those elements made Marxism interesting or 'sticky.' For me the important points are:

  1. The struggle is archetypal and mythological.

  2. It will create heaven on earth.

  3. If you are one of the workers, you are one of the blessed. If you are one of the bosses, you are one of the damned.

  4. You belong to the struggle. The struggle belongs to you. You are part of the struggle. The struggle is part of you.

  5. Therefore the struggle is worth almost any personal sacrifice.

It turns out that capitalists and aristocrats have their own mirror version, which goes something like this:

  1. Your desires and needs are archetypal and mythological.

  2. Creating heaven for yourself is a sacred duty.

  3. If you are one of the chosen, you are blessed. If you are not, you are cursed, invisible, despicable and disposable.

  4. Everything around you belongs to you.

  5. Your desires demand everyone else's sacrifice.

These are not particularly rational frames, but I think it's impossible to understand the lasting influence of Marxism or Capitalism without them.

What's absolutely key is that both frames are something you live, rather than something you think.

(Should I leave the equivalent frame for European social democracy as an exercise for the reader?)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 05:00:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should I leave the equivalent frame for European social democracy as an exercise for the reader?

No?

Now seriously, this is scarily postmodern.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 05:03:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed.. I couldaahve made the capitalism one with some minor changes.. but not the marxist one .. so I guess I can not do the middle of the road Social Democaracy one :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 05:14:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this is scarily postmodern.

Is it not possible to accept postmodern tools, such as deconstruction, and even to accept that values are cultural phenomena and therefore many existing vales are cultural artifacts without accepting that all values are inherently arbitrary?

Surely universal human rights are superior to rights that only pertain to a specific ethnicity and that superiority can be maintained even while allowing the perception and implementation to be critiqued on the grounds of relativism.  I think much of the problem is that people look for given rather than being willing to accept responsibility for created values.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 12:13:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
Is it not possible to accept postmodern tools, such as deconstruction

possible? i'd say essential...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 08:47:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Marxist description is Fundamentalism, and the Capitalist one is the Calvinist heresy.

Or is the Christian mythology archetypal?

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 08:14:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All are competing archetypes.  But I would say that Marxism is secularized judeo-christian fundamentalism.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 10:10:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
if you've seen 'Zeitgeist- the movie', you might think so.

maybe if you boil christianity down to its essence, sans effluvia, it comes down to a bouillon of two basic ingredients:

  1. if you're too nice to people, and stand up for the rights of the individual when they're in conflict with those rights appropriated by the power of the state, the state will kill you.

  2. unselfishness taken to the point of total self-sacrifice is so rare that the narrative created by such acts (real or imaginary), sends a wave of novelty across the waters of history that can last millennia, and inspire people, when they are in the darkest hours of their lives, to acknowledge that not all men are brutes, and their intentions not always venal.

so as myths go, it encodes a warning about human nature at its worst and best, like a myth should!

whether it cannot be superceded... i suspect so, it's the how that is the puzzle.

but were that impulse unsuccessful, at least the old tried and true one was noble, if overchallenging for most, (therefore alienating). buddha's road is better tailored to the average human's scale and range of attainability.

the theory is fine, it's the execution that's the problem... the numbers need onside to make ahimsa effective are a quantum magnitude greater that what is muster-able now.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 02:09:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Karl Marx, meet Ayn Rand.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 10:14:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No argument here.

An additional point that fits in many (including these two) is that wise men once wrote big books that proved this once and for all. Thus there is really no need to actually read the books.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Aug 28th, 2009 at 09:14:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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