I at long last, have bought and read a copy of The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Before now, I had only read quotes and brief excerpts from it. I was acquainted with it through commentary on it, but I knew once Democrats started to openly profess their socialist leanings I’d have to read the whole thing. To me, a believer in capitalism and personal freedom, it has always been an odious book, comparable only to Mein Kampf and the Satanic Bible, so I have long resisted reading it. I finally did in the spirit of knowing one’s enemy. After reading it, it remains a work espousing a hateful ideology but now I understand the philosophy in greater depth and it so my prejudices against Marxism will remain.
Marx seems to me to have been a very jaded man. His jaundiced view of reality comes through in the pages. He comes across as little more than a pseudo-intellectual who offers little more depth to his arguments than the drunk guy at the bar railing against “the system”. His discourse assumes that it is common knowledge how bad the capitalist business owners he refers to as the “bourgeois” were. Much in the same way as modern-day leftists attempt to paint conservatives and Republicans in particular as racists and assume that everybody accepts that as a given, Marx similarly attempts to equate all capitalists as oppressors.
The question I hoped to answer by reading the manifesto for myself was: Which modern Leftist causes and concerns such as global warming alarm-ism, open borders, etc. can be traced directly or indirectly to Marx? It turns out all of them. In the case of global warming, I connect that to the de-industrialist sentiment he espouses. At times, his rhetoric matches that of the 19c Luddites. Every “plan” to combat climate change I’ve ever heard has a deindustrialization component.
Some things that I had always considered to be by-products of communism like the disintegration of the family turned out to be stated objectives of it. I knew that Marxism as a built-in disdain for religion, but it also has disdain for not just religion, but its associated moral codes. For the same reason that Marxism has no use for religion, it has no use for the family either. The manifesto is a call for the proletariat to rise up in violent revolution. He knew that men who had families, and/or who had a moral code to live by would be less likely to join an armed struggle, particularly when it would be one that they initiated. Marx saw then, that religion and family might stand in the way of the revolution he hoped would happen.
Should someone like myself who is committed to preserving individual freedom read a book that was the inspiration to strip hundreds of millions of their freedom? If you want to know what people are talking about when they refer to things like communism, socialism, and Marxism, it might be enough to learn the definition of those terms, but to actively debate the merits of socialism with a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, you might want to have a more in-depth knowledge of Marxism. Also, you’ll be able to detect the Marxist roots of many current progressive causes like global warming and the war on religion. Sun Tzu said: “know your enemy and yourself and you’ll never fear the outcome of a hundred battles.” That’s the best reason I can think of for a libertarian, free-market capitalist for reading The Communist Manifesto.