Nutty, yes, but quite possibly true

but D’Souza – whose work has been described as “the worst kind of smear journalism” – stands by it. The domestic enemy is everywhere (“Today, there are probably more Marxists on the faculty of our elite colleges than there are in all of Russia and Eastern Europe”) and deadly.

There’s a lot more communists in E Europe, for sure. They do still get healthy portions of the vote. But people who actually believe in Marxism, not so much.

15 comments on “Nutty, yes, but quite possibly true

  1. “Today, there are probably more Marxists on the faculty of our elite colleges than there are in all of Russia and Eastern Europe”

    The problem with Western universities is not so much that they are full of Communists, as they are, but that there almost is no one else. Certainly outside Oxbridge a real conservative would be hard to find. The Marxists shape the intellectual life of Higher Education to the point that the muddle headed average academic does not notice it any more than a fish notices water. They just take it for granted. And as such they share the same core beliefs.

  2. I suppose it’s much easier to sustain a belief in Marxism if you don’t have to face the actual, practical consequences of that belief on a daily basis. Hence its prevalence in the clown quarter of academia.

  3. I’ll second that. There will be more genuine believers in Western universities than there ever will be in, say, Cuban academic circles.

    As a practicing Catholic I get annoyed by people criticising my faith because of the lack of evidence. Surely it is more justifiable to believe what can’t be proved than to believe what has been thoroughly evidentially disproved.

  4. As Thomas Sowell has argued at length, Marxoid thinking tends to prevail in parts of the culture that are to some extent shielded from reality and where ideas can survive without being practical, realistic or honest – the disreputable parts of academia being an obvious example. It’s often struck me as amusing that – in my experience at least – the students who vehemently profess some version of Marxist politics have rarely arrived at their worldview themselves as a result of lived experience or trial and error. It’s often – very often – a matter of regurgitating wholesale what they told by lecturers at an impressionable age.

    And gosh, how radical is that?

  5. “Today, there are probably more Marxists on the faculty of our elite colleges than there are in all of Russia and Eastern Europe”

    I’m not sure how you’d estimate the number of Marxists in Eastern Europe, but go into any Western university of any size and you’ll find Marxists and crypto-Marxists galore.

    It’s infected almost everything, from Philisophy to Economics to Psychology to Jurisprudence. Almost every non-STEM degree will include Marx at some point, and every department has openly Marxist (or some similar type of Far Left) lecturers.

    Take a random yet typical example. Edinburgh University has English Literature courses that include:

    Learning Outcomes

    By the end of this course, students will be able to:

    -draw on relevant theoretical approaches (including Marxism, feminism, poststructuralism, and the ‘new economic criticism’) in order to analyse the relationships between economic pressures and the forms and contents of modernist writing

    Think Hayek, Von Mises or Friedman get a look in? Ha! Academia is a political monoculture. The only variety is between competing factions of Marxoid creepy crawlies, each seeking to establish that they are radicaler than thou.

    If our institutions are dedicated to dissolving our civilisation, we need to change the institutions or say goodbye to Western civilisation. At this point we’d be better off simply closing the universities down and starting again.

  6. As a neo-liberal, I find the the Marxist approach to history (and this would extend to literature) quite logical. Marx’s dialectic is about the struggle between classes and the economic roots of social conflict/history. Just because one thinks Marx got that bit right doesnt mean that one believes in Marxism.

    There are some Marxist places in academia – generally quite mad, NEF type peeps. But to claim they are everywhere is absurd.

  7. No it is not absurd. It is indeed the case that most if not all academic institution in the UK will have a “marxist geographer”, “marxist historian” and of course “marxist economist”. The willfull blindness to the absolute failure of all recorded Marxist administration is frightening.

  8. Said it before–will say it again. All non-science university courses/faculty shut down in a week. All lecturers sacked without compensation, all pensions confiscated. All of them to hit the pavement instantly. Save a fortune and put a huge spoke in the wheel of socialism at the same time.

  9. Said it before–will say it again.

    And the reincarnation of (the dramatic portrayal of) William Roper demonstrates why “the rule of law” rather than “the whim of the morally self-entitled” is such a good idea.

    Bad ideas, especially really bad ideas like this one, are worse if they feel smugly right.

    This comment was posted without any actual sympathy for neo-, current- or historically-accurate- Marxists, Trotskyists, Maoists, or Millibandists.

  10. Surreptitious Evil

    Well, yes. Thank you for saying so. We want apply the rule of law to the tossers as well or to nobody.

  11. ken – “There are some Marxist places in academia – generally quite mad, NEF type peeps. But to claim they are everywhere is absurd.”

    I wouldn’t say they are everywhere, although they are. No university is without them. Nor would I say everyone is. But I would say that Marx’s approach is influential – to the point of virtual monopoly. So that people who do not identify as Marxists, still adopt the worldview. Look at you. You claim to be a neo-liberal, but you still adopt Marx’s class based approach. You have clearly spent too much time in a very shallow intellectual pool. One with an intellectual monoculture.

    Surreptitious Evil – “Bad ideas, especially really bad ideas like this one, are worse if they feel smugly right.”

    There is nothing in the rule of law that says we cannot shut down all the non-STEM courses in Britain. Nor would that be such a bad idea. Although there are plenty of Marxists in STEM fields as well – look at the biologists. But if taking away their pensions is contrary to the rule of law, perhaps we can do what they would do – allow inflation to eat it away. We could pay their pensions in a special currency which suffers from a 10% inflation rate. After all, they thought it was good enough for the rest of us …..

    (And keep in mind that the poor sods who did the right thing and bought government bonds in WW2 did in fact lose everything through inflation. Thanks to these sorts of people.)

  12. SMFS

    When looking at economic history, I find it difficult to conceive of a dialectic more suitable than Marx. Adam Smith’s work clearly falls into the same category as do aspects of Hayek and Ayn Rand.

    Note that I am talking about historiography, not the underlying philosophies (well technically epistemologies). In that respect I share more with the classical liberals: Locke and Hayek. But, I have some sympathy for the high liberal ideals of Rawls. Marx was muddle headed in terms of philosophy, a terrible economist and was a terrible forecaster of political economy. But in terms of economic history, the model isnt bad.

    Shallow intellectual pool? I think not.

  13. I agree that there’s plenty more to Marx than blindly opposing Capitalism and markets in favour of having terribly clever people decide who deserves to get what, but if only the Marxists who infest our institutions ever managed to draw any other conclusions from his philosophy. I’m always wary of condemning Marxism completely because the great Hernando de Soto always speaks so highly of Marx, but he’s very much the exception that proves the rule.

    On another note, I’d like to point out that deploying the phrase “whose work has been described as” is itself, unless you specify by whom, smear journalism.

  14. Class analysis isn’t specifically Marxist, but the primary intellectual approach to class analysis is Marxist. And here we hit the problem, which is that class analysis is a fundamentally broken model.

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