43 thoughts on “Marx”

  1. Martin Luther:
    “First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools .…”
    “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.”
    “Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.”
    “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb… ”
    “Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside …  ”
    “Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them … ”
    “Seventh, I recommend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow.… But if we are afraid that they might harm us or our wives, children, servants, cattle, etc., … then let us emulate the common sense of other nations such as France, Spain, Bohemia, etc., … then eject them forever from the country … ”

    “Three centuries later, Karl Marx would blend these ideas together in a noxious stew.”

    Um, don’t Martin Luther’s words qualify as a “noxious stew”?

      1. I think you’re letting your imagination get a bit carried away.

        While I was aware that Jesus had been scathing of the money-lenders, I wasn’t aware that Martin Luther had been so scathing of Jews. Are you suggesting that European antisemitism isn’t based at least to a significant degree in Christian teachings? Not being from a strongly religious or European background I’ve always been puzzled by the strength and persistence the antisemitism thing.

        1. No, I’m sure it is, but it’s not something that transferred well to America, particularly in the wake of the Left’s anti-Christianity (and antisemitism, particularly as masquerading as anti-Zionism). Yes, the reason that Jews were bankers in Europe was that it was one of the few professions available to them, because money-lending was viewed as a sin.

          1. I was just wondering why you seized on that particular quote. I was incorrect, though. I was referring to American Lutherans. I’m sure that there is a lot of remaining antisemitism among European ones.

          2. OK, having actually read through the piece myself, is it your complaint that Jonah didn’t write “…an even more noxious stew.”? Because that seems like pretty weak tea as a defense of Marx (or attack on Luther, or whatever your comment intended).

          3. Rand, I read it thinking wow, didn’t know things were that bad and was a little taken aback with the suggestion that it needed Marx to “blend these ideas together in a noxious stew” when that’s what I thought I’d been reading about, so yes I would have expected “…an even more noxious stew.”

            If you’re suggesting that my observation can reasonably be seen as a defense of Marx I disagree.

            As I suggested, I think the whole piece has a lot of merit and will read it again and may make further comment on the balance of it when I have time.

        2. Not being from a strongly religious or European background I’ve always been puzzled by the strength and persistence the antisemitism thing.

          I am only aware of one religion that has hatred of Jews as doctrine.

          Rather BS to go back centuries and pick only bad things and then blame religion and then also blame religion in the present when the religious make up of Europe is far different than it was in the past.

          Do you have any evidence that Christians teach hatred of Jews as doctrine?

          1. Both the Koran and the New Testament have both positive and negative passages referencing Jews, so as I said, believers can pick out whatever suits for the occasion, which is why these religions are so enduring.

            Christian leaders, as the article makes clear, have taught hatred of Jews in the past, including in the last century, and obviously today is a time at which anti-Jewish sentiments are very strong amongst Muslims, far stronger than at most other times in history.

  2. That’s a very interesting read. I hadn’t realized how deeply antisemitism is rooted in Christian teaching, in addition to that the article ties together some unassociated concepts to make a coherent picture.

    1. Andrew, Don’t confuse ‘Christian teaching’ with biblical teaching.

      For example, the bible makes the reasonable claim that the pursuit of money can be unbalanced leading to injury. This is absolutely true.

      Saying that money is evil is not true and Jesus never said that. Instead the bible covers the topic of wisely managing resources through out the book.

      1. Hi Ken, welcome back.
        I assume “biblical teaching” can be defined as the teaching in the Bible.
        In which case Jesus preached that rich people don’t get into heaven and that taking profit and usury are condemned by God.

        But like all religions that are successful for long periods of time in a rapidly changing world, Christianity is adaptable, as the world we live in changes Christian teachings have the wriggle room for people to focus on the sections of the religious texts and interpret others in ways that suit what they need to believe of their religion to prosper or at least survive.

        1. Imprecise Andrew… Jesus preached that rich people don’t get into heaven” That’s two errors in one statement. He said it was harder which it would be if spiritual things were not your focus and he said kingdom of god not heaven.

          The lord’s prayer tells you about the kingdom of god, “on earth as in heaven.” God’s purpose can never be denied and he told Adam that purpose.

          Usury has to be understood in context. The idea is you don’t take advantage of the poor just because you can. It was perfectly acceptable to charge up to 10% on a straight business deal.

          1. Your comment simply illustrates my point that, as with other religions that have survived the changes over the last couple of thousand years, Christianity can be whatever it is the believer wants it to be.

            As for your 10% claim, the Bible doesn’t give that figure, you just made it up. Again the Bible offers so many possible interpretations of what was reasonable interest (if any) that usury can mean whatever each person or generation wants it to mean.

          2. I didn’t just make up 10%, it’s from lecture notes I attended years ago.

            As for different flavors of Christianity this is how I see it.. The sender of information knows what he said, but the receivers have to make the effort to search for the meaning with an incomplete frame of reference. Most are too lazy.

            Add other motivations to distort and the chance of receiving the message accurately approaches nil.

            However, even a distorted message is superior to a blatantly false one as some are easily shown to be.

  3. War was mostly about using money to take money by force- war of conquest.
    The christian church liked money and would sell salvation in exchange for money.
    But they didn’t want the little people to have money.
    So for the serfs the rulers were very interested in money and they were obviously
    evil people. That money was seen as an evil force by most people is consequent that these
    evil people that would do anything for money and power.

    1. The church during the middle ages was more concerned with politics than scriptural truth. Same applies to the current Dope Francis.

  4. From Jonah’s G-File last Friday: “It’s not a book excerpt, we’re saving that for NR in a few weeks, but it relies on one of the (many) chapters that I had to cut from the book for space reasons.”

  5. To the extent anyone claiming to be Christian blames the Jews (or for that matter the Romans) for Jesus’ suffering and death, they’re completely missing the theological point behind it all: were we not all sinners by definition, God would never have had to send His son to redeem us.

    Those who condemned Jesus, and those who executed Him, bear no more guilt for his ordeal than any other mortal. “They” didn’t kill Him, we all did.

  6. There’s not a lot in Goldberg’s article that I disagree with but what about this:
    “When God became sidelined as the source of ultimate meaning, “the people” became both the new deity and the new messianic force of the new order. In other words, instead of worshipping some unseen force residing in Heaven, people started worshipping themselves. This is what gave nationalism its spiritual power, as the volksgeist, people’s spirit, replaced the Holy Spirit. The tribal instinct to belong to a sacralized group took over. In this light, we can see how romantic nationalism and “globalist” Marxism are closely related. They are both “re-enchantment creeds,” as the philosopher-historian Ernest Gellner put it. They fill up the holes in our souls and give us a sense of belonging and meaning.

    Is that pejorative? Is that a suggestion that being atheistic makes one prone to teachings such as Marxism?

    In this bit I think Goldberg has jumped the shark a bit:
    In practice, Marxist doctrine is more alienating and dehumanizing than capitalism will ever be. But in theory, it conforms to the way our minds wish to see the world. There’s a reason why so many populist movements have been so easily herded into Marxism. It’s not that the mobs in Venezuela or Cuba started reading The Eighteenth Brumaire and suddenly became Marxists. The peasants of North Vietnam did not need to read the Critique of the Gotha Program to become convinced that they were being exploited. The angry populace is always already convinced. The people have usually reached the conclusion long ago. They have the faith; what they need is the dogma. They need experts and authority figures—priests!—with ready-made theories about why the masses’ gut feelings were right all along. They don’t need Marx or anybody else to tell them they feel ripped off, disrespected, exploited. They know that already. The story Marxists tell doesn’t have to be true. It has to be affirming. And it has to have a villain. The villain, then and now, is the Jew.

    I doubt North Vietnamese peasants give a damn about the Jews, rather, as is often the case with those attracted by Marxism, the exploitation in their lives was due to authoritarianism, and those in power in those authoritarian systems were rich, powerful and had personal ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, in other words the opposite of socialism.
    So given that people had the opposite (in those terms) of what they wanted which was control over the state and the means of wealth creation, they plumbed for the obvious, which is socialism. Our form of capitalism, which relies on democracy and the competitive market place, to such peasants was not distinguishable from what they were living under.

    1. Religion, or God, was never the ultimate meaning. In all societies there have always been other things in play than just religion. It is pejorative to claim that having a national identity is a religion or that there are no objective differences between cultures or countries, which comes across as Goldberg’s subtext here.

      Marxism doesn’t just appeal to atheists. As Goldberg noted, the motivations for Marxism are not just old but also capitalize on human nature. But I think because atheists believe they are devoid of magical thinking, it makes it easier for them to fall into cults. Not every religion brands itself as a religion and if people don’t really understand how religions function, while also thinking they are immune to being in one, then they become incapable of dissociating from their self enough to analyze their own behavior and views of self and reality.

  7. It seems humans need religion.
    Atheistism is pretty lousy religion and so is Marxism. If you are atheist you might
    replace it with Marxism. Or it’s fairly common for people to combine religions.
    The atheist Marxists said they wanted to replace religion with Marxism. But they didn’t
    need to intend to do this, as people “naturally” do this.

    1. gbaikie
      I think humans are instinctively predisposed towards religion as religion can be effective at binding tribes together, in the ancient zero-sum world the strong tribes will prosper, the weak and divided tribes will die out.
      In todays world of non-zero-sum economics, given to us courtesy of science and technology, tribes can survive without such tight and authoritarian binding, so religion, as a survival strategy, has lost much of its functionality.
      I’d argue that atheism does not lead to Socialism or Marxism, rather most atheists are more drawn to reasoning and understanding the universe through that science and technology.

      1. I’d argue that atheism does not lead to Socialism or Marxism, rather most atheists are more drawn to reasoning and understanding the universe through that science and technology.

        Religion is one of the few universal human traits. When someone identifies as an atheist, does that mean they are no longer religious? There is a case to be made that atheism is its own religion but beyond that, what is it about humans that leads to religious thoughts?

        It is because we are hardwired for magical thinking. It is the spark of inspiration that leads to science, art, thoughts of the future, and meaning of life. Claiming to be an atheist doesn’t remove magical thinking from humans.

        The problem is that many atheists are incapable of recognizing their own magical thinking and how it impacts their own view of self and reality. This is why science, global warming, and even progressiveism/communism/marxism/socialism/fascism are solidifying their form as religions.

        1. what is it about humans that leads to religious thoughts?

          I covered this above.

          It is because we are hardwired for magical thinking.

          We are hard wired to rationalize in ways that are advantageous to our survival, I don’t know what you mean by “magical thinking”, but perhaps you mean that if we can’t identify a cause and effect we say it all must be down to supernatural causes, I disagree on the basis that people today (at least the people I associate with), don’t think like that, if the cause is unknown they look first for a science based explanation, if they were hardwired to believe magic I’d expect humans to continue to first seek magical explanations for phenomenon they don’t understand.

          The problem is that many atheists are incapable of recognizing their own magical thinking and how it impacts their own view of self and reality. This is why science, global warming, and even progressiveism/communism/marxism/socialism/fascism are solidifying their form as religions.

          You seem to be thinking that “magical thinking” and “religious thinking” are synonymous, you need to work out your definitions before a discussion can be had.

          “Religious thinking”, if applied to, for example the two sides in the global warming debate, I interpret as Human’s instinct to adopt and stick to the narrative espoused by their own tribe on an issue, demonstrating an inability to weigh the evidence objectively.
          Used in that sense “religious thinking” has nothing in itself to do with the Gods, but having tribal Gods does act to strengthen the tribes ability to circle around and defend their preferred narrative. If you google videos by Jonathan Haidt on religion he covers this ground.

          1. I don’t know what you mean by “magical thinking”

            Feel free to use google. It is an important concept if you want to understand how humans think. It is a concept many atheists don’t understand, and often intentionally try not to understand, because it interferes with their feelings of superiority.

    2. One need only look at Democrat activists to see how they function as not just a religion but a cult. Many religions use rituals and ceremonies to bind groups together but cults take things to an extreme of manipulation and brainwashing.

      I do think humans are hardwired for magical thinking but that isn’t the only thing that the Marxist type groups have going for them.

      1. If you believe that the members of the ideological groups you belong to are immune to the extreme manipulation and brainwashing of cultism it’ll be due to you having been indoctrinated by that manipulation and brainwashing, the last person to recognize that they were brainwashed is the victim of the brainwashing.

        1. The point is no one is immune and there are differences between different types of groups. People who are self aware enough to admit they practice a religion are far more rational than those who are not self aware.

          But rereading your comment, I see you agree with me.

  8. Marxism is simply wrong. It doesn’t need any more analysis than that.

    Logically, everything is wrong, but Isaac Asimov made the good point that some things are less wrong than others.

  9. “Marxism is simply wrong.”
    No, Marxism simply doesn’t work in the long term for Humans, it might be fine and dandy for ants. There’s no universal objective moral force that declares that “Marxism is simply wrong”.

    1. Whether it “works” or not has nothing to do with it being right or wrong. It’s wrong because it is built on a wrong premise.

    2. Andrew, you’re splitting hairs and you know it.

      How about this: Marxism has failed in every country where it has been tried.

  10. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has occasionally traded in the same kind of language, even evoking some ancient anti-Semitic tropes. “Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special-interest friends, and her donors,”

    Was Trump referencing Jews? Is Goldberg using an anti-Semitic trope by accusing all the big banks, globalists, and international political elite of being Jewish?

    There are multinational companies, banks, and other organizations who have ambitions outside of any single country. Goldberg is implying that this isn’t the case and that any notion that any groups like this exist or that they act to pursue their interests is just a conspiracy theory. But wait! There’s more… He also says that anyone who thinks this just hates the Jews.

    Then Goldberg twists Trump’s statements to imply Trump is a socialist. The reality is that Trump was referencing the global socialists in the EU, UN, the USA, and their business partners.

    1. The irrational thinking is just so stupid. Take data mining. This is a tool used by politicians going as far back as I ever worked. In NYC as a kid we separated people by ethnic names for targeting. When Obama does it, he’s a genius. When Trump does it, it’s a scandal.

      Obama can write unconstitutional executive orders. Trump can’t cancel those orders because Trump.

      You don’t fix NUTS with talk. If you don’t fix NUTS eventually you get the scene in Idiocracy where they’re driving off the end of an unfinished freeway into a junk pile.

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