Saturday, March 26, 2005

Marxism of the Right?

TCS: Tech Central Station - Marxism of the Right?: "Until this article by Robert Locke appeared in The American Conservative, conservatives and libertarians have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship. After all, there is so much on which they agree."

Max Borders' began his discussion of Robert Locke's article admitting that the "beneficial relationship" between libertarians and conservatives has been quite useful. Something most Objectivists and other libertarians are often quick to minimize.

Though a little later later, Borders' insists that if you suggest that conservetives describe libertarians as consisting of the ilk who indulge in drugs, selfishness and avarice then your simply ignorant about his movement: "You're thinking of libertinism. Mr. Locke is, perhaps, guilty of the same error."

Borders' reports that Mr. Locke's basis for comparison between Marx and libertarians is their equally "fraudulent intellectual" accounts of society based on "apriori accounts of the good":

"This is no surprise, as libertarianism is basically the Marxism of the Right. If Marxism is the delusion that one can run society purely on altruism and collectivism, then libertarianism is the mirror-image delusion that one can run it purely on selfishness and individualism."

I am not sure who should be more offended, Marxists or libertarians. Borders' is quick to distance himself though from the more fashionable wing of his thought, objectivism.

The notion that libertarians believe society ought to be run based on "selfishness" indicates that Mr. Locke frequents cocktail parties with objectivity, not libertarians. First of all, most libertarians don't think society should be "run" at all, rather -- as Hayek taught -- society should essentially run itself.

I won't inform "Max" if you won't about communism's belief in the withering away of the state. I also fail to see a diference between his libertarianism and objectivists (who would argue along the exact same line about how society would run.)[Not to mention anarchists, communists, trekkies etc.]

Mr. Borders takes Locke to task for his what he believes to be the contradictions found in Locke's "mirror-image theory" of Marxism and libertarianism while defending Marxist thought from Locke's simplisitc charge of economic determinism:

The assertion that Marx "reduced social life to economics" is amusing if not misguided. Perhaps the better description of Marxist thought is an attempt to "reduce social life to materialism." This more accurate description of Marx has nothing to do with libertarianism... [my emphasis] , and with that correction, Mr. Locke's cutely constructed "mirror-image" theory collapses.

While I agree with Borders' formulation that Marxism is concerned with materialism [ just how you "reduce" the material world to materialism is a bit confusing for Marxists.] But,as to Max's assertion that the real difference between Marxism and libertarianism lies in the grounding of Karl Marx's thought in materialism could not be further from the truth.

The epistemological foundations of difference between Marxist thought and most apologists for laissez faire capitalism is found at its level of analysis. Marxists recognize that individuals are found in society and cannot be seperated atomicistically from each other. This fundamental aspect of truth is not gleamed by most libertarians.

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