Sunday, March 15, 2009

Christopher Hitchens: "The Revenge of Karl Marx"

In my opinion, therefore, the most powerful Marxist book of the past four decades was Rudolf Bahro’s The Alternative, which showed how and why the East German state and economy were certain to implode. Communism, said Bahro—one of its former functionaries—was compelled to educate and train people up to a certain level. But beyond that level, it forbade them to think, or to inquire, or to use their initiative. Thus, while it created a vast amount of “surplus consciousness,” it could find no way of employing this energy except by squandering and dissipating and ultimately repressing it. The conflict between the forces and relations of production in the eastern part of the homeland of Karl Marx thus became a locus classicus of the sort of contradiction he had originally identified.
Hitchens has a very thought provoking piece on Marxism in The Atlantic (circa April 2009). I chose this piece of it, because it coincides with my perception of one of the most important shortcomings of Marxism (or Communism if you like).

Imagination is stunted. Innovation is discouraged. Invention is retarded by the shortcoming of the former. Imagine a world without...well...just about any significant daliance that originated in your life time that is outside the norm of an "average" person's capabilities. Color television...computers...super collidors...the list is long and elite.

Now consider just how often a country such as The People's Republic of China...expands their knowledge base and their possessions based on...theft. Here's an example:

After years of denial, a Russian defense official conceded that China had produced its own "fake" version of the Su-27SK fighter jet in violation of intellectual property agreements.
You can take this concept back decades upon decades. Russia, of course, stole necessary information on the Manhattan Project to compete in the nuclear age. China, to this date, has a vast army of knockoff automobiles that so closely reflect the original that it's...humorous. They even steal the emblems...

The lack of creativity, and the inability to encourage "new frontiers" results in outright theft of ideas from those who have free societies...capitalism. I think that's why this nationalization call from the Left is so threatening in my opinion. The irony of Hollywood supporting such steps used to be "ironic." However, they have stepped over the threshold onto the plateau of propaganda. It is akin to poking one's self in the eye with the stick all the time assured in the fact that you have another eye (with apologies to Jack Elam and Peter Falk).

Take some time to read Hitchens' offering. It's a great piece.