[ExI] Atlas Shrugged

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 30 04:56:10 UTC 2022

On Apr 29, 2022, at 7:17 PM, spike jones via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> …> On Behalf Of Rafal Smigrodzki via extropy-chat
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Atlas Shrugged
> On Fri, Apr 29, 2022 at 10:14 AM William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com> wrote:
> >…  Has any country practiced true Marxism?    bill w
> No.  True Marxism is impossible.  Reasoning: Marxism has been attempted multiple times, at the cost of untold suffering and loss of life.  It has failed every time.  The Marxists can be counted on to tell us the reason it failed was that it was not true Marxism, for Marxists refuse to accept that the notion is fundamentally flawed.  Conclusion: true Marxism is impossible.
> I have a variation on it however, which I think is possible.  It isn’t true Marxism but I think of it as the libertarian version of Marxism.  It doesn’t even need a Czar or dictator or central government or compulsion of any kind.  It works like this:  To each according to his need, from each according to his ability, up to each to decide which is which.

I think a big problem here is Marx was vague about much. He did have a theory of historical development and some ideas on how to bring about a better society, but the latter was vague and filled with some bad ideas that are still vague, such as the need for a dictatorship of the proletariat. I reckon you’re focusing on the latter, and it’s fairly authoritarian. I’m not scholar of Marxism or its variations, and I certainly wouldn’t explain the failures of Marx-inspired states to deliver the goods.

Sometimes, yes, it seems more like using the ideas just to justify why the people in charge get to run things and hand out the goodies, but it seems like many attempts were sincere. But Marx didn’t have any detailed plan of how to transition to his ideal society or how his ideal society would work — just rather airy stuff. Thus when the bolsheviks took over, it wasn’t like they had a playbook to operate from. In fact, the early implementation of central planning was like what Marx called deprecatingly ‘barracks communism.’

Also, Marxism as it evolved and continues to evolve as a critical and revolutionary philosophy kind of has at its core a notion that the ideas should change to suit the times. This, of course, makes a moving target if you’re trying to understand just what it’s supposed to get at. I mean if it’s liberation from oppression, that’s fine and as the means of oppression and library in charge, one would not want — as someone who is in favor of liberation — to lock oneself into a paradigm that no longer fits. But that’s also an invitation to an intellectual muddle where one can’t be sure what’s going on and would be revolutionaries can hide behind that to explain away their failures or just about anything they do.

By the way, I would distinguish between Marxism and communism. This doesn’t mean communism as such is workable.

Also, I personally would more want to see a society based on Nozick’s slogan: from each as they choose, to each as they are chosen.


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