Communism and the individual

Libertarianism is known for being concerned with the individual, but people are often surprised to learn that Marxism is as well. Until fairly recently I was under the impression that Marxists were only concerned about growing the power of the state, but after doing my own research I discovered that this is a gross mischaracterization of their intent. Here are a few quotes from Marxists.org to show what I mean:

Socialism means the freeing of the individual from the fetters which weigh upon him under the capitalistic system. (Source)

Quite contrary to commonly accepted ideas it was an intensely humane and tenderly sympathetic spirit that gave birth to Marxism. The widespread impression that there is something remote, cold, and inhuman about the persons and theories of Marx and Engels, and something crippling, regimenting and enslaving about the order of society they sought – that capitalism, with its play on the words individual, individualistic, laissez-faire, revealed a warmth and a human understanding which these others lacked – is wholly false and utterly belied by the Russian society based on Marxian principles. The precise opposite is indeed the truth. The activities of Marx and Engels sprang from a consuming compassion aroused by the trail of horror that marked the course of capitalism; it issued in a widespread amelioration of human suffering. (Source)

We need scarcely say that the notion that the maximum of Socialism corresponds to the minimum of individual liberty is as preposterous a travesty of any great principle as ever entered the perversest head of man. Socialism demands the greatest possible liberty (or licence if you will) of the individual, limited only by the condition of its not infringing on the principle of equality of liberty… one of the aims of Socialism is the minimisation of the positive and mechanical coercion by society of the individual in all departments at human life. (Source)

I’m not proof-texting. Here is a site search for the word “individual” at Marxists.org. There are about 17,000 results. Read a few examples for yourself to see what I mean.

Search for the word “individual” at Marxists.org

 

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Author: everybodysdaughter

I'm an adult child of divorce, having been raised in multiple divorce/remarriage situations. I'm writing in order to shed light on the problems of divorce from the perspective of the child. I will also discuss problems with other non-triad family structures, since there is a lot of overlap. People often think that better parenting skills will overcome problems in non-triad arrangements. While I agree that parenting skills are important, they cannot overcome the problems I discuss such as fractured ontology and perpetual liminality. I converted to the Catholic faith in 2012, and will discuss Catholic things from time to time as well.

4 thoughts on “Communism and the individual”

  1. Under communism, despite various quotes, the individual’s rights are subordinated to the State – which supposedly represents the rights of the community. If you read Engels, who wrote on the role of women and on the family, you will see the ideological basis for the current gender or radical feminism. Marx was not very original. He got his ideas from the French Revolution. Marx took the ideas of Rousseau, Voltaire, etc. to a further extreme.

    From above: “it issued in a widespread amelioration of human suffering” Marxism/Communism did that? Perhaps if we ignore the many tens of millions of individuals who were liquidated worldwide and the hundreds of millions who lost their natural rights, the Communists can make that assertion.

    The question implied by your post is: Was Communism a flawed, unworkable idea or was it merely improperly applied or instituted? (Do not overlook that an officially atheistic ideology is not likely going to recognize or respect our God given rights.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Larry, I’m not sure I follow what you’re saying here. I get that it’s a critique but am unsure what of. Let me restate my objective with this post. I was trying to point out that Marxists/communists really are concerned with the individual. And I maintain that expanding the role of the state is not their primary objective; such expansion is a result of their other objectives. After they’ve liberated the individual from his familial and religious obligations by suppressing all the social institutions through legal means, there is nothing left except the individual and the state. I think suppressing the social institutions is an intermediary step that gets overlooked in these discussions. Conservatives and libertarians tend to say, “They’re statists,” but we don’t really empathize with how they got there. I am not justifying what Marxists and communists do or believe, just trying to understand it from their point of view.

      Yes, the state expands dramatically and takes on powers that are not proper to it, but it’s important to understand the mechanics. Precisely how does it happen? Why are people seduced into supporting that version of freedom and individual rights? I wrote a little bit about what I see happening here: https://everybodysdaughter.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/sexual-liberation-and-cultural-marxism/

      Like

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