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BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  2000

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS 2000

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Subject:

From:

Mark Weiss <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Mark Weiss <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 05 Jul 2000 12:45:47 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (114 lines)

A true believer in the power of the individual to shape history.

You persist in misreading. I can't help you. Selah.

At 08:18 PM 7/5/2000 +0100, you wrote:
>Dear Mark,
>*I* was assuming you didn't intend the very obvious syllogism of your
>original argument: exploitation is bad; Marxism is opposed to exploitation;
>therefore Marxism is correct.
>
>In Marx's own terms, it doesn't much matter whether the old boy could have
>anticipated the consequences of his theses: 'objectivity' is a favourite
>Marxian buzzword, and those who live by distorted notions of what's
>objective should be allowed to die decently by them. For the record, I *do*
>hold KM responsible for Lenin, Stalin, et al.  The megalomaniac
>pseudo-scientism of even basic Marxist economic theory is tailor-made for
>use as an all-encompassing ideology, and the precedents of organised
>religion, the wild offshoots of French Revolutionary philosophy, and indeed
>the exploitative consequences of nascent pro-capitalist propaganda were not
>only there to see but are actually referred to fulsomely by Marx himself.
>The fact is, Marx set his own thought up as having an 'objective' value
>over, above, & to some extent divorced from the very notion of morality, so
>the idea that he was just a brilliant intellectual philanthropist concerned
>with relieving the misery of the poor and overworked doesn't hold water.
>This is the crux of the continuing problem with Marxist thought - the way
>well-meaning people, yourself included it would seem, attribute some moral
>value to a system which is self-avowedly amoral, just because it declares
>itself to be on the side of the oppressed. It's worth noting that the Church
>has been doing the same thing for even longer, and I doubt that many people
>on the BritPo list would have much truck with that.
>
>I think it's also a sad indication of how polarised, not to say Manichean,
>this argument has become that you could assume I am not opposed to social &
>economic injustice just because I will not fall down and worship Marx.
>
>All the best        Phil
>
>----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>----------------
>Mark Weiss wrote:
>
>You're answering someone else. I was not defending Marxism beyond first
>principles. I was very careful not to propose a means to the end or to
>support history's horrors. The end, I think, is clear, however, and I can't
>see why striving for some sort of economic equality would necessarily lead
>to Stalin.
>
>What I was proposing is a compassionate understanding of the anguish that
>causes people to be leftists. I do wonder if academic leftists in the UK
>are as monolithic a group as you seem to think. Perhaps they are--I have no
>idea.
>
>The key sentence in my earlier post was "That [the Marxist solution] didn't
>work for a whole complex of reasons doesn't make the impulse to change what
>one finds intolerable--what one ought to find intolerable--worthy of
>scorn." In my neophyte's fervor I thought that I was being angry, not
>patronizing, but you can read as you wish. Remember that all I had to go on
>was your words.
>
>Incidentally, going back to those words, do you really think that Marx
>himself is responsible for all those miseries?
>
>
>
> At 11:26 AM 7/5/2000 +0100, you wrote:
>>Dear All,
>>I'm tempted to leave it at that after Alan B's touching affirmation and
>Mark
>>W's conversion to irony, but I've just spent 2 hours travelling on a bus
>>through one of England's most economically-exploited & underdeveloped areas
>>(in which I live & work), planning my response, so here goes...
>>
>>Mark - You approach your subject with all the patronising fervour of a
>>newly-graduated economics teacher addressing a refractory first-year. I
>>don't need this, really. I have no difficulty appreciating that
>exploitation
>>exists (in the UK we tend to favour Bangladeshis rather than Mexicans) and
>>having first read Marx at age 13 I know full well that his starting-point
>>was a horror of the conditions that made such exploitation economically
>>necessary to capitalism as he saw it. However, you know & I know that
>>Marxism doesn't stop there. It purports to offer a total package of
>>revolutionary change which would affect the slightest detail of the way in
>>which it's possible to live (see Peter Riley's posts _passim_) This is
>where
>>the discussion-strand on 'the totality of relations' came in, the big
>>questions in my view being (1) who has the right to decide what such a
>>totality consists in, and (2) what happens when something comes along that
>>falls outside this ? We already have plentiful evidence in the dismal
>annals
>>of 20th century practical Marxism to indicate the answers, and alongside
>>this a continuing culture of academic leftism that insists that all this
>was
>>merely the product of bureaucratic mistakes and evil individuals, the
>>underlying theory being pure and sound. Rubbish !  When I was a Marxist
>>(yes, and it lasted for about 20 years !) it was generally agreed that the
>>highest form of theory was Praxis, i.e. what people actually _do_.  Quod
>>erat demonstrandum.
>>
>>Henry (le Facteur de la Verite) - I'm with you on antiismism, but I'd be
>>inclined to go easy on the sneers at the middle-classes: I suspect that
>most
>>denizens of this List would qualify.
>>
>>Oh, and Dave B - you are Dave Spart of "Private Eye" and I claim my 200.
>>
>>Cheers        Phil
>>
>>




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