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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13391/trotsky-the-ignorance-and-the-evil/

Trotsky: The Ignorance and the Evil

July 27, 2010 by

Lenin, Trotsky, and the rest had all their lives been professional revolutionaries, with no connection at all to the process of production and, except for Bukharin, little interest in the real workings of an economic system. Their concerns had been the strategy and tactics of revolution and the perpetual, monkish exegesis of the holy books of Marxism. FULL ARTICLE by Ralph Raico


brian July 27, 2010 at 8:03 am

“Occasionally, in daubing in some of the light patches sky that are intended to up for the dark ones in Trotsky’s life, Howe comes perilously close to slipping into a fantasy world.”

i’m not sure how to make sense of this sentence.

KMcC July 27, 2010 at 8:19 am

I think it needs to be amended thus:

“Occasionally, in daubing in some of the light patches of sky that are intended to make up for the dark ones in Trotsky’s life, Howe comes perilously close to slipping into a fantasy world.”

There are a couple of other editing errors in the piece too, Mises.org – sort it out! (Or pay me to sort it out – I’m an experienced newspaper subeditor. My rates are competitive and my service excellent.)

Old Mexican July 27, 2010 at 9:33 am

Their concerns had been the strategy and tactics of revolution and the perpetual, monkish exegesis of the holy books of Marxism.

Trotsky was akin to a religious fanatic, to put it more succinctly.

Barry Loberfeld July 27, 2010 at 10:40 am


And the Bolshevik theoretician most influenced by Marx in these [labor] matters agreed:

In the era of serfdom it was not so that gendarmes stood over every serf. There were certain economic forms to which the peasant had grown accustomed, which, at the time, he regarded as just…. It is said that compulsory labor is unproductive. This means that the whole socialist economy is doomed to be scrapped, because there is no other way of attaining socialism except through the command allocation of the entire labor force by the economic center…. Forced serf labor did not emerge because of the ill will of the feudal class: it was a progressive phenomenon.

With expositors like Trotsky, socialism doesn’t need critics like Hayek. Indeed, it is almost impossible for any honest thinker not to see that Marx was leading mankind on a road back to serfdom, e.g., the classic The Liberal Tradition in America‘s Louis Hartz, who recognized that of course socialism wasn’t the innovation of a proletariat existentially compelled by an almost animistic “mode of production”:

Actually socialism is largely an ideological phenomenon, arising out of the principles of [aristocracy] and the revolutionary liberal revolt against them which the old European order inspired. It is not accidental that America which has uniquely lacked a feudal tradition has uniquely lacked also a socialist tradition. The hidden origin of socialist thought everywhere in the West is to be found in the feudal ethos. The ancien régime inspires Rousseau; both inspire Marx.

It was therefore “no accident” that Marxist neo-feudalist theory translated into Communist neo-feudalist practice.

Old Mexican July 27, 2010 at 12:47 pm

The hidden origin of socialist thought everywhere in the West is to be found in the feudal ethos.

This thesis was forwarded by others, that socialism was actually a reaction against the liberalization of commoners from the grip of the aristocracy. This explains why rich authoritarians want people to drive tiny cars and live in tiny (oh, but “earth-friendly”)dwellings while they travel in private jets and live in mansions overseeing the Pacific Ocean: they want to differentiate themselves from the commoners

Before the Industrial Revolution, only kings and aristocrats could have the kind of stuff we enjoy today; so, now, what can make a person an aristocrat, when the title matters little and the things he or she possesses are emulated (in lesser versions, but emulated nonetheless) and produced for the masses? Why, these upstarts must be put in their place!

So they advocate a return to the earth, a return to feudalism, with them enjoying the material rewards that were once exclusive for them, only socialists don’t call it that: they call it “government of the workers” and other obfuscations.

Barry Loberfeld July 27, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Good points …

Current July 27, 2010 at 3:59 pm

The same sort of thing is true about Keynesianism, I wrote the following on the Coordination Problem blog recently, it’s relevant here…

I’m English. In England there are still a few landed aristocrats and gentry. There is still a division between the lower class, the middle class and the upper class. (A division that seems to have got wider this last decade).

The upper class, and especially the landed gentry have always promoted themselves as guardians of a sort. Prince Charles does this, and he is good example. They claim that from their position they can take a long term view, they can take stewardship of the land and care for it and those who live on it over centuries. They claim that the culture, traditions and values of their class help them do this. They infer that the lower classes are not capable of this because their interests are too short term.

Many others criticise them, pointing out that they take rent from the fat-of-the-land, they are rentiers. They point out the role of entrepreneurs and workers.

In the General Theory Keynes builds from the prejudices of the upper classes and lower classes. He plays them off against the aspirational middle class.

In the General Theory the most angry rhetoric isn’t against capitalism, it’s against saving. It’s saving that funds speculation. Both the saver and the speculator are to be condemned.

Keynes supports the view of the “guardian of capital” but he wants to see it applied more widely. He wants to see it applied to normal business as well as land. As he said once he wants investord to “marry” their investments (he used the word marry in this context).

In his models Keynes portrays the consumer and the investor as being focused and the short-term and quite stupid. This isn’t very surprising if you think about it in the terms I describe. The aspirational middle-classes have often being derided as materialistic, shallow and short-termist. Keynes extends the condemnation to those who supply them with funds – savers.

The General Theory provides Keynes with a way of disposing of everyone he dislikes. The speculator and saver go. In Keynes imagined future there are a class of worker/consumers who don’t save much at all, presumably within that there is a class of well-paid professionals. Then there is an upper class of guardians of capital, some private and some state. There are still entrepreneurs, but they cannot go to savers for funds, they must look to the guardians.

Keynes’ guardians though are not in the same position are the landed aristocracy are. Keynes’ theory involves “euthanasia of the rentier”. They are supposedly not able to make vast sums just from scarcity of capital. The workers and lower classes are suppsed to benefit from this.

So, the respectable lower class always have work but cannot advance their position by saving. The respectable professional middle classes similarly always have work. But the aspirational middle classes can’t advance their position by saving or speculating with the savings of others. Potential entrepreneurs amongst them must look to those above them for investment. The upper classes continue their work as guardians but can’t extort unjust rents. And, therefore, in Keynes’ view the best parts of the British class system are retained and revitalized and the worst parts eliminated.

André July 27, 2010 at 11:43 am

Very interesting.

I never read anything from Trotsky, but the last lines quoted in the article reminded me of the German (mis)interpretations of Nietzsche’s latest works during the nazi regime. Interesting how these gargantuan regimes always give themselves the task to re-design human biology, as their ultimate goal. Since they knew their theories do not work with men – they simply decided to change men. They knew – both communists and fascists – they had to radically modify human nature, from its very core, from blood and bones, in order to make people give up so much of their freedom. At least democracies “try” to change us the softer way, with mass media and public schools (which represent a boring sub-set of the “mass media” class) – luckily, I never heard of any western team of biologists trying to breed the “perfect democratic citizen”.

Incidentally, those lines about red “supermen” also cast a somehow sinister light to the various attempts of Marx to make friends with Charles Darwin.

J Cortez July 27, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I enjoyed this very much. Thank you.

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