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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13533/the-ideological-impregnation-of-thought/

The Ideological Impregnation of Thought

August 11, 2010 by

To conceal the fact that Marx invented his concept of ideology expressly to discredit the economists, he elevated it to the dignity of a general epistemological law, valid for all ages and for all branches of knowledge. FULL ARTICLE by Ludwig von Mises


Allen Weingarten August 11, 2010 at 11:52 am

“The Marxian tenets, they implied, are not ideologies. They are a foretaste of the knowledge of the future classless society which, freed from the fetters of class conflicts, will be in a position to conceive pure knowledge, untainted by ideological blemishes.”

Now if that were true, the Marxists would bring the masses to their side, by freeing them from the fetters of class conflict. Instead, their approach was to further class conflict, and raise class consciousness. So once again they engaged in a fundamental contradiction, such as when they aimed at reforms to capitalism, rather than allow its contradictions to bring about absolute impoverishment.

BioTube August 11, 2010 at 2:31 pm

In trying to assail capitalism, it looks like Marx just created a new justification. This, of course, means that True Socialists should be fighting tooth and nail for capitalism. Such delicious irony.

heylel shalem August 11, 2010 at 2:44 pm

marx was fully aware of the realitys of capitalism. Its very simple. you cannot have those who have without the majority who have not. Being as there is only so much capitial within the system to be distributed. There will always be that great inequality. The masses are starved so the few can feast. What the socialist desires is a veicle in which the injustice is wiped out and the quality of life of all is improved. After all the STATE is meant to serve the people not the interest of giant corporations. Argue as much as you want about “free-market” capitalism..its a facade and a smokescreen. We are yet again at the point of feudal lords and serfs.

Magnus August 11, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Everything you said is wrong.

First, voluntary trade and the division of labor is the source of all wealth. Slavery and exploitation followed trade, co-opted it, and perverted it. Voluntary (i.e., “free”) trade creates new wealth. There is no such thing as a fixed amount of wealth to be “distributed.” It is created out of nothing when people cooperate.

Second, the STATE was created to serve the interests of the elite, which consists of (a) bankers, who own the world’s most powerful governments, (b) mega-corporations, which are the productivity branch of the bankers, and (c) the media, which is the modern mechanism of oppression, and exists to spread the lies that preserve and perpetuate the State. Together, they can be thought of as the Owners of modern society.

The corporate State is merely the employee, the overseer, the manager of the great mass of humanity, working on behalf of the Owners.

The idea that Statism was created to “serve” the interests of “the people” is a simple lie, designed to fool the great mass of humanity into submission, to reduce its taste for rebellion. It exists to enslave us, and they run the world like a free-range farm.

The Owners (and the State that works for them) despise free markets, and will do just about anything to squelch them. They’ve done a pretty good job lately. But like all parasites, they will eventually kill their host.

RTB August 11, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Quick correction, if I may. Wealth is not created out of nothing. People use their minds and bodies to create wealth from the raw materials of the earth.

Also, “The corporate State is merely the employee…”. I think employee should read employer, no?

Otherwise, nice post and I can only agree.

Daniel August 11, 2010 at 9:42 pm

I think he means “employee” because the state is the means to the end of having control

Magnus August 11, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Yes, people create wealth out of natural resources, of course, but wealth grows as a direct result of cooperation on a massive scale — the division of labor and trade. This cooperation is what allowed humans to develop every form of wealth that exists in the world beyond the “wealth” represented by hunting/foraging for food and temporary escape from predators.

And, yes, the State is an employee. It is the thug that works for a mafia boss. Our current mafia is run by a network of banking and corporate cartels, and governments do their bidding.

The people who can snap their fingers and have the State deliver a trillion dollars of people’s productivity to them, virtually overnight, are the true owners of this livestock farm we call a country.

Paul in Lakeview August 11, 2010 at 4:23 pm

heylel shalem, your words read as if written by someone who’s trying to caricature socialists, i.e., as if by an American right wing hack who’s pretending to be a socialist.

At any rate, you claimed that “[t]he masses are starved so the few can feast.” Well, that’s what happens under socialism, not capitalism. And how do we know this? From experience, e.g. N. Korea, although socialists could have predicted this had they done the hard thinking that economics requires, as did Eugen Richter. In fact, when has the attempt to impose socialism not been followed almost immediately by shortages or famine? I do believe that the answer is “never”.

You wrote that “[w]e are yet again at the point of feudal lords and serfs”. Well, how do you know that? Do you know that the popularity of socialism is about to increase greatly among voters? Recall that every attempt to impose socialism has resulted in a system of feudal lords (Lenin, Stalin, Castro, et al.) and serfs. In fact, socialism by its nature requires a class system of feudal lords and serfs. Without feudal lords and their armies of technocrats, who would there be to manage the collectivized wealth? Well, either capitalists (in which case socialism has been abandoned) or no one (in which case death soon follows). So either socialists must have feudal lords or socialists can have no production whatever. And no feudal lord of socialism ever died of famine.

“marx was fully aware of the realitys [sic] of capitalism”.

If only. He was benighted by the labor theory of value and the iron law of wages, among other errors. Worse still, he provided no solution to socialism’s calculation problem, for which socialists have still not provided a solution. Maybe you, however, are special. So, what’s the solution to the calculation problem?

“Argue as much as you want about ‘free-market’ capitalism”There is no “free-market” in existence, nor was there in Marx’s time. To have ” ‘free-market’ capitalism”, it will be necessary, but not alone sufficient, (1) to eliminate central banks and fiat -currencies, (2) to eliminate state-sponsored deposit insurance and any laws which permit warehouse bankers to shirk their duty to return money to any and all depositors upon demand (which in practice will mean reducing or abandoning the practice of fractional reserve banking), (3) to eliminate subsidization of businesses, e.g. armaments manufacturers.

Of course, in your socialist paradise, armaments manufacturers would continue to receive preferential treatment from the feudal lords of said paradise, just as they do in the welfare state. And why wouldn’t armaments makers enjoy privilege? The serfs will need to be cowed into submission.

Finally, “After all the STATE is meant to serve the people not the interest of giant corporations.”

But it was the “STATE” which proclaimed the existence of corporations. Also, it was the “STATE” which cartelized the so-called profession of law and which demands from lawyers faithful observance of the fiction that a corporation is a real entity with real rights, such as the right to sue in a court of the “STATE”.It was also the “STATE” which stimulated consumption of fossil fuels. So if there is anthropogenic global warming, then the “STATE” is culpable, just as the “STATE” was responsible for, say, the destruction of the Aral Sea in a socialist paradise located in northern Asia.

Gil August 11, 2010 at 9:06 pm

What’s wrong with the Ricardo’s analysis of the Iron Law of Wages? Wages/Salaries are determined by the law of supply and demand just like any other price. If there’s high competition in any sector then wages will fall towards subsistence regardless of what the work actually entail.

response August 11, 2010 at 2:55 pm

“why an ideological distortion of truth should be more advantageous to the interests of a class than a correct doctrine.” – The answer is in Marx’s own writings. According to Mises, in “The Anticapitalist Mentality”, the capitalism “was accomplished by a small élite”. According to Marx: “The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.” Under feudalism, the social relation was different, therefore, ideas and moral and cultural behaviors of age were differents. Under feudalism, the ruling ideas was spreaded by ruling class of age (King, noble and church). Under capitalism, the ruling ideas are spreaded by bourgois, because the bourgois constitutes the ruling class. As we live in a society of classes, the ruling classes, to ensure their concerns, need spreading a “ideological distortion of truth”.

Allen Weingarten August 11, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Marx’s arguments are unassailable by evidence or logic, for they are based on having the truth, where all objections are merely ideological errors. It is akin to arguing with a psychologist, who relegates any disagreements with his theory as a reflection of a mental illness. Consequently, it fails the requirement that a scientific assertion be falsifiable. So I believe that the only response is to show that the doctrine is self-contradictory.

Seattle August 11, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Marx’s arguments are unassailable by … logic

So I believe that the only response is to show that the doctrine is self-contradictory.


Seattle August 11, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I took the time to download the audio version of this article: I appreciate Mr. Pruden’s work, but it sounds like it’s being read by a machine: There’s no emotion or intonation, and the lack of stress on the syllables in the appropriate places makes it sound flat.

Bruce Koerber August 11, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Marx Was Transparent To Ludwig von Mises!

Mises knew the ego-driven motivations of Marx and exposed every tortuous and twisted pathway of illogic that Marx pursued to try to make himself relevant after he was already wholly irrelevant. Marx psychopathically could never rescind his perverse system of the organization of the world because it was he who wanted it to be so!

Gil August 11, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Maybe Marx was about the economic evolution part – early America was entrepreneurial because it was untamed frontier land that would only appeal to entrepreneurs. Early America had no wealth but natural reousrces and only those who would bother to go there would be wealth creators. However as the wealth was growing it attracted those who are bad at wealth creation and who weigh down the wealth creators. Maybe Gregory Clark has it right – the Industrial Revolution was caused when smart, industrious people suddenly outnumbered the slackers and innovated society out of poverty whereas nowadays the Welfare States punish the industrious with high taxes to pay for slackers on welfare to have umpteen children.

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