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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13746/the-critics-of-marxism/

The Critics of Marxism

September 1, 2010 by

It seems now that almost everyone, from journalists to academics to clergy, relies unthinkingly on Marxian doctrines. Their deterministic ideas seem impervious to any argument. Of course, they’ve never read Ludwig von Mises. FULL ARTICLE by Ludwig von Mises

{ 14 comments }

Allen Weingarten September 1, 2010 at 10:03 am

“…the Marxian doctrine of historical change has never received any judicious critique. It could triumph because its adversaries never disclosed its fallacies and inherent contradictions.”

One can immediately note that if ideas are determined by material imperatives, then nothing is truthful, but merely conditioned. Moreover, if everything is determined there is no choice, and nothing to argue about. (We are then living a predetermined path, in analogy to the unfolding of a movie film.)

Besides, there is a counter-argument by Marx & Engels, namely although people can only reflect their class interests, these two are able to see the ‘truth’ because they can view matters from the perspective of a classless society. Now, if this is because they chose to do so, they are not determined, but are free. On the other hand if they do so out of necessity, they cannot claim ‘truth’, but are only recipients of determinism, such as a falling rock.

Allen Weingarten September 1, 2010 at 11:06 am

Allow me to note that this issue is related to the Rothbard-Hoppe view that there is a logical contradiction committed by those who argue against man’s freedom. For the current issue, we note that the Marxian view that man’s ideas are determined, has presupposed that very freedom to make its case.

Seattle September 1, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Mises disagrees:

The logical structure of his mind enjoins upon man determinism and the category of causality. As man sees it, whatever happens in the universe is the necessary evolution of forces, powers, and qualities which were already present in the initial stage of the X out of which all things stem. All things in the universe are interconnected, and all changes are the effects of powers inherent in things. No change occurs that would not be the necessary consequence of the preceding state. All facts are dependent upon and conditioned by their causes. No deviation from the necessary course of affairs is possible. Eternal law regulates everything. In this sense determinism is the epistemological basis of the human search for knowledge.

Man cannot even conceive the image of an undetermined universe. In such a world there could not be any awareness of material things and their changes. It would appear a senseless chaos. Nothing could be identified and distinguished from anything else. Nothing could be expected and predicted. In the midst of such an environment man would be as helpless as if spoken to in an unknown language. No action could be designed, still less put into execution. Man is what he is because he lives in a world of regularity and has the mental power to conceive the relation of cause and effect.

Hayekian September 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Good one, this is the view entirely shared by me. The notion of free will on which rothbardian libertarian bases is an statement not backed by science, and not even backed by Mises himself, who was more humble in this regard than Rothbard.

Richard September 1, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Determinism isn’t backed by science either. My understanding is that Mises allowed for the possibility of ‘determinism’, but he never said it had been proven, nor that ‘free will’ didn’t exist.

Allen Weingarten September 1, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Each of us knows from within that he can choose one thing or another. This is more fundamental than science. Just ask yourself whether you would become convinced by a bevy of scientists, with all sorts of evidentiary arguments, that you are an android with no ability to choose? In particular, if they ‘proved’ that in a minute you were determined to raise your right hand, that you could not choose to raise your left hand instead.

Beefcake the Mighty September 2, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Mises was a determinist, no doubt about it. But he was just as clearly a *methodological* dualist, as was Rothbard and Hoppe. This is the sense in which otherwise vague terms like “free will” must be understood.

Seattle September 1, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Determinism, as Mises explains it, is not a fact about the outside universe of things. Causality is a quality of our mind. To say “A causes B” is to say “If I perform action A, it will bring about consequence B.” If consequence B is desirable to the actor, then action A is performed. Whether or not his prediction is correct is something that can only be derived from experience.

It is impossible for a purposeful actor to have no notion of causality, because causality is the mental tool used to plan action, to connect means to ends. Determinism is thus a requirement for Human Action, or “Free Will” if this term is preferred.

If causality does not exist, that is, nothing you do can possibly affect the future in any way, then can you really be said to have a choice?

Sean September 2, 2010 at 4:50 pm

“Besides, there is a counter-argument by Marx & Engels, namely although people can only reflect their class interests, these two are able to see the ‘truth’ because they can view matters from the perspective of a classless society. Now, if this is because they chose to do so, they are not determined, but are free. On the other hand if they do so out of necessity, they cannot claim ‘truth’, but are only recipients of determinism, such as a falling rock.”

Well, clearly this is because Marx & Engels are messengers of God. ldo.

Seattle September 2, 2010 at 8:55 pm

The explanation for this contradiction given by Marx is the Proletarian class is able to conceive of absolute truth. Being a member of the proletarian class (somehow) Marx is thus able to see the truth while all of his opponents are delusional from false ideologies.

Basically, yeah. He claims to be a messenger of God.

Russ the Apostate September 2, 2010 at 9:04 pm

But since Marx was born into the bourgeoisie, and somehow managed to break free of the determinism of his class, then others should be able to do likewise, and thus the whole class-deterministic theory is a load of horse apples.

Seattle September 3, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Like I said. Claims to be a messenger of God. The others are not able to see the truth like him because they are not chosen.

Maksim Gorky September 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm

I’m reserving a spot down here for michael.

mukbagorola Aida October 26, 2010 at 6:12 am

that was during his time of capitalism,and now?

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