Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Will it be Marxism or Christianity? Do you know the difference in detail?

Main Currents of Marxism: The Founders, the Golden Age, the BreakdownMain Currents of Marxism: The Founders, the Golden Age, the Breakdown by Leszek KoĊ‚akowski

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kolakowski reviews and summarizes the history of Marxism with as much nuance and precision to detail as Chopin dealt with music in his piano concertos. The author is a maestro of holistic interpretation while at the same time paying excruciating detail to references and influences that shaped, transformed, radicalized and pragmatically utilized Marxist philosophy from its very inception until the 1970's. I would be willing to bet that most people who call themselves Socialists or attack Socialism have no idea behind the complex debates that formed this humanistic philosophy. Drawing from an extensive collection of manifestos and books on the subject from mostly European sources, Kolakowski is brilliantly able to paint an eloquent picture of this often, misunderstood and misapplied philosophy. My favorite line of his in this work (which I here paraphrase) is that Marxism can be compared to Christianity because of the multitude of interpretations derived from core beliefs of both ethical systems of thought. My only criticism of his approach, which reflects his Polish background, is the heavy handed contempt that he attributes to Marxism/Leninism and its resultant growth into Stalinism. Yet he expounds upon his seemingly biased view with credible facts which are hard to deny. After reading this tome, it is unavoidable to come to the conclusion that Marxism fails ultimately because of the frailties of human nature. There can be no worldwide, worker's Utopia because man is inherently exploitive and, to believe otherwise, is sheer folly. If "religion is the opiate of the people," then Marxism is the rabbit hole of philosophical thought and offers no definitive solution to the societal dilemma faced by modern man. There's more on this on my website at WRITERS ALIVE.

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