What Fresh Hell Is This?

June 15, 2011

Another Urban Myth At The Trib

From today's Midweek Briefing:
The folks at Human Events, a conservative newspaper, have been running a series of "365 ways to drive a liberal crazy." They're culled from James Delingpole's book of the same name. No. 164: "Quote liberal hero Karl Marx: 'There is only one way to kill capitalism -- by taxes, taxes, and more taxes.'" Sadly, liberals still won't get it.
To begin with, I can't see how Karl Marx is much of a liberal hero. Socialist hero, sure. Communist hero, definitely. But liberal hero? Only if you equate those three very different terms. But I guess in the collective hive-mind that is the Scaife braintrust (and remember they also believe climate change to be a hoax) anything to the right of Scaife himself is a radical Marxist. So this one's iffy at best.

But what of that quotation of Marx?

According to the Irregular Times, MARX NEVER SAID IT:
Anybody who’s actually read Karl Marx knows that Karl Marx would never have written those words. Marx saw taxes as connected to state power, and he held a dubious opinion of state power throughout history, up to and including the modern form of the democratic republic. Marx favored the smashing of the bourgeois state, not its engorgement through taxation.
But why believe the Irregular Times? I've never seen the site before. It could be the rantings of a paranoid schizophrenic for all I know.

They do include a link to the Marx & Engels archive - pretty sharp for a schizophrenic, if you ask me.

There's a search engine attached to the archive so you can look to see if Marx actually said what Scaife's braintrust said it said. And so, when I search for the exact phrase "kill capitalism" I get nothing, bupkis, nada, the null set. In short, it ain't in there.

But what does Marx say about taxes? The Irregular Times furnishes us with something Marx did say:
It is high treason to pay taxes. Refusal to pay taxes is the primary duty of the citizen!
So next time you meet a Tea Partier (or Sovereign Citizen, or Grover Norquist acolyte or any other right wing anti-tax zealot) just tell them that when they demand lower taxes in order to starve the guv'ment they're actually quoting Karl Marx.

That'll drive them crazy.


spork_incident said...

Liberals are also Nazis.

Never leave out the Nazis.

A Spork in the Drawer

Professor Chaos said...

But it sounds like something that could be true, and it fits in with our overall narrative, so that pretty much makes it true!

EdHeath said...

In the sense of having a normal conversation with someone, I absolutely agree with Professor Chaos. And yet, ... and yet ... we are willing to allow the Tea Party to tell us what reality is? I am supposed to allow a conservative to tell me that what I remember learning in economics is in fact not "real" economics?

OK, I haven't yet watched the "Youtube", but assuming it's accurate, take a look at the transcript of an exchange between a reporter and Paul Ryan. We know that the government regulated or run health care systems of other industrial countries produce better aggregate health results at lower costs per patient, yet no one (of elected Democrats) challenges Republicans when they claim exactly the opposite. It used to be that you could trust a politician to tailor his/her message to the audience they were talking to, meaning they cared a little what we think. Now what is scary is that the Republicans are being consistent in their gibberish, telling the same lies to anyone and everyone and expecting everyone to agree. The only reason I can think they are doing that is because they only care what the rich think, and they know the rich are always listening.

Communism is indeed absolutely anti tax. Actually, the ideal of communism is that no one owns much of anything (certainly nothing big), so the concept of taxation simply disappears. In the reality of the large scale implementation of what people called communism, the State owned and controlled all commercial activity, so again taxation was a concept that simply doesn't exist. A capitalist economy with a socialist type government is an entirely different animal. In that situation, one might pay lip service (at last) to the some of the philosophical thinking of Marx (related, in my opinion, to the nature of work and how it is related to the definition of a person), but there would be no widespread implementation of Marxist policy. Although I think some attempts at versions of workplace democracy (as attempted by the Yugoslavs) would be quite appropriate for a socialist type country, in my opinion.