I am grateful to my friend Alexander Boot for debunking Dominic Sandbrook’s preposterous article about Karl Marx in yesterday’s Daily Mail. So much bunk was contained in Sandbrook’s piece that the process of debunking it must have taken Alex all morning. Well it’s done now. So open a bottle of that beer you like, Alex and put your feet up.
Sandbrook’s article was very, very Daily Mail, which is to say all golly-gosh and girly. You can see the exclamation marks winking at you. He wrote of Marx’s “titanic intelligence.” Well, we all know what happened to The Titanic. He would have been more accurate if he had spoken of Marx’s “moronic” intelligence.
Look out, Karl, here comes the iceberg!
Alex has done such a fine job on both Marx and Sandbrook, so I will not waste much effort trying to add to it – save to point out, from the stinking, rotten heap of Marx’s “thought,” just one of the ripest pieces of idiocy. Marx talks a lot about history. Or rather, being something of a sub-Hegelian hybrid, he talks about “the historical process.” And the historical process, says Marx, is “inevitable.” Notice what this means: not just that, as Marx says, “the Communist revolution and the punishment of the capitalists” are inevitabilities, but that if a horse called Emily Thornberry wins the two o’clock at Goodwood on Tuesday, then that horse’s win was also inevitable. Because that horse and that race are also part of “the historical process.” And, at the risk of flogging a dead horse (so to speak), let me say also that if I win £50 by backing Emily Thornberry, then it was always inevitable that I should win £50. So, according to Marx, everything that happens was always inevitable – even his writing Das Kapital ; which means, logically, we can’t even enjoy the pleasure of blaming him for it.
Now look what you’ve done, Alex, bro! Just as I was about to get out into the Sunday sunshine: you’ve made me think about those other two titanic intelligences of which you yourself treat in your yesterday’s splendid blog. That pair of 19th century mystagogues Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud.
It turns out that these these two titans are firm believers in inevitability: what in the trade philosophers call “determinism.” For Freud everything we do is caused by “unconscious motivation.” And for Darwin it’s all determined by our genes and natural selection.
Eager as I am to get outside, I can’t help but pause and quote a delicious paragraph from Jerry Fodor concerning Darwin:
“The crucial test is whether one’s pet theory can distinguish between selection for trait A and selection for trait B when A and B are coextensive: for example,were polar bears selected for being white or for matching their environment? Search me; and search any kind of adaptationism I’ve heard of. Nor am I holding my breath till one comes along.”
As for Freud, what is there left to say about a man who supposed that the whole range of human thoughts and feelings owes its origin to what goes on in the last eighteen inches of the alimentary canal?
The three titans Darwin, Marx and Freud were all atheists. And their disciples, mostly atheists too, often praise them for their supposedly having freed us from the shackles of religion.
My religion – Christianity – teaches the existence of freewill
Whereas the “liberation” celebrated by the numbskull followers of Evolutionary Theory, Communism and Psychoanalysis leads us straight back into the prison house of determinism.
PS These three determinisms contradict one another: is it my genes which make me a Marxist? Or is it my historical inevitability that makes me a Freudian. Or unconscious motivation which convinces me of genetic determinism? Three nonsenses in one nonsense in which we find ourselves – with reference to Darwin, Marx and Freud – confounding the persons and dividing the substance.