Marx's Mistake – UPDATED

My Tuesday column is up:

It was not the Marxist ideal in communism that was in error, really. It was that communism was compelled, rather than voluntary. Sometimes a sympathizer with classical Marxist ideology will write to me expounding on the compassionate and generous instincts that he believes are at the heart of Marxism, and reminding me that the Acts of the Apostles describes “wealth distribution” as a social good.

All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. (Acts 2:44-45)

If Marxism has failed to make manifest the gloriously free and prosperous (or at least materially comfortable) society that it has long-promised—and the more honest debaters will admit that it has failed to produce either liberty or prosperity, wherever it has been tried—the failure, my correspondents argue, has been one of application. If only the right sort of people were charged with implementing Marx’s ideas, the theory would prove itself remarkably successful, just as it was for the Apostles.

Well, I agree. But I hasten to point out that the operative words in these verses are “right sort.” The believers freely gave up their properties for the good of the whole community. Non-believers were not compelled to participate; they were left to their own affairs.

Ora et Labora

Some will wonder why I do not mention Buddhist monastics, or others; it’s simply because no one every cites Buddhist text to me as an argument for communism!

UPDATE: Over at PJTV, Stephen Green is talking about Marxist “economics and fashions.” Yeah, it’s a cheap shot, but he admits it.

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