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Published On: Mon, Jan 12th, 2015

The Basic Flaw of Marxism

TND Guest Contributor:  John Chambers |

Karl Marx (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Karl Marx (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

The most succinct expression of Marxism is “The Manifesto of the Communist Party” written in 1848 by Karl Marx and his younger protégé, Frederick Engels.  The Manifesto describes the Communist’s view of the problems of the world and ten specific points to repair those problems.  Its aim is to create a new civilization.

To make a civilization, it is obvious that one must first understand the basic nature of civilization, the fundamental activities and institutions that go into making one.  Libraries could be filled with philosophies, guesses and hopes, but in simplicity, the activities and institutions of a civilization can be organized into three broad categories: (1) what it believes it is, (2) what it does and (3) where it is going.

(1) The most basic aspect of a civilization, what it is, its ethics level, what is important to its people, its belief in its purpose, and its, well, values, comes from its religion.  Religion, or lack thereof (which really means a religion that you do not recognize), determines what is important to a person.  It determines, for instance, whether a person is honest or corrupt, and to whom.

Ludwig Feuerbach (Source: Wikapedia Commons)

Ludwig Feuerbach (Source: Wikapedia Commons)

The religion of Marx first became apparent at the University of Berlin where Herr Marx chose to make his doctoral dissertation on the difference between two Greek philosophies.  He “favored the materialism of Epicurus because it allowed for an energizing principle in matter.” (Skousen, W. Cleon, The Naked Communist, 1958, p.12).  In other words, according to Epicurus and Marx, matter is the source of life.  Later, both Marx and Engels became fascinated with the work of Ludwig Feuerbach.  Marx praised it highly while Engels wrote that “enthusiasm was general; we all became at once Feuerbachians.”  Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity (1841) “became widely known for its influential attack on Christianity.” (Vitz, Paul C., Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-worship, 1977, p. 67).  Feuerbach compares man to an animal and, according to Engels, it tore down God and “placed materialism on the throne. . . .” (  The religion of Marx and his followers is materialism.  There is only the physical universe and nothing else.

(2) From what a person believes, comes what he does.  If, for instance, family is important, a person will do things to further his family.  The activities and commerce of the civilization, and the implements used to effect that commerce, come from the core beliefs of its people, and includes how goods and services are produced and distributed.  Whether goods are moved by ox cart or by jet plane is a product of the technical advances of the culture.  The fact that goods move, or not, that great cathedrals are built, or not, that people tend to be well-fed, or not, is a product of the beliefs of the people of the civilization, or those imposed upon the people.  What a civilization “does” includes the “economic system” (defined more fully below) it employs.

(3) Where a civilization is going, the direction it is headed, is administered by its government. The government can be totalitarian or libertarian or anything in between.  “Of course,” Marx and Engels wrote in the Manifesto, “in the beginning, [the 10 points] cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property.”  These “despotic inroads” were/are to be done by government action.  It is the forced taking of property from one person or group and giving it to another more favored group.  To ensure no reasonable person would question the system, laws are also needed to destroy any religion other than materialism.  For instance, Article 42 of the old constitution of the U.S.S.R. allowed “freedom” of religion, but allowed no one to actually practice or speak of any religion other than Marxist theory.  This should be an alert that the economic system was flawed.


Marxism is billed as an economic system.  As above, it could also be called a religion because it is based on certain beliefs, or a form of government because it requires certain governmental actions to enforce it.  Primarily, however, it is an economic theory.palm-trees-59_640

Any theory of Economics is based on scarcities.  The theory gives guidelines and rationale for the distribution of scarce and valuable commodities — and, of course, the more scare something is, the more valuable it is.  If things are plentiful, no one will ever have to forego one thing in favor of another.  Both are plentiful.  Do both.  A theory of economics amidst Plenty is like developing a Theory of Air — unnecessary.  (That is not to say that there are no fat years and lean years, nor that one should pretend that there is Plenty when there is not.  Even the air is not as plentiful as once thought.  Air pollution and green-house emissions is prompting interest in a Theory of Air of sorts.)

When things are scarce, the concept of property takes root.  On a South Seas island with more coconuts laying on the ground than people can pick up, anyone who staked out a tree as “his own” would be viewed as eccentric.

Virginia Romero (c) 2005

Virginia Romero (c) 2005

Marxists have a theory of property and economics.  According to Marxist, there is no spiritual side to life (“materialism is on the throne”).  Every new thing comes from material interaction, one piece of matter banging into another.  Everything that happens is the result of what has already happened.  Therefore what has happened (history) makes the future inevitable.  The communist theory of History is explained in a few sentences:

Some people have more property than others.  Those who have property hire those who do not, and pay them wages.  Wages are always worth less than the work that was done (how else can there be a profit?).  Therefore, the poor are exploited when they are paid.  Therefore, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  Eventually, the exploited poor become so oppressed that they revolt in “class warfare” and all are made equal.  Of course, when comes the revolution, an all-powerful state will have to be set up to redistribute the wealth, but eventually it will wither away.  This is inevitable.

The first and most obvious flaw in this “inevitable flow of history” is that a poor person can, by competence and industry, rise out of the lower to the middle class.  Marxist theory can never work as long as there is a middle class.  Marxism demands the destruction of the Middle Class.  It is not surprising that the Communist Manifesto is a diatribe against the “bourgeoisie” (the middle class, “townspeople”). ss

Of course, Marxists say they are attacking the “rich.”  The rich get tax cuts; they have “traditional values;” they can afford private schools, or, well, at least home-schooling; they can afford to live in a family.  The effect of these attacks upon the “rich” is greater difficulty for the “poor oppressed” to rise above their oppression.  Similarly, demands for more welfare payments, for free healthcare or housing or drugs are aimed at enticing the “poor” to become more dependant. Marxists say they are attacking the rich, but when the bomb explodes, who is hit with the fragments?

These attacks can be very reasonable and logical.

For instance, in Communist countries, it was perfectly legal, I was assured by a man who had escaped from Romania in the ‘70s, for a person to open a shop or restaurant.  The police would not arrest you.  They would allow your customers to come in, conduct their business, and then, as your customers left your shop, the police would arrest them!  The charge would be “exploitation” because they paid you money.  (Remember what the theory says: “the poor are exploited when they are paid.”)  Communism assumes that any free exchange is criminal.  Therefore, no one can work for anyone but the state.  As my Romanian friend said, “under communism, only the State is allowed to exploit you!”

Read that example again.  Only the State is allowed to buy or sell.  Under proper Marxism, you cannot.  You have no right to economic activity. No matter that the scarcity, you cannot own anything.  Property cannot exist.


A major flaw of Marxism is the belief that property cannot and does not exist.  But that comes from an even more profound error — the basic worldview of Marx. empty-pockets

According to Marx, the source of everything is the dialectic (or “dialectical”) materialism.  A “dialectic” is a debate, particularly one in which conflicts between differing views are synthesized into a new premise.  According to dialectic materialism “[e]verything in existence came about as a result of ceaseless motion among the forces of nature.” (Skousen, p. 354).  Therefore, any quality in your so-called “property” has the qualities of matter, such as mass, force, electrical charge.  Let us take that shirt on your back.  It is a material object.  You say it is your property, and I might even agree with you, but wait a minute.  Since our concept that you “own” the shirt is a product of the dialectic materialism, we will be able to find your ownership in the threads of the fabric.  We search in vain.  Nothing in the molecules or the protons or electrons of the shirt say it is “yours.”

Let us further complicate the issue.  Let us say you give me the shirt off your back, either as a gift, or in exchange for a loaf of bread, or for some pieces of printed paper, or because I hold a bayonet to your throat.  Suddenly, the shirt is “mine.”  Suddenly, the molecules must re-align themselves from “yours” to “mine.”

Obviously, that is absurd.  The concept of ownership is not in the molecules of the property but in the agreement between you and me.  We don’t even have to be face-to-face to make the agreement.  Our communication may occur in the material universe, and the agreement can be memorialized there, but the agreement itself?  It is not in the molecules of the physical universe.

introducingyourselfThe basic flaw of Marxism is that it fails to recognize anything other than the material universe.  Because ownership is not material, the flaw translates into an economic system that denies property. Denying property removes one of the most potent tools Man has to handle scarcity.  Therefore, Marxism is a continual failure as an economic theory.  Quite aside from the damage done to a society hit with scarcity and no way to combat it, a close observation of most any criminal will reveal a sense that all ownership is a pretense.  No one really owns anything and therefore, theft is acceptable behavior.  The flaw of Marxism gives a rationale to any theft or lie.  It promotes criminality.

Translated into political action, Marxism teaches one to “tell any lie to get in power” and once in power, it becomes “destroy the middle class” which includes any religion other than materialism.
Copyright © 2003, 2015 John Chambers

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About John Chambers:

John Chambers has a standard response to anyone who questions his credentials for writing a study guide for the Constitution. “Zero,” he says. “I am a citizen who took an interest. I have no more intelligence or education than anyone else.”

His father might tell you that Mr. Chambers’ interest began when he was twelve. That summer, he sat young Johnny down and had him copy the Constitution into one of those composition books with the squiggly black-and-white covers. On the left-hand page, Johnny would copy the document in its original language. On the right-hand side, he translated it into modern English.

Years later, John Chambers was asked by a friend who runs the California Ranch School, a private high school, if John would do some writing for the school. While at the school, a few of the students asked Mr. Chambers if he could teach them something about the Constitution. He could.

The first class was to be strictly a reading of the document but it soon became apparent that was not enough. John remembered his own 12-year-old struggles. He may have read the Constitution, but his life experience was not enough to grasp the concepts. “I knew the words,” he says, “but couldn’t sing the tune.” As that first class read through the document, Mr. Chambers got them to give examples from their own lives.

The next class of students had a study guide with many of the difficult words defined and some examples for teenage lives. But the study guide had weak points still. It improved in that class and the next.

Mr. Chambers was soon teaching courses to neighbors and as an extension course at the local community college. With each class given, Mr. Chambers would see the weaknesses of his study guide, and its strengths. After five years of revisions, the study-guide became as stable as any textbook and became more broadly available.

Today, he runs the Josephine County Constitution Study Group in southern Oregon.

John’s book: “The Constituion of the United States: A Study Guide” – Second Edition, can be ordered here.

1- Web Site: Who Owns You Jo-Co
2- Web Site: Citizen Hat

E-Mail: johnc[@] Remove brackets added to help curtail spam.

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