Happy Birthday, Karl Marx! You Were Wrong!

The New York Times is not giving up any time soon on an insistence that America needs to give Communism a go.

Recall the paper’s series on the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution that covered almost every aspect of human life through a socialist lens, including sex. According to the Times, women under Communism had far better sex lives than women who lived in Western democracies.

A column by Jason Barker in the Times on Monday celebrates Karl Marx on the occasion of the bicentennial of Marx’s birth. Barker, a professor of philosophy in South Korea, waxes eloquent about the originality and brilliance of Marx’s thought and then asks: “As we reach the bicentennial of Marx’s birth, what lessons might we draw from his dangerous and delirious philosophical legacy? What precisely is Marx’s lasting contribution?”

Barker knows his philosophical stuff. Like many academics, however, he neglects to see the actual impact of Marx’s so-called philosophy: mass murder, wrongful imprisonments followed by hard labor camps, and lack of individual freedom to name a few realities of Marx’s “legacy.”

American leftist academics remain enamored with Marxism and repeatedly refuse to see that the only thing that can and did come out of it were totalitarian regimes. They are unmoved by accounts of real and palpable experiences of Communism. I have often found myself in situations in which I presented the evidence of an attack on individualism and liberty in the somewhat odd form of Yugoslav socialism I lived under, and yet the usual answer from the intellectual Left is “but that was not real Communism!” or “You haven’t read Marx carefully enough.”

But my favorite academic reason for this utter blindness is the strong conviction that Marxism will not fail in America. According to the elite intelligentsia, America is a perfect and fertile ground where the ideas of Karl Marx will finally flourish like beautiful flowers in a meadow. 

Barker ends his article with this: “…we are destined to keep citing him [Karl Marx] and testing his ideas until the kind of society that he struggled to bring about, and that increasing numbers of us now desire, is finally realized.” At what cost?

About Emina Melonic

Originally from Bosnia, a survivor of the Bosnian war and its aftermath of refugee camps, Emina Melonic immigrated to the United States in 1996 and became an American citizen in 2003. She has a Ph.D. in comparative literature. Her writings have appeared in National Review, The Imaginative Conservative, New English Review, The New Criterion, Law and Liberty, The University Bookman, Claremont Review of Books, The American Mind, and Splice Today. She lives near Buffalo, N.Y.

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