“All For the State”
Named for its founder, Karl Marx, this worldview says that it’s not the individual that is important, but the government, called the state. In Marxism, commonly called Communism, the needs of the many (i.e., the state) outweigh the needs of individuals. Marxism can only work in an entire community or country, because everything is centered around the state. Everyone is theoretically equal, so no one has more than anyone else. And all of our individual efforts goes into making the state bigger, better, and stronger, which makes every individual better off.
At one time, Marxism/Communism ruled large parts of the earth. It now only remains in only a few countries. (This does not count China, which is technically Communist, but has adopted a largely non-Communist way of life.) However, it remains very popular in academia and in liberal groups. Many who are attracted to this worldview in college abandon it when they enter the work world.
Here is Marxism in a nutshell:
The people who work (the proletariat) are the true masters of the world, but they are constantly being exploited by the upper/middle class (the bourgeoise). One day, the proletariat will throw off the yoke of the bourgeoise, and there will be a truly classless society. Everyone owns everything, and we all work for the good of everyone else.
Marxism is very utopian, but it has never worked out in any country where it has been tried. Many people are drawn to it, but most end up abandoning it when they realize Marxist societies always end up corrupt. From time to time, there is a resurgence of Marxist ideas on college campuses and some liberal communities, but that’s usually all.
It should be pointed out that Marxism is considered to be the end goal of socialism. Karl Marx viewed socialism as a condition that cannot be sustained, and that Communism is the ultimate perfect state.
The Questions that define Marxism:
- What is prime reality – the really real?
Materialism – Although Marxism is an offshoot of naturalism, it focuses on material goods, not necessarily the physical things in nature. But instead of the wealth of materialism, Marxism is interested in the material goods that can be provided to the community.
- What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us?
Reality is centered around human beings, and the most important aspect of that is the conflict between the workers of the world and the upper class.
- What is a human being?
A human being is a worker who dedicates his/her life for the good of the State. A human being’s only value is in their worth to the State. They can be promoted or disposed of by the State as it sees fit.
- What happens to a person at death?
Nothing, although prominent Marxists may be glorified after death if that furthers the needs of the State.
- Why is it possible to know anything at all?
The only reality is what the State decides is real and true. It is possible to know that reality through the education provided by the State.
- How do we know what is right and wrong?
Society is guided by whatever serves the purposes of the state
- What is the meaning of human history?
Everything in history is leading inevitably to the world being ruled by Marxism.
There are a number of problems with Marxism. As indicated above, Communism has never worked anywhere it has been tried. First, there is no incentive to work. Theoretically, in a Marxist state, there is very little private property. That means everyone gets the same goods and no one gets to keep any gain from his own work. Therefore, no one has any reason to work hard or even to work at all. Communist countries are well-known for their sluggish and inept economies. In reality, the only wealthy people in Marxist countries are those who are in power.
Marxism claims that it will elevate the poor and lower the rich. Instead, it makes everyone poor, other than those in power. In capitalism, it is possible for anyone to elevate themselves, but in Communism, everyone remains in the same low condition.
Finally, Marxism results in a police state. That is because the state must force everyone to believe in things that aren’t true. They must believe that they are producing enough and everyone is getting what they need. They must believe that the leadership of the state is doing the right things and making the right decisions. And anyone who does not believe these things must be punished. For this reason, a Marxist state is constantly looking for those who do not believe their version of reality.
Marxism sounds good in theory, but it always fails in practice.