Saturday, March 5, 2011

Karl Marx, Close Observer to the Max

a Monty Pythonization of Karl Marx
I've been reading a biography of Karl Marx (titled Bippy Goes to the Circus, NO! titled Karl Marx) by Isaiah Berlin and published by Oxford paperbacks.

It's brilliant. Berlin describes Marx' intellectual context, that being the what's what and who's who in Europe; the thinkers of Germany, France (and soon England--I'm waiting for the next chapter); much on Hegel; Marx' family--he had a warm relationship with his father, despite his father's desire to, as we say, fit in.

And Marx' character; he was a true rebel with a grand cause and no gun, and far more intellectual than Che Gueverra, who was no dullard himself.  Just as Marx (and Engels) demonstrated an eye for detail and facility with close description, as in the Communist Manifesto, he demonstrated an enormous capacity for reading and analysis.

He saw that in the industrialized era, production caused, in Isaiah Berlin's words, "intellectual, moral, religious beliefs, values and forms of life . . . which uphold the power of the class whose interest the capitalist system embraces."  A Catch 22 in the making.

Capitalism and production are not timeless in the way Truth, Love, Compassion are. They are simply "uphold the power of the class whose interests the capitalist system bodies." Capitalism is not a "timelessly valid institution" but it is seen as such.  It's as if the belief in a divine king and queen were simply auctioned off to the highest bidder and that bidder is the rich who control production and product and thus become falsely "valid."

I don't see how to break through but I am hoping that as we awaken to the corruptibility of capitalists, as in crashes of the past few years, we just might inch toward some improvement in the distribution of wealth (to coin a phrase).

Now back to Bippy Goes to the Circus. Can't wait until the movie comes out.


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