On Marx, His Theories, Personality, and Life, with an Aside about Great Men with Crap Personalities

CLAVDIVS AMERICANVS: For the record, I’ve read the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital Vol 1 and 2 but never 3.

I will be honest. I have a very, very low opinion of Marx’s ideas and his person, beautiful prose notwithstanding. He definitely was a brilliant man but I think his conclusions in DK are garbage. I am a capitalist after all.

Yes, but you realize that in the past, most capitalist economics professors praised him to the skies. For a very long time he was required reading to get an Economics degree and even the most ardent professors assigned. Now they happened to think his conclusions about capitalism being doomed, etc. were wrong, and others took issue with the Labor Theory of Value, which I think is a bad argument because of course it’s correct.

You realize also that Marx praised capitalism to the skies, right? He just thought it was an unworkable and ultimately immoral system that would inevitably collapse due to its own contradictions.

There has never been a more immaculate description of capitalism that Marx’s in Capital. It’s simply never been equaled.

The problem was with Marx’s solutions to the very serious problems of capitalism. A lot of people think his proposed solutions haven’t worked very well and in fact they didn’t even work as well as capitalism.

I think the complaint is that socialism is moral but it doesn’t work, while capitalism is immoral and even evil if you put it on a triple beam scale and weight it out like a pound of dope. The bad outweighs the good.

In that sense though, capitalism is immoral or evil, but at least it works and socialism is morally proper and good, but it doesn’t work. I actually do not object to an analysis like this, and I’m a Leftist!

As far as criticisms of Marx’s person go, well, that doesn’t count! We don’t judge great men by whether or not they had shit personalities, else we’d have to bin all our heroes! We’d have to settle for good men who accomplished little once we threw out the shits who rocked the world. We can praise the cantankerous, confounding fucks, the very intellectual terrorists themselves, who set off earthquakes in thought and art. Look at Jesus, Marx, and Freud. Jews and revolutionaries all. They’ve left us long ago, but the world has not stopped shaking!

They were not well liked and one even got executed for his capital crimes. The next was a boisterous and irritable shit, the last a literal fraud who actually engaged in scientific fraud by faking his own studies. But an argument is that all great men commit frauds like that. It’s almost a marker for genius.

None of this matters though because their intellectual and spiritual rebellions were so profound that they reverberate with us yet.

And the greatest writer of all, a playwright named William Shakespeare, who has not yet been equaled in half a millennia, was a positively horrible person, a wealthy, stingy, miser who wouldn’t give his neighbors a dime while they starved in a winter famine, who hounded his creditors mercilessly for every nickel he loaned them.

But as my mother told me when I brought this up to her:

Well, that’s fine. Shakespeare was an awful person. But it doesn’t matter because that’s not why we read Shakespeare.

In other words, all that silver prose singing off the pages straight up to the clouds blows that crap personality right out of the water and renders it as irrelevant as the boisterous, classless, trashy, drunken, fist-swinging, lewd, vulgar lumpen venues where his cheap plays were performed as lowbrow common man entertainment, the 16th Century entertainment of drive-min movies or straight to video cinematic junk.

It’s a bit sad but if you are truly a great man, you get to be a complete asshole and no one cares!

Marx’s was a very unpleasant person, fought with everyone, could not get along with anyone, was cantankerous, irascible, and combative, was very radical and not about to compromise a thing. However, he and Engels seemed to have gotten on pretty well.

Personally, he was a pretty “dirty” man who lived and worked nearly in filth, as visitors to his study noted.

I read a recent short piece by a writer who had interviewed him in his study and it was pretty jarring. The constant cigar smoke in the room was the least of it. But a lot of writers are total slobs. Ever seen a photo of a writer’s study? Typically a Godawful mess. A lot of artists are pretty messy too. These people are reaching for the stars, dammit, painting and writing out the highest intellectual aspirations of our people! You think they have time for petty lower-human stuff like cleaning house? Pshaw!

On the other hand, he was a very good husband to his loving wife and he was an excellent father to his children. I don’t buy arguments that say he failed on both of those accounts.

As far as the “Marx never worked a day in his life” bullshit, well, that’s just capitalist shit-talking.

He was a journalist! He worked as a journalist for many years, writing for papers all over Europe. Problem was it didn’t pay well. And then he was just a writer who wrote great books. Ever heard of a starving writer? Well, there was Marx. Eventually he attracted the attention of another writer, the wealthy industrialist traitor to his class Frederick Engels, and Engels gave a him a writer’s stipend do he could leave behind day jobs and just write full-time.

He eventually got into trouble with the law and had the German police after him everywhere he went, so he had to leave Germany for France and the UK. He was also a political activist who worked tirelessly setting up political parties, committees, and whatnot and hobnobbing endlessly in political jaunting with other radical political types. If you’ve noticed a lot of political activist types don’t make a lot of money either.

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