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Or otherwise said, ideology is by definition philosophical, human, hence spiritual.
Scientifical materialism reduces the man to his material dimension, the spiritual to emotions as chemical processes, rejects the unseen (indeed claims it doesn't exist), and as such, excludes ideologies from the social life. Which why marxism rejects democracy, free-speech, multi-partitism, all human by excellence.
In the end, maybe the gap will no longer be between left and right, and both will unite against the common enemy: the genuine ideology killer.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 12:12:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What a pity that the (this time) informed discussion of the nature of ideology is followed by this piece of uninformed nonsense, an example of ideology at its worst:


Scientifical materialism reduces the man to his material dimension, the spiritual to emotions as chemical processes, rejects the unseen (indeed claims it doesn't exist), and as such, excludes ideologies from the social life. Which why marxism rejects democracy, free-speech, multi-partitism, all human by excellence [I'm not sure what this last phrase is supposed to mean].

It's not as if such rubbish hasn't been refuted many times; here's the introduction to such a refutation by Erich Fromm back in 1961:


It is one of the peculiar ironies of history that there are no limits to the misunderstanding and distortion of theories, even in an age when there is unlimited access to the sources; there is no more drastic example of this phenomenon than what has happened to the theory of Karl Marx in the last few decades. There is continuous reference to Marx and to Marxism in the press, in the speeches of politicians, in books and articles written by respectable social scientists and philosophers; yet with few exceptions, it seems that the politicians and newspapermen have never as much as glanced at a line written by Marx, and that the social scientists are satisfied with a minimal knowledge of Marx. Apparently they feel safe in acting as experts in this field, since nobody with power and status in the social-research empire challenges their ignorant statements.[1]

Among all the misunderstandings there is probably none more widespread than the idea of Marx's "materialism." Marx is supposed to have believed that the paramount psychological motive in man is his wish for monetary gain and comfort, and that this striving for maximum profit constitutes the main incentive in his personal life and in the life of the human race. Complementary to this idea is the equally widespread assumption that Marx neglected the importance of the individual; that he had neither respect nor understanding for the spiritual needs of man, and that his "ideal" was the well-fed and wellclad, but "soulless" person. Marx's criticism of religion was held to be identical with the denial of all spiritual values, and this seemed all the more apparent to those who assume that belief in God is the condition for a spiritual orientation.

This view of Marx then goes on to discuss his socialist paradise as one of millions of people who submit to an all-powerful state bureaucracy, people who have surrendered their freedom, even though they might have achieved equality; these materially satisfied "individuals" have lost their individuality and have been successfully transformed into millions of uniform robots and automatons, led by a small elite of better-fed leaders.

Suffice it to say at the outset that this popular picture of Marx's "materialism" -- his anti-spiritual tendency, his wish for uniformity and subordination -- is utterly false. Marx's aim was that of the spiritual emancipation of man, of his liberation from the chains of economic determination, of restituting him in his human wholeness, of enabling him to find unity and harmony with his fellow man and with nature. Marx's philosophy was, in secular, nontheistic language, a new and radical step forward in the tradition of prophetic Messianism; it was aimed at the full realization of individualism, the very aim which has guided Western thinking from the Renaissance and the Reformation far into the nineteenth century.

This picture undoubtedly must shock many readers because of its incompatibility with the ideas about Marx to which they have been exposed. But before proceeding to substantiate it, I want to emphasize the irony which lies in the fact that the description given of the aim of Marx and of the content of his vision of socialism, fits almost exactly the reality of present-day Western capitalist society. The majority of people are motivated by a wish for greater material gain, for comfort and gadgets, and this wish is restricted only by the desire for security and the avoidance of risks. They are increasingly satisfied with a life regulated and manipulated, both in the sphere of production and of consumption, by the state and the big corporations and their respective bureaucracies; they have reached a degree of conformity which has wiped out individuality to a remarkable extent. They are, to use Marx's term, impotent "commodity men" serving virile machines. The very picture of midtwentieth century capitalism is hardly distinguishable from the caricature of Marxist socialism as drawn by its opponents.

What is even more surprising is the fact that the people who accuse Marx most bitterly of "materialism" attack socialism for being unrealistic because it does not recognize that the only efficient incentive for man to work lies in his desire for material gain. Man's unbounded capacity for negating blatant contradictions by rationalizations, if it suits him, could hardly be better illustrated. The very same reasons which are said to be proof that Marx's ideas are incompatible with our religious and spiritual tradition and which are used to defend our present system against Marx, are at the same time employed by the same people to prove that capitalism corresponds to human nature and hence is far superior to an "unrealistic" socialism.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/fromm/works/1961/man/ch01.htm

However, there are many kinds of materialist and idealist philosophies, and in order to understand Marx's "materialism" we have to go beyond the general definition just given. Marx actually took a firm position against a philosophical materialism which was current among many of the most progressive thinkers (especially natural scientists) of his time. This materialism claimed that "the" substratum of all mental and spiritual phenomena was to be found in matter and material processes. In its most vulgar and superficial form, this kind of materialism taught that feelings and ideas are sufficiently explained as results of chemical bodily processes, and "thought is to the brain what urine is to the kidneys."

Marx fought this type of mechanical, "bourgeois" materialism "the abstract materialism of natural science, that excludes history and its process," [3] and postulated instead what he called in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts "naturalism or humanism [which] is distinguished from both idealism and materialism, and at the same time constitutes their unifying truth." [4] In fact, Marx never used the terms "historical materialism" or "dialectic materialism"; he did speak of his own "dialectical method" in contrast with that of Hegel and of its "materialistic basis," by which he simply referred to the fundamental conditions of human existence.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/fromm/works/1961/man/ch02.htm



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 01:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But Karl Marx  himself in the Communist Manifesto writes that "communism abolishes ... all religion and all morality, rather than constituting them on a new basis".

Moreover, concerning Marx and Engels' dear baby called scientific socialism, it seems that
Modern socialism, on the other hand, is scientific. just as scientists arrive at their generalizations not by mere speculation, but by observing the phenomena of the material world, so are the socialistic and communistic theories not idle schemes, but generalizations drawn from economic facts.

Scientific socialists apply the inductive method. `They stick to facts. They live in the real world and not in the spiritualist regions of scholasticism. The society we are striving for differs from the present but by formal modifications. Indeed, the society of the future is contained in the present society as the young bird is in the egg. Modern socialism is as yet more of a scientific doctrine than of a political party creed

http://www.marxists.org/archive/dietzgen/works/1870s/scientific-socialism.htm


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:41:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had started a longer reply to this, but am going on a trip and don't have time - which seems wasted anyway as you pay little attention to evidence that shows how wrong you are and you just bluster on.

The bit from the Communist Manifesto does not support your general point about the supposed lack of interest in what may broadly termed "spiritual" matters such as the arts. Try actually reading what Fromm wrote if you can't be bothered to read Marx :


Suffice it to say at the outset that this popular picture of Marx's "materialism" -- his anti-spiritual tendency, his wish for uniformity and subordination -- is utterly false. Marx's aim was that of the spiritual emancipation of man, of his liberation from the chains of economic determination, of restituting him in his human wholeness, of enabling him to find unity and harmony with his fellow man and with nature.

It certainly doesn't support your absurd suggestions that Marx is supposed to reject such things as "free speech" - he was all for it.

Regarding morality and religion he was primarily referring to existing morality and religion which reflected capitalist society and helped to support it. But he also wanted to emphasise his disagreement with those who thought moral urging was the way to bring about change.


This opposition to the ineffectiveness, as well as the illusions, of morality and ethics can be found throughout Marx's writings -- from his early essays and poetry, through The German Ideology to Capital. Needless to say, it is a criticism that he brings not simply against morality and ethics, but against all theories and social institutions. Religion, political economy, as well as the sciences in general were the objects of such criticism. With regard to moral philosophy, Marx's well-known eleventh thesis on Feuerbach captures his view perhaps most succinctly: `The philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point, however, is to change it' (Theses on Feuerbach). As opposed to the moral philosophers and moralists of his time, Marx insisted that any creditable critical theory of man and society must clearly distinguish between appearance and reality. It must relentlessly pursue and analyse `the common wisdom' for the realities it conceals. Furthermore, such an account must show how human society really operates, how it can be and must be changed. In short, any critical science must be illusionless and effective.
...

Marx, however, did not hold that the world could not be changed, or that thinkers (if not critical philosophers) always come upon the scene too late. Indeed, it was the view that philosophers could only interpret the world, not change it, that he criticised in his eleventh thesis on Feuerbach. Rather, Marx's refusal to deal directly with the traditional moral questions which occupied Kant, J.S. Mill, and other moral philosophers was due, in part, to his view that such individual questions are secondary to questions concerning the social systems within which people ask these questions. Only if we understand the nature of social systems -- how they can and morally should be changed -- can we proceed to answer concretely moral questions of a personal and individual nature.

...
[Marx]Only within the community has each individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; hence personal freedom becomes possible only within the community. (MECW, 5:78)

In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and classes antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. (MECW, 6:506)

http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/us/brenkert.htm



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 07:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's strange that you consider my previous post 'bluster' as there is almost entirely quotations from the same source as yours - Marx himself and marxists .org.

We (you and me - or me and Marx, if you like) may have different ideas about what spirituality is though. Marx was materialist, and any idea he might have had about the man's emancipation and 'wholeness', they are all subsumed to his view of what 'spiritual' is.

"This opposition to the ineffectiveness, as well as the illusions, of morality and ethics can be found throughout Marx's writings -- from his early essays and poetry, through The German Ideology to Capital. Needless to say, it is a criticism that he brings not simply against morality and ethics, but against all theories and social institutions"

Your own quotation seems to support my view that the target were morality and ethics in general, and not just those of the capitalist society. My diary too mentions the Marx's view of the idelogy in general as a distortion of reality.

But I don't have a lot of time either right now. I will get back to you later on the reasons I mentioned free speech as well as your citations.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:08:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The very same reasons which are said to be proof that Marx's ideas are incompatible with our religious and spiritual tradition and which are used to defend our present system against Marx, are at the same time employed by the same people to prove that capitalism corresponds to human nature and hence is far superior to an "unrealistic" socialism."

As to capitalism, that is an economical system. Modern society is made up by capitalism, democracy, fundamental human rights and lot many other things which do take the man in consideration as a whole being, material and spiritual, materialist but also sensible to art, but also  religious, and not just as a talking animal, with basic needs and strictly quantifiable reactions.

It is from this perspective that socialism is considered "unrealistic" or "utopical": ignoring the human, spiritual dimension, as an whole invididual.

Ayn Rand and other libertarian ideologies mistake by going too far in the opposite direction (basically denying the role of the state, or indeed of the community, hence of the society) but, if I remember well, still steering clear from the spiritual side of the humans.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:48:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Capitalism? Spiritual?

Who'da thunk it.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:44:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not capitalism. That's an economic model, not an ideology.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:34:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is communism an ideology or an economic model?

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by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 12:30:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Communism is a political ideology backed by an economic system. The proletarian revolution and subsequent proletarian dictatorship, egalitarianism and future classless society all deal with the organization of the society. In particular this new social organization bases on a specific economic model resulted from those political principles.

This is the theory :) On the other hand marxism turns around the economic model. I find it hard to call marxist dialectics, or the historical materialism and its scientifism a "political philosophy". Hegel was a genuine philosopher, Marx, Engels, Lenin or Trotsky were not. So the political theory may say communism or marxism to be political ideologies. But since I don't think they possess a true political philosophy, I have a hard time with that label.
On the contrary, Marx was the precursor of economists-turned-(pseudo)philosophers that we had in the 20th century.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:16:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The proletarian revolution and subsequent proletarian dictatorship, egalitarianism and future classless society all deal with the organization of the society.

You mean to say that capitalism does not concern itself with the organisation of society?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:32:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It does by its consequences but hardly so in terms of political theory. Its goal is not the organization of society. It isn't even identified as an ideology or philosophic current, I don't even know who its inspirational fathers are - the term was I think coined by Marx in his need to define his dialectics; it is an economical system part of liberal and libertarian ideologies, and which Adam Smith was calling "a natural system of liberty".

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:52:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Adam Smith's notions of "natural systems" are, however, very much ideological and are extremely concerned with the (just) organisation of society. "Natural justice," in this context, is a term of art that denotes the system of justice in which the supposed impartial spectator can fully enter into the motives of the law and its execution.

Also, empirically speaking the default state of society seems to be some form of clan-based feudalism or clientism, where those family groups who control the repressive power of society also control the means of production. Capitalism - if it is to be distinguishable from feudalism at all - requires a separation of control over the means of production and control of the repressive apparatus of society. This requires some care to be given by the capitalist ideology to the structure of society. Otherwise, it is liable to lapse into plain, old feudalism (as the recent rise of mercenary militias like Blackwater can attest).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:08:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We cannot speak of feudalism as an ideology however.

But the important point is that no one structured capitalism as a fullblown ideology. Of course the economical concepts result from the organization of society and produce their effects in the organization of society, you are making a huge mistake of category : the ideological basis of capitalism remains the Enlightenment, the liberal, and further the libertarianist ideologies.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:39:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the important point is that no one structured capitalism as a fullblown ideology.

That is not correct. Several versions of capitalism have indeed been codified (see e.g. The New Industrial State, Capitalism and Freedom, Principles of the Political Economy).

Even if it were correct, it would be a distinction without meaning. Nothing prevents an ideology from evolving over the course of several successive iterations. In fact, this has happened with essentially every ideology throughout history.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 10:48:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]


It is from this perspective that socialism is considered "unrealistic" or "utopical": ignoring the human, spiritual dimension, as an whole invididual.

This is just rubbish, reminiscent of the crudest anti-communism of the 1950s. It's not true of socialism and certainly not true of Marx's views - see Fromm in my other response. Marx's whole project was to help develop systems within which humans were not alienated by the demands of capitalist systems of work, instead he wanted ones in which people COULD flourish as complete human beings. Even the most cursory reading of Marx would have made that obvious.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 07:19:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand your issue, but you should have quoted the rest of my paragraph:

"many other things which do take the man in consideration as a whole being, material and spiritual, materialist but also sensible to art, but also  religious, and not just as a talking animal, with basic needs and strictly quantifiable reactions."

The point was not that marxism would not speak about emancipating humans. The point was that 1) the emancipation is at societal rather than at an individual level (and this is where marxists are at odds with libertarians, even today) and 2) that Marx chose to dismiss the spiritual side of the man and only think of it in empirical terms. Or anything in the domain of the subjective cannot be quantified, and exists beyond the scope of socialist scientifism. (and I don't even speak of the other side of the spiritual, metaphysical, paranormal, buddhism etc).


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:24:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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