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I Am a Marxist (Not Karl, Groucho)

By | January 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

No, I’m not that kind of Marxist. I prefer to worship the Almighty rather than the almighty state. I’m the other kind of Marxist, the kind who admires Groucho, not Karl. How could I fail to admire a man who, in a few words, explained the basis of leftist thought?

In “Horse Feathers,” Groucho plays Professor Wagstaff, a whacky college president. He appears at a faculty meeting in academic robes, does a zany dance, and sings:

I don’t know what they have to say
It makes no difference anyway
Whatever it is, I’m against it.

The cuckoo professor stuck in my mind ever since I saw him on TV as a kid. Later I recalled his words as I heard so-called liberals − actually leftists − respond to arguments not with counter-arguments, but merely with mantras:

● Was Castro a tyrant who killed 15,000 dissidents and imprisoned perhaps 100,000? No matter, “He got rid of Batista.” Yes, and Mafioso John Gotti got rid of Paul Castellano. So what? Getting rid of one scoundrel cannot justify even worse crimes.

● Did Stalin and Mao kill perhaps 100 million of their own people? No matter, “To make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.” Yes, but why have communists broken so many eggs, and made so few omelets? Would you hire such lousy cooks?

● Were the Soviet Union and other communist states economic failures and political tyrannies? No matter, “True communism hasn’t been tried yet.” Yes it has, during the first three years of the Plymouth Colony. The people nearly starved, so the land was divided between the families, and the colony prospered. This story was repeated wherever communism was tried. The Ukraine was the breadbasket of Europe, but Stalin engineered a famine in which at least four million starved to death.

Karl Marx still has dedicated followers, many of whom are in academia or government. But repeated attempts to make his economic system work have failed. After 74 years of “building socialism” and creating the “new Soviet man,” the Soviet Union imploded.

Worst of all, the “new Soviet man” turned out to be a 13-year-old boy, Pavlik Morozov. The Soviet Union celebrated him in songs, poems, an opera, a postage stamp, and books that were (of course) compulsory reading in schools.

And what was Pavlik’s heroic action? He turned in his father to the secret police, for the terrible crime of hiding some grain for the family, instead of turning all of it over to the government as required. Like the Hitler Youth, the Young Pioneers were indoctrinated to love the state more then they loved their own families.

This communist youth group, in the version run by Castro, was the one to which we returned Elian Gonzalez at the point of submachine guns. Look at the photo, then tell me how this was “best for the child.” The Clinton administration actually obtained a Young Pioneers uniform for the six-year-old boy to wear. “Liberals,” from Clinton to Obama, try to ingratiate themselves with anti-American tyrants, so long as those tyrants claim to be leftists.

And now Venezuela, formerly one of the richest nations in Latin America because of oil, is descending into poverty. Are people standing in line for food, medicine, and even toilet paper? No matter, the dictatorial government calls itself “socialist,” so it must be good ‒ and the problems must be due to “complex factors.” The same “complex factors” caused the failure of Marxism from the Soviet Union and the East Bloc to Cuba and Venezuela. No, it couldn’t be Marxism itself that failed, it must have been all those “complex factors.”

Santayana famously remarked that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. But as an unknown sage added, every time history repeats itself, the price goes up.

All this is the result of “progressive” intellectuals, who empower the government to enact unrealistic plans aimed at producing the “ideal” state. “Ideal” states end up very far from ideal. Pretty good states are all we imperfect humans should hope for. That is why calls for “change” to “transform” America fill me with anxiety.

And when leftists run out of mantras, they fall back on insults. Those who dare to disagree are called ignorant, racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic would-be Nazis. Listen to what opponents of ObamaCare are called, or to the hatred vented on Arizona for its attempt to control illegal immigration.

But what do leftists believe? What is the “progressive” position on any subject? There is no need to read mainstream newspapers or watch ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN or listen to NPR. All you need to do to is recall what the Judeo-Christian or American position would be − and think of the exact opposite.

Just imagine Groucho as Professor Wagstaff. Whatever it is, they’re against it:

● Has marriage been defined as between men and women since civilization began, with the only major change being the ban on polygamy? Simply declare that the Constitution requires same-sex marriage, though that notion would have caused the authors of the Constitution to fall off their chairs with laughter.

● Have generations of immigrants from all parts of the world sent their children to public schools, confident that they would be taught good values and shown how to be good Americans? Simply undermine the school system with political correctness and multiculturalism. On Flag Day, have students march with the flags of the nations from which their ancestors fled. On Cinco de Mayo, have students wear Mexican-flag T-shirts, but forbid American-flag T-shirts. Assign books that blame America for all the ills of the world, but remove a book on the Marine Corps as “too violent.”

● Have we preserved our freedom, and the freedom of multiple European and Asian nations, by maintaining a strong military? Simply exert every effort to weaken our military. Kick ROTC out of high schools and colleges. Exclude military recruiters from universities and law schools. Make no secret of your contempt for anything related to the military. Elect President Obama who, either from profound ignorance or from a Freudian slip, twice mispronounced Navy corpsman as “corpse-man.”

● Have we maintained our republic by combining a secular government with a religious people? Simply eradicate all traces of religion from public life. Go to court to remove a cross commemorating those who fell in battle to preserve freedom − and when you lose, steal the cross. Remove “so help me God” from the oath for police officers. Forbid saying “God bless the graduating class” at commencements, but insist that seventh-graders be taught Muslim beliefs. Suspend a student for wearing a rosary, but allow a T-shirt marked “Big pecker.” Avoid insulting Muhammad, but support with taxpayers’ money a crucifix immersed in urine, and an image of the Virgin Mary covered with dung. Celebrate “diversity” and “tolerance,” but do not tolerate Judeo-Christian beliefs.

Try it yourself. What is the leftist position on any subject? Just recall what Sister Mary Elizabeth would say at St. Monica’s School. Recall what Pastor Johnson would say at the First Baptist Church. Recall what Rabbi Friedman would say at Congregation Beth Sholom. Recall what Miss Murphy would say in high-school civics class. Recall what Gunny Sanchez would say at Camp Pendleton. Recall what Mr. Gunderson would say as he taught you to adjust a carburetor. Then take the exact opposite position.

Thanks, Groucho, for giving us Professor Wagstaff. By his zany antics, he clarified the basis of leftist thought. Just recall the Judeo-Christian, or American, or pro-freedom position on any question. Then take the exact opposite. Take the opposite of what centuries of experience have proved to be beneficial for political freedom and economic prosperity. That is almost certain to be the leftist position.

One can speculate about motives. Is it rebellion against father, with God as the ultimate father figure? Is it negativism, a childish attempt to assert power by screaming “No!” to everything? Is it jealousy, a desire to pull down what others have built with centuries of devoted labor? Is it narcissism − “I am perfect, so I deserve the perfect society”? Who knows? What is crucial is to recognize the destructive results these ideas produce.

Karl came from a wealthy family, but he never made money himself. He sat in the British Library and theorized about economics. As a result of his theories, millions were killed and more millions lived ‒ and live ‒ in poverty.

Groucho came from a poor family. He didn’t have time to theorize. He and his brothers worked hard to produce innovative comedy. As a result of their efforts, millions were able to laugh despite the Great Depression and World War II.

If you insist on taking a Marx as your role model, choose Groucho, not Karl.

Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.

www.stolinsky.com

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