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Posts Tagged ‘Engels’

The Roots of “Anticapitalism” | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 21, 2021

In this process he incurs various expenses, such as for tools, and a part of the costs of marketing. He hopes to make a profit from these transactions in order to render his efforts worth while. Curiously enough, his responsibility toward the enterprise is of far greater scope than that of many workers. No wonder that the interest, once centered on accidents in the factories, is shifting more and more to the manager diseases. The entrepreneur sacrifices not only his “nerves” but also his peace of mind. If he fails, he fails not himself alone; the bread of dozens, of hundreds, of thousands of families hangs in the balance.

https://mises.org/wire/roots-anticapitalism

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

In many minds, “capitalism” has come to be a bad word, nor does “free enterprise” sound much better. I remember seeing posters in Russia in the early nineteen-thirties depicting capitalists as Frankenstein monsters, as men with yellow-green faces, crocodile teeth, dressed in cutaways and adorned by top hats. What is the reason for this widespread hatred for capitalists and capitalism despite the overwhelming evidence that the system has truly “delivered the goods”? In its mature stage it indeed is providing, not just for a select few but for the masses, a standard of living cordially envied by those bound under other politico-economic arrangements. There are historic, psychological and moral reasons for this state of affairs. Once we recognize them, we might come to better understanding the largely irrational resentment and desire to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

In Europe there still survives a considerable conservative opposition against capitalism. The leaders of conservative thought and action, more often than not, came from the nobility which believed in an agrarian-patriarchal order. They thought workers should be treated by manufacturers as noblemen treated their agricultural employees and household servants, providing them with total security for their old age, care in the case of illness, and so forth. They also disliked the new business leaders who emerged from the middle classes: the grand bourgeois was their social competitor, the banker their disagreeable creditor, not their friend. The big cities with their smoking chimneys were viewed as calamities and destroyers of the good old life.

We know that Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto furiously attacked the aristocratic social movement as a potential threat to their own program. Actually, most of the leading minds of Christian anticapitalist thought (equally opposed to socialism) were aristocrats: Villeneuve-Bargemont, de Mun, Liechtenstein, Vogelsang, Ketteler.

Bias against Capitalism Not of Worker Origin

Armin Mohler, the brilliant Swiss-German neo-conservative, has recently explained that one of the weakest points of contemporary conservative thought, still wrapped in the threads of its own obsolete agrarian romanticism, is its hostility against modern technology. How right he is! The exception might have been Italy with its tradition of urban nobility and of patricians who, even before the Reformation, engaged in trade and manufacture. Capitalism, indeed, is of North-Italian origin. It was a Franciscan, Fra Luigi di Pacioli, who invented double-entry bookkeeping. Calvinism gave a new impetus to capitalism but did not invent it. (Aristocratic entrepreneurs in Italy? Count Marzotto with his highly diversified business empire of textile plants, paper mills, hotel chains and fisheries is a typical example. His labor relations are of a patriarchal nature involving substantial fringe benefits which also characterize Japanese business practice.)

The real animosity against free enterprise did not originate with the laborers. Bear in mind that in the early nineteenth century the working class was miserably paid, and this for two reasons: (1) the income from manufacturing was quite limited (true mass production came later) and (2) the lion’s share of the profits went into reinvestments while the typical manufacturers lived rather modestly. It is this ascetic policy of early European capitalism which made possible the phenomenal rise of working class standards. Seeing that the manufacturers did not live a life of splendor (as did the big landowners) the workers at first viewed their lot with surprising equanimity. The Socialist impetus came from middle class intellectuals, eccentric industrialists (like Robert Owen and Engels) and impoverished noblemen with a feeling of resentment against the existing order.

As one can imagine, the artificially created ire then was turned first against the manufacturer who, after all, is nothing but some sort of broker between the worker and the public. He enables the worker to transform his work into goods. In this process he incurs various expenses, such as for tools, and a part of the costs of marketing. He hopes to make a profit from these transactions in order to render his efforts worth while. Curiously enough, his responsibility toward the enterprise is of far greater scope than that of many workers. No wonder that the interest, once centered on accidents in the factories, is shifting more and more to the manager diseases. The entrepreneur sacrifices not only his “nerves” but also his peace of mind. If he fails, he fails not himself alone; the bread of dozens, of hundreds, of thousands of families hangs in the balance. The situation is not very different in a stock company. There, the stockholders sometimes make profits in the form of dividends—and sometimes they do not. The worker always expects to be paid. The bigger risks are thus at the top, not at the bottom.

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Author:

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1909-1999) was an Austrian nobleman and socio-political theorist who described himself as an enemy of all forms of totalitarianism and as an “extreme conservative arch-liberal” or “liberal of the extreme right.” Described as “A Walking Book of Knowledge,” Kuehnelt-Leddihn had an encyclopedic knowledge of the humanities and was a polyglot, able to speak eight languages and read seventeen others. 

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Why Marxist Organizations Like BLM Seek to Dismantle the “Western Nuclear Family” | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 28, 2020

What would this new social arrangement look like, according to Engels?

The care and education of children becomes a public matter. Society cares equally well for all children, legal or illegal. This removes the care about the “consequences” which now forms the essential social factor – moral and economic – hindering a girl to surrender unconditionally to the beloved man.

In this we see early echoes of the modern left’s current refrain attacking “patriarchy” and the nuclear family as essentially capitalist and private property–based institutions.

https://mises.org/wire/why-marxist-organizations-blm-seek-dismantle-western-nuclear-family

One of the most oft-cited and criticized goals of the Black Lives Matter organization is its stated desire to abolish the family as we know it. Specifically, BLM’s official website states:

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

This idea isn’t unique to BLM, of course. “Disrupting” the “nuclear family” is a commonly stated goal among Maxist organizations. Given that BLM’s founders have specifically claimed to be “trained Marxists,” we should not be surprised that the organization’s leadership has embraced a Marxian view of the family.

But where does this hostility toward the family originate? Partly, it comes from the theories of Marx and Engels themselves, and their views that an earlier, matriarchal version of the family rejected private property as an organizing principle of society. It was only later that this older tribal model of the family gave way to the modern “patriarchal” family, which promotes and sustains private property.

Clearly, in the Marxian view, this “new” type of family must be opposed, since the destruction of this family model will make it easier to abolish private property as well.

Early Family Units in Tribal Life

Frederick Engels’s 1884 book The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State provides a historical perspective of the Marxian view of the development of the modern Western family unit and its relation to property rights. (Engels, of course, was the longtime benefactor of and collaborator with Marx.)

In reconstructing the origins of the family within a Marxian framework, Engels traces back to the “savage” primeval stage of humanity that, according to his research, revealed a condition in which “unrestricted sexual intercourse existed within a tribe, so that every woman belonged to every man, and vice versa.”

Under such conditions, Engels explained, “it is uncertain who is the father of the child, but certain, who is its mother.” Only female lineage could be acknowledged. “[B]eing the only well known parents of younger generations,” Engels explained, women as mothers “received a high tribute of respect and deference, amounting to a complete women’s rule [gynaicocracy].”

Furthermore, Engels wrote, tribes were subdivided into smaller groups called “gentes,” a primitive form of an extended family of sorts.

These gens were consanguineous (i.e., included people descended from the same ancestor) on the mother’s side, within which intermarrying was strictly forbidden. “The men of certain ‘gens,’ therefore, could choose their wives within the tribe, and did so as a rule, but had to choose them outside of their ‘gens,’” Engels explained. And “marriage” at this stage was a “communal” affair, meaning that multiple partnerships between men and women was closer to the rule than the exception.

Because mothers were the only parents who could be determined with certainty, and the smaller gentes were arranged around the mother’s relatives, early family units were very maternal in nature and maternal law regarding rights and duties for childrearing and inheritance were the custom.

Transition to the “Pairing Family”

This was the state of affairs for thousands of years, according to Engels. Over time, however, there emerged what Engels referred to as the “pairing family,” in which “A man had his principal wife…among many women, and he was to her the principal husband among others.” This was in no small part due to the “gentes” within tribes developing more and more classes of relatives not allowed to marry one another. Due to these increasing restrictions, group marriage became increasingly impossible and ever more replaced by the pairing family structure.

Under this structure, however, the role of mothers was still dominant. Quoting Arthur Wright, a missionary among the Seneca Iroquois tribe, Engels notes, “The female part generally ruled the house….The women were the dominating power in the clans [gentes] and everywhere else.”

The fact that women all belonged to the same gens, while husbands came from separate gentes “was the cause and foundation of the general and widespread supremacy of women in primeval times,” Engels wrote.

“In the ancient communistic household comprising many married couples and their children, the administration of the household entrusted to women was just as much a public function, a socially necessary industry, as the procuring of food by men,” he added.

As society evolved, as Engels described it, from “savagery” to “barbarism,” an important evolution was man’s development of weapons and knowledge that enabled them to better domesticate and breed animals.

Cattle and livestock became a source of wealth, a store of milk and meat. “But who was the owner of this new wealth?” asked Engels. “Doubtless it was originally the gens,” he answered, referring to a collective, or group ownership over the sources of wealth. “However, private ownership of flocks must have had an early beginning.”

“Procuring the means of existence had always been the man’s business. The tools of production were manufactured and owned by him. The herds were the new tools of production, and their taming and tending was his work. Hence he owned the cattle and the commodities and slaves obtained in exchange for them,” Engels explained. This transition marked an early passage from “collective” property to “private” ownership over property—particularly property in productive resources.

Such a transformation, Engels noted, “brought about a revolution in the family.”

Part of that revolution involved a shift in the power dynamics of the household.

“All the surplus now resulting from production fell to the share of the man. The woman shared in its fruition, but she could not claim its ownership,” wrote Engels.

The domestic status of the woman in the house, which had previously involved control and distribution of the means of sustenance, had been reversed.

“Man’s advent to practical supremacy in the household marked the removal to his universal supremacy,” and further ushered in “the gradual transition from the pairing family to the monogamic family” (what we would consider the nuclear family).

With the superior status acquired, Engels wrote, men were able to overthrow the maternal right to inheritance, a move he described as “the historic defeat of the female sex.”

The family unit’s transition to a male-centered patriarchy was complete, according to Engels. Much of the blame for this can be attributed to the emergence of private property and men’s claim over it.

How to Overcome the Patriarchy?

In the Marxian view, therefore, the modern nuclear family runs counter to the ancient “communistic” household Engels had earlier described. It is patriarchal and centered on private property.

“In the great majority of cases the man has to earn a living and to support his family, at least among the possessing classes. He thereby obtains a superior position that has no need of any legal special privilege. In the family, he is the bourgeois, the woman represents the proletariat.” The family unit, rather than the collective tribe, had become the “industrial unit of society.”

The overthrow of this patriarchic dominance can only come, according to Engels, by abolishing private property in the means of production—which he and those steeped in Marxist ideology blame for the patriarchy.

“The impending [communist] revolution will reduce this whole care of inheritance to a minimum by changing at least the overwhelming part of permanent and inheritable wealth – the means of production – into social property,” he concluded.

What would this new social arrangement look like, according to Engels?

The care and education of children becomes a public matter. Society cares equally well for all children, legal or illegal. This removes the care about the “consequences” which now forms the essential social factor – moral and economic – hindering a girl to surrender unconditionally to the beloved man.

In this we see early echoes of the modern left’s current refrain attacking “patriarchy” and the nuclear family as essentially capitalist and private property–based institutions.

In this, BLM is no different from other Marxist groups. The organization’s goals extend far beyond police abuse and police brutality. The ultimate goal is the abolition of a society based upon private property in the means of production.

Author:

Bradley Thomas

Bradley Thomas is creator of the website EraseTheState.com, and is a libertarian activist and writer with nearly fifteen years of experience researching and writing on political philosophy and economics.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Do Socialists Hate Families? | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on April 27, 2019

Yet, Marx, Engels, and many of their modern followers are anti-family. Marx and Engels write in The Communist Manifesto:

Abolition of the family! […]

https://mises.org/wire/why-do-socialists-hate-families

…Interestingly, another key tenet of socialism, besides abolishing the ownership of the factors of production, is abolishing the family. This is strange because the traditional nuclear family seems like it could be used in producing convincing socialist rhetoric: it is a good example of social bonds without private property, prices, and “capitalist exploitation.”

Yet, Marx, Engels, and many of their modern followers are anti-family. Marx and Engels write in The Communist Manifesto:

Abolition of the family! […] On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.

The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.

Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.

Marx and Engels make a distinction between bourgeois and proletariat families, but “both will vanish” once communism is realized, apparently because — according ot Marx — bourgeois families are predicated on exploitation. Men exploit their wives and parents exploit their children, all for “private gain.”

Engels writes in Principles of Communism:

What will be the influence of communist society on the family?

It will transform the relations between the sexes into a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene. It can do this since it does away with private property and educates children on a communal basis, and in this way removes the two bases of traditional marriage – the dependence rooted in private property, of the women on the man, and of the children on the parents.

The communist society includes the public education of children and a breakdown of social norms on monogamy, family responsibilities, and dependence on any individual. According to ReviseSociology.com:

Marxists argue that the nuclear family performs ideological functions for Capitalism – the family acts as a unit of consumption and teaches passive acceptance of hierarchy. It is also the institution through which the wealthy pass down their private property to their children, thus reproducing class inequality.

Modern Marxists argue that families are just propaganda channels for capitalism. Families instill acceptance of hierarchy and give the bourgeoisie a way to “reproduce class inequality” through inheritances. To this end, Engels approvingly quotes Marx in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State:

The modern family contains in germ not only slavery (servitus), but also serfdom, since from the beginning it is related to agricultural services. It contains in miniature all the contradictions which later extend throughout society and its state.

For Marx, the family represents a microcosm of capitalism. But why didn’t he identify it as a microcosm of socialism to argue that if socialism is feasible at the family level, then it could be feasible at a larger scale?…

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Is that Sean Penn?

 

 

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