Karl Marx (Communist) v. Ronald Reagan (Capitalist)

When one thinks about Communism and laissez-faire Smithian capitalism, one can discern many similarities but with vastly different results due to a transformation of the human temper. Marx envisioned communism as a highly decentralised community where individual actions would be governed by a communal impulse in which governmental regulation and control would be a mere “association of things.” Individuals would be transformed through a passage of revolutionary dictatorship in which the state would wither away.

Leaving aside the practicality of his dialectic, communism is opposed to force; opposed to governmental excess; opposed to poverty; opposed to class oppression and believes such refoms are possible without state intervention. It is predicated on the notion of progress and that humans can be essentially self-governing. Laissez-faire capitalism also prayed at the altar of governmental minimalism but as a means to accrue property and to grow an economy without the alleged fetters of bureaucratic rule and incompetence.

Yet Marx ultimately believed the freedom that laissez-faire capitalism demanded could be possible but without the avarice and greed that marked industrial capitalism in the 18th and 19th centuries: particularly the latter. Freedom was abused by capitalism in its mania for competition and wealth. To Marx, freedom under communism would not be abused and humankind would live with virtually no social stratification and in peace.

I really believe those who assume that Marx was an advocate of totalitarianism and autocratic rule should read his works. There is beauty to communism in which the freedom that laissez-faire capitalism demanded would have entirely different consequences for liberty and equality. The practicality of communism is not of concern. We need to have ideals and attempt to attain them. Communism in many ways, not all, possessed ideals that should be pursued avidly by a world wracked by war, social class, mass misery and oppression.

If I had the choice of naming Washington’s National airport after President Reagan or Karl Marx, I would call it Marx-National. I think America’s workers should consider the difference between a president who savagely destroyed P.A.T.C.O. by firing those patriotic air traffic controllers and a philosopher-economist whose entire life was to end proletarian misery and elevate workers to a status of equality. I would prefer Dr Marx over President Reagan any day.

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