88. Who Was Karl Marx?

Collectivism, and specifically socialism, are threats to individual liberty. In order to understand how we can combat these destructive ideas, we need to understand where they came from. Today, Connor and Brittany profile Karl Marx, the father of socialism and author of “The Communist Manifesto.”


Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi Connor.

Connor: Hey, Brittany.

Brittany: So there’s this moment in the movie Lion King that always makes me giggle, and it’s where the Hyena Shivers, every time anybody says the name Mufasa. And that is how I feel. Anytime anybody says the name Carl Marx, I just get a little shiver down my spine. So we have talked in other episodes about socialism and how much havoc it’s wreaked on the world, and we’ve also talked a lot of people that we consider heroes. Today. I wanna take a little bit of a spit and I wanna talk about something we don’t like so much socialism and someone who I don’t think is a hero at all, Carl Marx. So to start off, Connor, what do you know about Carl Marx, but who is this person?

Connor: Okay, so Carl Marx, he lived in the 18 hundreds and he was born in Germany. He was kind of a, like a well-rounded kind of guy, I guess you can say. He was, you know, he studied philosophy, he studied history, he studied, economics

Brittany: We’ll get into that.

Connor: Yeah. a different, perspective, shall we say, on economics. And,  you know, he moved, I think he lived in, London at one point. He kind of moved around and he’s best known for when he was 30 years old. So he is kind of a young guy. He wrote a pamphlet called the Communist Manifesto, and then he wrote, this kind series of books called Das Kapital.

Brittany: I forgot about that. Yeah.

Connor: Yeah. where he kind of expands on these ideas. And, so Karl Marx, if think of him this way, so he’s the guy behind what’s now called Marxism. He’s the guy behind communism. And so when you think of all the different communist regimes or countries throughout world history over the past, century or so, they all owe their atrocities, they all owe their horrible things they’ve done to the ideas that this guy Carl Marks thought of, in the mid 18 hundreds, in Europe, talking about how basically, you know, the people should rule everything and there should be common ownership

Brittany: And workers specifically, right? Not even just people that the workers of the world. Yeah,

Connor: Yeah. The workers that they’re responsible for building the economy. So they should own companies. No one should be allowed to own property, and we should abolish. I mean, even like the private family, they, for a time Marxism believed that mothers and fathers, quote-unquote, owning their children or having children was capitalist. And that in a Marxist world, we needed to do abolish parenthood. And that children needed to be raised in common, basically in orphanages by many people, rather than being raised by mom and dad because,

Brittany: So kinda like it takes a village, but literally, it would take a village.

Connor: Yeah. Or only a village is allowed rather than takes a village. And so, this was a Marxist idea for a time until they had to walk away from it because it was so toxic and causing problems in Russia. So we could say a lot about Carl Marx, but we’ll start there and, and kick it back to you, Brittany.

Brittany: Yeah. So, the first thing that I think is really important, this is the enemy of capitalism. And we’ve talked about capitalism in here, in free markets as being very good, helping people get outta poverty, helping people, you know, find their destiny, and creating value for the world. So we’ve talked about this a lot. So this must strike the listeners as pretty crazy then, that here is a man who not only like hates capitalism, but has done more to kind of damage its reputation in the world, even today. And it’s funny, if, you do choose to go to college, he becomes kind of a hero on college campuses. And it’s, very weird to me. So in my school, my college, and I went for a brief time. We had a Marxist club that was the biggest club on our college campuses. And they were the scariest people. They were not nice. They were always mean, they were always trying to, you know, knock on capitalism. But what’s so funny to me is that the only reason that Marx was able to write the Communist Manifesto is because he had a wealthy capitalist paying for him while he was writing it. So that’s one of my favorite things. His name was Frederick Engels. But that just gets me, cause I’m like, wait a second. The only reason you were able to not have a job and write this book is because you were benefiting from capitalism.

Connor: That’s right I laugh, Brittany, when I see protests against capitalism and people using like, cell phones and Twitter. Yes. And, you know, email to coordinate and like even, you know, we, little while back had a socialist magazine, some people will remember this. We had a magazine of, like a pro-socialism magazine saying, the government is great, and, you know, companies are awful. And Jeff Bezos is evil because he makes all kinds of money and so forth. This magazine called Current Affairs, they wrote kind of a hit piece against That’s right. Development. They attacked what we’re doing. They made their own silly cartoons. They said, how stupid it is that we’re teaching kids these ideas. And what I find hilarious is I bought a copy of their magazine, and they sold it for $10 for a single-issue of their magazine. And, on their website, they talk about, oh, buy all these things and we’re selling all these things. I’m like, you guys are using capitalism to attack capitalism and promote socialism. Like, it’s the most bizarre thing when you see these protestors or see people like this attacking the very thing that they’re benefiting from. Just like Carl Marx

Brittany: Did. Not only that, but I’ve always, you know, if they’re wearing a Carl Marx short or ache, what is his name? Guevera, which is another, another, you know, socialist out there. A lot of these protestors will be wearing these shirts. And I’m thinking, where did you buy your t-shirt? Did you buy it from Amazon, from Jeff Bezos company? And it doesn’t make any sense, but, one reason I wanna talk about Karl Marx, one reason I thought this was so important is because of how special the world has kind of made him since his death. So in 2018, just a couple of years ago, he celebrated his 200th birthday, and hundreds, if not thousands of people flocked to pay their respects. Newspapers like, or even outlets like NPR wrote these things celebrating his legacy. And you’re thinking, wait a second. Socialism has not only, you know, thrown people into poverty, but people have also died because this is an ideology that puts the state above everything else. So if your allegiance is not to the state, then you’re gone. Right? And we’ve seen this in if you wanna see the scariest history, you know, look at, Vladimir Lenin or all these people who just slaughtered people in masses, and they were all adhering to this ideology. And the thing that really scares me is there is a magazine called Teen Vogue, which when I was a kid, just used to give you like makeup advice and like, how do you know if a boy has a crush on you? Like it was very, you know, benign no political view.

Connor: Simple yeah.

Brittany: Simple. Right Now they’ve come out as pro-Carl Marxist. There have been articles on Teen Vogue talking about, you know, why you should be reading Carl Marx, why Carl Marx is cool. And this is something that I think is very scary when we start not only saying like, this guy wasn’t as bad, but not, but saying he was cool, he was awesome. We should want to be this way because that’s just not the case. Carl Marx is, is responsible for a lot of evil in this world. And so that was one reason I thought it’s important to talk about this because this is not a man we wanna emulate our lives after.

Connor: Yeah. I remember seeing an opinion article, an article someone wrote for the New York Times, and the title said for the 200th anniversary. So this was a couple of years ago, as you mentioned, happy Birthday, Carl Marx, you were right. And then, oh dear, they’re like explained, you know, from their perspective, why, they thought that Carl Marx was right about things. And yeah, you, see, you know, you see people who continue to advocate these same ideas. what’s interesting about it, we’ve seen this with like Bernie Sanders when he was, you know, running for president, a socialist, candidate. And, what they will always say is, oh no, Russia under Lenin, you know, and, Italy and Germany and Cuba and all these countries, North Korea, that’s nothing like what I stand for. I don’t stand for, socialism. I stand for democratic socialism. Right? Oh yeah. Socialism with confetti, as we like to call it. Right? Like, and, so they try and claim that theirs is different. That if we implemented everything that they believed in, it would be nothing like all those horrible regimes where tons of people were killed and died of starvation and conflict and suffering and violation of our rights. Oh no, it would be nothing like that. It’s totally different today. It’s like, okay, come on. Like, it’s the same ideas. They lead to the same, you know, outcomes. They might be a little bit different, right? Because time is passed and things have changed a little bit or whatever. But largely speaking, it would be the same. Like, what are we gonna have next? Democratic communism.

Brittany: I just want them to call it democratic tyranny. That’s what I wanna hear. Like, let’s just call it what is.

Connor: Which is a synonym for democracy, right? That’s democratic tyranny where people can weaponize the Government to control their neighbors and say what they want to do to do. It’s, oh, the 51% can do whatever they want.

Brittany: Well, it’s interesting because I know we talked in another episode with, Larry Reid about why character matters and why it’s so important to be a good person and emulate good values. The funny thing about Karl Mars is he was kind of a pretty terrible person. Richard Ebling, who’s a great historical author who writes at Fee, he writes at Mises, he writes it a ton of places. He wrote a really good article that I’ll link that kind of talked about Marx as a man. And he was a pretty vindicate and vengeful person. He even fathered an illegitimate child and refused to acknowledge him as like his son. But this part is really hilarious to me because if you ever met a Marxist on your college campus, they’re always the smelly ones. And he also had terrible personal hygiene. People didn’t even wanna be around him because his personal hygiene was so bad, and I shouldn’t be laughing at it, but I find it funny. So,

Connor: But we’re laughing anyway.

Brittany: Oh, we’re, and he was also kinda a backs stabber. So here was a guy who, contrary to what, you know, Larry retold us was not a very good person in his personal life at all. And so that makes me less inclined to want to listen to him, even aside from his bad ideas.

Connor: Yeah, that’s interesting. He, did, as you say, like very much, support, workers’ rights. That’s what communism was designed around. As workers unite, we need to bring all the workers together and overthrow, you know, the chains of our oppression and the employers who are, you know, paying us. We need to own these companies. We need to own these industries. And it’s interesting because as he’s advocating for this, right, this is like, as the industrial revolution is taking off, you’re having these massive factories and industries prop up, bringing amazing blessings to people’s lives, right? Of having crazy inventions cheaper, their standard of living is going up. Cuz now all of a sudden they have access to, you know, different devices and, creature comforts and products that they never did before. Because now we have kind of the industrial process. We have manufacturing, and we have line workers, right? Where 50 people could all be in an assembly line creating this amazing thing. Whereas before, you know, one person would try and make the whole thing and it would take them forever. So you didn’t really have kind of the mass production that we’re very familiar with now today, right? That’s like kind of just how our filthy capitalist world works.

Brittany: We’ve even talked about how the mass production has helped made the world better. We’ve had a couple of episodes on that. We talked about Henry Ford and one of them. So, I mean, these are not things that should be demonized.

Connor: Absolutely. And so, Marx is coming on the scene, right? As the industrial era is just starting to hum, right? And so there’s all these workers, and look, you know, some of the industries didn’t have the best of conditions and there were places that had child labor. You know you’d have coal mines where you’d have, you know, young kids working in there and that’s not great. No one thinks that that’s a great outcome. But then you have Marx, Carl Marx coming on the scene and saying, that’s horrible. Therefore it’s all the, you know, greedy capitalist’s fault. And we need to overthrow them so that we can control everything and have it be ours. And, and it’s basically trying to overthrow. Elon Musk and, you know, Jeff Bezos and others, others in the world, and assume that the workers, would have the ability, like imagine if, you know, the entire corporate, structure of Amazon is blown away, right? If we have communism and we have no more Jeff Bezos or all the managers and all the directors and all the people in charge, and suddenly it’s all the people working in the factories, okay? There’s a lot of Amazon factories around the world, right? And so it’s, now it’s all the people, all the workers, the workers have united, they’ve overthrown their capitalist overlords at Amazon, so suddenly they’re in charge. Do you think Amazon’s gonna survive? Right? Like, do you think you’re gonna continue to have same-day shipping? Do you think that the workers down on the line assembly right down in the factory or the building are going to know how to do all the marketing and all the finances and all the logistics and all the corporate relationships and all the customer service and all the strategic planning and investment and other countries and the legal policy and all the other things that go into it that kind of the higher executives in the company have to deal with to make sure that the workers, I mean frankly, they’re all workers, right? But that the workers in the factory or the delivery fulfillment center, you know, that they even have a job, right? Like, it’s the fact that these, higher level people can figure out a way to create a sustainable company and generate revenue and find customers so that we can even hire people in a factory to build the little widget. And oftentimes, especially in other countries, like we look at it and like, oh my gosh, look at the working conditions in China. They’re so horrible in the factory. These people work forever. Well, you know what, before that factory opened up, those people were making like a 10th of that and they were starving. Like they’re competing. They’re, clawing their way into those jobs. For us, the standard of living is different. We look at it like, oh my gosh, they have to work so long and they’re working so hard. And, yeah, like that’s true in comparison, but in comparison to what their lives were, it’s a huge upgrade. And that allows these people to earn money, save money, build a better life, go up the kind of the greedy capitalist, you know, standard of living, and improve their life. And so, I mean, I just think Carl Marx had it all wrong because he didn’t understand how economies actually work. How incentives actually work and why capital, why employers, and why investors are needed. They’re not horrible people. They’re not the overlords, right? They’re the reason why the workers even have a job, to begin with.

Brittany: I think even further than that is he also was kind of an enemy to individualism. I wanna quote something from Richard Ebling’s article where he says, under Marxist beliefs, your personal beliefs, your personal beliefs, dreams, and values were meaningless and irrelevant. Your outlooks and outcomes on life for the product of your class status. So everything was based around if you were in something called the Bozhe War Z, right? That’s like how do you define the Bozhe war Z Cause everyone says, bozhe Now, that’s like a trendy term, but that would’ve been like the middle class, right? If I understand it correctly. So like the middle class, he was kind of, again, so everything was a class, war, you know, the rich were, terrible. The middle class needed to be workers. So I think just the disregard for individualism, which we’ve talked about so many times is what makes Carl Marx such a, you know, demonic figure throughout history if I’m being so blunt.

Connor: Yeah. definitely, something to learn about because he’s coming back in Vogue and not just in vogue like the saying, he’s literally in vogue, as you pointed out. Right.

Brittany: That was a good one. That was good.

Connor: Thank you. I just had to explain it to make sure that everyone got it so, you know, but, it’s true. Like if you look at polls among young people, especially, there’s been an alarming rise of people in America who say they support communism. And I’m like, you pardon my, you know, French for this family-friendly podcast, but you idiots, You know, like what, in the world are you supporting it? As you said, it’s like seeing kids with Shivve Lavars shirts, I’m like, you even know what that guy did in Cuba. Do you know how, brutal of a dictator he was and here you are, you know, pumping your fist in the air and wearing his shirt cuz you think it’s cool? Like, we need to learn about this stuff. And the more you learn about Carl Marx, I think the scarier it is to see how influential this guy has been in some of these countries in the 20th century, decades ago, but also how popular he remains. So we have to understand this stuff so we know how to defend against it and how to counteract it because there’s a lot of people, especially young people who are being seduced by socialism and thinking that Marxism is cool and you know, we’ve gotta work cut out for us.

Brittany: So yes, we do

Connor: Head to Tuttletwins.com/podcast. We’ll link to that article, that Brittany mentioned, as well as one or two more pieces of information for you on Carl Marx so that you guys can start studying and getting prepared to fight against Marxism, which is just as infectious today as it ever has been. Until next time, Brittany will talk to you later.

Brittany: Talk to you later.


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