Marxist doctrine: a précis

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 00.38.34Dalrymple draws our attention to a useful summary provided by the character Michaelis, ‘the ticket-of-leave apostle’ (‘It was said that for three seasons running a very wealthy old lady had sent him for a cure to Marienbad’), in Conrad’s 1907 novel The Secret Agent:

All idealisation makes life poorer. To beautify it is to take away its character of complexity — it is to destroy it. Leave that to the moralists, my boy. History is made by men, but they do not make it in their heads. The ideas that are born in their consciousness play an insignificant part in the march of events. History is dominated and determined by the tool and the production — by the force of economic conditions. Capitalism has made socialism, and the laws made by the capitalist for the protection of property are responsible for anarchism.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 00.40.29As for the future, says Michaelis,

no one can tell what form the social organisation may take….Then why indulge in prophetic phantasies? At best they can only interpret the mind of the prophet, and can have no objective value. Leave that pastime to the moralists, my boy….The future is as certain as the past—slavery, feudalism, individualism, collectivism. This is the statement of a law, not an empty prophecy.

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