January 8, 2010

Marx & Marxists

Note: This entry is designed to gather into one place the aphorisms in which Gómez Dávila mentions Marx, Marxism, and Communism. Other relevant aphorisms might be found under the heading of Revolutions & Revolutionaries, as well as Capitalism & the Bourgeoisie.

Marxists define the bourgeoisie in economic terms in order to hide from us the fact that they belong to it. (#24)

The proletarian does not detest the bourgeoisie for any reason other than the economic difficulty of imitating it. (#379)

A man is called a Communist if he fights for the state to assure him a bourgeois existence. (#1,372)

The proletariat appears when the people become a class which adopts bourgeois values without possessing bourgeois property. (#577)

A class-conscious proletariat, in Marxist vocabulary, means a people that has converted to bourgeois ideals. (#2,691)

The proletariat gravitates to the bourgeois life, just as bodies gravitate to the center of the earth. (#1,060)

Marxism will only rest when it has transformed peasants and workers into petty-bourgeois office clerks. (#447)

It never occurs to the intellectual who is indignant at the “embourgeoisement of the proletariat” to renounce those things whose enjoyment by the proletariat horrifies him as proof of embourgeoisement. (#1,346)

The embourgeoisement of Communist societies is, ironically, modern man’s last hope. (#2,809)

The leftist obviously refuses to understand that the conclusions of bourgeois thought are the principles of leftist thought. (#2,231)

Bourgeois hegemony culminates with the industrialization of Communist society.
The bourgeoisie is not so much a social class as the ethos of industrial society itself. (#494)

The militant communist before his victory deserves the greatest respect.
Afterwards, he is nothing more than an overworked bourgeois. (#25)

Three persons in our age make it their profession to detest the bourgeoisie:
the intellectual—that typical representative of the bourgeoisie;
the communist—that faithful executor of bourgeois intentions and ideals;
the progressive cleric—that final triumph of the bourgeois mind over the Christian soul. (#706)

Communism used to be a vocation; today it is a career. (#451)

The Gospels and the Communist Manifesto are on the wane; the world’s future lies in the power of Coca-Cola and pornography. (#2,983)

The people does not convert to the religion preached by a militant minority, but to the one imposed by a militant minority. Christianity and Islam knew it; Communism knows it. (#2,037)

I understand that Communism which is a protest, but not that which is a hope. (#1,523)

The left no longer dares proclaim itself a hope, but at the most fate. (#2,247)

The vice which afflicts the right is cynicism, and that which afflicts the left is deceit. (#2,730)

When people stop fighting for the possession of private property, they will fight for the usufruct in collective property. (#30)

The left claims that the guilty party in a conflict is not the one who covets another’s goods but the one who defends his own. (#2,927)

In medieval society, society is the state; in the bourgeois society, state and society confront each other; in the Communist society, the state is society. (#62)

Asking the state to do what only society should do is the error of the left. (#2,698)

Socialism arose as nostalgia for the social unity destroyed by bourgeois atomism.
But it did not understand that social unity is not the totalitarian condensing of individuals, but the systematic totality of a hierarchy. (#1,965)

Social conflicts, in a healthy society, are rooted between functional sectors; in a sick society between economic strata. (#868)

Class struggles are episodes.
The fabric of history is the conflict between equals. (#1,518)

The social sciences abound in problems that are unintelligible by their very nature to both the American professor and the Marxist intellectual. (#2,908)

Criticism of the bourgeois receives praise from two sources: from the Marxist, who considers us intelligent because we confirm his prejudices; and from the bourgeois, who considers us wise because he is thinking about his neighbor. (#167)

The Marxist calls a “class truth” a truth that his class prevents him from understanding. (#1,638)

The left’s theses are trains of thought that are carefully stopped before they reach the argument that demolishes them. (#1,842)

The communist’s temptation is spiritual freedom. (#171)

Dialogue between Communists and Catholics has become possible ever since Communists started to falsify Marx and Catholics Christ. (#440)

In order to ally himself with the Communist, the leftist Catholic asserts that Marxism merely criticizes Christianity’s compromises with the bourgeoisie, when it is Christianity’s essence which Marxism condemns. (#699)

In their childish and vain attempt to attract the people, the modern clergy give socialist programs the function of being schemes for putting the Beatitudes into effect.
The trick behind it consists in reducing to a collective structure external to the individual an ethical behavior that, unless it is individual and internal, is nothing.
The modern clergy preach, in other words, that there is a social reform capable of wiping out the consequences of sin.
From which one can deduce the pointlessness of redemption through Christ. (#2,982)

The progressive Christian’s error lies in believing that Christianity’s perennial polemic against the rich is an implicit defense of socialist programs. (#2,971)

The leftist Catholic is correct in discovering in the bourgeois the rich man of the parable, but is mistaken in identifying the militant proletariat with the poor of the Gospel. (#717)

The economic interpretation of history is the beginning of wisdom.
But only its beginning. (#284)

The economic interpretation of history is faulty, as long as economics limits itself to being the infrastructure of human existence.
It turns out to be relevant, however, when economics, by turning itself into the doctrinaire program for the transformation of the world, becomes a superstructure. (#1,878)

Compared to the sophisticated structure of every historical fact, Marxism’s generalizations possess a touching naiveté. (#2,957)

The tragedy of the left? To diagnose the disease correctly, but to aggravate it with its therapy. (#784)

In a bourgeois country, just as in a Communist land, they disapprove of “escapism” as a solitary vice, as a debilitating and wretched perversion.
Modern society discredits the fugitive so that no one will listen to his account of his journeys. Art or history, man’s imagination or his tragic and noble destiny, these are not criteria which modern mediocrity will tolerate.
“Escapism” is the fleeting vision of abolished splendors and the probability of an implacable verdict on today’s society. (#305)

For the Marxist, rebelliousness in non-Communist societies is a sociological fact and in Communist society a merely psychological fact.
In the former the “exploited” rebel, in the latter “traitors” reveal themselves. (#661)

To be a Marxist appears to consist in exempting Communist societies from the Marxist interpretation. (#1,400)

Adherence to Communism is the rite which allows the bourgeois intellectual to exorcise his uneasy conscience without abjuring his bourgeois identity. (#310)

So great is the Marxist’s faith in Marx that he usually refrains from reading him. (#906)

Marx has been the only Marxist whom Marxism has not stultified. (#1,590)

There are two equally erroneous attitudes toward Marxism: disdaining what it teaches, believing what it promises. (#2,802)

Unlike the Biblical archangel, Marxist archangels prevent man from escaping their paradises. (#314)

Nothing is easier than to blame Russian history for the sins of Marxism.
Socialism continues to be the philosophy of shifting blame onto others. (#2,288)

Congenital leftism is a disease that is cured in a Communist clime. (#2,432)

A Communist society is soon intellectually paralyzed by reciprocal terrorism. (#2,635)

The fervor with which the Marxist invokes the future society would be moving if the rites of invocation were less bloody. (#1,430)

Where Communism triumphs, silence falls with the sound of a trap closing shut. (#2,726)

Marxism announces that it will replace the governance of persons with the administration of property.
Unfortunately, Marxism teaches that the governance of persons consists of the administration of property. (#680)

The communist hates capitalism with the Oedipus complex.
The reactionary views it only with xenophobia. (#316)

We reactionaries will live in the future society just as uncomfortably as will the Marxists; but the Marxists will look upon it with the eyes of a dumbfounded father, while we will regard it with the irony of a stranger. (#1,829)

Leftists and rightists merely argue about who is to have possession of industrial society.
The reactionary longs for its death. (#2,179)

Socialism is the commercial name of state capitalism on the electoral market. (#1,642)

Socialism makes use of greed and misery; capitalism makes use of greed and the vices. (#2,433)

Capitalism is the vulgar side of the modern soul, socialism its tedious side. (#1,855)

A vocabulary of ten words is enough for a Marxist to explain history. (#374)

Falsifying the past is how the left has sought to elaborate the future. (#2,750)

The leftist writer never writes a history, but rather illustrates an outline with examples. (#2,244)

What the leftist historian considers central to an age has never been the subject of works that have been admired by posterity. (#1,848)

The contemporary reader smiles when the medieval chronicler speaks of “Roman paladins,” but he remains serious when the Marxist discusses the “Greek bourgeoisie” or “American feudalism.” (#1,056)

The leftist screams that freedom is dying when his victims refuse to finance their own murders. (#375)

The left does not condemn violence until it hears it pounding on its door. (#2,290)

Our time is more full of worn out Marxists than apostate Marxists. (#400)

Modern society becomes degraded so quickly that each new morning we contemplate with nostalgia yesterday’s adversary.
The Marxists are already starting to look like the West’s last aristocrats. (#1,017)

Two beings inspire particular pity today: the bourgeois politician whom history patiently silences, and the Marxist philosopher whom history patiently refutes. (#401)

The left never attributes its failure to a mistaken diagnosis but to the perversity of events. (#2,030)

The theses that the Marxist “refutes” come back to life unscathed behind his back. (#2,658)

The Marxist is beginning to feel uncomfortable because he is already viewed with more curiosity than dread. (#2,130)

The Marxist does not believe it possible to condemn without adulterating what he condemns. (#453)

“Progress,” “Democracy,” the “classless Society,” excite the crowd, but leave the Muses cold and disagreeable. (#637)

We feel the same way about an intelligent man who becomes a Marxist as an unbeliever feels about a pretty girl who enters the convent. (#645)

The Marxist’s mind fossilizes with time; the leftist’s becomes soft and spongy. (#2,578)

Marxism and psychoanalysis have been the two traps of the modern intelligence. (#2,804)

Unless circumstances constrain him, there is no radically leftist Jew.
The people that discovered divine absolutism does not make deals with the absolutism of man. (#2,653)

The left is a collection of those who blame society for nature’s shabby treatment of them. (#2,168)

The Marxist has no doubt about the perversity of his adversary.
The reactionary merely suspects that his adversary is stupid. (#894)

The left calls people situated just to their right rightists.
The reactionary is not to the right of the left, but in front of it. (#2,159)

We reactionaries are unfortunate: the left steals our ideas and the right our vocabulary. (#2,171)

If the left continues adopting, one after another, the objections that we reactionaries have raised against the modern world, we will have to become leftists. (#2,310)

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