Wednesday, March 13, 2019


Commenting on the absurdity of a New York magazine recommended list of books "to understand socialism," Steven Hayward suggests better ones, among which Leszek Kolakowski’s Main Currents of Marxism.
The three volumes proceed soberly and methodically through the development of Marxism and socialism starting with Hegel and other antecedents that Marx drew heavily upon. But then you finally reach the epilogue of volume three, which opens thus:
Marxism has been the greatest fantasy of our century. It was a dream offering the prospect of a society of perfect unity, in which all human aspirations would be fulfilled and all values reconciled... Almost all the prophecies of Marx and his followers have already proved to be false, but this does not disturb the spiritual certainty of the faithful, any more than it did in the case of chiliastic sects: for it is a certainty not based on any empirical premises or supposed ‘historical laws,’ but simply on the psychological need for certainty. In this sense, Marxism performs the function of a religion, and its efficacy is of a religious character.

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