Quote Of The Day

“Most people agree that Marx’s predictions about capitalism turned out to be dead wrong. What most people don’t know is that Marx was an out and out racist and anti-Semite. He didn’t think much of Mexicans. Concerning the annexation of California after the Mexican-American War, Marx wrote: “Without violence nothing is ever accomplished in history.” Then he asks, “Is it a misfortune that magnificent California was seized from the lazy Mexicans who did not know what to do with it?” Friedrich Engels, Marx’s co-author of the “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” added, “In America we have witnessed the conquest of Mexico and have rejoiced at it. It is to the interest of its own development that Mexico will be placed under the tutelage of the United States.” Much of Marx’s ideas can be found in a book written by former communist Nathaniel Weyl, titled “Karl Marx, Racist” (1979)”. —Walter Williams, Professor of economics at George Mason University

28 Responses to “Quote Of The Day”

  • ouch! i knew that he held anti-semitic views, but did not realize that he was also anti-mexican. 🙁

  • Yep, and on top of that, he helped spread a philosophy that is responsible for more deaths and destruction than Nazism itself.

  • Most of our founding fathers were racist (they owned slaves and tricked native Americans out of their land)… but that doesn’t discount that they might have had some good ideas. 😉

  • True, which is why I take the whole ‘communism killed more people than hitler’ as a greater indicator of his deficient philosophical ideas.

  • Would you agree that capitalism and christianity have killed an exponentially higher number of people than virtually every other ideology combined? (European ‘conquest’ of the New World, Asia, Africa; the Spanish Inquisition; the Crusades; modern Latin America; modern Africa; modern Middle East)

    I don’t think ideas kill people, I think people using them to exploit others (primarily driven by avarice) kill people.

  • No I dont, but even if I did, the difference between the two is that capitalism, christianity, and most other ideas don’t necessarily result in mass deaths.

    The argument against communism isn’t that it doesn’t work on paper, it is that in practice it will always result in mass deaths. History has shown that to be true, repeatedly.

    Granted, you can’t place the blame for that on those that invented the ideology, but you certainly can place the blame on those who continue to espouse it.

  • I agree that the execution of communism has largely been a failure, but it was executed by the same types of people who executed capitalism which resulted in failures. What of the millions of Native Americans who were erradicated by European capitalism and christian endeavors? What of the millions of Africans who died for the same reason? That was my ancestry that was erradicated. Entire civilizations have been wiped off the map and left with mere relics. I don’t think capitalism or communism are specifically to blame for either. I think the people who executed these events are to blame. I think it is also dangerous to completely dismiss any single ideaology as so dangerous as it will surely result in mass deaths. Was it not that attitude that Trujillo and Franco were able to round up thousands of people and torture and execute them?

    I’m not a communist, and I definitely don’t think that total communism would work here or anywhere. I do sympathize with communists where the context for their thoughts makes total sense and can only be seen as a natural reaction to their environment. Latin America has been ruled by foreigners and controlled by foreign money since Spain set up shop there. More specifically, Boliva is the poorest country in Latin America yet is rich with resources. Despite the fact so much money is made from the country, the common people see almost nothing. I totally agree with the communists there who are working (thankfully peacefully) to change the machine that has oppressed them for half a millenia.

    Communist thoughts have also influenced governments that are very successful by our standards. Seven of the 10 richest countries (including Norway, Iceland, Canada, etc.) are not at all totally communist, but well executed ideas from the left spectrum have greatly benefited their population and have led to qualities of life that rival and in some cases beat what we have here.

  • HP, based on the excerpt, do you think Marx is an out and out racist?”

    I found nothing racist in his characterization of Mexicans as lazy. If that is evidence of racism, then it would also be racist to say “hard working Mexicans.”

    That seems a bit much to me.

  • msondo,

    What of the millions of Native Americans who were erradicated by European capitalism and christian endeavors?

    Let’s back up a little, while I can see how someone can (try to) blame the deaths of Native Americans on capitalism, I think it is a stretch to say that it was caused by capitalism. At most it was incidental to capitalism, after all, the colonizers never intended to kill off 90% of the Indians (they would have rather used them as slaves), but instead was caused by disease (a disease that might have not been from the colonizers, after all) .

    Communism, on the other hand, necessarily results in mass starvation and killings. This is the argument against communism. It is not that it doesn’t work on paper. Shoot, almost half the world and a good majority of top economists thought that it looked good on paper. The argument has always been that because of human nature, it is structured in a way where “the same types of people” will always wind up at the top.

    In fact, communism is so inefficient at allocating resources that “mass death due to man-made famine can be fairly described as an original Communist invention”, see here. In other words, even dictators are more efficient than communism!

    If you have time, and you haven’t done so already, I strongly recommend you read this book, it was written by University Of Chicago economist F.A. Hayek who probably stated these arguments most clearly. He wrote the book at a time where a good majority of the world was in love with communism and to state so strongly otherwise made you outside the mainstream. He later won the Nobel Prize and the congressional Medal of Freedom for alot of what he said in this book.

    As for your defense of lefties in general, and the supposed good they have done, all I have to say to that is that while I am sure Nazism has done some good in uniting some brothers here and there, it pales in comparison to the bad it has brought, and like nazism (yes, I am comparing the two, see here), communism and those who espouse its views, have been responsible for the deaths of far too many people for me to give them any credit.


    It certainly is to those who consider themselves Marxists. Also, the further quotes provided in the article in full provides enough evidence to satisfy those who doubt his racism.

  • That book seems interesting, I’ll definitely check it out.

    I think “mass deaths” are bad regardless of the cause. I refuse to believe that an ideology is dangerous enough to be the cause of death, however. Ideas sit on paper but it takes the effort of many men to execute them. It also takes bad intentions to use a well written ideology to further exploit people. Human exploitation is the one constant, be it from communism or capitalism, that has marred their histories.

    I get the impression you are an extremely polarized person. Most of the things you write about are highly critical of the left side of the spectrum and seem to defend the right heavily. Is that a fair statement? Do you consider yourself polarized? Do you cnosider political polarization beneficial to political discourse?

    Though I may appear to be a left-leaning person, I am not on any political side. I consider myself on the side of humanity… not any political party, not any nation, not any race, not any class, etc.

    Going back to my point, I don’t think that capitalism or communism have directly resulted in any tragedy. I think the people in positions of power and the people that serve them are responsible.

    As to whether communism or capitalism were playing in the ideological Walkman of the bloodiest side, I’d have to say capitalism was definitely playing only because it is so much older than communism. Sure, communism has been the ideological flag of many atrocities but capitalistic drive is as old as humanity and is a big factor behind most human suffering.

    Communism, as I understand it, was born as a reaction to thousands of years of oppression by a small elite class of rich landowners. In a time and place when there was no possibility of ascending serfdom, what else would you expect people to do? It doesn’t make much sense in our environment since people have the ability to ascend class lines, but I respect the thought in the proper context.

    A great example of capitalistic factors contributing to human suffering is the Chaco war between Paraguay and Bolivia. Some estimates put the death toll at 2 million. The war was fought for control of land thought to be rich in natural resources. After the war it was discovered the land was mostly void of oil and meaningless.

  • I refuse to believe that an ideology is dangerous enough to be the cause of death, however.

    Well that’s where we differ. The argument against communism has always been that the way it is structured, given human nature, it will always result in mass deaths and large scale inefficiencies – it is structured in a way where ‘that type of people’ will always rise to the top. So when we see this becoming true time and time again, in almost perfect ‘scientific experiments’, where the same group of people were split into two groups, one going communist and the other going capitalist, and the situation always resulted in the same thing. Whether it was European people with the Germans or Asian people with the Koreans and the Chinese, communism always resulted in mass deaths and gross inefficiencies, there has to be a point where you stop and say, okay, maybe it is the ideology itself that has weaknesses, no? How many more experiments have to be conducted, how many more innocent lives have to be lost before someone could conclude that it’s the ideology itself that has the weaknesses that resulted in such mass deaths? Is there no limit?

    I get the impression you are an extremely polarized person. Most of the things you write about are highly critical of the left side of the spectrum and seem to defend the right heavily. Is that a fair statement? Do you consider yourself polarized? Do you cnosider political polarization beneficial to political discourse?

    I have been highly critical of communism in general, and only the lefts role in that. I don’t think that makes me anymore right-wing than the next guy. Being against communism, indeed being strongly against communism, is no more a uniquely right-wing belief than being against Nazism or Fascism is a uniquely left-wing belief. The failures of communism and the weaknesses of the ideology are a bipartisan accepted belief. Just as liberals are anti-communists, conservatives are anti-fascist; the two ideologies are accepted on both sides as being utter failures. Aside from a few academics, I don’t know anybody who would disagree with anything I wrote above, and most people I interact with are liberals.

    So I would say yes, I am an “an extremely polarized person” when it comes to communism. I tend to equate communism with nazism as far as failure and accepted ideologies go, and just as I would get offended at someone trying to talk of ‘the good side of nazism’, I elicit the same reaction when someone does so with communism (on a murder scale alone, communism killed more people than Nazism).

    That is not to say that I am not a partisan right-winger. I am definitely a strong believer in free markets and other issues that would definitely place me squarely on the conservative (or sometimes more the libertarian) side. I believe in these views passionately and bring them up whenever the occasion arises. However, don’t get the impression that because of that I am a closed minded reactionary who absolutely hates liberals, because nothing could be further from the truth. While I am strongly partisan, I am also open to dialogue and learning new things and most of my friends are liberals themselves, some of them even self identified Marxist academics. I am that rare blend in contemporary politics of someone who can believe strongly in his views but at the same time respect and admire those who disagree strongly. Just because we disagree on politics or economics doesn’t mean that we can’t share beers and have a carne asada bbq together, you know?

    As to whether communism or capitalism were playing in the ideological Walkman of the bloodiest side, I’d have to say capitalism was definitely playing only because it is so much older than communism.

    You have to be very careful as to what you define as capitalism, especially prior to the Industrial Revolution. Capitalism is different than the old feudalism and other quasi-capitalist systems of the past. Much of what people consider capitalism in history can more accurately be described as mercantilism and there are significant differences between the two. To simply merge the two together as if they are one will give you a much distorted view of economics and the history of capitalism.

    If you want to think of what true capitalism is, you can’t get a better example than Hong Kong. Hong Kong and the rest of the East Asian Tigers, represent the greatest alleviation of poverty in the history of man. In fact, free trade itself, is responsible for more alleviation of poverty than anything in recorded history. What capitalistic reforms have done to the East Asian Tigers, they are now doing (although much slower, mainly because capitalistic reforms were also limited) to countries like India, China and Ireland. So while communism has always resulted in mass deaths and starvation, capitalism has been resulting, time and time again, in alleviation of poverty and record levels of standard of living. The two systems couldn’t be more opposite.

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