The secret to Karl Marx’s success Part I: Ned Ludd welcomes you to The Machine

From Ghosts On The Roof, Whittaker Chambers, pages 175-6:

(Time, February 23, 1948)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY. This month marks an anniversary for Karl Marx. Just 100 years ago his Communist Manifesto, a slender pamphlet bound in green, was first presented to a deeply uninterested public. Since then, public interest has increased. Karl Marx this week is everywhere.
     “Marxist” is the word that divides the world. In the lands drained by the Sava, the Bug, the Moskva, the Dnieper, the Don, the Volga, the Yenisei and the Amur, a man who wishes to express approval—of a painting, a factory production record or a military operation—is likely to call it “Marxist.” In the lands drained by the St. Lawrence, the Mississippi, the Orinoco, the Amazon, the Tagus, the Thames and the Clyde, a man who wishes to express disapproval—of a painting, a production record or a military operation—is likely to call it “Marxist.” In the lands drained by the Yangtze, the Yellow River, the Mekong, the Tiber, the Po, the Rhone, the Scheldt, the Rhine, men are divided—in some cases bloodily—over whether “Marxist” should express approval or disapproval.
     In the lands drained by the Shannon, the Niger, the Nile, the Euphrates, the Ganges, the Indus and the Irrawaddy, Marxism is not the paramount issue. These lands are regarded by both Marxists and anti-Marxists as somewhat backward.
     Marxism last week made men fight in the ragged mountains of Greece. It inspired strikes in Seoul, Dorea, and San Ferdinando di Puglia, Italy. A Shanghai girl student asked a boy to write in her autograph book. Instead of an affectionate personal sentiment, he wrote: “What is the reason for the existence of people who reap wealth without laboring?” Marx, who guided the Chinese boy’s hand, was also last week the most important man in the world’s two great centers of power, the U.S. Congress and Moscow’s Politburo.
     Quite a birthday for a manifesto. Quite a ripple for an unsociable old refugee who had sat, day after day, year after year, under the high glass dome of the British Museum’s reading room, his clothes untidy, a sarcastic line edging his mouth.
THE IDEA MARKET. Marx got into the center of all this commotion by making a statement about The Machine. It was not a clear statement, and every year more evidence piles up that it was wrong. In the market place of ideas, however, it did not have very effective competition. Among its competitors were:
     1) The idea (still popular) that The Machine doesn’t matter, that human society is not deeply affected by it.
     2) The idea that The Machine is pure evil, and should be destroyed, (This ideas was first expressed by a village idiot, Ned Ludd, who stalked around Nottingham, England, in the late 18th Century, smashing stocking frames.)*
     3) The idea that The Machine is pure good, the center of a new evolution towards greater & greater prosperity.
     In Marx’s day, Europe was divided between these three attitudes towards The Machine. The old aristocracy tended to ignore The Machine, or to agree with Ned Ludd. The new aristocracy of trade committed itself to a philosophy of materialist progress. Some of the workers believed the promise; some believed Ned Ludd.
     Marx accepted The Machine. He accepted and further glorified the materialism of the capitalists, but rejected the idea of progress and said that The Machine would lead the workers where Ned Ludd said it would, unless the workers took control of The Machine away from the capitalists.
     The idea of class struggle was certainly not original with Marx. What he did was rewrite history with class struggle in the center. Superficially, it might seem that the abundance of goods The Machine could produce would soften the class struggle, that the capitalists would use the state’s police power, its war-making power and all other means to prevent glutted markets, i.e., abundance. It followed that the workers had to seize the state by revolution (they would never get it any other way) and use the state’s powers to control The Machine. This would lead to the world’s first classless society; its goal: unlimited material prosperity.
* A few decades later his followers were an organized force, called Luddites. They would converge on an industrial village at dusk, post guards, and smash and burn machinery while the villagers cowered in their cottages. Their counterparts existed in the many continental countries.

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
Where have you been?
It’s alright we know where you’ve been.
You’ve been in the pipeline, filling in time,…

Time is linear
Memory’s a stranger
History’s for fools
Man is a tool in the hands
Of the great God Almighty


Well, yeah, Mrs. Hillary Clinton is 68 and this was written 68 years ago.

I don’t believe in that…stuff, numerology.

Page 153:

Chance, the irrational number by which man confesses the failure of his intellectual algebra,…

Perhaps, not

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