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Why do Marxists have a superior grasp on history?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Hygro, Feb 22, 2012.

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Why do Marxists understand history better? Pick just one (sorry!)

  1. To justify Marxism, you have to justify historical particulars, leading to understand history

    65.0%
  2. Having a good grasp of history leads to an understanding of why Marxism is good

    10.0%
  3. Marx, as a Hegelian historian teaches history effectively, so those who study him learn history well

    10.0%
  4. Marx provided linguistic categories for history, leading to historians trapped into Marxist thinking

    2.5%
  5. I am a Marxist who disagrees with the poll's premise, or has another answer..

    12.5%
  1. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    I'm trying to figure out the cause of this.
     
  2. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton One. And many.

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    Better than whom? The average person? Because they are more educated, and that because you got to be educated above average to have a meaningful knowledge on a fringe ideology like Marxism.

    Case closed :smug:
     
  3. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    That's circular though. You are saying people more educated in history are more educated in history.

    What I want to know why being Karl Marx focused is so strongly correlated with a keen historical understanding. Plenty of educated people even in social sciences still have vastly inferior understandings of history than Marxists/Marxians. Be it here on CFC, or at school with my fellow students and professors, the more Karl Marx focused they are, the way better they know history. There seems to be a strong correlation beyond
     
  4. Ayn Rand

    Ayn Rand Deity

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    Irony is not your strong point?
     
  5. bombshoo

    bombshoo Never mind...

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    Unless you already have a good education or are intellectually curious, it's doubtful you know enough about Marxism to even find it moderately attractive. In the United States, below college level education, it's pretty much taught as being either wrong, evil or both. If all somebody knows about Marxism is really just Stalinism, it's hard to justify Marxism at all. I voted option A) in the poll but I would think it's really a mixture of option A) and B). An interest in history creates interest in Marxism. An interest in Marxism creates further studying of history from a Marxist point of view in order to justify beliefs.
     
  6. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    A combination of the first and second. Marxism is a school of political thought grounded in historical developments rather than what you might call "first principles", so understanding it means understanding history, while at the same time somebody who's interest in history is more likely to take on board elements of Marxist historiography, which might lead to accepting some of the associated political conclusions. I think for most Marxists its a combination of the two.
     
  7. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Wow, that's doubly ironic.

    Perhaps triply so if we take into account there was nothing ironic about my response to his, unless you were enjoying the feedback loop that some of my options have ;) Still, I'm looking for the chicken-egg origin here, not if they engender each other.
     
  8. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    I´m not sure they do. (The key concept of Marx that all history is the history of class struggles doesn´t really provide valid theses for much of history as we know it.) As for Marxists, your own circle doesn´t really provide a solid basis for this theory. Perhaps it´s just that people with an interest in history tend also to have an interest in Marx/Marxism? The key would then be history, rather than Marxism.
     
  9. Azash

    Azash La Sombra

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    What makes you say Marxists have a superior grasp on history?
     
  10. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    [For the record: While that declaration has been taken literally by some of the more wood-brained Marxists, it was essentially a rhetorical flourish on Marx's part. Marx's own writings, for example his discussion of the 1848 Revolution and Louis' Bonepartes' coup, or those of anti-deterministic Marxist historians such as E.P.Thompson or Christopher Hill, stand as proof that it's not as one dimensional a body of theory as that. I certainly agree that a lot of the orthodox historiography is flawed- the entire concept of "feudalism", for example, is basically arse- but for reasons more complicated than just being flat-out wrong.]
     
  11. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton One. And many.

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    I am saying people educated in fringe ideologies tend to be more educated in general and hence also more educated in history (unless it is Randism :mischief:). What is circular about that?
     
  12. Tarquelne

    Tarquelne Follower of Tytalus

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    I think people often don't *appreciate* the ideas of Marxism without a significantly more detailed (in at least some areas) knowledge of history than is often taught. Without that knowledge of history it's harder to understand why anyone would want or need something outside the common political/historical tradition.

    But that's a non-Marxist talking. It begs the question (from Marxists): Was an increasing knowledge of history what first lead you to Marxism, or did being a Marxist lead you to look more into history?
     
  13. Godwynn

    Godwynn March to the Sea

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    That's where we left their ideology, on the ash heap.
     
  14. Tee Kay

    Tee Kay Silly furry

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    So to really understand communism, you need a higher education than the average person, which you typically can only afford if you are significantly wealthier - wealth likely accumulated as an "oppressor" in a capitalist market economy. Strange how the world works.
     
  15. Tarquelne

    Tarquelne Follower of Tytalus

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    I dunno. A library card might be a lot more useful.
     
  16. Tee Kay

    Tee Kay Silly furry

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    I'm assuming most public libraries are like my local public library.

    It's not bad. I mean, it's better than no library at all, but you can't say it's well-stocked, especially with regards to political theory.
     
  17. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    What if they weren't the ones who accumulated the wealth?

    Personally, I don't have an opinion, but I'm pretty sure at least one historian on these boards would dispute the OP's claim if he cares enough to.
     
  18. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    What Traitorfish said. Marxism, like all social science theories, is founded in a historical review of past societies and their economies.

    Interestingly while Marxism was based on a historical review of the evolution of economies within different societies, many social scientists no longer accept the most historical aspect of the theory, the Marx-Engel evolution of economies (that being that economies naturally flow from pre-capitalism to capitalism to post-capitalism). That doesn't invalidate the other premises of Marxism like class consciousness, the theory that the economic base of a society defines the social superstructure, or ideas about the division of resources between classes.

    Bombshoo also makes a good point in that Marxism is really an academic topic and knowledge of an academic topic implies (or presumes) knowledge of other academtic topics. By the same token, you might as well say that people who accept a functionalist / Durkheimian view of society are more knowledgeable of history simply because people who are likely to be aware of Durkheim are more likely to be better educated in general.
     
  19. Tarquelne

    Tarquelne Follower of Tytalus

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    Hmm... the OP does make a blanket statement, which is invariably a bad idea.

    But IMexperience Marxists, as a group, do tend to have a better grasp of history than non-Marxists. It doesn't necessarily make them right more often about the larger issues.

    If nothing else they'll often learn two histories: The standard version, and the Marxist one. They might pick up misinformation in either, but the different focus of each is likely to give them a broader or more detailed view. Sort of if you went to school in two different countries.
     
  20. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    I was thinking that what would be disputed would be the notion that Marxist historians have a better grasp of history than non-Marxist historians. That seems to be a fairer comparison since comparing Marxists with the general populace fails completely to control for contributing factors other than Marxism, as everyone has been suggesting.
     

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