Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Hygro, Feb 22, 2012.
I'm trying to figure out the cause of this.
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.
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
Irony is not your strong point?
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.
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.
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.
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.
What makes you say Marxists have a superior grasp on history?
[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.]
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 ). What is circular about that?
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?
That's where we left their ideology, on the ash heap.
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.
I dunno. A library card might be a lot more useful.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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