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Why do Marxists have a superior grasp on history?

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

?

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. kochman

    kochman Deity

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    Nice loaded question.

    First, you have to show that Marxists have a superior grasp on history, though...
     
  2. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    Agreed; thread would have been presented better as "Do Marxists have a superior grasp on history and, if so, why?"
     
  3. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Hygro literally just explained why he said what he said on the previous page.
     
  4. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    With a few notable exceptions, the people on this forum with the best understanding of history and what history actually means and how to apply historical thinking are Marxists. With the notable exceptions excepted, the only people arguing against this premise seem to be a subset of very people than which the Marxists have a better understanding of history.
     
  5. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    I'm trying to puzzle out who you're talking about, there, but I'm honestly coming up short. Cheezy is a Marxist and knows his history, and Innonimatu has very broad leanings in that direction, but the only other historically-minded Marxists are me and Aelf, and I don't think he'd mind me saying that neither of us are exacfly outstanding in terms of our historical knowledge or understanding. Non-Marxists who know their stuff would be Dachs, Masada and Park just to start with, so... :dunno:
     
  6. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    Lord Baal certainly deserves to be mentioned on an "OTers who know their history janx" list, though under the non-Marxist category.
     
  7. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Oh, whoops, him too. Hope he doesn't take that as a snub- I just have a habit of remembering people as avatars first, names second (an extension of the "good with faces/horrible with names" deal), so his avatarless self slipped my mind.
     
  8. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    He had an avatar once, in another life. You might even think of him now as being an avatar!

    It's also worth mentioning that Richard Cribb was once described as a "history porn star" by Rambuchan, one of the most awesome posters to ever grace these forums with his presence.
     
  9. Quackers

    Quackers The Frog

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    If we are mentioning good colossem historians we can't carry on without the honourable say1988 imo :D
     
  10. Earthling

    Earthling Deity

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    You surely realize this is a very different statement from what was in the OP and the what people have been arguing about in the thread? There are also large numbers of Marxists who know relatively little about history - you have to include them if you're making claims about Marxists as a group. This is trivially true in real life, to be clear I'm not talking about just this forum, in the fact the majority of self-identified Marxists are probably less educated or knowledgeable overall than several other self-identified categories one could think of. Unless you're getting into a no true Scotsman situation the point that some Marxists are more knowledgeable (about history) is not at all the same as saying all Marxists are as a group. (Though for a narrow category of subjects of historical knowledge and without excluding confounding factors I do also think this holds generally true for the reason voted in the poll)

    Even then, it's also far easier to debate this point in the other direction - argue that many you'd think of as anecdotal examples are not true Marxists. There's maybe one single active OTer I can think of that I would classify as a Marxist in the academic sense. (Not naming that name here because I don't mean to imply that poster is associated with the critical point below). You can't really have it both ways - count self-identified Marxists and you have a far larger group, or make a strict list of positions and beliefs that constitute Marxism, then for any correlation to better historical knowledge you have you might also find these Marxists are often solely lacking in much of everything else.
     
  11. Tee Kay

    Tee Kay Silly furry

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    The NES Forum.
     
  12. jtb1127

    jtb1127 Deity

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    What's the point of making a poll that leaves no option for disagreement?
     
  13. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton One. And many.

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    Don't forget people that we would have to compare the relative sizes of history-savvy Marxists and Non-Marxists with the relation of Marxists and Non-Marxists in general. I could imagine this to be in favor of Marxists on this board.
     
  14. Tee Kay

    Tee Kay Silly furry

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    :mischief:
     
  15. Earthling

    Earthling Deity

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    It might have some meaning in some sense here but it's an overall poor measure and could probably result in other very broad groups like evangelical Christians coming out ahead of Marxists. The best sense in which the point holds true would be comparing the history knowledge of the median self-identified Marxist and the median person in the general public. People have pointed out the obvious confounding factors for this.
     
  16. jtb1127

    jtb1127 Deity

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    This board is not an accurate representation of the political beliefs of the rest of society. Therefore any conclusions drawn from the demographics of CFC cannot be used to back up a general statement about the rest of society. Also, I'd question that statement even if it applied only to this forum.
     
  17. Richard Cribb

    Richard Cribb He does monologues

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    My old friend Rambuchan is deeply missed. He was a whole and improved OT by himself, but decided to move on for various reasons. I can understand that.
    And I surely remember he calling me that, but that is water under the bridge now.
    It is actually only about one year ago that mr.Traitorfish asked me for a good introduction to marxism. Now mr.Traitorfish is a fully educated Marxist who spends a good part of his time here writing about the evils of the USSR. And for obvious reasons I then don't belong to his circle of extraordinary gentlemen, which makes me neglible.
    That said, I am also curious about who those Marxists could be. Except for yourself and aelf, whom I both hold in the highest regard, I don't see any Marxists here at all.
    I might owe innonimatu an apology here, of course. Anyway, Marxist or not, he is a most excellent man. He even came up with the best suggestion of why the OP might be onto something...
     
  18. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    FTFY.

    Those who know the bottom answer is facetious are also the ones not worried about clicking it. That was the point. I find the same at school though, those who are on the broad Marxist spectrum are a lot more historically minded than those who aren't. Those who aren't are a lot more interested in a universal human experience, and so find history of less import.

    It really is a question I've been thinking about lately, though. I think some of it really comes down to self-justification. Many want there to be a better result of humanity than today, and *certain* articulations of Marxism can hold appeal. To justify Marxism you have to justify how our current state of affairs isn't the result of human nature but the result of historical events and historical agents leading to people being a certain way, even if they could be other ways. In that regard you will learn a lot of history, and more important, how to apply and construct history.

    On the other hand, it's easy to study history and see that there's a kind of progressive thread therein. Especially given that historians have done so before our time (i.e. Marx, or more important, Hegel) it's not hard to fall into their thinking. That history is driven by conflict, a conflict between individual and state or between classes or some other category easily applied all the way back through civilization. In this regard, I think it's easy for those who study history from a non-ancient, non-warfare focus to come to Marxist conclusions.

    While that covers 1, 2, and 4 of my options, for 3 it is true that if you were really motivated to understand Marxism because you desire to be a communist before you even understand it, reading Marx would give you a decent understanding of history, even if it's of one very particular vantage point. That's true with reading any long-winded social scientist, somewhat.

    And again, the bottom option was for those who wished to take part in the debate in disagreement but don't have a knee-jerk disgust reaction to Marxism that precludes them from participating effectively.
     
  19. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    I didn't think Lord Baal spent enough time in OT, as opposed to History, to be on that list.

    For some of the other Marxists, maybe they don't have the depth and breadth of history of some others, but the parts they do know they seem to know fairly extensively.
     
  20. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    Thanks, but I admit that you do not (if I am a Marxist then I'm one of the Fidel Castro kind, he who admitted to never having read The Capital from cover to cover). I didn't comment it on that other thread about the USSR, but I would rather live under a soviet-style society than under a "western" style one, despite all the faults I can also see in the soviet kind. But that does not make me a Marxist. I fear I now lack one fundamental think: hope. I'm no longer sure things will or can improve towards a communist society. :(

    If you all will excuse me, I want to ramble a little about our "age of moderation". Society as we have it today seems set up for inclining people towards what they believe is pragmatism and in middle -grounds-which-should-make-everyone-happy. Marxism, like any other political or social ideology, is regarded as too inflexible and therefore outdated. I fear that the much-valued flexibility being promoted is rather training people to capitulation to authority. We have cynics everywhere, and two things cynics do very well is consenting to being abused. That people have repeatedly been shown willing to drop all beliefs and become cynics, well, it doesn't give me much hope.
    Ideologically-driven people do submit to an ideology, but become very angry if it looks like some authority is breaking that ideology. Ideology binds everyone. Whereas in our cynical societies... well, the way I see it we are closer to Orwell's Big Brother state than the USSR ever was, Stalin and all.
     

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