Left-wing activists rest at the foot of the Karl Marx monument in Chemnitz, Germany, May 1, 2018. (Matthias Rietschel/Reuters) A debate over Marxism; Hong Kong and Tiananmen Square; a brave woman in Cuba; the tragedy of the GOP; and more
The Cambridge Union, at the university over in England, staged a debate: “This house believes that Marx was right.” Really? Really. Speaking for the proposition — though not wholeheartedly, as he said at the outset — was Slavoj Žižek, the Slovenian philosopher. Speaking against the proposition was Daniel Hannan, the British writer and politician.
You can see the debate on YouTube, here.
It was not really a fair fight. Žižek was at a disadvantage: English is not his native tongue (though he speaks good English, and he holds a pretty spiffy British position: international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities at the University of London). What’s more, he had to defend Marx and Marxism (even if not with a whole heart).
How could there be such a debate today? After more than a hundred years of experience with Marxism, if you start from 1917? Isn’t arguing for Marx like arguing for a flat earth? Or for smallpox? Yet debate is sadly necessary, for people fall for Marx and Marxism generation after generation.
Daniel Hannan does a superb job, and a stirring one. He is morally serious, well informed, and effortlessly articulate. He gives Marx and Marxism a pasting for the ages. It makes you proud to know him, if you do (as I am lucky enough to do).
Hannan begins by saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, Karl Marx devised the most lethal ideology ever produced by human intelligence. In the grim reckoning of murder, Marxism stands unchallenged.” Yes. Elie Kedourie once gave David Pryce-Jones a piece of advice: “Keep your eye on the corpses.” Under Marxism, there are many corpses — millions upon millions — to keep an eye on.
Well, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette, right? But, as Orwell said, where’s the omelette? The
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