Marxist Inflammation

Spann, Othmar, and Othmar Spann. The History of Economics: Transl. from the 19. German Ed. by Eden and Cedar Paul. New York: Norton, 1930.

If we ask how it has come to pass that so faulty a doctrine has had so tremendous an effect, and has indeed achieved a momentous historical task in promoting unanimity throughout the working class of all nations, we shall find the ultimate reason in the grave defects of the prevailing individualist order of society and in the oppositional or negative attitude of Marx for destructive criticism is always much easier than constructive activity; and both of them are diseases of the soul. The flaws we can discover in Marx’s economic doctrines invalidate his arguments doubtless, and yet they do not touch the root of the trouble. The poverty of the workers and their lack of a firm standing-ground in society (conditions which aroused Marx’s sympathies, and determined his revolutionary trend) still remain. The longing to bring redemption was more than logical criticism. The individualist economic order automatically and all too easily conjured up against itself the no less individualist specter of revolution. Furthermore-and this mainly accounts for the success of Marxism-individualist society was too aimless, too disintegrated, and too hopelessly materialistic, to present an unbroken front against so compact a doctrine. Had not such men as Feuerbach, Buchner, Moleschott, and their successors the positivists (the narrow-minded charlatans who still flourish among us), expelled our idealist philosophy from the domain of German culture, Marxism teaching would never have become dominant, and capitalism would not have undergone so far-reaching a degeneration. It was only owing to the reasons here analyzed that Marxism was able, despite its alliance with sensualism and materialism, to cut as bold a figure in the field of social science as Darwinism in field of biological.

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