Our understanding of human nature is completely rudimentary, but one observation repeats in pattern. In the history of mankind, humans have idolized institutions and cultures from which they have been bred, even if their support is rot of any reasoning.
Once they have developed a sense of security, no matter how false, the illusionary sanctuary they have constructed around themselves acts as a fort against any criticism. Typically, the rent-seeking public intellectuals of these movements feed off the political amnesia of their followers, who have progressed from parasitical customs in the past to be allured by another.
Karl Marx, one of the fiercest critics and greatest thinkers of recent history, serves as a dysphemism for progressive activists today. A mass amount of propaganda has been proliferated by Western powers to associate Marx with the murderous authoritative regime of Soviet Union Prime Minister Vladimir Lenin.
There is much misconception of Marx’s theories. Marx did not advocate for a centralized government but workers’ rights over production. His theories contradict with the notion workers should be submissive to an authoritative government.
Marx simply exposed the many injustices created in a capitalism. He has no responsibility for hungry opportunists who pimped his work for profit. These hungry opportunists are, in fact, mirrored by capitalists who push the boundaries of dishonesty by attempting to smear Marx’s ideas out of any productive discussion. A tired narrative in the U.S. which is constantly echoed is that colleges are comporting progressive agendas. This narrative is not indicative of how progressive the U.S. has become, but rather, how conservative.
In the unimaginative confines of introduction economic lecture rooms, Marx’s theories are rarely mentioned. It is true that his book “The Communist Manifesto” is the third most assigned book in public colleges. But, most of Marx’s ideas are taught in philosophy and English courses.The famous economist Richard Wolff, who has degrees from Harvard, Stanford and Yale, brought notice to the issue by claiming, “I am a product of what most people think of the best this country has to offer, and here I am a professional economist and I was never required to read one word of Marx’s criticism of the economy.”
Currently, economics courses are too focused on the neoliberal economic system we live in, rather than providing solutions for all the problems we face today. The relationship Americans have with U.S. capitalism can be told as a story of a family. One child thrives in the love and gluttony its parents and the U.S. political and economic system provides. But, there is another child who is traumatized from all the neglect and abuse its parents create.We often only listen to the former and rarely ever to the latter.
Americans fall deep into a pit of sanctimony when they bellow sermons of respectability politics. The truth is: our social and economic structures affect our daily lives far more than we conceive. Merriam Webster dictionary defines economics as “a social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.”
If our economic structures inhibit a sizable portion of society, the bottom 90 percent, from receiving the correct distribution of wealth, then perhaps there’s a limit on what the workers of our society can do.
In fact, our current economic system limits political democracy. Our forefathers found this country based on a tyranny of an opulent minority. This is evident by former President James Madison’s statement, “They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The Senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability.”
Famous Marxist and civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. said, “This country has socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor.”
Today, the U.S. is facing income inequality unprecedented since the Gilded Age. This has created a society where international investors break laws with no repercussions, CEOs exploit workers for a mass amount of profit, and all this is overlooked because a growing billionaire class has bought out politicians across bipartisan lines.
We, as Americans, can never cleanse from any of our sins until we identify the problems in our society. We can never shed from our most barbaric, violent nature until we criticize every institution to filter out those we do not need.
Every Nike product we buy is complicit to child abuse in countries abroad. Every study published by the Center for American Progress is funded by bloodied dollars from the United Arabian Emirates regime.
Every car produced costs us the environment. Fast food comes at the expense of wage slavery.Every time we watch CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Vox or any other major news organization, we are complicit to the media control of war contractors, weapon producers and an opulent elite.Capitalism does not leave much room for moral choices for individual consumers.The famous writer James Baldwin said, “The necessity for a form of socialism is based on the observation that the world’s present economic arrangements doom most of the world to misery.”
Pragmatism is what is possible today, but ideology is pragmatism over a time table. Economics classes teach us the benefits of capitalism. Marx teaches us the cost. Both are needed for a full analysis. That is why I plead for economic professors of all colleges, including the University, to incorporate Marx’s theories.
Soheil Saneei is a 20-year-old biological engineering sophomore from Metairie, Louisiana.