Individualism Cures Marxism (2021 Apr)

by Barry A. Liebling

Classic Marxism is explicitly collectivist. The proletariat is being oppressed by the bourgeoisie. The groups are permanently antagonistic toward one another, and – according to dialectical materialism – the proletariat is destined to overthrow the bourgeoisie. A Marxist is not a neutral observer. Instead, disciples of this world-view cheer on and attempt to assist the “oppressed” to defeat its assigned enemy. Those who support the leftist side of the conflict are labeled by the inner circle as “progressives,” and anyone who opposes the Marxist agenda is a “reactionary.”

In the last 50 years Marxism has evolved into Neo-Marxism. The insidious notion that the essence of humanity is groups fighting each other for power remains, but the number of mutually belligerent categories has multiplied. Besides economic classes there are oppressed and oppressors related to gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, citizenship status, and more to come. The leftist elite identifies which groups deserve to be called victims and which are to be smeared as being irredeemable.

Neo-Marxism goes by many names. Sometimes it is referred to as identity politics, other times it is the rules of conduct enforced by those who proclaim they are woke.

It is tragic that Neo-Marxist dogma is embraced by the dominant culture in the United States today. Most schools from elementary through post graduate strongly push identity politics. The majority of the largest media companies, famous entertainers, and leading corporations are advocating leftist woke policies. And the woke cabal is taking actions to ostracize, silence, and eliminate those who dare to oppose them.

Many people are repelled by the Neo-Marxist spirit but have difficulty identifying exactly what is wrong with it and cannot readily articulate the correct way for people to deal with one another. Of course, long books could be written on the subject, but here are some key points that can help.

Individualism and Neo-Marxism are utterly antithetical to one another. Individualism requires that every person should be judged according to how that person acts. It does not matter what tribe the person belongs to, who the person’s parents, relatives or ancestors are, or where the person is from. Only actions should count, and the same standards should apply to everyone. Note well that this attitude is expressed and emphasized in Enlightenment philosophies. It is the sentiment behind the phrase “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence. Furthermore, Martin Luther King reiterated the thought when he wrote that people should be judged by “the content of their character.” Think of the statue of Lady Liberty where the woman is holding scales and is deliberately blindfolded – indicating that the identity of the parties being examined is not supposed to count at all in rendering a proper judgment.

Marxists reject the concept of blind justice. To collectivists individuals are less important (if salient at all), and group membership is key. The focus is on furthering the interests of a particular class or category. For every good group (the oppressed) there is an antagonistic group that has to be crushed. What happens to any particular person is not consequential, but the interests of the collective is paramount.

Human beings are often in conflict, and there is no path that will eliminate it completely. However, with individualism people can discuss their various interests, find ways of voluntarily accommodating to one another, and develop positive relationships.

To a Neo-Marxist class struggle is permanent. Animosity between opposing groups is not supposed to end by accommodation. Instead one tribe has to vanquish another. That is a sure formula for stoking personal resentment and hostility.

It is significant that leftism endlessly complains about categories of people that are being oppressed. The naive outside observer might assume – in error – that the goal is to eliminate oppression. But to the intellectual architects of progressive leftism the real objective is revenge. The end-game is to turn the tables on the “oppressors.” If women have been oppressed by men, the solution is to put women in charge and make men subservient and ashamed of themselves. If straights have historically made it difficult for gays, then it is the goal of the elite cabal to punish straights and assign them to a low status – forever.

How can you tell who is right? Look in the mirror. Consider your authentic experiences and evaluate them. Is humanity made up of individuals, each person with free will, that can make decisions, with the capacity (but no guarantee) for acting correctly? Do you have the ability to think? Should you be judged according to what you do? Should all humans be subject to the same standards? You are discovering individualism.

Alternatively, are groups and designated categories what really counts, where any particular person is of little significance – except how that person contributes to the goals of the hive? Should your worth and rights be based on group memberships that are assigned to you by the leftist intellectual elite? Should you rejoice if you are labeled a victim by the woke ruling class? Should you despise people (including yourself) if the “progressive” bosses proclaim they belong to an oppressor category?

An understanding of individualism cures the poison of Neo-Marxism.

*** See other entries at in “Monthly Columns.” ***

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