There’s a line in a recent Chris Dillow post that says:
Whereas social democrats try to work within the confines of what the public considers “fair”, and try to tweak those perceptions, we Marxists fear that this is a forlorn task because the power of ideology warps those perceptions.
I’m sure Chris know this is how non-Marxists often think of Marxists, that their ideology warps their perceptions. It’s more appropriate to talk of Marxists being indoctrinated than it is most people, who take less doctrinal, more experience-based and pragmatic approaches to issues.
Indeed, Marxism belongs with traditional religions to a bracket of improbable, dogma-based belief systems that require faith to maintain, in the teeth of what could politely be called conflicting data. As with traditional religions, you get ‘Why I am still a Marxist’ and ‘Why I am no longer a Marxist’ essays and columns – Chris himself wrote one – which are very similar to ‘Why I am still/no longer a Christian’ type pieces.
You don’t get ‘Why I am still a slightly conservative pragmatist’ essays in the same way.
So Chris is on very swampy ground, making charges against non-Marxists that are better, perhaps only appropriate if, aimed at Marxists like himself. It gets worse.
What does ‘fairness’ mean? In particular, what is the objective test for fairness?
Obviously, there isn’t one, for a very good reason: nobody agrees what ‘fair’ means. And it’s Chris’s fault.
Not just Chris, but the whole of the Marxist left that for a century or more has been trying to bludgeon through un-argued propositions by disguising them in wrappings labelled ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice’. The egotism and narcissism involved in this approach are extraordinary: my views aren’t just me doing my best to understand the world and what’s best, they’re Objective Truth, Fairness and Justice!
But this is a wrapping for something genuinely vile. The argument being made is summed up in Chris’s final paragraph:
Public opinion might decide what is a successful political strategy, but it is more questionable whether it should decide what is a morally right one. One of my fears about Labour politics is that this distinction is often ignored.
Although people disagree with Chris – because of some mental deficiency in them and not because he might be wrong, or wrong for them as individuals – he feels entitled to impose his own preferred outcomes on them by force, because there’s no other way to do so. Indeed the point of this whole piece is that the failure of Marxists to persuade others of their ideas is because of the mental deficiency of the others, and not because Marxism is a peculiar mid-nineteenth century fallacy, like Homoeopathy or the modern Druid movement.
This has nothing to do with fairness or justice. It is a form of psychopathy.
But so is being a Marxist at all, knowing what that particular faith has been responsible for in the past hundred years.