Several days ago I posted a piece, here, titled “Saving Karl’s Soul” in which I argued that the Left would do well to embrace the evangelical movement since many of its believers are members of the working poor.
I reposted the article at http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/22897 under the title “Karl Marx, Evangelical?” It stirred up a bit of a hornets' nest, and the comments underscore some of the problems that are hamstringing the Left. I’ll lift some of the quotes and then comment on them.
On commentator wants to restrict the “real left” to ideologically pure Marxissm in an attempt to do for it what Pope Benedict is trying to do for the Roman Catholic Church. The only difference is that this Marxist wants to keep the movement mired in the nineteenth century while Benedict wants to return the church to the fourteenth century. Bigotry is not the sole province of the Right.
The comments about the religious right and the weird concept of Marx “going evangelical” are ridiculous.
Not so! They aren’t ridiculous, they’re downright stupid.
However, we have to ask what has “smart” done for us lately.
Every smart idea we’ve had for the last three decades has yielded stupid results. Trickle-down economics was a smart idea. Deregulation, derivatives, sub-prime mortgages, credit-default swaps, Iraq and Afghanistan were all smart ideas, products of the best and brightest minds in America.
If there’s one constant at work, here, it’s that smart ideas produce stupid results.. Perhaps it’s time to try a stupid idea and see if we get a smart result. We know what “smart" will get us.
Speaking of the Lerner article, the commentator says:
It smacks of a return to a form of religious idealism that flies in the face of materialism and rationality. In fact, it seems to advocate abandoning rationality. This is a return to barbarism.
Ideology is rationality run amuck. More slaughter and misery has been perpetrated by a slavish adherence to a "rational" ideal that is as rigid as it is linear than by “religious idealism.” A barbarity driven by passion soon spends itself, while one driven by rationality goes on and on and on as we discovered in Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.
Do you really believe this horseshit? The only movement these people [the religious right] could be the vanguard of is a reactionary movement of fascism.
This will be true if the Left considers itself too good to embrace the working poor. Ideological prissiness renders the Left incapable of the strategic thinking that must be a part and parcel of a revolutionary movement. It must go down into the marketplace and accept the working poor as they are. Dismissing them as “fascists” is the surest way to insure they will become fascists.
Another commentator laments:
These people ARE the religious right BECAUSE they are intellectually and emotionally flawed. They are born/raised with these flaw first and cleave to the Christian nazi dogma second.
Of course the poor and working poor are intellectually and emotionally flawed, because they are poor. This is the problem with poverty and the reason we seek to alleviate it. The comment that these “people” would never embrace Marx ignores the Latin American experience where the combination of Christianity and Marxism is effecting a revolutionary change. But then, the “people” down there aren’t as fastidious as we are.
The bottom line is that this country is badly in need of a systemic revolution. Unfortunately it will never happen as long as the Left remains mired in its ideological purity.
Incidentally, Marx said of religion, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of a heartless world.”
Barbarism, my ass!