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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Marxism and the Bible

Posted by on Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Genesis 2:

This is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens—there was no field shrub on earth and no grass of the field had sprouted, for the LORD God had sent no rain upon the earth and there was no man* to till the ground, but a stream was welling up out of the earth and watering all the surface of the ground—then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Only a Marxist can make sense out of this kind of dreaming. We know what's going on here. We can see through the words and see a world whose leading technology and most inspiring economic activity is ceramics. The ceramists of this time and place are getting paid. Their productions are admired and desired by all. Among them is a Jobs. The creator of all things, God, makes a living from clay.


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dnt trust me 1
Mr. Pan-Universalist Philosopher, just go buy a vibrator or whatever flips your boat at the Genesis Bible Study website and call. it. a day.
Posted by dnt trust me on December 30, 2012 at 10:28 AM · Report this
skidmark 2
"Only a Marxist can make sense out of this kind of dreaming."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Marxism.
Posted by skidmark on December 30, 2012 at 11:25 AM · Report this

They can make a living as long as they keep those ceramicists from South Korea bottled up with I.P. laws.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on December 30, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 4
God is white?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on December 30, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Report this
Damn, that's amazing. I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing but Chuck beat me to posting it.
Posted by WFM on December 30, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
imbecile 8
In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness.

And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close as mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely.

"Everything must have a purpose?" asked God.

"Certainly," said man.

"Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God.

And He went away.
Posted by imbecile on December 30, 2012 at 1:49 PM · Report this
I agree with Charles... genesis... the bible... steve jobs... etc.
Posted by elstongunn on December 30, 2012 at 3:10 PM · Report this
Only a Marxist can continue to push for an economic system that has demonstrated a 100% failure rate in real world situations.
Posted by dansan on December 30, 2012 at 6:40 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 11

You mean capitalism?
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on December 30, 2012 at 6:48 PM · Report this
xjuan 12
Hey, @imbecile, I loved your story. We're just God's App in iParadise. I have a question, though: Once we find a meaning for it all, are we freed, fired or deleted?
Posted by xjuan on December 30, 2012 at 6:53 PM · Report this
imbecile 13
It's from the 1st book of Bokonism, a fictional religion created by Kurt Vonnegut in "Cat's Cradle". The meaning of it all: It's all foma.
Posted by imbecile on December 30, 2012 at 7:13 PM · Report this
@11 Certainly capitalism fails, and often spectacularly, as we've seen the last few years. Usually this happens when it is insufficiently regulated. Regardless, well-regulated capitalism paired with a robust public sector seems to be the best system we've come up with so far. Experiments in Marxism have a nasty habit of degenerating into one party dictatorships.
Posted by dansan on December 30, 2012 at 8:18 PM · Report this
treacle 16
@15 - Marxism isn't an economic system, it's a critique of capitalism. You might be thinking of the authoritarian state-run economies (often confused with "communism") that the Soviet Union attempted, and China continues to run with. I don't think those "devolved" into one-party dictatorships, I'm pretty sure they started out that way. Which is not to say that our two-party oligarchy is particularly better. 1/3rd of Americans are economically fucked. Why can't the "best system we've come up with so far" enable more people to survive well? One out of every three?!? That's a pretty shitty statistic. Humans used to do better than that.
Posted by treacle on December 30, 2012 at 8:47 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 17

Capitalists themselves continuously try to de-regulate. During booms, they convince us to do stupid things like repealing Glass-Steagle, which force economic bubbles to bust. So your regulations never seem to do any good.

As far as dictatorship goes, I hear the neoliberal economists talking about how the free market will lead us to some sort of utopia where human nature has been perfected by the weeding out of moral hazards. They also talk about capitalism as if it should be allowed to drive each and every aspect of life. This is a classic example of a totalist system, one in which everything that one does is in some way political. Two guys want to marry. The bigots that hate them use religion as their argument. Rather than use the counter-argument that religion is bullshit, and that every sexually dimorphic species on Earth has memebrs who exhibit homosexuality, so its as natural as anything else. No, the argument used to counter the religious crazies must be an economic one. Now, I can't tell you which idea is more offensive, the idea that love is hated by god or the idea that love is good only if it can turn a profit for somebody. But I can tell you that the profit motive is the only thing stronger than the compulsion toward religious insanity, and this is a statement as to how neoclassical political economy has come to pervade every aspect of our lives.

Now, totalist systems are also called totalitarian systems. We don't think of capitalism as totalitarian, except that it does not allow for competing ideas that might undermine it's effort. Sure, you've got two political parties, and on the social issues they're very different. On the economic issues, they're both neoliberal in their outlook. They are like two wings of the same party, a party that represents the interests of the business class. Can you call the Democrat's decision to hold their convention in North Carolina (a Right to Work state), their support for bailing out the banks in 2008 or their opposition to the repeal of Taft-Hartley, or their lackluster support for the EFCA and their total avoidance of ENDA representative of the interests of the working class?

And what about unskilled laborers? What chance do people who rely on Labor Ready or staffing agencies for an income have of ever organizing for better working conditions? They don't even have unions to represent them.

And then there are felons, who lose their right to vote. Universal suffrage is a hallmark of a democracy, and having adult citizens who are disenfranchised is the hallmark of a non-democracy.

So we have a totalist system where one particular form of political economic theory is represented by both parties. So what about elections, you say? Well, the USSR had elections too, so I don't think the mere presence of a ballot box makes a democracy. Political campaigns here are money driven, and corporations can donate all they like. So the ideas and voices of the working poor, for whom even $50 is more of a campaign donation than they can reasonably spare, are drowned out by the ideas of IBM, Chase Bank and Halliburton, who can donate much more than a mere $50. They monied classes have a voice and the poor do not. If this isn't one-party rule, then I don't know what is. It's certainly not a democracy.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on December 30, 2012 at 9:02 PM · Report this
seandr 18
@16: Give me a break. Marxism does more than just critique capitalism, it also includes this cheeky little "manifesto" that prescribes (under the presumptuous guise of prophesy), an alternative economic system that communalizes property, skills, and labor, and does away with pesky civil liberties such as freedom to exchange goods and services for whatever you think they're worth. Perhaps you've read it? It was co-written by a guy who's name was, not coincidentally, Marx.

This idealistic, academic road map has been followed by a number of states, and the trip report from their adventures are in. To make it work on any significant scale, you need a totalitarian state with the power to impose it on humans with cruel, dehumanizing force. Otherwise, they tend to fall back to their natural habits of working and trading based on reciprocity, fairness, self-interest, social betterment, territoriality, reputation, social connections, charm, etc. Or, to put it another way, they have this (unfortunate for Marxists) tendency to form markets.
Posted by seandr on December 30, 2012 at 11:23 PM · Report this
seandr 19
@10: There is no "Capitalism", there are only capitalisms, some of which function better than others.

Dismissing them all based on the capitalisms that existed in mid-nineteenth century Europe is a bit like dismissing all forms of feminism, including those that don't yet exist, based on Andrea Dworkin.
Posted by seandr on December 30, 2012 at 11:31 PM · Report this
@17 I can't say that I disagree with your premise, only your conclusion.

Your comparison of neoliberal economists with religious fundamentalists is apt. Modern free market fundamentalists seem to have an almost cult-like devotion to the religion of the market. And like religious fundamentalists, they seem to treat their principles as an article of faith, with no obligation to justify or explain them when they don't seem to fit with reality. And yet, when restricted to the right domain, and with proper regulation, capitalism seems to work to raise the living standards of most people. As 16 pointed out, the system produces an inevitable segment of disadvantaged which unfortunately currently isn't adequately addressed by the social safety net.

I don't have an answer for capitalism's tendency to corrupt the political system. It's particularly bad right now. Private sector unions used to provide a counterbalance, but they've been severely weakened.
Posted by dansan on December 31, 2012 at 1:39 AM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 21

Its that corruption of the political system that causes capitalism to implode. Immediately after the bust, we respond with policy designed to regulate capitalism. Things go smoothly and well for a while, and then we forget why we needed to have brakes on this train to begin with, so we take those brakes off. The bubble starts to inflate rapidly, and we go flying off the cliff... yet again.

Boom, bust, boom,bust,boom, bust. It cycles like this endlessly. And they tell us this sort of thing is natural, that we should all just let it go flying over that cliff. Never mind that there are actual human lives being destroyed by these boom and bust cycles. Never mind that we get suckered into wars over oil just so we can get more commodities for the speculators, and that we send our soldiers off to die for said commodity. Never mind the families with no housing or food or hope. Or jobs.

Posted by Tacoma Traveler on December 31, 2012 at 5:54 AM · Report this
xjuan 22
@imbecile, thanks for the cat.
Posted by xjuan on December 31, 2012 at 11:18 AM · Report this
After your first sentence I was expecting you to say something about the presumption in the text that man was created in order to work. There are multiple ways that this passage can be interpreted to say something about the proletariat...
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on December 31, 2012 at 2:27 PM · Report this

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