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Monday, February 21, 2005

Malcom Muggeridge on Karl Marx

Malcom Muggeridge, in his book A Third Testament, contrasts Soren Kierkegaard's and Karl Marx's predictions:
In 1848, a time of great turmoil in Europe, two significant voices were raised, both, at the same time, obscure and little heeded. One, Karl Marx's, proclaimed the ultimate and inevitable triumph of the prolatariat in a world-wide class war, to be followed by the creation of a classless, socialist utopia, in which all government, all law, all exploitation of man by man, would wither away, and the human race live happily ever after.

The other voice, Kierkegaard's, scornfully dismissed such collectivist hopes for mankind as infallibly leading to a new and more comprehensive form of servitude. The divine right of kings had been abolished, but the divine right of the people which had replace it would prove, Kierkegaard insisted, on an even worse deception, and would give rise to regimes that exceeded any hitherto known in their brutality and claims to omniscience. I am the people -- Le peuple, c'est moi -- was an even more insanely arrogant claim than the famous one of Louis XIV's, L'Etat, c'est moi -- I am the state.


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