“In this sense the theory of Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.
“Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists. On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain.
“There are besides, eternal truths, such as Freedom, Justice, etc., that are common to all states of society. But Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience
The two-class economic construct, with one class of people perpetually victimizing another class of people, is both crude and defective. The history of man and the nature of individuals are more complex than the simplistic materialist construct of communism and its radical egalitarianism. Yet Marx and Engels invented them and assigned them more value than the individual, ensuring communism’s inhumanity. There is infinite diversity among the individuals within the so-called bourgeois and proletariat—not only economic but religious, social, geographical, political, etc. There are also differences in character traits among individuals—psychological, emotional, intellectual, moral, etc. Moreover, some degree of disunity among individuals within the classes would be natural, as would some degree of harmony and cooperation between individuals in the two classes. In the end, however, when and how are we to know when material equality has been achieved? How is it actually defined and measured and by whom?
As for Marx and Engels’s condemnation of capitalism, industrialization through capitalism would lead to economic progress that improved the lifestyles of tens of millions in Europe and North America. Advances were made in manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, technology, etc. New products and services improved upon existing ones. New skills were learned as new job opportunities became available. For most, their standard of living improved as they earned more and their material needs and wants became more affordable. In America, automobiles, homes or apartments, running water, flush toilets, electricity, refrigerators, freezers, ovens, stoves, microwaves, air-conditioning, washing machines, dryers, televisions, telephones, etc. are commonplace. More wealth and opportunity have been created by and for more people than under any other economic model. In fact, rather than emancipate themselves from the system, the so-called proletariat helped shape it, benefit from it, contribute to it, and fight wars to defend it. The market system is imperfect, but it is the most perfect of economic systems. The proletarians never rose up to overthrow their capitalist systems. Nor did they join together across national boundaries in a global revolution. They clearly rejected Marx’s rallying cry—“Workers of the world, unite!”
Marx was also wrong when he predicted that larger and larger industrial enterprises would consume so much available capital that they would crowd out smaller businesses. In America, small businesses are vital to the economy. In 2010, 98.2 percent of businesses had fewer than 100 employees, 89.3 percent had fewer than 20 employees, 78.6 percent had fewer than 10 employees, and 60.8 percent had fewer than 5 employees.
Missing from The Communist Manifesto’s flawed arguments are the inalienable rights of the individual. Man is dehumanized and his actual identity is lost in the communist utopia. If he is “wealthy,” such as a landowner, business owner, or landlord, he is part of an evil group, whether he is evil or not. If he does not divest himself of his wealth, it will be confiscated from him, by force if necessary. If he is “not wealthy” or a laborer, he is part of a good group, whether he is good or not. Only the latter group survives. The individual’s fate is sealed by a fiction based largely on an economic classification assigned to him by political philosophers and, in the end, a workers’ paradise that is said to be inevitable. This approach of predestined pigeonholing of the individual is closer to the utopias in the Republic, Utopia, and Leviathan than may appear on the surface.
In all four utopias, the individual and his family are subservient to the state.
The Communist Manifesto seethes with hate for the so-called bourgeoisie. Their freedom, families, and of course, property, must all be abolished. “This person must, indeed, be swept out of the way and made impossible” (38). “Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists” (39). “In this sense the theory of Communism may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property” (36). “The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie.…”
communism’s utopian underpinnings and characteristics attract sympathetic attention, including in America and especially among the intelligentsia and malcontented, as it is romanticized as “social justice” and a “liberation” movement. Writing of these sympathizers, Aron observed, “Not only are they sacrificing the best part of the legacy of the Enlightenment—respect for reason, liberalism—but they are sacrificing it in an age when there is no reason for the sacrifice, at least in the West…”