Why Marxism is cool again — with people who don’t know of its horrors


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KARL MARX STATUE BUILT DECADES AFTER BEING TORN DOWN: WHY?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me take you to an article which ran about a week ago in The Washington Post. Nearly two centuries ago, the 17-year-old son of a vineyard owner left his tranquil riverside city on the edge of the Prussian empire to make his way in the world and, perhaps, to shake it up a bit. Harry, this individual we’re talking about, we recently celebrated his 200th birthday on May the 5th.  

DR. REEDER: Karl Marx is who we’re talking about. In his hometown, they erected an 18-foot statue with a lot of fanfare. What’s interesting is it wasn’t the state of Germany that paid for it, but it was China. China paid for it, who now says that they are the standard bearer for Karl Marx and his theory — his Communist Manifesto — that he wrote in context with a name by the name of Engels.

And so, whenever you talk about Marx, you have to talk about Marx and Engels, or you have to talk about Marx and Lenin, or Marx and Stalin or Marx and Mao Zedong. These are the people who took the Communist Manifesto out of an economic analysis and made it a world and life view that included a messianic state. In other words, it was the state that would enforce the Manifesto and it was the state that would take hold of property, it was the state who would take hold of the economy and the state — and you’ll note that all of them became atheistic like Karl Marx, himself, who was an atheist.

When you saw that statue going up, if you saw the videos, you’ll see a lot of young people. Let me tell you what you won’t see. You won’t see any older people because those were the people who, in the 1980s, tore those statues down. They took down Lenin, they took down Stalin, they took down Marx — they took down all those, particularly, in East Germany. They were glad to get them down.

They were looking at these people that were celebrating the erection of that statue and they remember the days that they tore them down when the wall came down finally and, when that wall came down and all the repression.

When they see Karl Marx, let me tell you what they think: They think gulags, they think prisons, they think famine, they think deprivation. They think all that came with Communism, which was nothing but destruction. They also know that any notion of any freedom of religion is utterly gone because religion is seen as a threat because Communism is a religion.

And, by the way, atheism is a religion. From a Christian world and life view, even it’s with the negative, a-theism, “no god,” that is a religion. That’s a statement of belief that there was nothing and nothing created something and now something has produced all of this. It’s called materialism.

MARXISM = GOVERNMENT CONTROL

And Marx was drastically affected by a number of people, not the least of which was a philosopher by the name of Hagel and Hagel invented a world and life view that was atheistic materialism. And it is specifically what is called dialectical materialism and that is the explanation of everything is circular. Marx had a circular view of history because he had embraced a circular view of life from a philosopher by the name of Hagel.

And Hagel says this: You have thesis, you have antithesis. Thesis and antithesis are in conflict and the result is a synthesis. The synthesis becomes the new thesis, and that thesis automatically has a mutation of an antithesis and that just keeps repeating itself in a circular fashion.

That was Hagel’s dialectical materialism. Well, a guy by the name of Darwin takes that and applies it to “science,” a philosophical world and life view. You’ve got species, you have mutation and now this mutation and this species create a new species. That became known as evolution.

Now Marx takes it and Marx says you’ve got those in control of everything, property and resources — the bourgeois, those in control — and the people outside of control are the proletariat, the great masses. Well, the proletariat will rebel against the bourgeois and then that will create a new ruling class, a new bourgeois, which will create a new proletariat. And so, his circular view as revolution and that’s how he would advance his Marxist Communist theory.

You have Marx with the economic theory and Engels who applies the political and even more than Engels, Lenin. There are ten points to the Communist Manifesto. Number one issue — and Engels and Marx both say this — communism can only succeed with the abolition of private property and it is acknowledged that you will never be able to abolish private property without coercion and that means the power of the state. The state owns everything and distributes it to whoever it will.

RESURGENCE OF POPULARITY ISN’T FROM ACTUAL CONSTITUENTS

And so now Marx is cool. How did Marx get cool? Well, Marx was loved back in the ‘60s. Marx and then all of his adherents like Castro, and Che Guevera and others — they were all loved, they were all cool, we all had the t-shirts in college and everything. And then we began to see what that actually produces — gulags, prisons, famines — and then came tear down the statues, tear down the wall, and the ghost of Marx is now gone. It’s gone.

Well, you got to remember, as all those people in the ‘60s went to the schools to teach — and, Tom, we’re going to do a follow-up program to show that they’re teaching in our schools this world and life view. What’s happening? Now our students see it as cool.

That’s why, when you go to Germany and you see that 18-foot statue, Germans aren’t erecting it and older people who have actually experienced Marxism applied through the power of a Leninist/Stalinist/Mao Zedong state, you don’t see them celebrating it but you see it’s cool now.

Now it’s a matter of an imprint on a t-shirt again. It’s cool out of the colleges because the very people that promoted its destruction in the ‘60s as college students are now teaching in the colleges and that world and life view is being promoted.

Isn’t it wonderful? We can tax everybody, the government gets it and then the government will redistribute wealth to everyone. Anybody that believes that is believing a lie. If you think there’s a have and a have not, wait until you put the private property in the hands of the government and I’ll show you where there’s haves and have nots. And that’s exactly what was seen in Russia, which is why the Soviet Union collapsed, East Germany collapsed, all of them collapsed because the oppression and the tyranny finally was undone.

If you’re taking somebody else’s property to give it to me, it’s just a matter of time until you take my property to give it to somebody else. And, after a while, the government’s going to run out of resources when nobody has anything to produce anything.

WHY DOES SOCIALISM LOSE ITS APPEAL?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Yeah, I think it was Margaret Thatcher that said that the problem with socialism is, eventually, you run out of other people’s money.

DR. REEDER: Exactly and that’s why we need somebody to teach contemporary history. Let me tell you what communism does. Let me tell you what socialism, its stepchild, does. Go visit Venezuela and walk the streets of Cuba.

Now, do I agree that capitalism can lead to the greed of the consumption of wealth? Yes, but the answer to that is not the government, but the answer to that is the free practice of religion that calls people to a higher standard of life which is it’s more blessed to give than to receive. And so, when you create wealth, you now have something to give to other people.

Marx taps into something that we all love and that is for everyone to do well, but the answer is a state that protects the unalienable rights of the people to life, liberty and property and the pursuit of happiness.

MONDAY: THE REALITY OF MARXISM ON CAMPUS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let’s follow-up on this on Monday as we review the statistics out of the National Association of Scholars. Unfortunately, it is somewhat of a suspicions-confirmed type of study.

DR. REEDER: Tom, Marx is cool because the cultural elite have never let him go. The children of the ‘60s went into the entertainment industry, the media industry and, of course, into the academic world. And now the cultural elite are making Marx and Marxism as intellectually cool once again. Those are the people who are teaching in the colleges and in the universities and we’ll look at that in our next program.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

13 hours ago

VIDEO: Prisons could be built with COVID-19 funds, Shelby endorses Katie Britt for Senate, Brooks battles with Swalwell as a new poll shows big lead and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political consultant Mecca Musick take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Will Alabama really use COVID-19 relief funds to build prisons?

— Does Katie Britt’s entering of the U.S. Senate race shake things up, or has U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) already won this race?

— Can U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) keep the more radical members of the Democratic Party at bay?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by former U.S. Attorney Jay Town to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at those who want to use the illegally acquired tax returns of the uber-wealthy to push for higher taxes. He argues the released returns show that we should implement a flat tax and do away with all deductions.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

16 hours ago

Auburn’s David Housel tackles more than sports in ‘From the Backbooth at Chappy’s’

When David Housel retired from Auburn University in 2006, after a legendary career as athletics director for the Tigers, it wasn’t long before his wife urged him to get busy again – and a deli on Glenn Avenue in Auburn was the beneficiary.

“Susan wanted me to do something to get out of the house,” Housel recalls. “I started going to Chappy’s to drink coffee, read the paper. Pretty soon, Kenny Howard would meet me there, and it just kind of grew from there.”

In short order, friends of Housel began to gather, first a few one day a week and then, just prior to the pandemic, 12-16 people nearly every day of the week.

They meet at Chappy’s, where a plaque commemorates Housel’s booth, and they talk – about sports, of course, but about pretty much anything that’s on their minds.

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Housel began to write essays about those mornings, posting them to Facebook. He’s now compiled more than 100 of those pieces into a new book, “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s: Stories of the South: Football, Politics, Religion, and More.” It’s officially released next week at a series of book signings at Chappy’s in the Auburn area from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day: Tuesday in Auburn, Wednesday in Montgomery and Thursday in Prattville.

“Consider this Housel unleashed,” the author says. “Most of the stuff I’ve written in my life has been about Auburn on an Auburn platform. Even after I retired, I was a representative of Auburn, even though I wasn’t working there. This is not an Auburn book. It’s about football, politics, religion and more.”

“From the Backbooth at Chappy’s,” with a foreword by Auburn graduate and acclaimed journalist Rheta Grimsley Johnson, evolved as Housel’s morning gatherings at Chappy’s evolved, though he began writing the essays fairly early in the process.

“When something is in your mind, in your heart, in your head, if you’re a writer, it just has to come out, and it just comes through your fingers,” Housel says. “Turns out people like to read it, so I got the Facebook page. I shared thoughts and essays and that kind of thing. It was not a planned thing.”

When COVID-19 came along, Housel decided to listen to a few folks who told him his musings would make a good book.

“I had been thinking a lot about it, and it was time to do it,” Housel says.

Housel has written six other books. Most have to do with Auburn sports history, but one, “From the Desk of David Housel,” is similar to “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s.”

“That one was primarily sports, but it had some other things in it,” Housel says. “This one is about the other stuff, but it has some sports in it.”

Though the three topics in his book’s title – football, politics and religion  – are often the subjects people are warned not to bring up if they want to keep the peace, Housel and his friends don’t shy away from any of them. Housel especially gravitates toward religious topics.

“I like the ones that I hope make people think,” he says of his essays. “The good Lord gave us a mind, and we’re supposed to use it. Too few people who call themselves Christians do what the Lord said and use their minds. … Faith has got to be built not on challenging God but questioning God. I think God likes that, because it shows we’re engaged and that we care.”

Now that the pandemic is ending, the Backbooth at Chappy’s events are slowly but surely returning to normal. On Mondays, Housel eats two eggs scrambled, lean bacon and a helium biscuit; on Tuesdays maybe a parfait with granola; on Wednesdays, it’s blueberry pancakes, and Fridays a waffle.

What remains constant is the conversation. And the writing.

“I’m still writing the Backbooth, and since the first of the year, I’ve written a couple I think are book-worthy,” Housel says. “I started out doing maybe one a week, but I’m old enough that I don’t have to meet a self-imposed deadline. When the spirit moves me, I write.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

18 hours ago

State Rep. Pringle pushes to ban critical race theory in public schools — ‘Woke culture indoctrination,’ ‘Needs to be stopped in its tracks’

Last week, Florida’s Board of Education banned so-called “critical race theory” from its public schools, and it is a move State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) hopes to follow in Alabama.

Critical race theory, a belief that racism is ingrained in some of America’s sacred institutions, is widely panned by critics because it distorts and weaponizes history for political gain.

Friday, Pringle discussed his prefiled bill for the Alabama Legislature’s 2022 regular session to prohibit critical race theory from being taught in Alabama’s public schools.

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“It’s simply a bill that says in public education, you can’t teach or indoctrinate our children with critical race theory,” he said. “People are waking up all around the nation to how bad this stuff is. I mean, this is woke cancel culture gone completely amuck. They want to completely disregard our 14th and 15th Amendment rights, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. If you don’t agree with them — here’s what’s crazy: They want to send you to a reeducation camp. Think about that, a reeducation camp. Don’t they do that in China, Russia and North Korea?  That’s how bad this stuff is. Either you agree with them or you have to be sent off to a reeducation camp.”

“This is just indoctrination — the woke culture indoctrination of our children,” Pringle continued. “That’s all it is and it needs to be stopped in its tracks. I mean, our children need to learn history and we ought to open a frank discussion about history — the good, the bad. But this is not about good or bad. This is teaching our children that our nation is a bad nation, is an evil nation and is not the great country that we live in. We are the safest, freest people in the world and that’s what our children need to learn.”

“Do we have problems? Yeah,” he added. “Have we done bad things? Yeah. But we’re still the greatest nation in the history of the world.”

According to the Mobile County Republican lawmaker, the response to the effort thus far has been positive and supportive.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

21 hours ago

Why Sylacauga marble is known around the world

If you’ve ever visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and stared up at the translucent marble ceiling, you’ve witnessed a piece of Alabama history. The ceiling is made of white marble mined in Talladega County’s Sylacauga (appropriately known as the Marble City).

In addition to lending its natural treasure to some of the nation’s most notable buildings, Sylacauga also holds the title for having the longest deposit of marble in the world. The bed of stone runs 32 miles long, a mile and a half wide, and more than 600 feet deep. The marble found in this quarry is especially desirable for two key characteristics: its purity and its durability. When paired together, these distinct qualities make Alabama marble some of the most desired in the world for large-scale buildings and monuments, as well as homes and sculptures.

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The History of Alabama Marble

sylacauga marble

The Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Marble is formed when limestone is subjected to extreme pressure and heat. In Sylacauga, the conditions are perfect for the formation of metamorphic marble. Sylacauga’s massive deposit was first discovered by Native Americans, but it wasn’t quarried until 1834, 20 years after army surgeon Dr. Edward Gantt stumbled upon the vein while passing through with General Andrew Jackson’s army.

In the years that followed Gantt’s discovery, Sylacauga’s marble business thrived. More quarries popped up, mining the marble for everything from funerary monuments to building projects to sculptures. By the 1960s, the use of the quarried marble shifted toward the utilitarian. Rather than being mined in huge chunks for building material, the marble was being ground down for use in products like cosmetics, diapers, magazine paper, fertilizer, fiberglass, toothpaste, and chewing gum. In 1969, marble was named Alabama’s state rock.

A Timeless Treasure

Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Today the charge for Alabama marble is being led by the Swindal family, who own Alabama Marble Mineral & Mining Co. (AM3). AM3’s 50-acre quarry in Sylacauga is the world’s only supplier and leading distributor of Alabama marble. Owner Roy Swindal’s goal is to reintroduce the world to Alabama marble, once again marketing it as a prized material for both commercial and consumer construction. According to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, around 30 million tons of marble have been pulled from the ground in Sylacauga since 1900. The Swindals hope to add to that number by continuing and improving upon the state’s tradition for many years to come.

Marble Mania

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Sculptor Enzo Torcoletti at the Sylacauga Marble Festival (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

It’s only fitting that a town built on marble pay tribute to the stone that brought its success. For the past 13 years, the city has celebrated its marble mining heritage with the 12-day Magic of Marble Festival. The festival, typically held in April, features several activities and events that are all free and fun for the whole family. Festival participants can take a tour of operational quarries and visit the Gantts/IMERYS Observation Point that overlooks the town’s historic first quarry. The creative side of marble is put on display at Blue Bell Park, where 25 sculptors create original pieces made entirely of marble. On the final day of the festival, the finished pieces are displayed and sold at nearby B.B. Comer Library. Other activities include a 5K run and a scavenger hunt.

If you can’t wait for next year’s festival and you want to see Alabama’s famous white marble in action now, there are several locations around the state to see it put to good use. In Birmingham, try the John Hand Building, Wells Fargo headquarters, City Federal building, or the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re in Montgomery, don’t miss the “Head of Christ” sculpture at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. It was created by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, who also happens to be the artist behind Birmingham’s Vulcan.

(Courtesy of SoulGrown)

22 hours ago

The economics of paying ransom

The cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline by the hacker group DarkSide disrupted gasoline supplies across the Southeast. The company caused a stir by paying a 75 Bitcoin ransom to DarkSide. America historically has been opposed to paying evildoers, as reflected in the slogan, “Millions for defense, but not one cent in tribute,” and President Jefferson sending the Navy and Marines to fight the Barbary Pirates.

Ransomware raises many economic issues. A first question is, do hackers ever give the data back if paid? DarkSide provided Colonial Pipeline a key to decrypt their data. According to Proofpoint, this is the norm: 70% of ransom payers got their data back, 20% never got their data back and 10% received a second ransom demand.

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From an economic perspective, this is not surprising. About two dozen groups, identifying themselves by name and known to insurance companies, carry out most of the sophisticated attacks. Insurers would never recommend payment in the future to a group which has reneged. The hackers must deliver as promised to make money.

Some have suggested making payment of ransom for cyberattacks illegal. If no one ever paid ransom, the hackers could not make money. Refusing to pay ransom though faces two significant economic challenges.

The first is time consistency. Kidnapping illustrates this concept. Before an event, the incentive exists to say, “We will never pay ransom.” If the bad guys believe this, they will never invest the time, effort and expense to stage a kidnapping. Once they hold hostages, however, our incentive changes; negotiating just this one time now makes sense. Our policy to never pay ransom is not credible.

Collective action poses the second challenge. Businesses collectively have an interest in not rewarding cybercrime, yet individual businesses suffer these attacks. A business which does not pay ransom benefits other businesses, creating the challenge. Why should Continental Pipeline suffer losses to make other businesses less likely to be attacked?

Why do businesses pay ransom? Reports mention several factors. A business may face a closure of unknown length and cost. Customers’ personal information will be sold if ransom is not paid, leading to fines and bad publicity. And the hackers might sell proprietary information to competitors.

Good economists know better than to second guess business managers’ decisions. Decisions to pay ransom often involve the business’ executives, its insurance carrier and tech security experts. They know the options and likely costs and should make a good decision, despite the pressure of a crisis.

Insurance companies and government regulations reduce organizations’ vulnerability to hackers, which is good. But what about channeling President Jefferson and going after the hackers? Most of the hacker groups operate in Russia, which provides Safe Haven as long as the hackers do not target Russian companies. Some law enforcement options may exist. Federal prosecutors apparently recovered most of the Bitcoins paid to DarkSide.

Crime is a very costly way to transfer wealth. Stolen merchandise typically sells for one-third (or less) of market value. A criminal might have to steal thousands in property to net $1,000. Ransomware appears much more wasteful than traditional theft. Consider just the value of the time Americans spent searching for gas during the disruption. Remember then that the ransom was about $4.4 million.

Cybercrime makes us poorer. The hackers and defenders at tech security companies are highly skilled computer programmers. But instead of making new apps or games, they are hacking or defending existing computer systems. Add to this the service disruption during cyberattacks, the reduced use of technology for fear of being hacked and the time spent on security training. The costs may be $1 trillion annually, or one percent of global GDP.

We must guard here against comparing the real world to an imagined utopia. We cannot costlessly protect our property from thieves or our computers from malware, or make people no longer willing to steal from others. Economics teaches that there are no perfect solutions in life, only tradeoffs. Vigilance, antivirus programs and backup are the tradeoffs we face with cybercrime.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.