Scientific Socialism– “This labeling became a weapon.“
by Bill Lockwood
One of the lesser remembered items regarding communism is that Karl Marx, the founder of modern forms of communism, dubbed it Scientific Socialism. Marxism, as a philosophy, was claimed by Marx to be “scientific.” This label was habitually used by him “to distinguish himself from his many enemies. He and his work were ‘scientific,’ they were not” (Paul Johnson, Intellectuals). This labeling became a weapon. With the seeming onslaught of socialism engulfing America today, we would do well to learn the lesson of “labeling.”
First, by expressing his theory as “scientific socialism” Marx was expressing his kinship with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. “He felt he had found a scientific explanation of human behavior in history akin to Darwin’s theory of evolution.” However, just as today, Darwin’s theory was the unprovable thesis that began on the assumed premise that the explanation of the world had nothing to do with God. Communism begins and ends with atheism. This goes a long way in explaining how American culture has changed into an irreligious one.
After reading Darwin’s Origin of the Species, Karl Marx wrote to Friedrich Engels. “Although developed in a coarse English manner, this is the book that contains the foundation in natural history for our view” (Quoted by Richard Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler, Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany).
As pointed out by Weikart, “many pacifists, feminists, birth control advocates, and homosexual rights activists … were enthusiastic Darwinists and used Darwinian arguments to support their political and social agenda.” Darwinism, like Marxism, is an entire worldview. As German biologist Arnold Dodel stated in in 1904, Darwinism is a “new worldview” which actually “rests on the theory of evolution. On it we have to construct a new ethics … All values will be revalued.”
Second, to label Marxism “science” exerted a “magnetic pull” on the intellectual class of the United States which had already rejected a God-centered worldview. Many Americans, from the Civil War period forward, adopted a materialistic view of the world. This included President Woodrow Wilson, who was himself a “historical materialist.” This notion basically states that material conditions alone determine the course of history. Man’s spiritual nature is excluded from consideration. This concept appealed to elitists such as Wilson who was bred in the halls of higher education. It appealed to their vanity.
As a matter of fact, Darwin’s theory of evolution was and is at the bottom of the entire “progressive” movement—which is nothing less than socialism. This doctrine of “historicism,” Wilson’s faith, is described as the evolutionary theory applied to history and politics (Ronald J. Pestritto, Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism). This, in turn, was rooted in Hegel’s philosophy; precisely the scholastic who influenced Karl Marx. There is little difference between Marx’s dialectic, which he borrowed from Hegel while emphasizing that economic conditions of men determine the course of man’s development and Wilson’s historicism, which posited that history must run a predetermined materialistic course and one cannot transcend one’s historical environment (Pestritto). For Marx, all of reality was framed in “economics”; for Wilson, all of reality was framed in the historical time-frame from which one could not escape.
All of this is simply materialism—there is no reality beyond the material world—but labeling it “scientific” gave it an air of snobbish superiority. After all, once one sides with the “infallibility” of “science,” the “theories” spawned in those halls are beyond review by the rest of us ordinaries.
Ironically, Marx was anything but a scientist. He not only was temperamentally unfit to be a scientist, for there was nothing scientific about him, but in a “deeper sense he was not really a scholar at all.” Marx was not interested in finding truth, but merely in proclaiming theories whether they squared with reality or not (Johnson, 54).
Marx, along with his fellow communists, were only interested in devising weapons for building a totalitarian dictatorship and for “fomenting unrest and ill will between man and man everywhere in the world.” And wherever class warfare rages there is the hobgoblin of communism—scientific socialism.