Month: May 2014

Polylogism: class, race, religion, and logic

Social and Racial Polylogism in Marxist Ideology: Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action: a Treatise on Economics[1]B976

“If man reconsiders freeing himself from the supremacy of reason, he must know what he will have to forsake.”
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, p. 91

Polylogism: class, race, religion, and logic

Marxian, and most socialistic analysis of economics, in order to scuttle serious critique of their assumptions and assertions, must deny the possibility of any universal categories and structures for reason and logic in the assessment of their theories. For example, in this theory, there is no universal structure of the human mind, but rather there is only the “logic” of various social classes and “races.” This leads to radical social and racial polylogism that assumes that there is no universally valid logic. It also provides them grounds for the idea that bias unduly influences the ideology of the bourgeois, making the latter altogether untrustworthy. These unproved assumptions continue today largely unevaluated among their proponents. Indeed, if you can successfully resist all rational and logical evaluation of your ideology, by denying your opponents the ability to have objective rationality,then mysticism will ultimately replace ratiocination. Ludwig von Mises brilliantly outlined this problem of Marxian and socialist economics:

 There was still the main obstacle to overcome: the devastating criticism of the economists. Marx had a solution at hand. Human reason, he asserted, is constitutionally unfitted to find truth. The logical structure of mind is different with various social classes. There is no such thing as a universally valid logic. What mind produces can never be anything but “ideology,” that is, in the Marxian terminology, a set of ideas disguising the selfish interests of the thinker’s own social class. Hence, the “bourgeois” mind of the economists is utterly incapable of producing more than an apology for capitalism. The teachings of “bourgeois” science, an offshoot of “bourgeois” logic, are of no avail for the proletarians, the rising class destined to abolish all classes and to convert the earth into a Garden of Eden.[1]

Such a deterministic epistemology is not founded in scientific enquiry and reason, and depends upon a mystical and intuitive basis for their assertions and claims. Such an epistemology is also self-defeating, if also derivative of social class and prejudice (bias), since it too must use shared categories of logic against critiques of the theory. The seriousness of this is evident when we consider their claim that all critiques of the theory must also be considered out of step with the inevitable processes of history (favoring the proletarian classes). In this case, all critiques of socialist ideals are thus considered the result of those blinded by their own class or race (or religion). Therefore, this effectively shuts down rational enquiry and evaluation of their assertions. All such evaluation is relativized, and dismissed, as nothing but the value judgments of one’s class or race (or religion).[2] This effectively dismisses all opponents on grounds they exempt themselves from. Von Mises also describes the inconsistencies of racial polylogism assumptions,as follows:

 Marxian polylogism asserts that the logical structure of the mind is different with the members of various social classes. Racial polylogism differs from Marxian polylogism only in so far as it ascribes to each race a peculiar logical structure of mind and maintains that all members of a definite race, no matter what their class affiliation may be, are endowed with this peculiar logical structure.

There is no need to enter here into a critique of the concepts social class and race as applied by these doctrines. It is not necessary to ask the Marxians when and how a proletarian who succeeds in joining the ranks of the bourgeoisie changes his proletarian mind into a bourgeois mind. It is superfluous to ask the racists to explain what kind of logic is peculiar to people who are not of pure racial stock. There are much more serious objections to be raised.

Von Mises continues with the important fact that the Marxians have never ventured further than their assertion that the logical structure of mind differs between classes and races. That is, they have never been able to demonstrate this assertion in reality. As Von Mises states it:

Neither the Marxians nor the racists nor the supporters of any other brand of polylogism ever went further than to declare that the logical structure of mind is different with various classes, races, or nations. They never ventured to demonstrate precisely in what the logic of the proletarians differs from the logic of the bourgeois, or in what the logic of the Aryans differs from the logic of the non-Aryans, or the logic of the Germans from the logic of the French or the British. In the eyes of the Marxians the Ricardian theory of comparative cost is spurious because Ricardo was a bourgeois. The German racists condemn the same theory because Ricardo was a Jew, and the German nationalists because he was an Englishman. Some German professors advanced all these three arguments together against the validity of Ricardo’s teachings. However, it is not enough to reject a theory wholesale by unmasking the background of its author.

Indeed, it is quite easy to defend von Mises’ view that “the fundamental discrepancies in world view and patterns of behavior do not correspond to differences of race, nationality, or class affiliation.”[3] Contrary to this, Marxian assertions are based only on intuition, and not on fact, and thus refuse rational examination. It is akin to arguing with “mystics and seers”; the rationale is that they are right because they speak for the proletarian class that is moved by “historical providence” to bring about the inevitable bliss of Socialism through the Geist, the mythical prime mover.[4] If this be true, then all discursive reasoning is powerless against their ideology, and it does show it as intrinsically anti-rational (and irrational) nature. In sum, the only available logic of Marxian dogma is violent overthrow . . . And, violent oppression is the best evidence of their awareness of the “untenability of their own doctrines.”[5]

Ideas have consequences: the life and death importance of economic theory

Worst of all is that the logic of their assertions gives a justified rationale for this destruction of those who oppose their ideology. This is the reason Marxian and socialistic societies have been able to crush dissent, overthrow empires, and attempt to obliterate religions, establishing totalitarian regimes to validate and create utopian salvation through revolution against all social classes, races, and faiths opposed to their dreams of utopia. As von Mises states, “If the coming of socialism is unavoidable and can be achieved only by revolutionary methods, murders committed by the “progressives” are minor incidents of no significance.”[6]

The real reason many American college professors are Marxian

Envy is a widespread frailty. It is certain that many intellectuals envy the higher income of prosperous businessmen and that these feelings drive them toward socialism. They believe that the authorities of a socialist commonwealth would pay them higher salaries than those that they earn under capitalism. But to prove the existence of this envy does not relieve science of the duty of making the most careful examination of the socialist doctrines.[7]

In reality, the theory of Marxian economics is sadly not often brought to the tribunal of reason. So, the question for us is whether it is true or not? Is it correct or incorrect? This is especially significant in light of our increasingly socialistic society in the USA. Perhaps much of this increase is due to the staggering ignorance in our generation about money, especially about what creates wealth and what creates poverty. And, as von Mises concludes, “a theory can never be valid for a bourgeois or an American if it is invalid for a proletarian or a Chinese.” We have seen that it proved invalid in China and Russia, on a colossal scale, so why do we not reason accordingly? Is it because we are unable, blinded by our biases, or unwilling since we are blinded by our ignorance and motivated by our envies?

[1] Von Mises, “Economics and the Revolt Against Reason,” Human Action, p. 74.

[2] Von Mises, “Economics and the Revolt Against Reason,” Human Action, p. 75.

[3] Von Mises, “Economics and the Revolt Against Reason,”Human Action, p. 87.

[4] Von Mises, “Economics and the Revolt Against Reason,” Human Action, p. 79.

[5] Von Mises, “Economics and the Revolt Against Reason,” Human Action, p. 90.

[6] Von Mises, “Economics and the Revolt Against Reason,” Human Action, p. 89.

[7] Von Mises, “Economics and the Revolt Against Reason,” Human Action, p. 90.