The ideas, which lie at the root of western civilisation have hardly ever received more emphatic endorsement than in Marxism. By Marxism, "I mean the thinking, which has at its centre two convictions".
Firstly : Freedom is an illusion.
The sheer weight of material circumstances in which humans are enmeshed is so great that they cannot act without restraint, the things they have made govern them.
Secondly : Human potential is so great.
Man could if he wished, assume complete control over his destiny. To do so, he must remove the hindrances he has put in his way, by his antiquated social and economic arrangements. True human nature would then appear and humankind would really be free, it would escape from the prison of necessity and people would control their own lives, as human beings ought to.
Like other great ideologies, including religion, Marxism’s successes are based on circumstance, leadership, and faith. Marx judged the world like a Jewish prophet, he denounced a civilization, which was the greatest wealth producer that had ever existed, because in his time 1818-1883 it was so horribly cruel towards its underpaid labourers of factory and field. The world in which man could exercise his astonishing powers, was in fact, one of unreason and superstition, in which men behaved disgustingly towards one another. Marx thought humanity could not help this as the "Mills of History" grind so slowly, but grind they do and the certain outcome was to be a transformation akin to that sought by the Jews, who eagerly awaited the coming of the Messiah. Marx believed in a God, but called him History. Freedom was something Marx esteemed very highly, he once said, "He had no desire to change it for equality".
Marxism far from being a rejection of Western Tradition, restates some of the West’s most central and traditional ideas. The appalling practical outcome of Marxism, as a state religion, no more affects this judgement than the numerous examples of Christianity, acting in a repressive and obscene way, which nullifies the central message of the Gospels.
The adoption of the Western Mythology of Marxism, by revolutionaries in Asia, and Africa, is a clear sign of the nearly world wide surrender to Western Culture and a very old story to. What Horace said about the defeated Greeks, taking their Roman captors captive, might now be said of Western civilization and the World, which has so eagerly borrowed all its ideas, Marxism among them.
Note by Professor Roberts. Marx writes, "An end that requires unjust means, is not a just end". Many self-identified Marxists, have argued that no means are objectively unjust, f directed at the goal of the Classless Society. Perhaps this is why Marx, towards the end of his career protested that he was not a Marxist.
Professor J M Roberts is best known for his 1985 Thirteen Part TV Series ‘The Triumph of The West’ and his ‘History of the World’. His other works include ‘Europe 1880-1945’. ‘The Mythology of the Secret Societies’ and ‘The French Revolution’. His latest book ‘The New Penguin History of The World’.