Marx, Darwin and the scientific ideology
By JOHN THORNTON BANNERMAN
WHEN in 1867 Karl Marx had completed the first volume of his major work, Das Kapital, he offered to dedicate it to the great biologist Charles Darwin. Darwin cautiously declined the honour, pleading his "ignorance of economics". It is one of the great ironies of history that the main founder of one of the major ideologies contending for the soul of the Twentieth Century should thus have wished to dedicate his magnum opus to the man who was to play an equally significant, if less overt, role in founding the other great contending world-view.
No less ironic were the words spoken sixteen years later at Marx's graveside by his amanuensis and financial backer, Friedrich Engels. "Just as Darwin discovered the law of evolution in organic nature," eulogised Engels, "so Marx discovered the law of evolution in human history." Ironic, for the social consequences of the law of evolution in organic nature Darwin discovered sounded the death-knell of Marx's pretended "law of evolution in human history".
The invocation of Darwin's name by Marx and Engels cannot have reflected any grasp on their part of the social implications of his discoveries, implications which are in fact utterly fatal to the Marxist world-view. Instead; Marx and Engels trotted out the name of Darwin as part of their ambition to present as 'new' and 'scientific' a body of belief which is actually very old and wholly unscientific.
Marx's 'scientific' "law of evolution in human history" is, at bottom, little more than the old Judaeo-Christian superstition dressed up in the trappings of pseudo-scientific jargon. Trappings which in turn merely reflect the rising prestige of Science and the declining prestige of religion in the Nineteenth Century Western Society in which Marx lived.
Marx's vision of human history, past and future, shares the basic Judaeo-Christian theme of the Fall and Redemption of Man. In the beginning according to Marx was the primal Eden of "primitive communism". Therein entered the serpent of private ownership. This, as the distinguished Oxford historian R. N. Carew-Hunt rightly put it, "in the Marxist scheme takes the place of the Fall of Man, since the inclination of men to take advantage of one another was a corruption introduced into history by the private ownership of the means of production" .
After the Fall follow ages of Man floundering in sin, or "class struggle", as Marx terms it. Human misery and degradation steadily increases as feudalism succeeds the servile economy, capitalism succeeds feudalism, fewer and fewer capitalists exploit more and more workers ever more brutally, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
But then comes Redemption. Fired by the One True Faith preached by the Redeemer Marx and his modern-day Marxist apostles, the righteous proletarians (with a little help from "progressive bourgeois elements" like K. Marx, F. Engels and, come to think of it, most leading Marxists then and now) overthrow the wicked Capitalist system. "The expropriators are expropriated" and, after a brief 'Socialist' interlude, the Communist Millennium arrives. After which, as after the Coming of the Jewish Messiah or the Second Coming of Christ, history in effect stops, having attained a stasis of eternal and universal perfection.
Marxism shares more than a historical and eschatological vision with Judaeo-Christianity. Despite denials of the existence of any immutable moral laws divorced from the system of social relations, Marxists in fact share the egalitarian cosmopolitan ethic of Judaeo-Christianity and its other 'secular' offshoot, bourgeois liberalism. Marx derives his blistering sense of moral outrage at the "inequality", "unfairness", "exploitation", "injustice" etc. of his contemporary Capitalist society in essence from the Judaeo-Christian ethic, as indeed do his modern disciples when they evince such 'shock! horror! gasp!' moral affront at the "evil" of 'racism and fascism'.
The Sermon on the Mount and the Communist Manifesto share not merely a common social outlook but also a common equalitarianism, anti-elitist ethic. But Marx's loudly-proclaimed atheism deprives such a morality of its only possible objective justification: that it is decreed for men by a vastly more powerful supernatural entity who will ruthlessly condemn to eternal torture any and all who disobey said entity in that or any other matter. Bereft of the 'Stalin in the Sky' before whom Jews, Christians and Muslims alike fawn and grovel, Marx's ethic hangs mystically suspended above the ideological void ― scarcely a very scientific position!
Most fundamentally, Marxism shares with Judaeo-Christianity, and with its other offspring, liberalism, a common 'environmentalist' view of the nature of man. Central to the Marxist thesis, as to the Judaeo-Christian and liberal, is the doctrine that men are in some sense born equal, and that all the subsequent inequalities which are so obvious between men and between races of men are simply the result of environmental influences ― upbringing, social background, education etc. In effect, human nature is a product of human society: societies create men, rather than the other way round. In Marxist terms, the 'substructure' of economic relations determines the 'superstructure' of ideas, beliefs, laws, mode of government and culture. Marx, following the Eighteenth Century liberal Rousseau, goes further than traditional, though less-so modern, 'trendy', Judaeo-Christians, and blames all human wickedness on the environment ― specifically the institution of private property.
From this Marx deduced that if society creates human nature then a perfect society can create perfect men. Marxists in power should, by forced collectivization, be able to create a race of altruistic angels inhabiting a Communist Elysium. Or at least ants in human form, dwelling in a giant antheap. So Marx deduced.
Marx's 'scientific' "law of evolution in human history" is, at bottom, little more than the old Judeo-Christian superstition dressed up in the trappings of pseudo-scientific jargon.
But, for all his invocations of science and Darwin, he never seriously attempted to prove, or even to adduce evidence for, this egalitarian, environmentalist conception of the basic nature of man, which, as we have seen, he derived, via Rousseau, from Judaeo-Christianity. Lenin went so far, in The State and Revolution, as to dismiss the question of how exactly the fundamental transformation of human nature required to 'build Communism' was to be effected as one to which there could be no answer and which no one has the right to ask. Hardly the attitude of the scientist! But quite the attitude of the priest of a dogmatic mystery cult confronted with an awkward question! It is hardly necessary to point out that when Lenin first put into practice the social reforms demanded by Marx the promised 'fundamental change in human nature' failed to occur, leaving him and his successors to flounder- their way into a society Marx would have recognised as a classic example of his "Asiatic, or slave" economy!
Thus Marx was himself guilty par excellence of the very 'Utopian idealism' he correctly identified as proof of the 'unscientific nature' of other Nineteenth Century Socialists such as Proudhon and Owen.
Despite the 'scientific' jargon in which it is couched, and the silly and sterile 'dialectical' word-games in which it indulges, Marxism has no serious claim to being 'scientific'. It is an incoherent and internally inconsistent rationalisation of nihilistic envy, Utopian social fantasies, Judeo-Christian moral outrage and messianism, and ethnic alienation (as Carew-Hunt pointed out "It is no accident that so many of the Communist leaders from Marx's day onward have been Jews" ).
Indeed, Marxism may be said to be little more than the old Judaeo-Christian superstition purged, in deference to increasing popular awareness of scientific credibility, of angels, virgin births, miracles, risings from the dead, Oriental despots in the sky and other ideological equivalents of flying saucers and Bermuda Triangles.
Marxism retains all the self-righteous bigotry, totalitarian desire to extirpate not only all rival faiths but also all rival brands of its own faith, and justification of very real present evils on the grounds of far less substantial future bliss (be it in Heaven or on an indefinitely postponed future Earth) of its Judaeo-Christian parent. For all their claims to 'scientific truth', Marxists silence those who would reveal scientific findings that contradict their dogma as brutally as Christians, Jews and Muslims have always done. The book burnings of the Holy Inquisition and those of Trofim Lysenko, the death at the stake of Giordano Bruno and the death in a Soviet labour camp of the geneticist N. I. Vavilov, 'anti-racism' and 'Creationism' reflect alike the frantic writhings of the foul grubs of ignorance, bigotry and superstition lest they be illuminated for what they are by the clear light of Science.
Charles Darwin, by contrast, was among the greatest of those Scientific illuminators of the Judaeo-Christian-Marxist-liberal gloom. His epochal work, apart from dispelling the hold of hither-Asiatic tribal creation myths on the Western mind, also laid some of the first bricks in the imposing edifice of hard scientific facts which today supports the only ideologically-coherent alternative to the intellectual spawn of the alien Judaeo-Christian phantasmagoria.
That alternative world view, upheld today by Racial-Nationalists around the World, is based upon a 'hereditarian', rather than an 'environmentalist', conception of the genesis of human nature. The human nature we observe ― including not only individual and racial inequalities in abilities, but also universal behaviour patterns such as territoriality (e.g. Nationalism), ethnocentrism (e.g. Racialism), aggression and social hierarchies ― this world-view considers to be the product not of 'economic relationships' but of an inborn, genetic inheritance. That inheritance, the product of millions of years of evolution, is, in effect, fixed.
Therefore we, as hereditarians, believe that we must accept the existing realities of human nature, as it is now and evidently has been throughout recorded history. We cannot, as Marx did, simply dream up a Utopia and blindly trust that human nature will change beyond recognition so men can live in it. Instead we must design any conceptions of a better future society around the existing reality of the human nature, taking into account the inbred national and racial characteristics of the people who will make up that society. Thus we base our socio-political programmes, however radical, firmly on the existing human reality. And we base our perception of that reality firmly on the findings of Science.
These scientific findings which underpin our case first began to emerge clearly in the time of Darwin, the mid-Nineteenth Century. It was Darwin's contemporaries, such as Sir Francis Galton,who first began measuring and quantifying human inequalities in attributes such as intelligence, and adducing evidence that they were hereditary rather than environmental in origin. Another of his contemporaries, Gregor Mendel, was, unknown to Darwin, laying the foundations of genetics, the science which would explain how such hereditary inequalities were determined and passed on from generation to generation. And others were simultaneously laying the foundations of physical anthropology, which examines the races of man and the differences between them.
Darwin's great contribution to the development of our world-view was to perceive why these inherited inequalities between individuals and races should occur, and the nature and crucial importance of their role in the development and progress of life. For Charles Darwin did not invent the idea of the evolution of life from lower to higher forms, including Man. That idea had occurred to some of the Classical Greeks. But, in the 1840's, he finally realised how that evolution occurred: by the process of the Natural Selection of the fittest individuals in the struggle for limited resources, the "survival of the fittest".
Darwin laid some of the first bricks in the imposing edifice of hard scientific facts which today supports the only ideologically coherent alternative to the intellectual spawn of the alien Judeo-Christian phantasmagoria.
It can at once be seen from this that inherited inequalities are the precondition for evolutionary advance. If there are no inequal ties, all are equally endowed with the trait under consideration, running ability, length of neck, intelligence or whatever, then clearly there is no 'fittest' to be selected. And if there are inequalities, but they are not inherited but environmentally determined, then the selection of the fittest will have no evolutionary effect. For fitness will not then depend on parental genes but the organism's own environment and upbringing. Fitter parents will have offspring no fitter on average than the average of their, the parents', generation. So selection, however rigorous, will have to start anew in each generation, and no evolutionary advance can occur.
The corollary also obtains. If any trait has evolved, as in geologically recent times human intelligence and social behaviour have done, then in order to have done so that trait must be subject to hereditarily determined inequalities within and between the populations of the species concerned. Thus we would expect, on a priori grounds of Darwinian evolutionary theory, to find the very hereditary variations in, for example, intelligence within and between human races that we in fact do find.
So Darwin showed that inherited individual and racial inequalities are not only inevitable but progressive in terms of human evolutionary advance. Such inherent inequalities are the very fuel which drives the machine of evolution. And they are a deadly poison to the social theories of Marx and his followers. For they imply that, in a number of important respects, human nature is and must be determined at root by genes, not the social environment. In which case changing the social environment cannot in any fundamental way change the nature of man. So the essential precondition for the "attainment of Communism" ― the whole point of all Marx's ideas, and of his Communist successors' actions ― is inherently unattainable.
The more so as in the century since Darwin's death geneticists and sociobiologists have shown that more and more facets of Man's social nature are the products of genetic evolution, not "the relationships of the productive forces". Today Marxists cannot deny Darwin's thesis, lest they be reduced to supernatural fairy tales to account for the origin of Man. But in accepting Darwin, they must clasp to their bosom an ideological viper whose truth is a deadly poison to their entire world-view.
Marxism therefore is not, despite its claims, scientific. It is contradicted by the evidence of Science. Indeed, it is surely significant that, for all their talk of 'scientific socialism', Marxists have always rested their case almost entirely upon the writings of economists, soi-disant 'sociologists', historians, self-appointed political philosophers and indeed everyone but scientists. The only prominent student of Darwin's field, biology, who freely joined the Marxists, J. B. S. Haldane, left them in disgust when they tried to solve the fatal contradiction between Marx and Darwin by imposing the anti-Darwinian crankery of the charlatan Lysenko on the scientific world at gunpoint.
In contrast, those of us who uphold Marxism's only serious intellectual rival, hereditarian Racial-Nationalism, adduce in support of our arguments scientists almost exclusively ― geneticists, physical anthropologists, sociobiologists, evolutionary biologists and so on. It would be no great overstatement to say that, whilst Marxism emerged from the gloom-enshrouded reading room of the British Museum amid the mouldering tomes of discredited superstitions, Racial-Nationalism was born in the laboratory under the bright light of the new scientific vision.
Indeed the difference between Marx and Darwin, as between the ideologies each inspired, is fundamentally the difference between superstition however pseudo-scientifically expressed and true science. It is the difference between astrology and astronomy, between flying saucers from Atlantis and Apollo spacecraft to the moon, between perpetual motion machines and atomic powerplants, between hysteria and reason, between the political equivalents of the witch-doctor and the surgeon. At root, it is the difference between the murky mystery cults of the Levant and the brilliance of the European mind.
The Theory and Practice of Communism by R. N. Carew-Hunt (1963), page 61.
Ibid, page 32.