West Civ^2 Blogging (LESSON 100!!)

(1) Discuss two weak points in the views of Karl Marx, and explain what’s wrong with them.

  • The first belief of Karl Marx that does not hold up under close inspection is  that if the division of labor is removed, out would pour artistic talent and skill into the world. But why would you attempt to specialize in perhaps 20 fields when you could work in 19 of them as hobbies and be exceptional at one in particular? If everyone decided that they wanted to focus on multiple jobs instead of one, quality health care for example would vanish. No one would specialize in the medical field anymore and the death rate would shoot back to the middle ages. Aren’t we all fond of comfy couches to lounge on in our spare time? They would vanish as well. With no one dedicated to providing a quality couch, every one you bought would be so lacking in quality and durability that it would be a waste of money to even own a couch anymore. Without specialists in every field that you can think of, quality products and care would cease to exist (especially in industries such as plumbing.)
  • The second paper-thin belief of Karl Marx is that all exchanged items must be equal. This is utterly and absurdly false because the entire reason people exchange objects is because they are unequal. For instance let’s say Fred has a new pen and Jane has a toy car and they would like to exchange the two items. If the items were equal. both people would be satisfied with what they have and not want what the other has instead. Fred desires the toy car more than he likes his pen and vice versa with Jane, making the two items unequal in both of their eyes and leaving both satisfied after the exchange. This simple example can be applied to any two exchanged items and completely trashes Marx’s belief.

(2) What were Herbert Spencer’s views, as you encountered them in the reading for this week? Does he deserve to be called a “Social Darwinist”?

Social Darwinism is essentially defined as the theory that Darwin’s “natural selection” theory applies to individuals and groups of people as well as plants and animals. Herbert Spencer has been falsely associated with this idea through textbooks that made him seem like a moral monster with quotes such as ” He advocated letting the poor die of starvation to weed out the unfit.”. Quite the opposite was true however, since Spencer actually believed that no-one should be forced to do anything that they did not want to do and was a firm believer in voluntary charity. Unfortunately such smears on the characters of great libertarian thinkers are common and their names have been squashed into the mud through the mis-information that the U.S. government currently delights in spreading.

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