Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Marxian Virus in American Thought

Mises Daily: Thursday, December 31, 2009 by Towner Phelan

[American Affairs, 1947]

Perhaps the greatest influence of communism in the United States is upon the political thinking of the American people. Many ideas that have achieved widespread acceptance in the United States on the part of people who have no sympathy with communism are derived directly from Marxist doctrine, but most people who hold those ideas are ignorant of their source.

Marxian communism, unlike traditional liberalism, is based on a materialistic concept of life. Liberalism looks upon life primarily in moral terms. The Marxian doctrine that "economics determines all human life" assumes that men act, not on a basis of principles or any standard of morality, but that their actions are determined solely by their material wants. It assumes that man is not interested in freedom but only in a full belly.

This view has been reiterated again and again by New Dealers in statements of which the following are representative.

"It may be necessary to make a public utility out of agriculture … Every plowed field would have its permit sticking up on its post." (Henry Wallace)[1]

"It has been a long fight to put the control of our economic system in the hands of the government." (Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt)[2]

"The Constitution is used as a holy of holies within which the ugly practices of free competition can be hid from vulgar eyes." (Rexford Guy Tugwell)[3]

"The Government will have to enter into the direct financing of activities now supposed to be private; and … the Government ultimately will control and own these activities." (A.A. Berle, Jr.)[4]

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