Karl Marx Hypocrisy

2141 Words 9 Pages
Even with their contemporary impact, the Enlightenment-era Social Contract theorists were not without their detractors—two prominent critics being Mary Wollstonecraft and Karl Marx. Because each takes issue with the Enlightenment, one can theorize their responses to the assertion that "the Enlightenment ideals (EI) (of freedom and equality, firmly grounded in notions of reason and progress) are riddled with hypocrisy and should therefore be abandoned." I will argue that while both Wollstonecraft and Marx assert that the EI are riddled with hypocrisy, they differ fundamentally in their prescriptions. Marx believes these EI should be abandoned in a rash proletariat revolution motivated by radical economic reform, whereas Wollstonecraft believes …show more content…
Earlier in this paper, DM was mentioned transiently; however, DM is crucial in understanding Marx's abandonment of the EI. DM is the Marxist theory that political and historical events stem from social conflicts and forces; this belief is best explained in the opening of the Communist Manifesto, where Marx claims that "the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles" (Marx, 158). According to DM, history progresses through a process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis—to borrow Hegel's terminology for the dialectical method. At the beginning of society, property ownership created the initial ruling class, who later subjugated the first lower class, who ultimately ignited a revolution against the ruling class—birthing a new ruling class destined to replace the old with "new conditions of oppression" (Marx, 159)2. Class and social stratifications are imperative to understanding history, for they influence the policy of the subsequent ruling class (Marx, 174). Furthermore, Marx believes history can be explained by tracing the production and demand for material objects: the source of Marx's tension with the …show more content…
For Marx, property is the source of class distinction and, therefore, inequality in society (Marx, 162). Due to Marx's belief in DM, he urges the proletariat to hastily "sweep away by force the old conditions of production" and thereby "sweep away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms" (Marx, 176). Only once the proletariat have lead their revolution against the modern bourgeoisie can true freedom and equality be achieved. They must serve as the antithesis to the bourgeoisie thesis, resulting in the final Communist synthesis. Marx's prescription for society's woes fundamentally differs from that of the ET; the linear progress of enlightenment, aided and abetted by reason, is abandoned for the looping roller-coaster of DM3. Furthermore, because the proletariat revolution has destroyed the old conditions of production, the cycle of DM comes to a end, and society must plateau in a state of total equality and freedom—for the eradication of class leads to the eradication of inequality. In short, Marx argues that the source of societal inequality is material possession—a belief deeply ingrained within the EI—so in ridding the world of the bourgeois means of production, he believes that he can rid society of the false freedom and equality that it

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