I should apologize first off. A lot of this won’t make sense, but I need to get it off my chest.
Anywho, good luck reading this ✋
For most of history, there was no delineation between religion and politics. While it’s common to separate them currently, that’s really a false assumption.
Maybe I think it’s foolish to think so because of how I view religion. It’s common to associate it with thoughts on the supernatural, afterlife, etc. Meanwhile, politics is thought of as being policies directed at the governance of a population. But the social/psychological dimensions of these two realms can’t be ignored.
Politics and religion operate in unison. Religion is not just the worship of God or gods, it’s a methodology of perceiving reality. It’s validity of truth is irrelevant. If a significant amount of other people perceive this reality in the same way, then perception becomes truth. I’m not saying that truth is not real. It is. Human perception is, however, malleable and easily distorted. Religion is commonly thought of as being the most prevalent social force in this distortion, but political ideology works in identical fashion. In short, to this very day, the religious is political and the political is religious.
(This is why I say the only sensible position to take is the apolitical one. Political philosophy and science has not advanced one iota since Plato and Aristotle)
Take for example the two Right/Left extremes in QAnon and the resurgence of Marxism. Enough ink has been spilled over the insanity of QAnon, but not enough of it towards Marxists/Left/Left-adjacent Populism.
Part of the reason why Marxism has seen a resurgence…at least in the United States…I think, is because it was all but prohibited in the mainstream during the Cold War period. Additionally, it’s detractors made all sort of wrong assumptions about it or never read Marx, or any Marxist thinker at all. This had allowed it to fly under the radar for decades, with Marxists going unchallenged in good faith debate. Then the Great Recession and the pandemic primed the public for its popularity.
But despite its scientific and sociological pretensions, Marxism (and much of leftism/anti-liberalism as a result) functions no differently than Q-Anon: even when it’s allegations are proven false, it doesn’t matter. It’s critique is way of viewing reality, and no amount of data can contradict it (the explanation usually being that “the data” is bourgeois propaganda designed to undermine class consciousness…or some variation thereof)
As any Marxist/Leftist will tell you, they are not “liberals”. As most know, they are opposed to capitalism, now in its neoliberal form. While neoliberalism has an actual definition in the realm of economics, it takes on a nebulous form with the Left, making it useful as a boogeyman that can describe anything they disagree with. Therefore Marxists, like the Conservatives that once opposed them, fail to understand their opposition and how neoliberalism and global economics have fundamentally changed class dynamics since Marx’s death (or some acknowledge that there’s an opposition to Marx’s class analysis, but mock it. i.e by saying “Marx never considered…” or “Marxism works in theory”). They can’t agree on a “working class” definition (is it income? “Relationship with production”? What?) or where the demarcations are for any class structure, which is odd considering Marxism thinks of itself as a “material” based analysis. Therefore it’s class-based analysis comes to mean nothing. Additionally, Marxists/Leftists wish to take a post-moral approach to politics, but they’ll make a value judgment on the working class over the bourgeoisie (which again, are terms that mean nothing, or ill-defined in the current state of economics/politics). So they engage in the same friend/enemy distinction that they accuse the liberals of doing (and what all political tribes do).
Many, though not all, Marxists/Leftists oppose “identity politics” because they believe it undermines their “class politics”. But they’re functionally no different. In addition to keeping the “working class” divided, Marxists claim that proponents of identity politics are actually cynical actors that portray the various identities as completely monolithic or lacking agency. But the Left does the exact same same with its class politics. It works in their favor to portray the working class as brutish, uneducated, and needing guidance from those that know better. And their “enemy” can be anyone, because again, the “bourgeoisie” can mean anything. Marxists can claim that identity politics undermines class consciousness, but proponents of identity politics can accuse the Marxists of undermining the unique struggles of various groups.
Every political faction has its problems. What I’ve said about Marxism I can say about everyone else. What I’ve always found confusing is what do the Marxist Left and anti-capitalists want? I’m not talking about some egalitarian revolution to make a better world. We all want that. I’m talking about “what happens after the revolution”? A classless society? Sure it may be possible to create material equality for all…but does that eliminate “class”? The need for management of affairs (or politics) would still be necessary. What would we do if an elite “political class” takes control? I’m just skeptical about a “classless society”…especially one that has to be achieved through violent revolution. I could be wrong, but self-conception is heavily linked to cultural and societal structures, this includes structures of power. It is my assertion that since the dawn of complex language, there has been no widespread non-caste(ified) society. Not even in the hordes of pre-history (that usually numbered about 100 people). There were elders, priests, big men, warriors, hunters, gatherers, etc. There were men at the top calling the shots and men at the bottom carrying out the orders. Sure these societal structures varied greatly, but some people definitely carried more power than others, even in the smallest of groups. As power paradigms shifted, from priests, monarchies, military dictatorships, and democratically elected officials, so did the class structures. And these paradigm shifts cannot be predicted, at least not with any complete accuracy. Will capitalism last forever? No. What will replace it is anyone’s guess. The fact is you don’t know, and trying to predict the future is a fool’s errand. Even if you do get your communist dream, it’s days are limited, and a new paradigm will take its place.
I’ve gone into detail on how Marxism mirrors Christianity perfectly (class consciousness=salvation in Jesus Christ, etc.) so I won’t go into detail on that here. This isn’t to say that some tenets of Marxism aren’t without their merit. It’s historical method sounds reasonable enough. But I treat the works of Karl Marx as I would any thinker of the past: remain critical, some ideas work, but a lot of it is outdated. We do that with every other philosopher/economist, why must we treat Marx any different? It’s not like God directly inspired Das Kapital, but that’s how it’s treated (along with Luxenburg,Gramsci, etc.)
Not gonna lie, I’ve spent four years steeped in this shit and I feel mindfucked and robbed. However, studying this stuff has informed me that I need to be skeptical of ideologies proclaiming “truth”. The universe is seeming infinite while we’re laughably finite. The only thing we can be certain of is that we certainly know nothing.