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COMMENTARY: HISTORY FROM ANCIENT TO MODERN

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Murders and the Communist Manifesto

On Amazon. com a reader describes the Communist Manifesto as a book that should be on a list of books that have "screwed up the world." He claims that the ideas in that book "resulted in the murders of more humans than any other ten philosophies put together, and in a mere century." Aside from the reader's asumption regarding numbers, his claim of causation stretches to misconception. A half-century before Marx and Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto there was the French Revolution with an outraged and murderous proletariat, and the French Revolution had its reign of terror in search of traitors and sabateurs and a demand for conformity not much different from the purges of Stalin's time. Perhaps it can be said that those committing the misdeeds of Stalin's time were engaging in old impulses in the new context of Stalinist Russia. At any rate it is assumption to conclude as the reader does that they were led to their misdeeds with Communisto Manifesto passages swimming through their mind – no more than it can be said that the slaughter of Albigenses in southern France in the 1200s by Christians was caused simply by their having read from the Bible. Neither should we assume that Hitler was chosen chancellor or that the German masses followed Hitler simply because of his book Mein Kampf. And let's not hold Jesus Christ responsible for any of the deeds of his modern-day followers.

Ideas expressed in the Communist Manifesto, moreover, were derived rather than original with Marx and Engels.There were communists and believers in class struggle before these two developed what they put in their little book.

Copyright © 2008-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.