13 September 2008

Poor dear dead old Pope Bob

How could the guy have written a book - a whole series of books - about not taking the map for the territory, about E-Prime, about the importance of the scientific method, defending sheer loonies like Velikovsky and the freak who wrote The Bell Curve, about being skeptical about everything, including skepticism... and then turn around and blithely say that "Karl Marx's theories have failed", without naming a single theory of Marx's or how it had been shown to have failed? Is historical materialism at fault? The labour theory of value? The belief that the industrial workers are the revolutionary class? Which one?

The followers of Marx have often been Stalinist fucktards, certainly, but so (RAW noted) are the followers of Wilhelm Reich, and I didn't read "Reich's theories have failed". But I suppose the prejudices which underly our own treasured place in the world are the hardest to see through, even if you think you've progressed mostly past Cosmic Schmuckhood - virtually every American heterodox thinker got wet and gooey when Stalinism fell over because "their side" had won in the Cold War. Fish can't really help feeling horny when the water temperature goes up.

Not that I want to speak ill of the dead - and I still credit Pope Bob with a major part of my psychic evolution - but little blindspots are often more infuriating in the brilliant than in the mythical average Jo(e).

2 comments:

  1. Context Please! A reference to where RAW says that would be good. Page number, if it's in a book. I'm not doubting that he wrote it, but I'd like to read it for myself.

    The only two quotes from him I've found so far are these:

    "Then there was the rise of capitalism. I'm inclined to agree with Karl Marx about that, that every previous form of society has had different values, a hierarchy of values."

    "I don't admire Karl Marx in particular ... he's one of my least favorite political figures. But if you were to put a gun to my head and tie me to a lie detector and ask me, "What's your highest hope for your books?" It would be that they shake up the 21st century as much as Marx shook up the 20th century but in a more constructive way."

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  2. I'm aware that RAW said some grudgingly postive things about Marx and his ideas, but the quote I was referring to is on Cosmic Trigger v. 3: My Life After Death, p. 205. In a diatribe against academic "political correctness", he describes: "a second-rate German ideologue named Karl Marx, whose theories, having failed notoriously in practice, live on only among these academics".

    I should also mention that one of the times he does quote Marx approvingly, he gets it wrong: "anti-semitism is the socialism of fools" was by the German socialist leader August Bebel rather than Marx himself.

    In CTv3 alone, Marx and Marxists have 5 entries in the index. Funnily enough, I have exactly the same aspiration for my own writing as expressed in that second quote of yours!

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