My Exchange With a Fascist: Cultured-Thug

Cultured-Thug:

5:20 – Your making an assumption from an Atheistic view-point. Not saying your right or wrong, but you gotta see at the very least that ti is ‘subjective’. (near seconds after you accuse Gentile of being Subjective and Marx Objective). As for economic motives… I think you are taking that line out of context…What he is saying is not that “economic incentive’ is completely irrelevant, or to ignore it as you suggest, his critique of Marxism is that it has a solely materialistic and economic explanation of life…Only with the rise of Capitalism did economics come to the forefront, but Marx acts if it was human history, when in reality it is fairly new. For instance, why did Julius Caesar and his nephew Augustus change the course of Rome? Money? No they had already accumulated more then they could ever spend…it was a sense of ‘honor’ and ‘duty’ to a ‘higher calling’..Same can be said for Alexander and numerous other great men that have changed the course of history. Why does the Soldier die bravely in the trenches? Money? No a greater calling, most times that being brotherhood, Family, concept of Nation. In other words to wrap it up, we (Fascists) hold as one of our disagreements with Communists is that Marxism is ‘soulless’ …All of its explanations and therefore solutions are material… While the Fascist hold a duality of meta and physical. “Puppets on the surface of History”.. I think you are missing what he is saying here as well (or at the very least we have looked at the same painting and come away with a different interpretation). What he is saying is not that men are that but Marx from his material view of man reduces man to that…All his motives based of materiel economics. His (mankind’s) drive/worth/desires and sole existence simply being reactionary to economic status desire and comfort. When you take all metaphysical motives away from man (As Marxism does) you reduce them to “puppets on the surface of history”. “No such thing as harmony amongst the working classes” That’s not true, but we could argue until we are blue in the face, it wouldn’t matter…But you have to realize, that in the end, that statement is not ‘fact’ but ‘opinion’. Also “exploitation” (which you use often) Is a very subjective term. All that aside, I thought it was a good video and I applaud your educated breakdown of the different perspectives. You are the first Marxist I have run across that had a decent (altho from a Commies POV!!!) Interpretation of Fascism. I have a few questions for you if you don’t mind: Do you see the lack of metaphysical motivation in Marxism? Do you think that it is good or bad? Do you see us Fascist as ‘naive’ for believing in it? Do you believe in natural or merit based hierarchical differences among men? 

My Response:

“What he is saying is not that “economic incentive’ is completely irrelevant, or to ignore it as you suggest, his critique of Marxism is that it has a solely materialistic and economic explanation of life…Only with the rise of Capitalism did economics come to the forefront, but Marx acts if it was human history, when in reality it is fairly new.”

This is simply a false claim, economics has always been at the forefront of human development, just because people weren’t there to point it out back in the days of feudalism as loudly as they did under capitalism, does not really mean economics hasn’t been there driving society. This idea once again is most likely coming from your idealist outlook of the world

“For instance, why did Julius Caesar and his nephew Augustus change the course of Rome? Money? No they had already accumulated more then they could ever spend…it was a sense of ‘honor’ and ‘duty’ to a ‘higher calling’..Same can be said for Alexander and numinous other great men that have changed the course of history.”

Here, I think you fail to understand Marxian historical materialism. Historical materialism is not simply a methodology that states “everyone does what they do for money,” that would be a nonsensical claim. What we do state, however, is that they do things based on the material conditions of their time (hence historical “materialism” and not historical “econocism”). As for explaining why these leaders changed history using a historical materialist outlook, you’d have to be a but more specific on what exactly they did to change history and then analyze the conditions that gave rise to them doing it.

“Why does the Soldier die bravely in the trenches? Money? No a greater calling, most times that being brotherhood, Family, concept of Nation. In other words to wrap it up, we (Fascists) hold as one of our disagreements with Communists is that Marxism is ‘soulless’ …All of its explanations and therefore solutions are material… While the Fascist hold a duality of meta and physical.”

Once again you are misunderstanding historical materialism, and are going by Mussolini’s interpretation of it, rather than how it was put forth by Marx, Engels, and Stalin. We Marxists don’t analyze the narrow event of one particular soldier dying in the battlefield – for, what is the point? We concern ourselves with the bigger picture. I.e.Why are soldiers going to war in the first place? What are the conditions (or contradictions) that caused this war and how can we prevent this from happening in the future. You may accuse us of being souless, however this is merely because we don’t take into account the individual mindset of one particular person during this process, but rather the conditions that cause a certain demographic to behave a certain way. While you Fascists say the soldier dies on the battle field for honor, this is a subjective view inherent to each individual soldier, and one cannot speak in objectivity for every reason why each soldier went into battle, what we can do is ask: what caused these soldiers to go to battle? In the case of America during WWI it was the material conditions of America supporting the allies with arms, and if the allies lost since Russia dropped out of the war, the US wouldn’t get its money back – see the difference?

“”Puppets on the surface of History”.. I think you are missing what he is saying here as well (or at the very least we have looked at the same painting and come away with a different interpretation). What he is saying is not that men are that but Marx from his material view of man reduces man to that…All his motives based of materiel economics.”

Once again this is a false understanding of historical materialism (in that it is not “material economics” that drives events, rather just material conditions in general) but even if this was a correct representation of Marxist thought, saying it “reduces man to interests” is nothing but a moral argument, not a logical refutation of its accuracy.

“His (mankind’s) drive/worth/desires and sole existence simply being reactionary to economic status desire and comfort. When you take all metaphysical motives away from man (As Marxism does) you reduce them to “puppets on the surface of history”.”

That point is actually somewhat accurate, to an extent. People are largely driven by what best suits their economic interests under capitalism, but this is a critique that we Marxists make of capitalism! You call our analysis souless, yet this is not what we want either, the truth is is that the capitalist mode of production forces people to behave these ways, just as the feudal mode of production forces people to behave a certain way based on their relation to the hierarchy. This is why we advocate changing these conditions.

“”No such thing as harmony amongst the working classes” That’s not true, but we could argue until we are blue in the face, it wouldn’t matter…But you have to realize, that in the end, that statement is not ‘fact’ but ‘opinion’.”

I don’t have to “realize” anything, I provided concrete evidence for why this can never happen, and then backed up my theory with a historical example of Fascism in practice.

“Also “exploitation” (which you use often) Is a very subjective term.”

Except it isn’t. When Marxists refer to exploitation, we mean exploitation via wage labor whereby a capitalist pays his employee less than the value the employee creates; thus alienating the worker from his product. See this paper for further mathematical proof of this: https://ianwrightsite.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/general-theory-labour-value2.pdf

“You are the first Marxist I have run across that had a decent (altho from a Commies POV!!!) Interpretation of Fascism.”

Thank you

“Do you see the lack of metaphysical motivation in Marxism?”

It depends what you mean, are you talking about lack of motivation in Marxist theory or in a socialist society to produce? As far as Marxist theory, metaphysics is irrelevant to Marx’s understanding of capitalism as he explains at length in “The German Ideology” and as Engels furthers in “Socialism: Utopian and Scientific”

“Do you see us Fascist as ‘naive’ for believing in it?”

No, I see Fascists as misunderstanding the reason behind economic and political theory and resorting to idealist conceptions of reality. “Do you believe in natural or merit based hierarchical differences among men?” Depends what you mean, do I believe they exist, or do I believe they should be enforced? As Professors Cottrell and Cockshott demonstrate in their book, you can retain differences (even hierarchy) among individuals while ensuring economic and political egalitarianis: http://ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu/~cottrell/socialism_book/new_socialism.pdf

EDIT upon re-watching my video:

Perhaps I did over emphasize how important economics is to the materialist understanding of history, however that was only because of the specific critique I was dealing with and the fact that a great deal of materialist motives are economic, especially in the modern day and age under capitalism, however as I explain above this is not always the case. Thank you for pointing this out – indirectly

Cultured-Thug:

From some reason your responses do not show up when ever I log into my account So i will reply to my own comment. “This is simply a false claim, economics has always been at the forefront of human development, just because people weren’t there to point it out back in the days of feudalism as loudly as they did under capitalism, does not really mean economics hasn’t been there driving society. This idea once again is most likely coming from your idealist outlook of the world” The world is much older then Feudalism, so using that as an example does not solidify your argument. But even under Feudalism the motives of man cannot be explained away in a economic context. First we have to agree that many of the changing epochs of history is largely due to the will of great men and not of the masses, typically the masses follow suit (if we don’t agree on that point then of course we will be speaking different languages to each other this whole back and forth). If and when we look at history under that context we see economics has very little to do with mans motivation and the great things that have resulted from Man’s motivation. For example (under Feudalism) why would Cesare Borgia seek to unify a divided Italy? Monetary gain? Of course not, he was motivated by meta-physical concepts like those of ‘glory’, ‘honor’ , putting his name along side other titans of history and re-birthing a Roman empire. Capital gain has nothing to do with it. But you confuse me, because you even added at the end of your response that: “Perhaps I did over emphasize how important economics is to the materialist understanding of history, ” So maybe we agree more then we disagree? I am not sure, I just wanted to clarify the Fascist anti materialist POV. As far as my “idealist outlook on the world” Is “idealist” a pejorative to you? When you say ‘idealist’ is there a hint of ridicule there? Does ‘idealist’ = not true, to you? Because idealist or not, it is clear and factually provable that all men are not solely or even mainly motivated by material. “Here,I think you fail to understand Marxian historical materialism. Historical materialism is not simply a methodology that states “everyone does what they do for money,” that would be a nonsensical claim. What we do state,however, is that they do things based on the material conditions of their time(hence historical “materialism” and not historical”econocism”)” No, no, I get what you are saying, i am just saying its not true that men have been, are, and can be motivated by non-material motives. For example back to me bringing up Julius Caesar. He had all the material any man could dream for, but he still took power from his rich friends in the Senate, became a populist, gave land and money back to the common people…His deeds were anti-material. And there are countless other examples of men like him. “We concern ourselves with the bigger picture. I.e.Why are soldiers going to war in the first place? ” And you use WW1 to support your statement, which i will agree that anything done by government, (or people in power..i.e the bigger picture) under the Liberal Democratic Capitalists epoch is indeed done for material gain of the’ powers that be’. What i did not do a good job of trying to point out is that: Before the advent of materialism, lets say ancient Greece, Persia, Rome, etc the causes of war were not economic, partly material (land) but mainly spurred by meta-physics: “religion”, “greatness”, grand-calling” “duty” “honor”. A fine example of this is when Caesar’s troops were bitching about not getting paid and he offered to pay everyone as they left from under his service..Not only did they beg Caesar to forgive them but beat to death 1 out of every ten men who bitched about it to show their dedication to Caesar and his vision. “You call our analysis souless, yet this is not what we want either, the truth is is that the capitalist mode of production forces people to behave these ways, just as the feudal mode of production forces people to behave a certain way based on their relation to the hierarchy. This is why we advocate changing these conditions. ” We agree here, but i have to wonder, what is Marxism great vision? What is the endgame, the higher calling? Because (and yes i have read Marx’s works) I have failed to see the greater cause outside of class conflict. ” I don’t have to “realize” anything, I provided concrete evidence for why this can never happen, and then backed up my theory with a historical example of Fascism in practice. ” So unless all people and occupations are equal we are doomed to conflict of jealously or victim-hood status? That’s selling man short IMO..But what about Fascism in practice? Italy and Germany had different classes and after they got rid of the Communists the classes had no resentment under the Fascist model. “Except it isn’t. When Marxists refer to exploitation, we mean exploitation via wage labor whereby a capitalist pays his employee less than the value the employee creates; thus alienating the worker from his product.” But even ‘value’ is subjective… In your own video on Socialist economics you state that the method (that you liked) to figure out ‘value’ was too detailed and complex to go into at the time…Top that with there are (lets say) 10 other theories of value that are just as confusing and debatable…Value is subjective therefore so is exploitation (I am not saying people are not being exploited esp,. under Capitalism, just that many different people under different wages will cry ‘exploitation’) Sorry i am in a rush so i do not have a chance to proof read, so please forgive any spelling or grammatical errors. And i do plan on reading the links you gave me to read, but would more look forward to speaking to you on video or audio. Thanks for the detailed, civil and educated response. And just so you know, my intent is not to ‘one-up’ you or win points or “win a debate” but rather just to come to understandings, because i feel we are largely coming from the same place and have largely the same enemy.

My Response:

“The world is much older then Feudalism, so using that as an example does not solidify your argument. But even under Feudalism the motives of man cannot be explained away in a economic context. First we have to agree that many of the changing epochs of history is largely due to the will of great men and not of the masses, typically the masses follow suit (if we don’t agree on that point then of course we will be speaking different languages to each other this whole back and forth).”

I was using the feudal mode of production as just one example of how material conditions drive societies, this can also be applied to slave society and primitive society. Next, when you state that we have to agree history is driven by great men, this is a very one sided view. Simply looking at the actions of men isn’t enough to understand what drives history, rather just an observation of history. To understand what drives history we have to understand what drove these men to do the things they did, that is where Marxists invoke historical materialism.

“If and when we look at history under that context we see economics has very little to do with mans motivation and the great things that have resulted from Man’s motivation. For example (under Feudalism) why would Cesare Borgia seek to unify a divided Italy? Monetary gain? Of course not, he was motivated by meta-physical concepts like those of ‘glory’, ‘honor’ , putting his name along side other titans of history and re-birthing a Roman empire. Capital gain has nothing to do with it.”

Once again, this is a misrepresentation of historical materialism’s analysis. Historical materialism doesn’t assign certain things to happen purely because of economics, but because of material conditions. Cesare Borgia sought out to unify Italy because it is a lot easier to control a united population and therefore reproduce his power. This feeds into another aspect of historical materialism which is the self perpetuation of the current mode of production, and this acts as an incentive to unify divided territory. He was motivated by the material rewards that came with holding more power as well as uniting a once divided people which would make him more likable.

“But you confuse me, because you even added at the end of your response that: “Perhaps I did over emphasize how important economics is to the materialist understanding of history, ” So maybe we agree more then we disagree? I am not sure, I just wanted to clarify the Fascist anti materialist POV.”

Allow me to clarify. Historical materialism states that history is driven by the material conditions of a given society. These material conditions need not always be economic, but can be, as I just described in the case of Italy, for things such as the perpetuation of power, better relations with other countries, more stable geopolitical standpoints, etc. There is not one material condition that drives society, rather many.

“Is “idealist” a pejorative to you? When you say ‘idealist’ is there a hint of ridicule there? Does ‘idealist’ = not true, to you? Because idealist or not, it is clear and factually provable that all men are not solely or even mainly motivated by material.”

Idealist means you draw your conception of philosophy from thought rather than reality. I realize that thought is a form of reality, but it should be understood that reality influences thought just as much as thought influences reality (via action). An example of why idealism is flawed would be, say, Donald Trump. I’m sure he had ideas that he thought were good and he actually wanted to impose on America while running, however no mater how good or bad his ideas are, the reality of America won’t change because of this because of the capitalist mode of production and how it perpetuates certain behavior from politicians.

“No, no, I get what you are saying, i am just saying its not true that men have been, are, and can be motivated by non-material motives. For example back to me bringing up Julius Caesar. He had all the material any man could dream for, but he still took power from his rich friends in the Senate, became a populist, gave land and money back to the common people…His deeds were anti-material. And there are countless other examples of men like him.”

Perhaps you misunderstand what a material motive is. The reality is is that there were many benefits that came about from Italian reunification which Cesar saw as advantageous to the perpetuation of his own power and to maintain his rule and his country. He may have had material wealth, but he needed to protect it, and what better way to do that than by extending your influence? It isn’t even always about gaining material, rather maintaining that which you already have.

“And you use WW1 to support your statement, which i will agree that anything done by government, (or people in power..i.e the bigger picture) under the Liberal Democratic Capitalists epoch is indeed done for material gain of the’ powers that be’. What i did not do a good job of trying to point out is that: Before the advent of materialism, lets say ancient Greece, Persia, Rome, etc the causes of war were not economic, partly material (land) but mainly spurred by meta-physics: “religion”, “greatness”, grand-calling” “duty” “honor”. A fine example of this is when Caesar’s troops were bitching about not getting paid and he offered to pay everyone as they left from under his service..Not only did they beg Caesar to forgive them but beat to death 1 out of every ten men who bitched about it to show their dedication to Caesar and his vision.”

For this, I would need a citation. However let’s examine all these concepts you put forth, and allow me to give the materialist explanation:

Religion: Maintaining the spread of one religious doctrine, especially in those days, is most certainly motivated by material gain of power, because it allows you to control more people via beliefs

Duty: This is an interesting one, duty to whom? The gods? Or, a duty that develops in power structures to maintain their rule over a given region by extending their influences?

Honor: What are the material benefits of honor you may ask? It’s quite simple, you are seen as a better more noble leader and are able to perpetuate your rule more thoroughly.

Lastly, you say they did this to show their dedication to Caesar, but do you forget what happened to dissenters in the Army? Not to mention, having weak men is very bad for the materialism of war given they won’t fight as well if they’re not motivated, so they motivate them by fear, this motivation, is motivated by the material strategy of war.

“We agree here, but i have to wonder, what is Marxism great vision? What is the endgame, the higher calling? Because (and yes i have read Marx’s works) I have failed to see the greater cause outside of class conflict.”

The “end game” of Marxism, or socialism rather given Marxism is the philosophy, is to eliminate class struggle, and exploitation of one class by another. To allow all to live as equals, and free from oppression.

“So unless all people and occupations are equal we are doomed to conflict of jealously or victim-hood status? That’s selling man short IMO..But what about Fascism in practice? Italy and Germany had different classes and after they got rid of the Communists the classes had no resentment under the Fascist model.”

That’s a straw man of Marxism. The goal of socialism is not to make “everyone equal and get paid the same” that’s a common myth. The goal is to eliminate the contradictions that come about from capitalist property relations (private property) by allowing collective ownership. Fascism in Italy and Germany was very corrupt and benefited mostly the ruling elites as I describe in my video. Also, even if that weren’t true, there “not being resentment” was due to the fact that resentment was illegal and if you tried to organize a strike or union it was shut down.

“But even ‘value’ is subjective… In your own video on Socialist economics you state that the method (that you liked) to figure out ‘value’ was too detailed and complex to go into at the time…Top that with there are (lets say) 10 other theories of value that are just as confusing and debatable…Value is subjective therefore so is exploitation (I am not saying people are not being exploited esp,. under Capitalism, just that many different people under different wages will cry ‘exploitation’)”

Value is not subjective in the sense that bourgeois economics sees it. As that paper I sent you demonstrates the prices of commodities, which are a means by which we can measure value, accurately reflect the labor value put forth by Marxian economics. From this, we see that workers produce more value (embedded in the commodity or service they produce) than they receive in a wage, and therefore they do not reap the full fruits of their labor, rather a capitalist does for simply “owning the means of production” which is where we define class struggle because there is a contradiction between those who own property and those who don’t. I said that the mathematics behind value were too complex to go into in that video, and no one would understand them if I explained them, however their complexity does not invalidate them. Exploitation is measurable by means of data tables (as Marx showed in capital) the rate of exploitation is the rate by which surplus value is extracted, and this has increased over the years under capitalism as Marx predicted.

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