The Two Faces of Marxism

I have one major problem with Paul Gottfried’s The Strange Death of Marxism: The European Left in the New Millennium: The title does not really fit the book. Professor Gottfried describes how Marxism as an economic theory has lost its appeal, even on the left, since World War II. Today’s leftists no longer advocate nationalization of the economy and anti-capitalist theories. In fact, they hardly care about economics at all; instead, they focus on changing the moral and cultural foundations of Western society. This shift, Gottfried points out, originated with the so-called Frankfurt School, a group of originally German Marxist philosophers who settled in the 1930’s in the United States, where they came to dominate liberal thinking, not so much by advocating anti-capitalist economic reform as by pushing social engineering.

Their ideas returned to Europe after World War II, together with the wave of American pop culture sweeping the Old Continent, and have since thoroughly destroyed traditional European culture and morality. The “incentive to social engineering,” says Gottfried, “has gone from the Old to the New World and then back again and in the process altered Europe even more dramatically than us.” That, to me, is the important message of this book, which deserves a large audience.

Gottfried is right in saying that the multicultural orientation of the contemporary European...

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