Other Anti-Dialecticians


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Summary Of My Main Objections To Dialectical Materialism


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In this Section I propose to post essays and articles (already available on-line) that carry further the argument against Dialectical Materialism, or Dialectics in general.


Readers mustn't assume, however, that I agree with everything found in these essays.


Some might be concerned that several of these Essays were written by authors who later abandoned Marxism, or even became its staunch opponents. However, it is a moot point whether opposition to Hegel's influence was a prime cause, or even a cause, of this change of heart. A far more likely reason for their defection is the deleterious effect dialectics has had on Marxism; the fact that this alien-class theory has presided over decades of failure cannot be discounted.


Even more likely is the irrational response of the dialectical faithful to the open questioning of these received ideas. In the mind of anyone who accepts the idea that Marxism is a science, it must surely have given pause for thought that almost without exception the faithful refuse to be the least bit scientific about this mystical doctrine. Lenin himself declared that no science is complete, and yet he and others pointedly refused to question the concepts they imported from Hegel (even when they had supposedly been turned 'the right way up'). This closed-minded approach must have had some effect on the thinking of these ex-comrades -- who, clearly, drew the wrong conclusion. It isn't Marxism that is to blame, but the Philosophical Philistines who control its core ideas.


When these factors are then connected to the disproportionately unreasonable response their lack of 'orthodoxy' elicited (mirrored by the reaction I myself have faced from the DM-faithful; on that see here and here) their course of action is less easy to misunderstand, even if it cannot be forgiven.


However, their knowledge of basic Marxism should have told them that the petty-bourgeois martinets who run our movement need their own forms of quasi-religious consolation, and that they will defend dialectics just like the Religious Fundamentalists they resemble defend the Bible, just as it should have told them that scientists themselves are also among the most conservative elements in society, who, in general, have also resisted the march of progress in their own inimitable fashion.


As Tony Cliff once said, the human brain is the most conservative organ on earth. Dialectical Mysticism is surely part of the muck of ages we must learn to throw off -- or, of course, face the consequences: barbarism. These ex-comrades should have drawn that more obvious conclusion.


For my own part, my opposition to DM has made me, not less, but more determined to defend revolutionary socialism against the inroads of mysticism. So, in my case, if not in any other, opposition to this execrable theory has had the reverse effect to the one it had on the ex-comrades mentioned above. [On this in general, see here.]


In short, anti-dialectics isn't necessarily connected with anti-socialism. In my case, it isn't even contingently so linked.


In fact, I would argue that the scientific development of revolutionary socialism requires us to be anti-dialecticians.


Max Eastman -- Marxism: Science Or Philosophy? (1935)


Jean Van Heijenoort -- Friedrich Engels And Mathematics



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