Tom Thumb Is A Fictional Dwarf -- But Marxism Has Its Very Own Vertically Challenged 'Logician'
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Summary Of My Main Objections To Dialectical Materialism
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There is a 'socialist' blog on the Internet that unfortunately attracts rather too many empty-headed comrades, eager to parade their ignorance for all the world to see.
After having been exposed as someone keen to pontificate about logic when it was abundantly clear he knows nothing about it, one particular cabbage-head has returned several times in order to expose himself to public ridicule -- and it seems to voluntary humiliation --, by advancing several ignorant claims about my work: our very own Dialectical Dwarf, "Tom Thumb".
Now, before the reader allows the following quoted 'thoughts' to enter her mind, it is worth noting that this comrade has not actually read my work. I suggest, therefore, that you suppress your desire to laugh at this point, for this remarkable individual is a psychic, and is able to 'intuit' all I have ever written by the mere operation of his one remaining brain cell (the rest having been destroyed by a hermetic virus he sadly caught from Hegel):
Roy (I am not going to sully the good name of the Marxist Rosa to accept your rediculous (sic) nom de plume), when you name drop a long list of influences, I simply put this down to name dropping. In other words, I am not prepared to take your word that you have read any Lenin, Trotsky, Marx, Engels or any of the rest. The fact that you list alongside these Marxists, Stalin and Mao confirms my belief that you have no idea what you are talking about.
From this passage it is quite clear to see the level of debate to which this tortured soul is prepared to raise himself: from the cess pit to the sewer. Of course, anyone who takes the minimal precaution of checking what I have actually written before inserting an over-sized boot into his/her mouth will see that I have indeed quoted extensively from the above dialectical prophets.
But, who am I to question this semi-divine being, who surely knows more about my work that I do? So yes, it must be true that even though I have been reading and studying, and now quoting, the Dialectical Holy Books for well over twenty-five years, I cannot possibly have read a single word written by the above luminaries.
Check my Essays dear reader, and if perchance you see page after page of quotations from these classics, please tell yourself that you are hallucinating, for this Messenger From The Gods cannot possibly be wrong.
[Begin, say, here, or here; but, under no circumstances believe what you see!]
In that case, since this comrade knows all about my work from not having read it, had I followed his example, and not read a single page of Engels, Lenin or Trotsky, that would have made me a towering authority on their work -- for the same tactic had precisely that effect on this dunderhead.
But, of course, as comparison will show, when it comes to dialectics, the works of Mao, Stalin and all the rest are virtually identical. Do not take my word for it, dear reader; see for yourself, here.
[Or you can always 'intuit' it -- but, for detailed instructions, please contact "Tom Thumb"; I can't quite manage the trick.]
For the first four, materialist dialectics was the guide to action of the class that is the most important reaction of capitalism: it’s very own gravedigger. Stalin and Mao were heads of counterrevolutionary bureacracies (sic), butchering revolutionaries at home and abroad. You simply do not have a clue what you are talking about.
I had already made the point that all dialecticians use this jelly-fish of a 'theory' any-which-way-they-please, to prove any-old-conclusion-they-like (details here), but "Tom Thumb" just ignored it, and ploughed on hoping that mere bluster, and yet another dialectical-tantrum, would carry the day. Well, it might have worked on his parents, but in the real world, repeatedly throwing your non-dialectical toys out of the pram is, sadly, not enough.
So, Stalin used this contradictory theory to rationalise the setting-up of the bureaucracy that "Tom Thumb" decries, and so did Mao; and Trotsky used it to prove the opposite (and to justify the Stalinist invasion of Finland), and so have other OTs, and assorted NOTs. Indeed, Tony Cliff used it to 'prove' the lot of them were wrong.
[OTT = Orthodox Trotskyist; NOT = Non-Orthodox Trotskyist.]
Hence, far from not knowing what I am talking about, "Tom Thumb" here needs to check his facts before he soils himself in public like this in future.
[But we all know he won't...]
When you say that no one knows what dialectics is that PROVES that you have not read the books you claim to have read. Had you done so, then you would realise that not only do all the great Marxists know what it is, a few of them managed to find some time to set down on paper for young Marxists the conclusions of their own intensive studies.
Of course, what I have said is not that no one 'knows' what dialectics is, but no one understands it, and that includes "Tom Thumb" here -- an intellectual minnow that even minnows will disown.
To be sure, dialecticians are good at spouting Hegelian-esque jargon, but so is a random word-generator, suitably programmed. And, it is a sure bet that the latter machine understands this incomprehensible 'theory' no better, nor no worse, than Lenin or Trotsky.
[If you doubt my word, read my Essays where you will see all the proof you need -- or if you have learnt that neat trick off "Tom Thumb", just 'intuit' their content. Same result.]
Unfortunately, dear readers, there is more. So, you will need that Prozac after all:
As a guide to action, Lenin learnt more from his studies than anyone else. However, his marginal notes on Hegel's Logic were never intended for publication. They contain brilliant insights, but there remains ambiguity that he would have eliminated had he went for publication. As he wrote in the concluding sentences of State and Revolution, practical politics forces some issues of theory to be placed on the backburner. This explains why when his studies of Hegel revolutionised his attitude towards dialectics, he never found the time to correct some crudities in his only major work on philosophy: Materialism and Empirio-criticism. Prison Notebooks and History and Class Consciousness are the two best books on the dialectical relationship between theory and practice.
Alas for "Tom Thumb", all the above works contain a priori dogmatics, and are full of theses that have been imposed on nature (contrary to the claim that this is never done) -- so we can disregard them all as yet more Idealist myth-making.
But, our resident psychic already knows this since he has 'intuited' all my Essays; in that case, his extensive rebuttal (of which the above is no doubt the summary) will follow any day soon. Indeed, I look forward to it, for it will be the very first attempt in dialectical-history to respond to my systematic demolition of all that these works contain.
I, for one, want to learn -- so, if I am wrong in what I have written, I am happy to be corrected; and it looks like we have at last found in this intellectual gnat-of-a-comrade capable of putting me in my place.
I am quaking in my working-class boots.
Unfortunately, dear reader, you will need another prescription for Prozac because of what follows --, and I strongly suggest you up the dosage from 20mg to 60mg, while you are at it:
They both acknowledge that Lenin's theory of the democratic centralist vanguard party is the missing link between theory and practice, and both accepted that this link is the concrete solution to the puzzle of the third thesis on practice. Neither of these books deals in any substantial way with dialectics as it applies to the non-social world. Engels more than anyone else dealt with this. However, Engels lack of scientific knowledge proved a hostage to fortune. The same would be even more true for any Marxist who tried to explain quantum mechanics, which is open to a variety of competing philosophical interpretations within the scientific community. String theory is not even in principle testable, according to many serious scientists. Scientists are coming up with earth shattering discoveries about dark matter, dark energy, the incredible fact that the rate of expansion of the universe is increasing, in defiance of all previous expectations. Books popularising the most radical science are requiring revision all the time. That is one reason why anyone who tried to do today what Engels did over a century ago would risk instant ridicule. A CWI member has just published a book that tackles some of these issues. However, it seems to focus only on the big bang. Trying to prove this theory is a bit like trying to confirm that the earth really is not flat. Supporters of Ted Grant might reject the big bang, but no one else does. As materialists, Marxists don't defy the evidence. When theories are proven experimentally to be inadequate or plain wrong they drop them. Marxists had no material incentive to defend big crunch theory, which is why none of us should have been upset when it was finally disproved a few years ago. We do have a material incentive to disprove some "scientific" hypothesis, such as alleged genetic proof of the inferiority of some races or one of the sexes. The dialectic relationships between subject and object offers a materialist explanation for why Marxists focus on certain contested ideas, while adopt a neutral stance towards others. Anyone who has genuinely read Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Luxemburg, Gramsci and Lukacs will understand this. You, Roy, are incapable of understanding any of this because you have apparently not read these Marxists. Your writings do not rise about the petty bourgeois philistinism of James Burnham, that Trotsky made so much fun on in "In Defence of Marxism". Dialectical materialism helps Marxists select what to read, and re-read, to study, to make notes on. It also helps us identify pisstakes by people whose writings are only good for a laugh. If that. Your writings fall into the latter category, Roy. If you want to become a Marxist, then the best thing for you to do is to take a sabatical (sic), at least where this subject is concerned. Either do some serious study, beginning with Trotsky, Harman and Molyneux. Or else simply accept that this subject is beyond you. But when you have gotten yourself lost in a theoretical black hole, stop digging.
Alas, all this amounts not even to a hill of beans, but it does mean that "Tom Thumb" here needs to fit new batteries in his head, since his 'intuition' chip has let him down, and badly -- for he must have mentally skipped past those places in my work where I have demolished the dialectical meanderings of the mystical prize-fighters he mentions. [Trotsky, for example, gets a serious drubbing here.]
And, as if to underline the fact that he knows no logic, "Tom Thumb" now repeats the same baseless allegations he made earlier:
In his "In Defence of Marxism", Trotsky subjected James Burnham to a quite devastating critique. Aristotelian logic was counterposed by Burnham to materialist dialectics. Trotsky did not deny that Aristotellian (sic) logic has it’s place. However, it was poor in comparison to dialectical logic in much the same way as a photograph is poor in comparison to a series of photographs that, when combined, can capture the world as it unfolds in our world of fourth dimensional space-time.
This plonker has already had it pointed out to him that Aristotelian Logic can handle change, and that Modern Logic handles it even better. Just as I pointed out that Dialectical Logic can't account for change. Now, it is only ignorant dialecticians like "Tom Thumb" here who bang on about Aristotle (and from a position of total ignorance, too), since they seem to know nothing of the revolution in logic that took place in the late nineteenth century. As I wrote in Essay Four:
As already noted, dialecticians (but particularly those who are revolutionaries) almost invariably identify FL with AFL -- and, worse, with that bowdlerized version found in Hegel's two badly misnamed books on logic. DM-theorists of earlier generations (such as Engels) may perhaps be excused in this regard, since they largely wrote before the revolution that took place in Logic after the 1870s; later Marxists are not so easy to exonerate.
[AFL = Aristotelian Formal Logic; FL = Formal Logic; DM = Dialectical Materialism; MFL = Modern Formal Logic.]
For example, we find Trotsky (who was otherwise reasonably up-to-date in his knowledge of the sciences) writing the following in his "Open Letter to Burnham" -- approximately 60 years after MFL was founded by Frege, and approximately 30 years after Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica was first published:
"I know of two systems of logic worthy of attention: the logic of Aristotle (formal logic) and the logic of Hegel (the dialectic). Aristotelian logic takes as its starting point immutable objects and phenomena…. [P]lease take the trouble to inform us just who following Aristotle analysed and systematized the subsequent progress of logic." [Trotsky (1971), pp.91-92.]
To which Burnham not unreasonably replied:
"[A]part from Aristotle, the only 'logic worthy of attention' is that of -- Hegel…. Comrade Trotsky, as we Americans ask: where have you been all these years? During the 125 years since Hegel wrote…[,] after 2300 years of stability, logic has undergone a revolutionary transformation…in which Hegel and his ideas have had an influence of exactly zero….
"In a most sarcastic vein, you keep asking me to 'take the trouble to inform us just who following Aristotle analysed and systematized the subsequent progress of logic'…as if this demand were so obviously impossible of fulfilment that I must collapse like a pricked balloon before it…. Do you wish me to prepare a reading list, Comrade Trotsky? It would be long, ranging from the work of the brilliant mathematicians and logicians of the middle of the last century to…the monumental 'Principia Mathematica' of Russell and Whitehead…." [Burnham (1971), pp.236-37.]
Unfortunately, wilful ignorance like this among dialecticians has not noticeably changed since Trotsky's day (with the notable exception of the work of logicians like Graham Priest, of course). Hence, we still find socialists of otherwise impeccable dialectical credentials repeating Trotsky's ill-informed opinions time and again, still confusing FL with AFL, still clinging to the dogma that Aristotle is and always will be the last (and only) word on the subject.
Worse still, many of the above compound this inexcusable ignorance with an open failure to grasp even the few degenerate logical ideas they mistakenly attribute to Aristotle.
And "Tom Thumb" here is happy, too, to wear this badge of ignorance with pride.
Much to the amusement of everyone on this blog Roy (sic) Lichtenstein has actually managed to make an even bigger a*** of himself than Burnham did. So kudos, Roy (sic), for finding a means of bringing Respect and Respect Renewal members together. While Burhnam’s (sic) Aristotelian logic was the logic of the still photograph, Roy’s (sic) logic is that of the comic caricature. If Roy (sic) wants to impress people, then I suggest he gets in touch with the 22 children who contributed stories to the the (sic) following Roy (sic) Lichtenstein competition...
It seems, too, that "Tom Thumb" can't even get Burnham right, for the latter at least tried to tell Trotsky his knowledge was woefully out-of-date (and that he, Burnham, wasn't using Aristotelian Logic). Sixty years later, and with hundreds of sites on the internet to help upgrade this intellectual Luddite's brain, "Tom Thumb" is more than happy to bury his empty head in a sand dune of wilful ignorance. And there we should leave him. He is, I suspect, only a danger to himself.
Now, anyone who knows how the Hermetically-compromised brains of mystics like "Tom Thumb" work, will also know that all this will sail over that waste of space between his ears, which is, of course, one of the reasons why Dialectical Marxism has been such a long-term failure.
More of the same sort of ignorance can be found here. Follow the links there, dear reader, to see that the brainless things "Tom Thumb" has said have been said scores of times already, by equally 'intuitive' dialecticians who won't allow their tender eyes to read my Essays, but who are all experts about my ideas, and all equally ignorant to boot.
They are, indeed, all the same, and they never change -- and, alas, are living proof that Heraclitus got it wrong: it is possible to step into the same river of abuse flowing out of this sewer of dialectics many times.
For those who might wonder about my own invective, here is what I have posted on the opening page of my site, in reference to the link in the last but one paragraph:
How Not To Argue 101
This page contains links to forums on the web where I have 'debated' this creed with other comrades.
For anyone interested, check out the desperate 'debating' tactics used by Dialectical Mystics in their attempt to respond to my ideas.
You will no doubt notice that the vast majority all say the same sorts of things, and most of them pepper their remarks with scatological and abusive language. They all like to make things up, too, about me and my beliefs.
25 years (!!) of this stuff from Dialectical Mystics has meant I now take an aggressive stance with them every time -- I soon learnt back in the 1980s that being pleasant with them (my initial tactic) did not alter their abusive tone, their propensity to fabricate, nor reduce the amount of scatological language they used.
So, these days, I generally go for the jugular from theget-go.
Apparently, they expect me to take their abuse lying down, and regularly complain about my "bullying" tactics.
These mystics can dish it out, but they cannot take it.
Given the damage their theory has done to Marxism, and the abuse they all dole out, they are lucky this is all I can do to them.
Word Count: 3280
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