The somewhat infamous Rev. Carl Martin, past president of the North American Evangelical College, was quoted a few years back as saying:
We've made a lot of progress, but not enough. Our program has not toppled all immorality. The evil which one blames on arbitrary forces exists in committed homosexual relationships, where it causes crises, analogous to those of revolutions.Various LGBTQABCDEFG groups criticized Martin heavily for saying that, of course. The Reverend's supporters pointed out, though, that most of the quote was not actually Martin's original work, but merely Martin quoting someone else. In this case, Martin had been quoting an earlier fundamentalist minister, Garry Puget, who had written some years before, "Our program has not toppled all immorality. The evil which one blames on arbitrary forces exists in committed homosexual relationships, where it causes crises, analogous to those of revolutions."
The LGBTQABCDEFG community said that Martin had been quoting the comment approvingly, therefore he was affirming such viewpoints on how evil committed homosexual relationships were. Unfortunately, Martin's subsequent death left him unable to clarify his comments. To make things more interesting, it turned out that two of Martin's three sons were gay, and that he approved of their life partners and even attended their weddings.
What the hell should we make of all that? Is Martin against committed homosexual relationships, or not? Should Martin's other work on feeding Nicaraguan orphans be considered "tainted" in light of his apparently discriminatory viewpoints toward committed homosexual relationships? And, was Martin a hypocrite for encouraging his two sons to marry men of their respective choosing, while blasting the institution of committed homosexual relationships in his professional capacity?
More importantly of all, why the hell should we care about such worthless trivia? Just because Martin is now dead, does it mean that us obsessing over him is somehow different than us obsessing over sports stars, Hollywood celebrities, or British royalty? If the discussion of committed homosexual relationships, or of Nicaraguan economics, should come to light, should we spend a lot of time identifying ourselves as Martinists, and discussing the finer points of Martin's viewpoints, rather than focusing instead on what we ourselves believe, and what we ourselves have observed, and what we ourselves feel should be done?
Luckily for all of us, the Rev. Martin doesn't exist. Here's the real quote, and bonus irredeemable credits go to you as a prize if you're so well-read you recognized what I was doing at the beginning:
The revolution did not topple all tyrannies. The evil which one blames on arbitrary forces exists in families, where it causes crises, analogous to those of revolutions.If you consider yourself a Marxist, you should stop concluding that it is stupidity or ignorance alone that cause a lot of the proles to hate Marx. When you look at the Rev. Carl Martin's quote from above, consider it in the context of being homosexual, having a committed long-term relationship, and hearing that Martin said that, and that he is very popular and very influential. Can you see any correlation between his having that attitude, and you perceiving any hostility toward your relationship? Of course you can. Even if it doesn't bother you, what the Rev. Martin said implies a lot of negative stuff about committed homosexual relationships: it implies that they are destabilizing to society, and that they should be in some way discouraged because they cause crises.
Karl Marx, positively quoting "Peuchet on Suicide," 1846.
Accordingly, it's equally fair for heterosexuals to have a big problem with Marx. In the lingo of 2015 Earth, Marx was engaging in heterophobic hate-speech (yes, I know 2015 Earth doesn't recognize such a phrasing, but you get the point). Given Marx' positive intellectual relationship with Engels, who wrote much more fervently against the family, and given the violently anti-familial tendencies of Marx' and Engels' so-called followers, it's quite rational for people to feel that Marx was/is an anti-heterosexual crusader, and that his ideas are as poisonous to themselves and their communities as it would be if the fictional Rev. Carl Martin were to start producing social morality handouts for Portland's publicly-schooled first-graders.
Reconciling Marx and Marriage
Like Carl Martin, Karl Marx did everything he supposedly wrote against: he married young, stayed married his whole life, had three daughters, and supported two of their marriages (he reputedly encouraged the third to similarly marry, but she didn't wanna). Here's a 2010 Earth article on The Abolition of the Family, in which they quote another piece of Marx/Engels:
Abolition of the family! ... The bourgeois family will disappear, in the course [of history] as its supplement [private property] disappears, and both will vanish with the destruction of capital.That one can go either way. Were Marx/Engels saying only that bourgeois families should/would disappear, or did they really mean all families? Were they specifically criticizing the relationship of status-striving upwardly-mobile convenience marriages (possibly, because they did spend a lot of time talking about specifics there), or was this just one of their many strikes against marriage-in-general, particularly expressed?
Most importantly, who the hell cares? We shouldn't need to refer to either Karl Marx or the Carl Martin in talking about what should be done. For right now, thought, what we want to do is:
1) Get people who like Marx to realize that there is a very rational, fruitlessly-insolvable, endlessly-debatable, and yet potentially genuine position to be taken, by heterosexual people who want committed relationships, that Marx was hating on their lifestyle choices;
2) Get people who don't like Marx for the above reason to realize that, like the Rev. Martin's work teaching basic English and dental hygiene to rural Nicaraguan villagers, Marx still had a handful of decent points to make, and that, despite his other bad attitudes, any other points he might've supported are not wrong just because he also was/may-have-been a heterophobic asshole;
3) Get people to stop caring about Marx other than as trivia, equivalent to a Jeopardy question from ten years ago--and just as relevant to a discussion of desirous social policy for Earth 2016.
We took care of (1) above. Seriously, Marx and Engels said a lot of things about families that, if they had been said about homosexual couples in 2015, would've been considered hate speech. If enough money had been involved, there could've been Supreme Court cases, anxious New Yorker articles, a whole shitstorm of worthless articles on Salon.com, et cetera. And if you were in any way pro-LGBTQABCDEFG, you would've been happy to pull out those quotes and hold them up as examples of how bitter and bigoted some homophobic people were. It's possible that, after a long, long argument with one of the Rev. Carl Martin's supporters, you could've been convinced that Martin had only been condemning certain kinds of committed homosexual relationships, but you'd still feel that the Rev. was on the wrong side.
We'll look at (2) below.
Reconciling Marx and Money
Marx occupies a hallowed position for many people, akin to if not greater than Jesus for many Christians, in terms of how some self-identified Marxists conceptualize every aspect of their lives through a Marxian lens. Also like Jesus, Marx can produce endless scriptural arguments, which should be irrelevant but which give various levels of the faithful something to do with their spare time other than think about what is right and wrong, good and ill.
Accordingly, we'll approach this in a basic way: Marx described a lot of bad stuff about capitalism. And a lot of it was correct--a lot of it was really spot-on analysis about how rich people, even if they got rich fairly to begin with, were able to buy governments, make those governments do their bidding, and create an unfair market ruled by capital flows, in which the people who actually worked to provide useful goods and services were left desperate and needy, while a small class of non-producing capitalists owned everything, shielded by a small managerial class of greedy, status-striving bourgeois (yuppies and aging yuppies). That's essentially the entire first world today, and although Marx wasn't the first to say it (and although he was borrowing it, triple-ironically, from Jesus), it was still correct.
People who might be against homosexuality (or who are pro-family or whatever), but who have perceived the eerie ways that crony capitalism is synonymous with socialism, would do well to notice this aspect of Marx' work. The critiques that Marx used on capitalism are directly applicable to the managerial classes in twentieth century Russia, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom--to name just a few. There is great utility in that stuff.
At this point we need to note that, like his criticisms of the bourgeois family while living in one himself, Marx was an embodied hypocrite. He was a rich guy who, up until he decided to be a revolutionary, lived off inherited income and did the perpetual-student thing. The City of London eventually gave him sanctuary from other European governments (who had viewed him as part of a wealthy movement trying to instigate a massive depopulation scheme to centralize authority under some kind of united trade union of Europe), and London's establishment corporate, financial, and media sources report that Marx lived in poverty thereafter, while also being a widely respected and circulated news correspondent.
...but even so, many of Marx' criticisms of capitalism were accurate. One might say he had a very keen understanding of how powerful financial interests were able to control nations and manipulate the masses.
Reconciling Good People with Good People
There are plenty of people who say they like Marx who do so because they're trying to springboard themselves into a managerial role whereby they'll become responsible for accumulating and distributing the work-product of others; there are plenty of people who say they're Marxists because they want to deconstruct individual identities in favor of a totalitarian state (although they wouldn't of course call it that).
But there are also plenty of people who say they like Marx simply because they don't like crony capitalism, and/or because they have anti-bigotry notions that they feel can be better effected by a totalitarian state, which they believe can be done nicely. The latter viewpoint is certainly erroneous and somewhat dangerous, but the former viewpoint--a disliking of crony capitalism--is probably the dominant force causing ordinary people (not corporate media commentators like Marx) to be drawn to Marxism.
This one can have a separate debate with self-identified Marxists about whether or not Marx was really an agent of London financial interests trying to break up the continental European empires in order to hold a Great War to establish NATO and petrodollar controls over the world, and that the accurate portions of his criticisms of capitalism were about as substantively relevant as the fact that Goldman Sachs wants to hire women of color to their management positions. E.g., it's fine to criticize capitalism in specific, accurate ways, so long as the Archduke dies and the Great War is fought to stabilize modern colonialism.
Under such a viewpoint, Marx and Engels were little different than the American deep state operatives who sponsored ISIS to overthrow Assad. Yes, a lot of the criticisms that ISIS has about the United States are correct. The U.S. is militaristic, and it's destroying Muslim children, and it's invading Muslim lands, and it's stealing Muslim natural resources. Buuuuut, just because ISIS says those things, which are themselves correct, does not mean that ISIS is correct. ISIS is bad, very bad! Its platform as a whole is a tangled mess of Africom-sponsored bullshit, that, even when it condones a drone stroke that deserves to be condoned, cannot redeem itself. And the mealy-mouthed wormtongue James-Bondish bastards who work through Africom to inspire young, poor Muslim men to chop off heads to destabilize the Middle East in favor of Anglo-American financial interests are bad, too. Even though some of the critiques of Anglo-American militarism that they offer are correct.
And I'd love to have such an argument to pass the time. But for (1) people who aren't great adherents of Marx, but generally like the idea of anti-capitalism, and who are suspicious or dismissive of people who are against Marx, and (2) people who loathe people who like Marx, because they think that such people are advocates for everything Marx said or resulted in, put aside those labels and come together. You probably all agree that crony capitalism is bad, and totalitarian socialism is bad, which is why the buzzword "Marx" is so popularly used to drive you apart.
Most importantly of all--as it has been throughout--is that the Marx fetish should cease being a divider or identifier. People who say they like Marx argue more about the meaning of Marx than people who hate Marx (or who are only dimly aware of Marx as a name they once heard somewhere, maybe, like, in class, yo...?). Marx is fine trivia, but he's become a massive time-suck for over a hundred years of human beings, who seem to be forced to pore through, and lengthily address, the colossal and ever-expanding Marx-related historiography in order to be allowed to contemplate basic issues. Liking Marx' (theoretical) viewpoints on capital is all very well and good, but his supposed predictive and/or analytical power should be no more relevant to a discussion of today's economy than should be any of Nostradamus' predictions which could be read as applying to today's economy.
That's the thing that we as 2015 human beings should be focusing on when we approach any of these issues: the People-magazine-level triviality of the viewpoints of some guy who died centuries ago, as we discuss how things should be done in future centuries.
Marx-people, stop mentioning his prophecies to people who don't already like him. It's not a sign of intellect; rather, it's a cultural identifier akin to a Green Bay Packers bumper sticker. Anti-Marx people, try to tolerate the bumper stickers of poorly-trained Marx people, because there's a fair chance that they just don't like political corruption, enjoy inane scriptural arguments at a level exceeding a hardcore Star Trek fan, and nothing more.