by David A. Noebel
Marxist/Leninist economic determinism shapes Marxist sociology. Marxists believe that social consciousness is determined by the mode of production extant in a society, so that capitalism is responsible for society’s present failings.
This concept of economic determinism is central to the Marxist worldview. Capitalism allegedly has produced a society rife with oppression and crime; therefore, an economic system must be adopted that changes social consciousness for the better. If, as L. P. Bueva claims, "classes form the basis of social structure: their traits and the relations among them determine all social and socio-psychological processes in society and the laws governing them,"1 then a classless society (communism) is far superior to a society that encourages one class to oppress another (capitalism). Thus, the Marxist sociologist calls for a socialistic system to replace capitalism, believing that this will guarantee the creation of advanced social consciousness.
The Marxist is especially anxious to usher in a communist society because only then will mankind achieve a truly moral social consciousness. "Right," Karl Marx declares, "can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural development conditioned thereby."2 According to this view, mankind has been living with a stunted notion of morality throughout history, and a society that encourages proper values is long overdue. These "proper values," however, will not be manifest until the proper society is put into place.
Marxist sociology believes that the advent of such a society is inevitable. Man is guaranteed by biological evolution and the laws of the dialectic to progress socially and culturally. Even now, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie are clashing according to the immutable laws of the dialectic. Man can soon expect world socialism, followed by a new social consciousness. This new society, as it gradually leaves behind the contagion of capitalism, will evolve into a new world order—communism. At that point, society will be so radically altered that the individual will be influenced to act responsibly at all times. For example, Marxists believe that the sins of greed, selfishness, and envy will disappear completely once private property is abolished. From the ashes, new communist man will emerge.
Modern capitalist society, according to Marxist theory, is contributing to its own demise. By oppressing individuals, it encourages each man to revolt and establish a new mode of production and, consequently, a new society that will respect the individual. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels declare,
In the present epoch, the domination of material relations over individuals, and the suppression of individuality by fortuitous circumstances, has assumed its sharpest and most universal form, thereby setting existing individuals a very definite task. It has set them the task of replacing the domination of circumstances and of chance over individuals by the domination of individuals over chance and circumstances.3
In this way, Marxists grant man free will, rather than a determined consciousness, long enough to help evolution and the dialectic usher in world communism.
And what will this perfect society be like? Marxists tell us that world communism will abandon traditional bourgeois morality with all its religious connotations. The church will be consigned to the scrap heap, and the community will assume responsibility for childrearing, thereby effectively disbanding the family. Indeed, even the state will wither away, leaving every individual to govern his own life. Society will become a collection of perfectible individuals with no institutions to hinder their development or lead them astray. Marxist sociologists insist that this type of society will usher in the golden age of humanity. The coming world order will become a reality in which every human being can claim his manhood and womanhood without exploitation or alienation.
- L. P. Bueva, Man: His Behaviour and Social Relations (Moscow: Progress, 1981), p. 112.
- Karl Marx, On Historical Materialism (New York: International, 1974), p. 165.
- Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The Individual and Society (Moscow: Progress,1984), p. 162.