Scott Marshall Scott at
Mon Sep 18 10:17:00 MDT 1995

>Scott -- I would say that Marx and Engels thought that collective
>humanity could never achieve omniscience -- but that collective humanity
>could come pretty darn close; what's a few unknown variables in the face
>of what Engels states above?  Simply put, this is no "strawman" -- the
>Marxist tradition is filled with Enlightenment-inspired visions of human
>possibility, except that Marx and Engels left the job to the generations
>of some distant millenium since currently, any attempt to reach this
>plateau in the absence of material conditions, would ultimately be utopian.
>The Marxist tradition -- well into the 20th century, even in the writings
>of Trotsky, and in the thought of critical theorists such as Habermas,
>continues to promote the faith that human beings will become on average,
>Aristotles, Goethes, and Marxes.  We need a little humility here, and a
>little realism, because as much as I'd like to believe this faith, "it
>ain't necessarily so..."  And if, existentially, it is impossible, then
>we have to ask ourselves what damage are we doing by promoting such a
>silly notion, since it would take more than a race of superbeings to
>create and sustain a socialist society.  It would take gods and goddesses.

I still think you're investing Marx and Engels and their followers with a
mystical claim that they never make. Your example of great thinkers becoming
the norm doesn't bear any relationship to any claim I know of in Marxism but
smacks of exageration for the purpose of ridicule - and a very elitist
example to boot. I think what Marxist do believe is that there is vast human
potential that cannot even begun to be tapped under capitalism and
circustances of exploitation and oppression, that in particular the working
class is not allowed under these conditions to reach their collective full
potential. Obviously freeing the human race in this way will be a big, even
a qualitative forward progress. This has noting to do with gods, goddesses
or perfection. Again a strawman argument.

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