Portrait of an Evil Man: Karl Marx | Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn


Within the “German Democratic Republic” they inform the story a couple of weary outdated man who tries to realize entrance into the Purple Paradise. A Communist Archangel holds him up on the gate and severely cross-questions him:

“The place have been you born?”

“In an historical bishopric.”

“What was your citizenship?”


“Who was your father?”

“A rich lawyer.”

“What was your religion?”

“I transformed to Christianity.”

“Not superb. Married? Who was your spouse?”

“The daughter of an aristocratic Prussian officer and the sister of a Royal Prussian Minister of the Inside who persecuted the Socialists.”

“Terrible. And the place did you reside principally?”

“In London.”

“Hm, the colonialist capital of capitalism. Who was your finest pal?”

“A producer from the Ruhr Valley.”

“Did you want employees?”

“Not within the least. Saved them at arm’s size. Despised them.”

“What did you consider Jews?”

“I known as them a money-crazy race and hoped that they’d vanish from the Earth.”

“And what concerning the Slavs?”

“I despised the Russians.”

“You have to be a fascist! You even dare to ask for admission to the Purple Paradise — you have to be loopy! By the best way, what’s your identify?”

“Karl Marx.”

Man, certainly, is a really unusual animal. This has been proved in some ways, however particularly by the Marx-renaissance of latest many years. And but the concepts of this odd and on no account constructive thinker are accountable everywhere in the world for rivers of blood and oceans of tears. There will be little doubt that with out the Communist problem Nationwide Socialism, its competitor, would by no means have succeeded. Hitler boasted to Rauschning that he was the true executor of Marxism (although “minus its Jewish-Talmudic spirit”); thus the macabre demise dance of our civilization prior to now fifty years is because of that scurrilous, evil and sad man who spent half his life copying infinite passages from books within the British Museum Library’s studying room. But, apart from quite a few pamphlets and the primary quantity of a e book, he left nothing however badly assembled, unpublishable manuscripts and a mountain of notes. It was his pal Friedrich Engels who, with probably the most laborious efforts, needed to deliver them into form.

New Curiosity from the Left

This Marx-renaissance is due largely, however not solely, to the rise of the New Left which argues that the pricey outdated man had been completely misunderstood by the barbaric Russians. Additionally a variety of women and men could be horrified to be known as Socialists or Communists however nonetheless have a delicate spot of their hearts for a person who “at the least was crammed with compassion for the poor and was an admirable father and a young husband.” Certainly, Marx was a fancy and contradictory particular person, and the renewed consideration paid to him has produced a variety of German books analyzing this most deadly determine of our occasions. Damaging concepts virtually unavoidably derive from a damaging and — on this case — fairly repulsive particular person.

Karl Marx was born in Trier, of Jewish mother and father, in 1818. Only some years earlier this Catholic bishopric was forcibly included into the Kingdom of Prussia and Karl Marx’s father embraced the Lutheran religion of the Prussian occupants. The kids and the fairly reluctant mom have been baptized by a Prussian military chaplain solely at a later date. The deism of Enlightenment was the true religion of Heinrich Marx who, nonetheless, was a cultured man and a loyal father. Younger Karl completed excessive school-college with flying colours on the age of seventeen and got down to examine legislation which he shortly deserted for philosophy, eyeing the opportunity of a tutorial profession. He first matriculated in Bonn, then in Berlin the place he fell beneath the spell of the Hegelians. He obtained his Ph.D. from the College of Jena, however renounced the concept of changing into a professor. He additionally gave up writing his self-centered poetry and his dream of working a theatrical evaluation. He then married into the Prussian the Aristocracy and established himself as a free-lance author in Paris the place he quickly clashed with the extra humanitarian French socialists. He moved to Cologne, then returned to Paris and, lastly —expelled from Belgium as an enemy of the established order — he took a everlasting abode in London the place, with interruptions, he remained till his demise in 1883.

A lot for the information of his life. Inside the final decade three books have been printed in German analyzing Marx psychologically. These tomes are very totally different in scope however they hardly differ of their judgments. The authors belong to no “college” specifically, however all are severe college students of our “hero’s” works and private historical past. These books are Marx, by Werner Blumenberg, a small, however exceedingly readable paperback (1962), Karl Marx, Die Revolutionare Konf ession by Ernst Kux (1967) and Karl Marx, Eine Psychographie by Arnold Künzli (1966). The final two haven’t been printed in the US and whoever is acquainted with the great difficulties encountered by translations of realized books in the US is not going to be stunned. The explanations for this state of affairs are usually not solely of a monetary nature. This text is partly based mostly on the work of those authors.

A Technology Hole

Allow us to return to the persona of the founding father of socialism and communism. At the same time as a younger man Marx doesn’t seem to have been enticing. As a scholar he’s liberally supplied with cash by his prosperous father, and spends his annuity of 700 Thalers — a pleasant center class revenue would then be round 300 Thalers — in a way nonetheless unexplained. Regardless of his love for Jenny von Westphalen he’s an sad, “torn” particular person and writes in these phrases to his father. Heinrich Marx ticks him off: “To be fairly frank, I hate this contemporary expression —’torn — utilized by weaklings if they’re disgusted with life merely as a result of they can’t get with out effort superbly furnished palaces, elegant carriages, and hundreds of thousands within the financial institution.” And in one other letter the outdated gentleman, figuring out his son solely too properly, tells him that he suspects his coronary heart to not have the identical qualities as his thoughts. “In case your coronary heart just isn’t pure and human, if it turns into alienated by an evil genius… my life’s nice hope will likely be dashed.”

Karl Marx was impatient. On this connection it’s worthwhile to take a look at his doctoral dissertation on Epicurus, the materialistic Greek thinker who, because the founding father of Epicureanism, made sensual pleasures the primary objective of life. Right here Marx quoted a number of traces from Aeschylus wherein Prometheus rants towards the gods and ridicules the concept of being an obedient son to Father Zeus. The determine of Prometheus was, certainly, as Kux and Künzli display one of many guiding stars in Marx’s life. The revolt towards God (and the gods), the riot towards all the present order, all fairly pure in youth, remained his leitmotiv till his demise. Marx, as our authors insist, by no means actually grew up. His complete relationship to different individuals continued to be juvenile, if not childish.

Marx’s fundamental imaginative and prescient was that of a humanity free of all oppression, repression and controls and thus open to an egotistic “self-realization” — primarily of an inventive order. There was, as he believed, a Raphael, a Michelangelo, a Shakespeare, a Bach in each man. This nice liberation, nonetheless, might solely be achieved by the rule, the dictatorship of the poorest and most tyrannized individuals, the working class. These have been those, he thought, who could possibly be indoctrinated to destroy the present order fully — after which to construct a brand new one. They have been ordained “by historical past” to hold out his murderous goals.

The difficulty was that he had no data of the thoughts and mentality of the employees nor any affection for them. He solely knew “statistically” about their scenario, their dwelling circumstances; and these have been humble, inevitably so, as a result of at the start of any industrialization (be it capitalistic or socialistic) the buying energy of the plenty continues to be low and the prices of saving and investing (i.e. the shopping for of costly equipment) are sure to be very excessive. Within the interval of early capitalism the producers, opposite to a widespread legend, lived fairly puritanically and have been on no account bent on luxurious. However none of this endeared the employees to Marx in any method. He had solely phrases of contempt for them, besides as they is likely to be mobilized towards the “bourgeois” society which Marx so hated.

Obtrusive Inconsistencies

Regardless of his fully “bourgeois” background that is the best way his lifelong opposition towards his household, above all towards his mother and father, took form. Curiously sufficient, Marx’s anti-middle-class advanced was not accompanied by any marked loathing for the aristocracy to which his spouse belonged. He most likely most well-liked her father to his personal. The younger chief of the German Employee’s Motion directed his spouse to have her calling playing cards printed: “Jenny Marx, née baronne de Westphalen.” He additionally sported a most feudal-looking monocle and was an actual snob. His two closest mates belonged to the hated grande bourgeoisie: Friedrich Engels, the Presbyterian textile producer; and August Philips, a Dutch banker, a Calvinist of Jewish origin who was his maternal cousin.

Aside from these two, Marx had no actual mates. Budding friendships he destroyed virtually routinely by his pettiness, his envy, his rancor and his urge to domineer. He was one of many best haters in fashionable historical past, and one of many explanation why he by no means actually bought forward in his fundamental work was his infinite hostile pamphleteering. If he felt slighted by anyone, if he noticed in some author a attainable competitor, if an harmless writer had written a couple of theme of curiosity to Marx however with conclusions differing from his, Marx instantly dropped each severe analysis object, sat down and wrote a vitriolic reply or a complete pamphlet. He had probably the most toxic pen beneath the solar and used probably the most unfair private arguments. At the same time as a scholar he by no means might chorus from going off on a tangent. He generally copied half a e book which had nothing to do together with his predominant topic; therefore the mountains of undecipherable notes and informal remarks on small slips.

A Vindictive Nature

He was a superb talker who dominated conversations together with his caustic remarks. A Prussian lieutenant named Techow, a convert to socialism, after visiting Marx stated in a letter that he could be able to sacrifice every little thing for him “if solely his coronary heart have been remotely nearly as good as his thoughts.” Marx, evidently, vilified virtually all people inside his attain and despised particularly the German refugees, the 48-ers, in whose firm he needed to stay more often than not. (Considerably sufficient, he had hardly any contacts with real Englishmen who most likely couldn’t stand his manners and mannerisms.) Marx had nothing however contempt for ladies on the whole and by no means engaged in real conversations together with his spouse who was decidedly an clever and delicate girl with a superb academic background.

A part of Marx’s worst ire was directed towards the Jews. On this he was not within the least inhibited by his Jewish descent. His hatred for Jews had sure non secular elements however was primarily a racism of probably the most depraved kind.

No, Marx actually was not a “good man”. In his memoirs, Carl Schurz, the German democratic revolutionary, who later grew to become a U. S. Senator, has given us his impressions of Marx: “The stocky, closely constructed man together with his broad brow, his pitch black hair and full beard, attracted basic consideration… What Marx stated was certainly substantial, logical and clear. However by no means did I meet a person of such offensive vanity in his demeanor. No opinion deviating in precept from his personal could be given the slightest consideration. Anyone who contradicted him was handled with barely veiled contempt. Each argument which he occurred to dislike was answered both with biting mockery about such pitiful show of ignorance, or with defamatory suspicions as to the motives of the interpellant. I nonetheless properly keep in mind the sneering tone with which he spat out the phrase bourgeoisie. And as bourgeois, that’s to say for example of a profound mental and ethical depravity, he denounced all people who dared to contradict his views.”

Arnold Ruge, a widely known German essayist, with whom Marx collaborated in Paris in a literary enterprise and who quickly fell out with him, wrote to Fröbel (nephew of the well-known educator of the identical identify) that “gnashing his tooth and with a smile Marx would slaughter all those that bought in the best way of this new Babeuf. He all the time thinks about this feast which he can’t rejoice.” Heinrich Heine, who additionally rapidly realized to dislike Karl Marx, known as him a “godless self-god.”

Unkempt and Undisciplined

Karl Marx was by no means a horny man; he had no hidden charms. A Prussian detective, despatched to London with the intention to discover out what this mental wire-puller of Socialism was like, knowledgeable his authorities that Marx was main “the true lifetime of a gypsy. To scrub, to comb his hair or to alter his underwear are uncommon occurrences with him… if he can, he will get drunk… he may sleep in the course of the day and keep up all night time… he doesn’t care whether or not individuals come or go away… should you enter his residence it’s a must to get used to the smoke of tobacco and the coal within the open hearth with the end result that it takes a while till you’ll be able to see correctly the objects within the rooms.”

Gainful work was alien to him and when he landed a part-time job because the correspondent for the New York Tribune (beneath Charles A. Dana, an early American socialist), it was his pal Engels who needed to write many of the articles in the course of the first 12 months. Marx might have earned cash by giving language classes, however he refused this and continued to sponge on Engels, who actually made Marx. (As soon as Marx, as a real socialist, tried to gamble on the London Inventory Change, however failed.) Engels was his “angel” from each possible viewpoint.

A Most Sad Household

The sufferings of the Marx household, and particularly of poor trustworthy Jenny, are troublesome to explain. Although they did have a housekeeper and although Friedrich Engels spent in the midst of the years at the least 4000 Kilos on Karl Marx, they lived in abject distress. The demise of 1 baby, a boy, is immediately attributable to poverty and neglect. Household life will need to have been completely horrible, however Marx could possibly be moved—neither by entreaties, nor by tears, nor by cries of despair. For 2 chapters of Das Kapital he wanted fourteen years. No surprise that solely the primary quantity was printed throughout his lifetime and that it was Engels’ headache to assemble and to rewrite the remaining, in order that — as one writer prompt — we must always converse of Engelsism fairly than of Marxism. But it might be a mistake to suppose that Marx suffered silently and proudly. Certainly not! In his letters and in his conversations he by no means didn’t complain and to lament. He had a colossal quantity not solely of self-hatred, but additionally of self-pity, however no human emotions for others, least of all for his spouse whose well being he had ruined fully.

Marx preferred his daughters. These have been — intellectually, linguistically, artistically — extraordinarily gifted ladies, however the religious background of the household had an hostile affect on them. Marx was a fanatical atheist, a disciple of Feuerbach who thus succinctly formulated his views: “Der Mensch ist, was er isst — Man is what he eats.” And in an early poem Marx had declared: “And we’re monkeys of an icy god.” Jenny, too, had fully misplaced her childhood religion and her sufferings had made her virtually despondent towards the tip of her life. She was older than her husband and preceded him in demise.

The oldest of his daughters, additionally named Jenny, probably the most beloved by the daddy, died of most cancers on the age of thirty-nine. Karl Marx survived her solely by two months. Laura, for causes unknown, dedicated suicide collectively together with her husband later of their lives. The French Socialist Social gathering was surprised; at their grave one of many audio system was a Russian refugee, Vladimir Ilyitch Ulyanov, higher identified beneath his pen-name: Lenin. Years later, every time he seemed up from his desk within the Kremlin examine (now transferred to the Lenin Museum in Moscow) he noticed on his desk not a crucifix, an ikon or an image of his spouse, however the statuette of a reddish ape with an evil grin. “We monkeys of an icy god!”

Eleanor, the third daughter, a fairly hysterical baby and later a passionate socialist and feminist, admitted that she “noticed nothing price dwelling for.” She additionally dedicated suicide. Nonetheless, in her farewell letter to her nephew Jean Longuet, she exhorted him, above all, to be worthy of his grandfather.

Who can clarify the affect of this queer and sinister man on the world? Undoubtedly he was gifted in some ways, however there’s nothing really helpful about his extraordinarily unfavorable, nay, even absurd message. Nonetheless, historical past just isn’t cheap. Mankind just isn’t both. Certainly, all of the prophecies of Marx within the financial and historic discipline have proved improper. His philosophical insights are completely out of date. They don’t seem to be even price refutation besides, perhaps, as an train for highschool college students or faculty undergraduates. They’re, above all, proved to be improper empirically. However what does it matter? Materials victories or publicity triumphs are one factor, fact or goodness very totally different ones.

The Kids of Darkness have all the time been extra intelligent than the Kids of Mild. Socialism, furthermore, has all the time been a “clear, however false concept.” A free market economic system, alternatively, is way extra advanced and can’t be defined in a nutshell. Within the political enviornment it competes poorly with the notion of collective possession and central planning —till the latter’s chapter is proved in apply. The concepts of the hate-swollen bookworm within the library studying room can solely be proven up in life. Right here the tactic of trial and error, nonetheless, has its horrible pitfalls. To expertise Marxism entails a captivity from which, as we all know, escape just isn’t so easy. The poor East Europeans notice all this solely too properly.

Greater than 100 years in the past the German basic poet and author Jean Paul wrote that “In each century the Almighty sends us an evil genius with the intention to tempt us.” Within the case of Marx the temptation continues to be with us, however so far as the perceptive observer can see, despite the renewed curiosity within the “Purple Prussian,” it’s now slowly, slowly subsiding.

Initially printed in The Freeman, September 1973, pp. 657–65.


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