How can Labour’s leaders be in thrall to Marx?

How can Labour’s leaders be in thrall to Marx? by Daniel Hannan.

Deep down, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell and their Momentum supporters regret the outcome of the Cold War. Even now, when the full horror of his legacy is known, they refuse to give up on Karl Marx. …

Marx’s supporters prefer the picture of him as a harmless old grandfather. This is Karl Marx when younger.

Marx has a pretty good claim to have caused more suffering than any other human being. No one else murdered so many with his pen. In Marx’s name, men and women were arrested at night and dragged off to torture chambers, shot into mass graves, starved as deliberate policy. …

Any normal election campaign would have been blown apart when John McDonnell appeared on Andrew Marr’s programme last month. Asked whether he was a Marxist, the Shadow Chancellor made an indistinct noise somewhere between “yes” and “no” and then quickly said, “I believe there’s a lot to learn from reading Kapital, yes of course there is.” Speaking to Labour activists recently, he was a lot less coy, describing himself as an “unapologetic Marxist”.

Let’s just remind ourselves of what Marxists did during the twentieth century. They carried out a mass slaughter a scale never previously known. Perhaps 10 million people died in the Atlantic slave trade. The Nazis murdered 17 million. But the Communists killed 100 million.

How are we to explain that vast number? Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, the dissident Russian novelist, gave a convincing answer. Humanity had known sadists, tyrants and despots before, he wrote, but their cruelty had been limited in scale. Why? “Because they had no ideology. Ideology -– that is what gives the evil-doer the necessary steadfastness and determination.”

All Marxist regimes were more or less lethal. Tens of millions died in the Soviet Union and China. There were torture chambers, labour camps and firing squads in every Communist country, from Cuba to Vietnam, from Albania to North Korea. …

Although he was an unattractive man, Marx was not a murderer. He was a drunken egoist who neglected his wife and children. He never forgave Britain, the country that had taken him in and given him refuge, for refusing to have a revolution. He was a shameless sponger, living off his friend Friedrich Engels, despite the money coming from Engels’ father’s factory. But, as far as we know, he never killed anyone. …

Corbyn, like McDonnell, emphasises that he respects Marx as “a great economist”. Frankly, that is rather like saying that you admire Hitler as “a great strategist” or Osama Bin Laden as “a great theologian”. Even if they had been these things, it would be an extraordinary thing to say. But they weren’t. Marx was a hopeless economist. Every prediction he made – every single one – turned out to be false.

hat-tip Matthew