By L.K. Samuels | American Thinker
This realization occurred in the late 1890s, when a crisis of confidence began to reach a fever pitch. Before that, Marxian socialists were seen as the bright new kids on the political block. They were gaining acceptance and recognition. They thought they had it made. Socialists had long predicted capitalism's inevitable demise. In anticipation, they prepared to be capitalism's pallbearers, and they breathlessly awaited the birth of a glorious socialist-proletarian revolution.
But then something unexpected happened: socialism started to decompose. Marxist leaders and revisionists looked inward and noticed serious flaws in Marx's socioeconomic predictions. Across Europe, the truth of Marxian socialism was called into question. As the defects and failures started to pile up, Marxian socialists faced an ideology both false and unworkable. Instead of witnessing capitalism in its last stage of life, it was apparent that Marxism and socialism were dying on the vine.
Like a viral plague, these inconsistencies within Marxist theory swept across the entire socialist and Marxist landscape. It became known as the "crisis of Marxism," a term dubbed by Marxist theoreticians and practitioners themselves. This internal struggle revolved around the release of devastating economic data in the 1890s.
Obviously, this situation was a bitter pill to swallow. Socialist intellectuals had to face the fact that truth and scientific law could easily destroy their political agenda to reconstruct society. If Marxian socialism did not conform to reality, then they would have to rely on other methods to gain political power. They found it more effective and convenient to sidetrack the truth at every possible opportunity.
Ironically, the man who pointed out the many fatal flaws of socialism and communism was a rising star in the Marxist movement: Eduard Bernstein. He was an important Marxist political theorist and historian and a close friend of Friedrich Engels, working with him for almost ten years. Bernstein also personally collaborated with Marx, becoming not only a patron, but editor of Der Sozialdemokrat, the militant organ of the Social Democratic Party in Germany, from 1881 to 1890. Bernstein was being groomed as one of the major philosophical heirs of Marx and Engels.
A stickler for ethics, Bernstein embraced the idea that truth was a strong disinfectant against hypocrisy. He wanted to see successful results, not Marxist dogma. He waited until the passing of Marx in 1883 and Engels in 1895 before he launched an investigation of Marx's predictions.
The litany of failed promises that Bernstein discovered overwhelmed orthodox Marxists with a stunning sense of denial. Marx had predicted that industrial capitalism would result in a concentration of a few big companies; instead, ownership of companies become more dispersed, decentralized, and scattered into many hands. Marx and his surrogates predicted that the poor would become poorer; instead, Bernstein showed empirical data that the incomes of workers were rising to unheard-of levels. He discovered that big companies were not as profitable as smaller businesses, which defied Marx's contentions. Technology was advancing, not hitting a roadblock. Profits were rising, not falling. Past problems of "unemployment, overproduction, and the inequitable distribution of wealth" were being overcome by capitalism. Bernstein even targeted Marx's cherished "class struggle" theory, proving that capitalism's wealth-building capacity had reduced the animosity between the wealthy class and the worker class. These statistics confronted Marxist and socialist theorists with a paradox: why was capitalism growing more vibrant when it was supposedly entering its final dying days?
To Marxist socialists' dismay, the bourgeois system of market economics had gotten a clean bill of health. Capitalism was flourishing. Objective reality refused to comply with socialist demands. Instead, Marxian socialism was found guilty and given a sentence of rejection. To the public, Marxian socialism had lost its credibility.
As reams of published evidence proved the emptiness of socialist theories, Marxian ringleaders became distraught. They were taken by surprise by something they had never expected — widespread repudiation of Marxian fundamentals by economic and social statistics that appeared in many journals and newspapers.
Nonetheless, Marxism and socialist revolutionary activity did not die. A French Marxist and Revolutionary Syndicalist, Georges Sorel, had already figured out the next course of action. His prescription was to inject heavy doses of "myth-making" into public discourse, confusing political issues, and overriding truth. His plan was to reinvigorate the socialist brand by releasing mountains of lies. Sorel understood that unconstrained truth would crush socialist theories and their fledgling movement, forcing socialists to master the art of slick propaganda to prevent being invalidated once again by the power of truth.
Georges Sorel went on to make lies sound truthful in an effort to defend the fallacies and failures of Marxism, propping up the advocacy of labor violence in the streets, anti-democracy, autocratic socialism, and revised Marxism. His myth-making propaganda became an inspiration to Marxists, fascists, and a host of socialist elites. To Sorel, truth was no longer important; it was an impediment to progress and had to be relegated to the dustbin of history.
In reality, there is no truth in socialism, because it has never worked. Still smarting from the hard lessons of history, today's Marxist socialists have learned to swiftly bury truth and any truth-seekers, before they can become entombed themselves.