Home » Uncategorized » Reply to an Article Called “Yes, Libertarians Really Are Lazy Marxists”.

Reply to an Article Called “Yes, Libertarians Really Are Lazy Marxists”.

The link: Yes, Libertarians Really Are Lazy Marxists.

I learned a lot from that article, mostly about Marxist theory. Apparently Capitalism has this huge problem called Alienation of the Worker. Here’s the quote:

Marx saw capitalism as alienating because in a capitalist system, the individual becomes separated from both the product and the method of production.

This separation can be illustrated by an exchange between the worker and the capitalist. The capitalist pays the worker wages so the worker will produce what the capitalist requires him to produce. In this exchange, the worker becomes separated from the product of his labour, producing not what he wants, but what the capitalist requires him to produce. The worker is also required to produce not how he chooses, but at a time, location and in a manner chosen by the capitalist. The worker then uses the wages he earns to purchase other products produced under similar circumstances. The end result under capitalism is that individuals become primarily tied together by what the capitalist guided division of labour demands, rather than by their own autonomous, purposive action. The result is the worker’s alienation from his own labour and also from the products he purchases (this applies to the capitalists too, in a different form; after all, they are on the flip side of the relationship).

I have a question. Why doesn’t the worker just go and make soap bubbles, or mud pies, or whatever restores his unity with the product of his labor? Pablo Picasso had no problem painting for a living, so why doesn’t everyone do it? The answer is, obviously, that people want Picasso paintings, but nobody wants the worker’s stupid mud pies. And that won’t change under a Marxist regime. People will still have no use for his mud pies, united though he may be with them.

So what will happen to this happy worker, who makes things nobody wants, under Marxism? Either he will be a parasite, fed from other people’s work without making anything useful himself, or, what is much more likely, he will be put to work somewhere doing something productive. He will no doubt get the same old task he did under Capitalism. And that’s because under Capitalism he got the job that he found made him the most money, meaning that job at which he was most productive.

Bottom line, we live in the real world. To earn your daily bread, no matter what economic system you live under, you will have to do not what you like to do, but what other people think helps them. Soon we will explain why this is not a raw deal, but is actually very fair. Read on, dear reader.

Here’s more from the article:

I am merely pointing out that as far as man’s self-actualisation goes, as far as purposive action is defined, consumption does not require or achieve much in the way of planning, personal development or uniqueness.

Whether you are living in a Capitalist or a Marxist world, nobody will give you free food just because you are self actualizing, or because you are personally developing, or are unique. That’s just the way it is. You have to actually be productive. Now you have two choices. Either you do everything yourself, grow your own food, make you own clothes, build your own car and laptop and house and every last thing from scratch [which is of course impossible], or you become part of a group where each person specializes in what he does best, and does his thing for everyone in exchange for everyone working for him. It’s called Division of Labor, and it’s how humanity moved past the Stone Age.

Once you join a system of division of labor, you have to do what others want you to do, in exchange for them doing what you want. Sounds fair when you look at it like that, no?

“But what about my self actualization? Am I doomed to be a robot?”

Of course not. If you have the talent, you might get rich enough to not have to work 24/7. You might have plenty of time to come home and self actualize with a beer, watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Or you could become self employed, even if it means taking a pay cut, if you have the talent. But if you have no skills other than being a robot, then yes, you’re going to be a robot. Whether a Capitalist robot or a Marxist robot, you will be a robot.

“That’s really sad. And you don’t sound sympathetic to my plight at all, Smiling Dave.”

“It’s up to you. You can either dream of being a robot under Marx, or you can learn some marketable skill.”

“But what about the rest of the article? Aren’t you going to write about it?”

“When the initial assumption proves mistaken, the rest falls away of itself.”


  1. This is less of a direct criticism than a competing narrative. I wouldn’t say it ‘makes the rest of my article fall away;’ it merely offers a different perspective. One that has its merits, though.

    You seem to suffer from a common problem, in that you basically project capitalism onto every other system. For example, there is no reason to believe this:

    “He will no doubt get the same old task he did under Capitalism.”

    production under socialism would obviously be organised differently so the system wouldn’t just be a carbon copy of capitalism. There are two differences I can think of off the top of my head. First, production begets production, and as material wealth would likely be lower under socialism there would be fewer ‘the party’s over’ tasks such as dealing with waste, processing data, middle managers etc. Second, the lack of advertisement would eliminate production for the purpose of creating needs that were previously not there.

    I agree that under any system, there are tasks people don’t like. That’s life. However the difference I emphasise is not only the task itself, but exactly how it is carried out, where, and at what time. I do not like doing the washing up. I like it a lot less if I am instructed to do it a certain way at a certain time, and even more so if I am the only person who does it.

    Also, the idea that those who are talented and work hard will necessarily be rewarded, and that people can find whichever job they’d most like, seems obviously false to me. But I think this is an empirical and/or introspective matter and cannot really be debated.


  2. Smiling Dave says:

    Thank you for your considered response.

    What I found most intriguing is a side point you raise, when you write that material wealth would be lower under socialism.

    Is this the accepted view among socialists today? Because I understand that Marx promised the opposite, an end of scarcity, and certainly everyone much better off materially.

    When did this change in point of view come about?

    And if it’s true, does it not mean that socialism will be good for some, but terrible for others, even the good guys such as proletarians?

    After all, many people, when offered a choice with whatever spiritual good socialism has to offer, or more material wealth instead, would say, “Give me the material wealth.”

    Is the slogan “Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains” now recognized as a lie?

    Is the correct slogan “You have nothing to lose but your chains and some money, perhaps you’ll have to walk to work instead of having a car”?


  3. Sorry, just stumbled across this and realised I did you the disservice of not replying.

    “Is this the accepted view among socialists today? Because I understand that Marx promised the opposite, an end of scarcity, and certainly everyone much better off materially.”

    I will not claim to speak for all socialists – I expect you can find some who would claim that material wealth will be higher under socialism.

    However, we have to consider the type of material wealth we are talking about. Under socialism, things like McDonald’s, Fisher Price toys and so forth would likely not exist. Consumption levels would probably be lower, as consumerist culture would no longer exist. However, there would be abundance in ‘important’ things such as food, shelter, education and health. I appreciate you’ll probably see this as me imposing a bunch of judgments about what I think is desirable, but it’s worth noting that people generally don’t campaign for Fisher Price toys, while they do for education.

    “Is the correct slogan “You have nothing to lose but your chains and some money, perhaps you’ll have to walk to work instead of having a car”?”

    A common marxist view these days is as of ordinary western people as a ‘working class aristocracy’, or globalised petit-bourgeois. Though they are fundamentally workers, they enjoy a good enough standard of living, and a sufficient degree of rights, that they are not inclined to revolt. In this view the oppression has been shifted onto ‘third world’ workers, which leads to Maoist or Leninist theories of revolution.


  4. Smiling Dave says:

    Thanks for your response.


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