Joe Stack and The Karl Marx Virus


Joe Stack and The Karl Marx Virus

Joe Stack, the suicidal idiot who achieved flaming notoriety by flying his plane into an IRS Building this week, erasing his tax liability and ending his life, is widely quoted on the WWW as having left a manifesto quoting and parodying Karl Marx.

In Stack’s alleged suicide post, Marx’s value couplet is correctly stated as “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. This is followed by a parody of the capitalist ethos: “from each according to his duplicity, to each according to his greed”.

Let’s unpack Marx a bit. As restated for clarity and honesty, the couplet reads:

Each must use his or her abilities as determined by the collective for need-based compensation as recognized by the collective.

The capitalist couplet, honestly stated, reads as follows:

From each as freely offered value, to each in voluntary exchange for actual value received.

The unstated Marxist corollary is the monster political mechanism it requires: A state with sufficient bureaucratic power to control all work and compensation, organized by ideologues to implement a utopia based on a couplet so vague that public slavery is justified.

The unstated capitalist corollary is the sophisticated justice system it requires: A polity sufficiently robust to operate in a class-neutral, corruption free mode, designed to prevent fraud, assure transactional honesty, transparency and the just enforcement of contracts.

The Anglo-American judicial system, all flaws accounted for, with the concomitant financial system that it supports, is much closer to the Utopian ideal of a just society than any authoritarian bureaucratic state on the planet earth.

History’s Utopian lesson is clear: BEWARE WHAT YOU WISH FOR.


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