Below is an exchange between myself and a former student on a Marxist Theory course she is taking at UT Austin. After our exchange, I started thinking about how many schools offer such courses. I know most courses subscribe to a broader topic, such as 19th Century German Philosophy. I get to teach a great deal of this stuff in most of my courses, but especially in my AP European History class. I came across this exchange via a message forum regarding courses on Marxism. Though I have a point of view, and one from being well read, I am a bit suspicious of anyone who might place Marx in the same category as Hitler. I mean, Marx’s ideas were transformative, but in the end, they did not live up to his expectations. And how could they. You are talking about a concept that works against the human will and desire; I will say that his model has been used in an academic setting to promote some discourse, in matters regarding societal inequalities: racism, sexism, jingoism, etc. I suspect Warner Todd Huston has confused Marx’s ideas with that of Marxist-Leninism. It seems that misinformed people do that. You can read his post in its entirety regarding colleges teaching Marx here. Just to be clear, he is not wholly inaccurate in all of his claims. I find the topic too narrow; however, if you throw in how it has impacted post-modernism and religion, then I would be interested.
Warner Todd Huston states that Marxism is problematic in his column Amherst College:Should Marxism be Given Another Look….
Marx has proven an utter failure through every manner of implementation of his ideas on both large and small-scale and does not behoove the time spent on him as a legitimate course of study unless it is as an adjunct to political science or history, and then only as a negative example therein.
Marx deserves nothing but the contempt of everyone. And our universities don’t deserve much better for their slavish love for this murderous, beast at this rate.
Yes, he should be taught. But he deserves to be placed as the worst human being in human history. Worse than Hitler, worse then Stalin, even worse then Torquemada.
Exchange with former student:
From former student:
So I’m taking a class on Marxist philosophical/social theory this semester. It made me think of you and the amazing times that took place sophomore year. I miss you lots, hope everything is going well 🙂
You need to swing by campus and visit with me about your course on Marxist Theory. I have read so much about him, but little of what he actually wrote. Maybe Houston Christian will let me teach a course on Marxist Theory. And think, folks still think he based his entire theory on the emergence of the Soviet Union. Yes, I laugh at folks everyday. Come see me.
From former student:
Haha yes, my professor said something along the same lines about the lack of anything Russian in this course, whether it be the Revolution or the Soviet Union, so I’m pretty excited to delve into his writings. Next time I’m in Houston I’ll stop by, but seeing as it will probably be on a weekend, we might have to get coffee or lunch somewhere 🙂