Happy birthday to Karl Marx, who was born 200 years ago on May 5. He was the most astute and influential critic of capitalism in history — and also the most misunderstood.
It is long since time that Marx re-joined the community of ordinary intellectuals, considered as neither the terrifying harbinger of social upheaval, nor a secular pope with the eternally correct description of all human society. He was a genius, but in the end, only another human scholar with a brilliant but incomplete perspective.
But consider this gem from Fritz Raddatz’ Karl Marx: A political biography:
After a heated argument, first humorous and then serious, as to who should do the chores in the state of the future, the lady of the house asked him: “I cannot picture you in an egalitarian period since your inclinations and habits are thoroughly aristocratic.” “Neither can I, ” Marx replied, “those times must come but we must be gone by then.”
Marx is a complicated figure whose life was neither pleasant nor pretty, as evidenced by this and this. I highly recommend Raddatz’ biography; it more than anything else finally closed the door on me being a socialist or communist.