Envious Marx

July 21, 2011
In an early meditation on “raw” or “crude” Communism (der rohe Communismus), by which he meant the Communism of Babeuf and Buonnaroti, Marx explained its appeal as a universalization of envy. By implication, he distanced himself from it:

Universal envy establishing itself as a power is only the disguised form in which greed re-establishes and satisfies itself in another way. The thought of every piece of private property as such is at the very least turned against richer private property as envy, and the desire to level, so that envy and the desire to level in fact constitute the essence [of the hatred of the results] of competition. Crude communism is only the fulfillment of this envy and leveling on the basis of a preconceived minimum.

This is a highly sophisticated moral discourse that cuts to the quick of the mechanisms of ressentiment parading as idealism. But for all such insight, Marx ended up stoking the very fires he here critiqued. Helmut Schoeck notes: “It is only in Marxism, the abstract and glorified concept of the proletariat, the disinherited and exploited, that a position of implacable envy is fully legitimized.” – The Augean Stables

the obvious is that Marx was not consistant on his view of Envy, Jealousy and Greed. The Post Marxists were very concerned with libidinal desire and attempted to fuse Marx with Freud. It became necessary to ask if there was a violent human reaction because of envy then existentially why must this be so? Was it inherent? Marx really resolved nothing. (image source)


convictions of altruism

February 28, 2010
I would not of survived my life if I had not been a liberal. If anything the animalistic element that attempts to survive and does not articulate it’s goals or desires is likely to be liberal. Conservatism or self interest only comes out in educated forums that protect us from the pitch fork mob… that is unless you speak of other forums that merely focus on ritual and tradition which in essence runs contrary to self interest again.



When Kanazawa actually correlates measures of intelligence with views of particular issues, he finds that, controlling for various other variables, more intelligent General Social Survey (GSS) respondents are less likely to support government-mandated efforts to ” reduce the differences in income between people with high incomes and those with low incomes.” This is hardly consistent with claims that the more intelligent are more politically liberal in the conventional sense of the term.

I suspect that much of the public interest in Kanazawa’s study is driven by a perception that political views endorsed by more intelligent people are more likely to be true. This, however, is a dubious inference. Even intelligent people have incentives to be rationally ignorant about politics and to do a poor job of evaluating the information they do know. I do think that, other things equal, a political view is more likely to be correct if it is more likely to be endorsed by people with greater knowledge of the issue (controlling for other factors that may affect their answers). While knowledge and intelligence are likely to be correlated, they are not the same thing. Ultimately, the fact that a political ideology is more likely to be endorsed by more intelligent people is only a weak indicator of its validity.

III. Are Ideologies Endorsed by More Intelligent People More Likely to Be Correct?

I suspect that much of the public interest in Kanazawa’s study is driven by a perception that political views endorsed by more intelligent people are more likely to be true. This, however, is a dubious inference. Even intelligent people have incentives to be rationally ignorant about politics and to do a poor job of evaluating the information they do know. I do think that, other things equal, a political view is more likely to be correct if it is more likely to be endorsed by people with greater knowledge of the issue (controlling for other factors that may affect their answers). While knowledge and intelligence are likely to be correlated, they are not the same thing. Ultimately, the fact that a political ideology is more likely to be endorsed by more intelligent people is only a weak indicator of its validity.