Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse, by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (EvKL)
EvKL offers an examination of three thinkers (well, two thinkers and one movement) that continued and accelerated the move toward radical thought during the nineteenth century, Pierre Joseph Proudhon, Karl Marx, and the Fabian Society. Following is a brief examination of each.
Pierre Joseph Proudhon
Proudhon was certainly an enemy of the omnipotent state, but he was an enemy of many other ideas and realities: some for the good, some not so much.
First, for the good: he certainly made an enemy of Karl Marx. While both had similar ends in mind – the withering away of the state, the end of a concentration of wealth, etc. – they had different means. For Proudhon the means was to be through evolutionary change, where the proper end was discovered. For Marx it was the other way – we saw this way in Lenin and Stalin.
Now for the not so much: Proudhon, while not collectivist was a socialist favoring distribution of income – a mutualist.
Leftism Revisited: Fro…
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He was strongly opposed to economic liberalism because he feared bigness, the concentration of wealth, mammoth enterprises, yet he was equally an enemy of the omnipotent centralized state which figures as the keystone in all leftist thinking.
His ideas were bound to come into conflict with the later socialist ideas of dictatorial and centralizing power.
While EvKL believes that had Proudhon’s methods prevailed, the West might have coped with socialism better, I am not so sure. Ultimately socialism destroys: destroys wealth, destroys community, destroys culture, destroys property,…