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Rhonda Robinson

Mastering Marxism with Rhonda, Lisa and David, Part 3: Studying the History of Ideas- What Can We Learn?

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Posted on July 9 2010 3:00 pm
Rhonda Robinson is part of NewsReal's editorial team. As a columnist, Rhonda has provided readers with thoughtful insight into social, political, and parenting issues since 1995.

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Dear Lisa and David,

Had David not offered to read Main Currents of Marxism along with me, my enthusiasm would have been totally spent after opening the large box it came in. I had no idea what I was getting into when he first suggested it.

I’m glad you decided to join us Lisa, it looks as though we all three are approaching the subject from different perspectives. I, like many average Americans I suspect, had not given much thought to Marxism before the last election, and stumbling upon Discover the Networks (DTN). Through DTN, I became intrigued with tangled web of the cultural terrorism that cultural Marxism has woven throughout the very fabric of American life.

This is one of the passages that struck me, in the Introduction Kolakowski states:

If, as historian of ideas, we place ourselves outside ideology, this does not mean placing ourselves outside the culture within which we live. On the contrary, the history of ideas, and especially those which have been and continue to be the most influential, is to some extent an exercise in cultural self- criticism. I propose in this work to study Marxism from a point of view similar to that which Thomas Mann adopted in Doktor Fautus vis-à-vis Nazism and its relation to German culture. Thomas Mann was entitled to that Nazism had nothing to do with German culture or was a gross denial and travesty of it. In fact, however,  he did not say this: instead, he inquired how such phenomena as the Hitler movement and Nazi ideology could have come about in Germany, and what were the elements in German culture that make this possible. Every German, he maintained, would recognize with horror, in the bestialities of the Nazism, the distortion of features which could be discerned even in the noblest representative (this is the important point) of the national culture.

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