Russell über Marx und Calvin

Unsere Linksradikalen jugendlichen oder berufsjugendlichen Zuschnitts halten sich für „rationaler“ – es lebe der Komparativ! – als ihre nicht-linken Zeitgenossen. Diese Selbsteinschätzung könnte sich jedoch als hinfällig erweisen, wie Bertrand Russell in „New Hopes for a Changing World“ zeigt:

There is in Marx a cold logic which is reminiscent of Calvin. Calvin held that certain people – chosen not for their virtues but arbitrarily – are predestined to go to heaven, and the rest are predestined to go to hell. No one has a free will: if the elect behave well that is by God’s grace, and if the reprobate behave badly, that again is because God has so willed it. So in Marx’s system if you are born a proletarian you are fated to carry out the purposes of Dialectical Materialism (as the new God is called), while if you are born a bourgeois you are predestined to struggle vainly against the light, and to be cast into outer darkness if you live until the coming Revolution.

The whole process of history proceeds according to a logical system, which Marx took over, with slight modifications, from Hegel. Human developments are as irresistible and as independent of human will as the movements of the heavenly bodies. The force that brings about change in social affairs is the conflict of classes. After the proletarian revolution there will be only one class, and therefore change will cease. For a time the dispossessed bourgeoisie will suffer, and the elect, like Tertullian, will diversify their bliss by the contemplation of the damned in concentration camps. But Marx, more merciful than Calvin, will allow their sufferings to end with death.

This curiously primitive myth…

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(Das Zitat findet sich auf den Seiten 121-122 der Ausgabe, welche 1956 bei George Allen & Unwin in London erschienen ist.)