The Communist Manifesto

I’ve spent a good part of my life talking about how great it is to live in America and how Communism is bad.  I studied sociology and knew that there were different political systems and different economic systems, but I never really ventured to study them in depth.  I never contemplated a bigger meaning of it all or how it all fits together.   One day, while talking smack about Communism and the Communist Manifesto I was asked “have you ever even read it?”  Ah, such a simple question.  It was hard to make an argument about something I hadn’t even read.  The answer was obviously no;  I had not read the Communist Manifesto.  Now that I have read it, I’d like to give my take on it.

There is a fundamental flaw in the Communist Manifesto in that it is not a stand alone idea.  It is not an idea conjured from a blank sheet of paper.  It is born as an “Anti-Capitalist” philosophy.  In order to succeed, a philosophy should fundamentally parallel a natural process in some manner and be able to stand alone.  This is no different than the evolutionary principles of natural selection in the wild:  those which are not best adapted to succeed eventually die off.  A sociopolitical philosophy based entirely on unnatural principles while intoxicated with a hatred of Capitalism is one that is destined for failure.   It’s not entirely difficult, however,  to see the seductiveness of a “new” concept when the discord of the “old” concepts are described so accurately and succinctly.  But, the Communist Manifesto does not do much more than describe the struggles of previous ruling class / working class dichotomies.  I find weakness in this document in its utopian sales pitch even as I cannot find much argument in the cycle of proletarian uprisings and revolutions that are evidenced within it.  My belief is that the struggles and revolutions of all the societies that have gone before us are perhaps better viewed as part of our natural evolution as human beings.  An analogy comes to mind to describe what I think I would say to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels if they were alive today:  don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

Continue reading “The Communist Manifesto”

The Blind Side

It’s been hard for us to put a movie into the DVD player lately for fear of it sucking.   My wife has been busy grading school papers after we’ve put the kids to bed.  My work is non-stop.  We do our best to make time for the kids to get outside, et cetera.  When The Blind Sidecame from Netflix, I was squeamish.  It was that same monotonous feeling I’ve been having about how I can’t afford to waste time on movies that suck.  My watch/return ratio (i.e. the number of movies I watch to the number of movies that don’t suck) is somewhere around 5 to 1 and that is with a lot of upfront diligence on reading reviews, talking to friends, and listening to opinions on the radio.  And, I’ve only written a handful of movie reviews and I usually only write about the ones that really strike me; this is one of those movies.

Was the movie trite?  No.  Was it predictable? Yes.   The word tritekept occurring to me again and again throughout this movie.   I enjoyed the movie right from the beginning and I knew exactly how the story was going to go.  I had an inkling of what the movie was about with regard to Michael Oher’s story and the fact this movie was based on that true story.  Yet, even if it wasn’t, you would have been able to guess exactly what was going to happen.   This story was a just a real life example of a 100 year old tried and true Hollywood formula.  But, and this is a big but, it didn’t matter.  The story was brilliant.   I suppose this is why the word trite kept popping in my head.  How can a story so realistic (forget about the Hollywood dramatizations – the story in general) be trite?  How can human compassion for others in need be trite?  How can this story be considered trite?  It can’t.  It isn’t.  And, it’s dismissive to think so.

Continue reading “The Blind Side”