We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Two posts about Marxism on Maggie's in two days! That's a record. And now for a third:
The Left in the Western World, such as it is, remains Marxist at core. I have read and studied Marx, as has Mead. They have some worthwhile and interesting insights into psychology, sociology, and human nature.
The problem is their reductionism. The rare people in the modern world with fresh new insights - eg Freud, Marx and Engels, Adam Smith, Burke, etc. often find their notions reduced to simplistic, reductionistic equations which they might not have anticipated.
Re Marx and Engels, every human is, in part, Homo economicus. But only in part. Humans are also Homo spirito, Homo ludens, Homo conflictus, Homo everything. That's why freedom is so important, if we accept our Western idea of the uniqueness and, almost, sanctity (not almost, if one has religion) of the individual.
Good way of putting it, B. I find the Marxist focus on class a useful way of thinking about social problems that seem stubbornly resistant to solution. One of the problems we have as post-enlightenment folk is we tend to think of man as individual units, when most men are in fact also members of a lot of different groups arranged by affinity, birth, economics, and other factors. Looking at class interests (as well as considering whether bad & good habits correlate strongly with class) sometimes gives some hints about how a problem in education or law ought to be addressed. Doesn't always work but that way of thinking is a useful tool occasionally...
I think there's a pretty big difference between the Marxist intellectuals of, say, the 1930s and our present "progressive" intellectuals. Marxism is a bastard offspring of the Enlightenment: "progressivism" is counter-Enlightenment (note all the believers in magical crystals, astrology, etc, as well as the hostility toward most forms of technology) and hence is historically closer to Fascism.