Karl Marx and His Radical Views
Karl Marx is among the most important and influential of all modern philosophers who expressed his ideas on humans in nature. According to the University of Dayton, “the human person is part of a larger history of life on this planet. Through technology humans have the power to have an immense effect on that life.”[ii] The people of his time found that the impact of the Industrial Revolution would further man’s success within this world and would ensure his success as a species. Marx was extremely radical in finding that this was a positive impact on humans in nature.
In order to understand why his views were considered radical, it is important to understand his philosophy and the period of history during which Marx developed and formulated his views. Radical, as defined by the Webster’s New World Dictionary states, “disposed to make extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions”[iii]. Marx’s theories certainly fit this definition of radical. Marx was the founder of the Communist movement, and his ideas about history and economics form the basis of socialist politics throughout the world. This philosophy was developed just as the Industrial Revolution, which was based on capitalism, was beginning to spread from England to the rest of Europe.
The writings of Karl Marx spell out the philosophic foundations of his radicalism. Marx’s philosophy is complicated and detailed. However, the central theme to Marx’s theories was his view that economic forces were increasingly oppressing human beings and his belief that political action and change were necessary. Marx’s thinking is a reaction to the industrial society of the mid nineteenth century. He believed the bourgeoisie, or the rising middle class capitalists, were exploiting the workers. Marx believed the workers were not collecting the benefits of the Industrial Revolution. Marx says that men are forced to work for natural survival. Marx also suggests that working men only have time to engage in the basic animalistic tendencies of a quest for survival. He says that man becomes alienated from nature and other humans as well. Marx is basically saying that man lived day by day, by day and he has nothing else to really live for.
Marx thought that as the workers grew stronger, they would eventually rebel against the organization. In doing this, they would create a classless society where everyone would be equal and all property would be abolished. The basis of Marxism is the conviction that socialism is inevitable. Marx believed the free enterprise system, or capitalism, was doomed and that socialism was the only option[iv]. Obviously, this was not a favored philosophy with expanding industrialists, entrepreneurs, and existing political systems of the mid-nineteenth century [v].
Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto with the German radical, Fredriech Engels,