Karl Marx and John Locke

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Karl Marx and John Locke Karl Marx and John Locke are among the world’s greatest philosophers, yet their ideas about the world and how it should work are just about completely opposite from each other. Marx is anti-religion, anti-free market, and pro-beard, while Locke is pro-religion (with exceptions), pro-free market, and anti-beard. First, examining the philosophers’ views of free-markets, Locke’s ideas (in concert with Adam Smith’s and others’) have dramatically raised the standard of living over time and efficiently allocated resources to enable society to function properly. Locke starts with the idea that man is naturally free and governed by divine and natural law. Regimes are instituted by the consent of the governed, and the emphasis is on liberty, not the power of the sovereign. The government is limited, and from an economic perspective, should have minimal influence over economic affairs. The government’s main responsibility is to protect private property, which is the key to unlocking the door of capitalism. Private property, which Marx abhors presumably because he lived in squalor most of his life, encourages individuals to be productive and creative. Note that the emphasis is on the individual, because free-markets enable the individual to prosper, and in turn, society improves for the greater good. Locke sees capitalism as the highest form of economic evolution, but Marx believes it is just a step toward his better, collective system. Marxism emphasizes the collective group and, in my view, deemphasizes the individual to the detriment of the whole, which is why true Marxism has never worked and never will (but will live forever in fantasy worlds dreamt up by unemployed liberal arts majors). Private property is the motivating factor that keeps society functioning. Without it, we would simply waste away. Case in point: the Jamestown
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