I’ll start with a provocative thesis: socialism is ideological and free market thinking, while regarding myth, is nonideological.
I will show why socialism is definitely ideological and why free market thinking involves misconception but is nonideological by defining the terms myth and ideology and distinguishing them from each other.
The term “ myth” has several connotations. The most common connotation today is that myth represents false belief. Therefore, we see many utilizes of the term myth by which some myth or some other is figured as some thing to be debunked. We can point to hundreds of titles in which the phrase myth signifies a perception that is mistaken and that the article or book seeks to overthrow with proof and reasoning. When getting into “ the myth of” into the search field on Amazon. com, for example , game titles beginning with phrase are suggested, including The Myth of Normal , simply by Gabor Mate; The Myth of United states Inequality , by Phil Gramm, Robert Ekelund ainsi que al.; The particular Myth of Closure , by Pauline Boss, and so on. Running the same search within an internet search engine yields similar results yet includes articles on the myth of this or that, which includes a recent article by American Pravda (the Nyc Times ), titled “ They Legitimized the particular Myth of a Stolen Election— and Reaped the Benefits, ” referring to the Congresspersons who sought to block the supposedly legitimate outcomes of the 2020 election.
But one will even find, in both searches, game titles like The Misconception of Sisyphus , by Albert Camus; The Myth of Eternal Return , by Mircea Eliade; The particular Myth of Return at the begining of Greek Epic , simply by Douglas Frame; and others. Or in a search engine one finds discussions of various Greek common myths in encyclopedias and on YouTube. Clearly, these latter uses of the term myth are very different from the usage in the debunking books and articles. Myth in this other sense pulls on a different meaning. The Myth associated with Sisyphus by Camus is not an argument contrary to the myth itself. Rather, misconception in this sense connotes a type of tale that conveys a truth, an aspiration, or perhaps a means of making sense associated with experience. It is a structuring gadget for seeing order, designs, possibilities, probable outcomes, and so forth. Myth in this sense also includes lessons to be discovered and kept in mind when crafting a life or lifetime mission. The myth associated with Icarus is a tale regarding human hubris, for example. The story of the Garden of Eden is generally understood in such terms— as a myth about trying to be like God. The settling of the Titanic has been seen in terms of such Greek myths as Icarus and other tales of human hubris.
It is this particular latter sense of myth that I use here— associated with myth as a means by which all of us structure experience, find which means, and craft the trajectories of our lives.
I distinguish this sense of myth from ideology. Whereas myth provides common outlines for making sense of experience and provides guides for behavior, ideology— to draw on a myth for explaining it— forces the world in to a procrustean bed. While most ideology is myth, not all myth is ideology. Ideology works by reducing the framework of the social and material worlds into a simplified picture of reality and obscures or eliminates elements of human everyday living that contradict it. This is not true of all myth. A few myths are more capacious than ideologies. They allow different interpretations and applications, , nor constrain the possibilities for action in response to them.
Therefore, I am using the Marxist sense of ideology here. I actually refer to ideology in terms of exactly how Marx defined it, as false consciousness. Ideology, since Marx suggested , presents an image of the world as seen through a digital camera obscura: upside-down and inverted.
Ironically, it is Marxism, and not free marketplace thinking, that is ideological, in Marx’s own sense from the term. Under a Marxist condition, the credulous subject life under ideology. Told the working class owns and controls the means of manufacturing and runs society, the very fact of the matter is quite the opposite. Rather than leading to a stateless society of cooperation among free producers, each of who, as Marx stated , could “ hunt in the morning, fish in the mid-day, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, ” socialism leads inevitably to the exact same result every time it’s tried: cultural, economic, political, plus so cial monopoly under a singular state system managing all areas of life. Rather than allowing a choice of multiple employments, the socialist state will become the sole employer and determines the worker’s exclusive world of activity. Rather than withering away as Marx suggested, state power is expanded to enforce cultural, financial, and social monopoly. Instead of politics disappearing as claimed, an official socialist-com munist celebration monopolizes state power so the system is unchal lenged in other spheres. Instead of disappearing, the state remains necessary for enforcing socialist monopolies and it uses the all the means necessary to do this, including terror. Terror is not really optional, but rather, as even Marx himself admitted, unavoidable. And, far from being limited to Stalin’s reign, the fear began under Lenin soon after the revolution and ongoing with every subsequent communist leader, including Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Castro. Thus, the image of the globe as presented by Marxist ideology is precisely upside-down and inverted. And no the first is subjected to ideology more than the topic living under socialism-communism.
In terms of its watch of the capitalist order, Marxist ideology simplifies the world directly into two major classes, the working class and the bourgeoisie, or laborers and the proprietors of capital. Members of those respective groups supposedly discuss, or in the case of the employees, should share identical interests and ideological outlooks. This particular simplified worldview represents the reduction and obscuration of the multiplicities of individual circumstances, social locations, and desiderata. At the very least, we can say that Marxist ideology lacks granularity in its figuration of the social order. The social order is usually reduced to a cartoon edition of reality, with the associates of cardboard cutout courses acting in unison. This unified action is deemed to be really the case for the capitalist class and ideally the situation for the working class. Therefore, Marxism presents a mental image of the world that is effortlessly grasped. This is, in part, why it is supremely ideological within character.
Free of charge market thinking is quite otherwise. Because the free market entails individuals acting in their personal interests and having several forms of property, including themselves as the primary property, it really is impossible to reduce ideas from the free market to a simple mental image. You can’t stand for the system of capitalism because seen through the eyes of the free market thinker when it comes to simplified class antagonism— unless, of course , you include the condition and recognize that the state can be its opponent and the major exploiter. But as for individuals under an entirely free market system (without state opposition), the activity is impossible to work as a singular entity. This particular impossibility of reducing the actions of individuals to a singular obstruct is why free market thinking eludes ideological figuration.
On the other hand, because a truly free market is always approached asymptotically and is never reached, free market thinking always involves myth. That is, providing the free market remains an ideal and not a reality, free market thinking remains misconception.
“ Misconceptions, ” as Vladimir Tismaneanu writes in Fantasies of Salvation , “ propose an additional reality, beyond history, plus their success depends on their own plausibility. If they make sense for those supposed to believe in them, common myths succeed in their most important task: to endow the individual with a sense of identity and an orientation in the disjointed world. ” Free marketplace thinking involves myth since the free market under the state remains aspirational. But it eludes ideology because it does not try to introduce constraints on individuals, other than their acknowledgement of property rights.
Another point of difference differentiates free market aspirations from ideology. The myth from the free market is not utopian. It does not suggest the possibility of a perfect world but rather acknowledges scarcity as a starting point and often existing condition. Socialism, however, imagines endless bounty and suggests that the only barrier to achieving it is the capitalist order. Marxism is likewise religious and utopian in personality.
Thus, both socialism and free marketplace thinking involve myth, yet of the two, only socialism is ideological.