In this section Lonergan demonstrates that Marx’s economics is insufficiently abstract and is contaminated by descriptive sociological and political categories; he finds Marx’s summons to class conflict perilous to humanity because it promotes and enforces a drift away from liberty to a totalitarianism culminating in the dreadful conditions of a no-escape “frontier, clear and firm indoctrination, controlled media of information, a vigilant secret police, and the terrifying threat of labor camps,” – all in the name of a mythical macroeconomics.
This section treating Marxism is a gathering of excerpts from different sources. Careful reading should inspire the reader to consult the sources for the rich context of each excerpt and for a fuller appreciation of Lonergan’s understanding and reasoning about the need for liberty.
The far more confusing error of Marx was to lump together both progress and the two principles of decline under the impressive name of dialectical materialism. … The basic service of the higher viewpoint will be a liberation from confusion through clear distinctions. [CWL 3, 234-235/259-60]
Marx’s labor theory of value invoked an admixture of political, sociological, and especially proprietorial dimensions. Moreover, Lonergan had no respect for the way an illegitimate importation of sociological categories into the properly economic sphere lends support to the simpliste Marxist-socialist penchant for setting entrepreneurs and workers against each other. Marxist advocacy of group bias and the use of propaganda and violence short-circuit democratic solidarity. To Lonergan’s way of thinking, a moral vision that substitutes propaganda and force for its lack of intellectual acuity is a self-contradiction much more radical than the ‘contradictions’ that supposedly drive dialectical materialism. [CWL 15 Editors’ Introduction, xlvi-xlvii] (Click here to view Lonergan, Marx, and Liberty. which is incorporated into this section by this reference)