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Why Marx Was Wrong

On the occasion of Karl Marx's 200th birthday, the co-founder of communism has received more than a few positive reappraisals, even from Western leaders. But those arguing that Marx cannot be blamed for the atrocities that his ideas inspired should reexamine his ideas.

STOCKHOLM – The bicentennial of Karl Marx’s birth has occasioned a surge of interest in the man’s work, complete with the unveiling of a statue in his hometown of Trier, Germany.

At a celebration of Marxism in Beijing last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that, “like a spectacular sunrise, the theory illuminated the path of humanity’s exploration of the law of history, and humanity’s search for [its] own liberation.” He would go on to claim that Marx “pointed out the direction, with scientific theory, toward an ideal society with no oppression or exploitation, where every person would enjoy equality and freedom.”

Given that Xi’s words were uttered in “Marxist” China, those in attendance had no choice but to agree with them. Yet, speaking in Trier on the same day, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker offered a somewhat generous appraisal of his own: “Today he stands for things which is he not responsible for and which he didn’t cause, because many of the things he wrote down were redrafted into the opposite.”