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IPFS News Link • Philosophy: Marxism

Why Karl Marx Desperately Needed Jordan Peterson's Advice

•, Jon Miltimore

As I make my way through Paul Kengor's wonderful book The Devil and Karl Marx, numerous things stand out about the father of communism. It's not an exaggeration to say that it's hard to imagine a more wretched human being than Karl Marx.

It was almost as if all of the worst traits of humanity were bundled into this one spiteful man, who then constructed a philosophy based on his own bitterness and self-loathing.

He was lazy but greedy, always begging for money from family and friends who feared for his happiness and sanity. Marx didn't seem to notice or care. They were simply a means to an end for him. He was so self-centered one wonders if he was on the spectrum. His lechery and drunkenness are well chronicled. But what really struck me is that Marx was a total slob.

Here is how he was described in a Prussian police report circa 1850:

Washing, grooming, and changing his linens are things he does rarely, and he likes to get drunk…He has no fixed times for going to sleep or waking up….everything is broken down… . In a word, everything is topsy-turvy. To sit down becomes a thoroughly dangerous business.

As someone of German ancestry, I can attest that this type of slovenliness is not a typical trait of Germans, then or now. Germans tend to pride themselves on their cleanliness.

Not Marx. And like his home, which was filthy, disordered, and disheveled, so was Marx's corporeal body. He stunk badly and suffered from boils head to toe, including on his genitals. (The historian Paul Johnson offers a vivid description in his magnificent book The Intellectuals, but I'll spare you that.)

At one point, Marx joked to his partner Friedrich Engels that he had become "the object of plagues just like Job, though I am not as God-fearing as he was."