[First,] I no longer think that the bad bits in human beings can be swished away by replacing scarcity with 'abundance'. I think they are pretty much here to stay. And I think the bad bits amount to enough of the whole, enough of the time, to undermine the idea of a 'leap to the kingdom of freedom'. We are never going to reach a time when we each turn into a Goethe or a Beethoven, as Trotsky thought. I think we are 'ill-constituted beings' as Primo Levi put it, and as such we are never going to 'cleanse the world of all evil' as Trotsky hoped. We are not wholly bad by any means, but ill-constituted for sure, so pretty poor material for Marx's secularized version of the end-time. If we are lucky, and vigilant, we can create decent social democracies, maybe, but that's it. ....
[8.e.] the extraordinary romantic hostility to 'bourgeois' society that Marxism projects. Hatred of 'bourgeois' rights, 'bourgeois' democracy, 'bourgeois' morality, 'bourgeois' art, the 'bourgeois' family (and on and on), has fuelled hatred toward decent if prosaic societies and institutions and indulgence or worse toward appalling societies and institutions. ....
This animus against things 'bourgeois' I have come to despise. It is reckless about the defence of democratic society, insensible to how truly miserable the actually existing alternatives to 'bourgeois' society have been, and quick to morph into support for any thug who happens to be shooting at anything identified as 'bourgeois'. This animus is the common sense of much of the intellectual class in the West where it is called 'critical theory'. Inchoate negativism toward anything 'bourgeois' has morphed into support for anything that is 'transgressive'. We are all Hezbollah now.
9. I used to think Marx's thought had been distorted not disproved. But I have come to find compelling Irving Kristol's argument - any theory that can't stand being placed in the real world without turning into its opposite must be judged by that fact.