Firstly, be aware that Marx inherited his teleology from Hegel, who in turn nicked it from Kant. Be aware that it's only since the poststructuralists ...that we've had our modern distaste of 'Grand Narratives'. Don't assume that either Continental philosophy or postmodernism are friends of Marxism.
Not all of them, of course. But the reason why continental philosophy is more of a friend to Marx than the Anglo-American kind is that the former has far more rationalists amongst its ranks and therefore far more people with very ambitious opinions about what can be known a priori.
(birthed by those continental philosophers who, oddly enough, you seem to hold in contempt - no doubt thanks to the smelly Oxonian phil. dept )
It's true; nearly all of the philosophers on our syllabi are Anglo-American analytical types
Also, when I went to an Oxford open day, one of the tutors I spoke to (Robin Lane Fox, IIRC) warned us against studying philosophy at Cambridge. Apparently, Cambridge teaches students to defend a belief or particular philosopher to the death rather than look at the strengths and weaknesses of every argument. No, really, that's what he said.
Also, don't forget that Marx's contemporaries on the right were just as wont to dabble with things like manifest destiny, and post-Enlightenment theories of 'Progression'. Before them, of course, Christianity offered the most common 'arching narrative'. Afterwards, it was a matter of degeneration theory. Even in the post-Darwin period, which had been shook up by ol' Charles' insistence on randomness rather than planning, groups continuously sought to fill the teleological void with 'Grand Narratives' like Fascism, that once again offered a system of meaning that granted every action some connection to the Struggle of the Race.
That's a tu quoque. Or rather, ill quoque. Marxism doesn't score any points or evade any criticism because other people have made the same mistakes
As it happens, many of today's readers of Marx regard him as clued up when analyzing the mechanics of his society (no-one beforehand had really articulated what exchange mechanisms were), but less well-equipped to offer alternatives.
So, if we agree then why are we arguing?
It's a nice idea, yours, and it's attractive, but I haven't yet seen you integrate it with evidence. In what ways in particular did the failings of Grand Narratives precipitate the particular failings of managed economy?
The failings of Grand Narratives are actually the ways of thinking that are correlated with them. It's hard to say whether these ways of thinking are what lead people to think in terms of Grand Narratives or vice versa; they certainly reinforce each other. The most important, I think, is overestimating the importance of certain things. A grand narrative based around the idea of a workers struggle or inequality or unfairness will see these as the only things that matter. This tendency leads, of course, to steamrollering over other things that matter because they're getting in the way of the great project and overly goal-orientated ways of thinking that see the end as being justified by any means. What has this led to when people have tried to put their ideas into practice? This way of thinking, I'm sure, is what led to communist governments around the world killing millions of aristocrats/intellectuals/whoever they considered to be the enemies of the "people". It's also what has led communist governments to be oppressive. Since the great project is more important than freedom, freedom has to be stopped whenever it gets in the way.
As we're chastising people for dealing with abstractions, let's return to concretes. Do you, for instance, believe that there should be such things as jobseekers' allowance? And can we really justify inaction - inaction in real, concrete, dangerous and vitally important matters - on the basis of the occasional flaws of reason and foresight?
Of course I support jobseekers' allowance. Without it, people would starve and they would start stealing from those who have earned their money!
I doubt that there are many people on the economic right who are completely opposed to all forms of welfare. The problem is that jobseekers' allowance often turns into "can't be bothered" allowance. However much you may want to deny it, there are plenty of people who are
perfectly happy living off welfare; as a Northerner, I can confirm that guests on Jeremy Kyle show are representative of a larger proportion of the British population than most people would like to believe.
...Insert similar stupid story about Conservative only saving precious possessions, or only those who can afford on the basis this promotes action and prevents idleness.
Hey, at least they're saving something!
It's clear this isn't going to go anywhere. If you understand my post, fine. If not, I don't think you're going to 'get' it. I don't particularly want to fall out, so I'm just going to leave things at that.
I'm not going to "get" it because there's nothing to "get". All the far left does is point out a few problems that we all know exist (apparently under the belief that we, like they, think our political philosophy is perfect and will lead to a utopian society of justice and fairness), exaggerate those problems whilst ignoring the positives, then throw the baby out with the bathwater and propose a system that they think is without the flaws they have identified in the current one, not caring that for every problem they have solved they have created another ten.
You can accuse me of not being able to understand you or whatever (implying that not appreciating Marxism or marxism or marxianism means that it is I
, not the idea, that is flawed), but I'll keep on saying that it's hideously flawed until it has been shown capable of actually producing a society anywhere near as close to its ideal as the ones that our current "corrupt" way of thinking has produced.
Hmmm, didn't Marx say that good philosophies are the ones that actually change the world rather than the ones that just produce nice ideas?