Marxism and liberal humanism are incongruent. And not just because Marxism makes me angry while liberal humanism and I are on decent terms.
Marxism responds violently (if not in a whiney way) to many of the ideas offered by liberal humanism. One of liberal humanism's basic tenets speaks of essential and unique individuality. Marxism denies this on several levels. It contends that there is no human nature (as theory tends to) and that our "essence" is simply the markings on a blank slate made by culture and politics, which in turn are both influenced by the economy. Art, then, is also influenced by these entirely materialistic factors. Liberal humanism argues that literature can bring us to human nature while Marxism argues that literature --- while perhaps not completely confined to the base-superstructure model --- can tell us no such thing, as no such thing exists. All it can show is a reflection of the text's cultural influence. And damn that culture if it's capitalist, the theory at least likes to hint with a wink and a nod.
In the end, theory seems unescapable
9 years ago