And I think that the practical character of Marxism is a direct result of its inherent materialism. In fact, Marxism being among the most idealistic of ideological formulations of materialism, its uniform moral depravity in practice constitutes one of the strongest reasons that I have come to believe that such depravity is an inevitable result of the belief in materialism and the consequent degradation of life and, inevitably, human life and the moral obligation to treat people well. Materialism, whether Darwinist or Marxist, treats the human population as a herd or masses to be managed, scientifically for optimum results. And when that happens, as, in fact, it does under American Republican-fascist-capitalism even under the guise of a quasi-religious guise, the results will benefit those doing the managing at the expense and lives of those managed. All three of those ideologies share that same character.
I think it is one of the most astounding things about our current intellectual milieu that people figure that ideologies, political theories, political positions can be divorced not only from their effects but that those effects are separable from the ideas in theory and as they are carried out. It's as if everyone figures all of that is some kind of political scientific story telling. Maybe people in alleged academia and journalism are too much in the habit of reading and watching make believe instead of reality.
I think that after the experience of the 20th century when it has been proven that words can kill, that ideas can kill, it is not only insane but idiotic to pretend that all ideologies, even those which advocated and still advocate the murders of entire races, ethnicities, religions, etc. are safely allowed their chance to succeed.
In complaints that I'd slandered the sacred memory of Oliver Wendell Holmes jr. someone claimed that my association of his Darwinism with his being prepared for a bloody, violent struggle, here, in the United States on the basis of ideas, the winner of which is certainly not guaranteed to be egalitarian democracy was a lie. Well, it isn't, we have not only the testimony of Holmes' own judicial writing for that, we have the confirmation of that in his illustrious protege, secretary, confidant and friend, Judge Francis Biddle, the chief judge at the Nuremberg trials. I have pointed those out before. In his dissent in the Gitlow case he said he was prepared to have dictatorship win out over democracy.
Every idea is an incitement. It offers itself for belief and if believed it is acted on unless some other belief outweighs it or some failure of energy stifles the movement at its birth. The only difference between the expression of an opinion and an incitement in the narrower sense is the speaker's enthusiasm for the result. Eloquence may set fire to reason. But whatever may be thought of the redundant discourse before us it had no chance of starting a present conflagration. If in the long run the beliefs expressed in proletarian dictatorship are destined to be accepted by the dominant forces of the community, the only meaning of free speech is that they should be given their chance and have their way.
Of course, being a convinced Darwinist, which, despite what you've been taught inevitably includes his being a"Social Darwinist," he didn't believe that "proletarian dictatorship," Marxism, was going to be the ultimate winner in such a struggle, though he very well would have been prepared to see the kind of eugenic violence that was endemic to the Darwinism of his time win out with many entire races dead. What is remarkable in that passage is that Holmes, the man of law, the fixture of academia was prepared to see such speech win out over reason. He obviously believed that such inherently violent, anti-democratic ideologies had some moral right to possibly winning, even by winning out over reason, even if, as in Donald Trump's speech, it sets fire to reason and burns up everything from that to basic morality and decency.
That his free speech Darwinism ruled his legal thinking and that of those influenced by it is proven by the passage by Francis Biddle, in the series of lectures he gave in 1960, which I've given before.
All society rested on the death of men or on the prevention of the lives of a good many. So that when the Chief Justice assigned him the task of writing an opinion upholding the constitutionality of a Virginia law for sterilizing imbeciles he felt that he was getting near the first principle of real reform— although of course he didn't mean that the surgeon's knife was the ultimate symbol.
... He was amused at some of the rhetorical changes in his opinion suggested by his associates, and purposely used "short and rather brutal words for an antithesis," that made them mad. In most cases the difficulty was rather with the writing than with the thinking. To put the case well and from time to time to hint at a vista was the job. . . .
This approach is characteristic of Holmes, and constantly reflected in his opinions— to keep the law fluid and the doors of the mind open. For pedestrian lawyers it was often unsatisfactory— they wanted everything defined and settled and turned into everlasting precedents.
Darwin's influence was strong on Holmes, and his theory of the survival of those who were fit to survive must have been constantly and passionately discussed in Dr. Holmes's house when Wendell was a growing lad and young man. On the Origin of Species had appeared when he was eighteen, and The Descent of Man in 1871, when he was thirty. Darwin led to Herbert Spencer, whom Holmes thought dull, with the ideals of a lower middle-class British Philistine, but who, with Darwin, he believed had done more than any other English writer to affect our whole way of thinking about the universe. All his life Holmes held to the survival of the strong, and did not disguise his view that the Sherman Act was a humbug, based on economic ignorance and incompetence, and that the Interstate Commerce Commission was not a fit body to be entrusted with rate making. However, as he said to Pollock, he was so skeptical about our knowledge of the goodness or badness of laws that he had no practical criticism except what the crowd wants. Personally he would bet that the crowd if it knew more wouldn't want what it does.
Holmes' judicial thinking was a direct result of his belief in Darwinian natural selection, no less for his anti-regulatory thinking than for his decision allowing the state to forcibly sterilize people against their will - something which the Nazis knew of and applied when they made eugenics the law of the Nazi state seven years after Holmes decision in that case. It was the basis of his tragically influential and grotesquely irresponsible holding that even ideas that might and could be expected to violently overthrow egalitarian democratic government, imposing a violent and bloody dictatorship in its place, part of the Darwinian struggle for existence that he clearly not only anticipated as scientifically guaranteed but which he also, in his hatred of anything he considered "sentimental" (confirmed by those who knew him) including, apparently, survival of those he disdained as weak.
That is what you buy into when you take Holmesian "free speech absolutist" declarations as some kind of virtue. It inevitably includes the very real idea that Nazism, various Marxisms that have already murdered tens of millions, oppressed more than a billion, will get another chance to turn "never again" into an empty and disposable slogan.
Anyone who thinks, with the history of Nazism, with the history of white supremacy in the United States that those ideas "deserve" some kind of chance of succeeding is depraved if they have really thought about it. Holmes was depraved, we know that by his own words and those of his closest associates. If others haven't really considered that their advocacy contains the very real, real life possibility of that history repeating itself, they are merely stupid. It turns their pious "never again" into, a monumentally irresponsible "well maybe again".