Rotten Foundations: The Conceptual Basis of the Marxist-Leninist Regimes of East Germany and Other Countries of the Soviet Bloc

By Peter W. Sperlich | Go to book overview

Chapter 3

Science or Anti-Science

CLAIMS AND FAILURES

The One True Science

All ideologies—secular and religious—offer themselves as The Truth. Marxism alone, however, presents itself wholly as The True Science. Marxists never tired of advertising their doctrines as the “only genuinely scientific” philosophy, as the only true and accurate system of explanation, and as the only unfailingly successful guide to action. According to Vyshinsky [1948, 6] “in opposition to bourgeois theories of law and state, which are utterly arbitrary and developed in complete abstraction with no truly scientific content, stands the authentic Marxist-Leninist theory—the only scientific theory—of law and the state.” Whether the recent collapse of communist regimes will cause Marxist theorists to abandon these claims remains to be seen. Expectations of early renunciation would seem to be misplaced, however. The history of religion teaches that false assertions and failed prophecies do not necessarily lead to an abandonment of the faith. [e.g., Festinger et al., 1964] The history of civilizations teaches that notions of cultural and intellectual superiority also tend to be immune to disconfirmations. The history of China provides a splendid illustration of that. [Peyrefitte, 1992]

Irrespective of factual disconfirmations, faith is likely to be retained as long as it serves the faithful's conceits and fancies. As Tertz [1960, 33] comments sarcastically:

The man who received a Marxist education knows the meaning of both past and future. He knows why this or that idea, event, emperor, or military leader was

-41-

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Rotten Foundations: The Conceptual Basis of the Marxist-Leninist Regimes of East Germany and Other Countries of the Soviet Bloc
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acronyms and Abbreviations xi
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Roots and Developments 13
  • Chapter 3 - Science or Anti-Science 41
  • Chapter 4 - Utopia and Religion 77
  • Chapter 5 - Theory and Practice 107
  • Chapter 6 - The Issue of Totalitarianism 139
  • Chapter 7 - Summary 193
  • Bibliography 199
  • Index 237
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