On BBC Radio 4’s “Today” Programme it was announced that Karl Marx was the greatest philosopher of all time and a leading Marxist historian was invited on to the show to explain the ideas of my near namesake. This was not an example of bias – simply a result of people e-mailing the BBC in response to the “In Our Time” Programme asking this question.
Of course, people who listened to BBC Radio 4’s “In Our Time” programme (or any other BBC show) would not have heard a sustained attack on Karl Marx in recent years. And today (July 14) shows this point – on the “In Our Time” programme the presenter (who is a supporter of the Labour party but, by the standards of the BBC, is actually rather fair minded) asked if any of the experts on the show thought that there was a connection between the ideas of Karl Marx and events in Russia, China…
None of three academic “experts” thought that there was. Karl Marx was, in fact, a great supporter of freedom.
A glance at say The Communist Manifesto (1848) would show that Marx favoured (even in the early stages of the revolution) the confiscation of the property of anyone who tried to flee the new regime, and that he also favoured the creation of industrial and agricultural “armies”.
For a man who was normally careful to say he could not describe what the future society would be like, this is quite revealing.
Marx believed in “freedom of speech” for himself – not for anyone else (this is quite clear, both from his doctrines and his life). The academics were simply following the tradition of Plato – that of the “noble lie”.
Is it any wonder that people who were educated by such academics would have a favourable view of Marx?
But we must move on.
On the 1pm. BBC television news we were told that although the bomb in Baghdad had killed 30 children it was really targeted against the Americans (after all one American had died), and that the bomb in September that also killed about 30 children had also really been targeted against the Americans.
So that is OK then, if one supports killing Americans.
Except, of course, it does not make sense. If a bomber waits till a crowd of children has gathered (to get sweets or for any other purpose) and then sets off his bomb, then the target is THE CHILDREN.
By the 1700 Radio Four “PM” programme, things had got truly bizarre.
A “leading astrologer” was interviewed to examine the theory that the evil Americans had altered our destiny by shooting a space probe at a comet.
Most of the questions were respectful (rather than ironic), and the astrologer said that he did not know, but seemed most concerned at the “arrogant” action of the Americans, which might have pushed us into a “parallel universe”.
So we went from Marxism to Islamic fundamentalism, to barking mad mysticism – all in one day.
It would not be true to say that the BBC will support “anything” that has “death to America” at its heart (for example it would not support a return to a strong Monarchy that demanded that the colonists return to loyalty to the Crown), but it will certainly support a lot of rather different anti-American ideological positions.
I remind readers that unlike the “Guardian” or the “New York Times”, people are forced to pay for the BBC – via their television “licence fee”.