LA NACIÓN: As we know, the Communist Manifesto, written by Marx and Engels in 1848, constitutes the central document of the totalitarian religion of our time. It details ten points to sabotage and exterminate the capitalist system. In its third point, it advises eliminating inheritance, claiming “the communists can undoubtedly summarize their entire theory in this single expression: abolition of private property.”
It has been argued that the establishment of the inheritance tax tends to equalize everyone at the start of the race for life, attenuating the advantages of birth. Marxists claim this is fair because it allows each one to develop their potential without the support of their ancestors or the benefits of their efforts.
Anthony de Jasay – the celebrated Oxford professor and probably the most prolific and creative author in the tradition of liberal thought – shows how the metaphor of a race for life is self-destructive. This is so because those who arrive first in that contest will see their effort destroyed since their descendants will be leveled in the next race and will not receive anything from the effort of their progenitor precisely due to the horizontal guillotine implied by the inheritance tax, which expropriates it in whole or in part, in which case the result will cover the whole or the negative effect will cover just one part.
Who, specifically, generated a fortune is completely irrelevant for a person: if its the father, the grandfather or the owner of the moment. The issue lies in the results and the respective administrative management. If the heir manages badly, that is, if in an open market he does not hit the key with the preferences of his peers, he will incur losses, which means that he will transfer his resources to other more competent hands. The inheritance tax blocks deteriorate and blur the aforementioned process, which translates into waste that consumes capital and, therefore, contracts wages and income in real terms. In this context, who will be the one to invest in a business if the result cannot be fully or partially transmitted to descendants? This will tend to live from day to day without savings. In other words, the inheritance tax hurts the entire economy, but especially the most vulnerable, since lower capitalization rates always affect the poorest the hardest.
Statists are always on the lookout for measures of the aforementioned type. Unfortunately, in our times, they include the head of the Catholic Church with its encouragements of the redistribution of the fruit of the work of others and the attacks of the state apparatuses. Hence, when the current pope was asked if he is a communist, he replied: “It is the communists who think like Christians” (Rome, La Reppublica, November 11, 2016); and also repeated statements and miscellaneous documents waging them against capitalism and free markets, while praising Third Worldists and equivalents, all of which intensify poverty to a great extent.
The central influence on Marx came from Hegel, who in his Philosophy of Law summarizes his position by writing “The State is the reality of the ethical idea; it is the ethical spirit […] The State is the divine will as a present spirit.” This work has subsequently been prefaced by Marx, where he emphasizes: “Religion is the sob of the oppressed creature […] It is the opium of the people. The elimination of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the condition for their real happiness ”. This conceptual scaffolding has been taken into account by his followers in order to demolish official religions from within, a task carried out mainly, but not exclusively, by Antonio Gramsci, and incorporate adherents to Marxism.
A prominent precursor of Marxism was Robespierre, who during the French counterrevolution expressed in his well-known diatribe of December 2, 1793: “Everything indispensable for preservation is common property.”
It is sad that this is encouraged from the pulpit, since another decisive influence on Marx’s thought was the physical determinism in Democritus, on which he worked his doctoral thesis. As the philosopher of science Karl Popper and the Nobel laureate in neurophysiology John Eccles have explained, this position denies the existence of the psyche outside of the causal links inherent in matter, which makes free will impossible. It goes against the review of our judgments, true and false propositions, self-generated ideas, individual responsibility, morality and freedom itself. This Marxist stance is especially emphasized in the work he co-authored with Engels entitled The Holy Family: Criticism of critical criticism (it is not a misprint, that is the title), in which they allude to studies carried out by Bruno Bauer and his brothers Edgar and Egbert, where he mixes this theme with offenses against Judaism – which he develops in The Jewish Question – despite being descended from a rabbinical family.
A good number of intellectuals were seduced by Marxism, only abandoning it once they saw first-hand the irreversible disasters it produces. Today people usually deny being labeled as Marxists, but a good part of its recipes have been adopted and are present in university classrooms, in union circles, in not a few journalistic media, in business circles, in international organizations financed by governments and in a not inconsiderable number of published books. There are even those who openly proclaim themselves anti-Marxists but swallow their principles.
There have been and are fervent revisionists who object to different aspects of Marxism, but return again and again to its central axes, such as the inheritance tax. Tone down Marxists emphatically reject violence, without realizing that the systematic use of force to the effect of twisting wills that seek to operate in directions other than those imposed by the bossesis in the nature of every totalitarian regime.
It has even conjectured that Marx himself realized his error, insofar as his thesis of surplus value and the consequent exploitation were not vindicated once the subjective theory of value expounded by Carl Menger in 1871 appeared, demolishing the Marxist labor theory of value. That is why after the first volume of Capital was published in 1867, he did not publish any more on the subject, despite the fact that he had written the other two volumes. Engels himself tells us this in the introduction to the second volume, which he published after Marx’s death.