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The LHS Review

Why read the Communist Manifesto?

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By Steven Ducheneau

With many different views in the world, people tend to be hostile towards those that don’t go with their view, even without really knowing what those views entail. In America there is a long history of this, including the cold war, the wars in South-East Asia, and the rise of Joseph McCarthy being against communism. In more modern times there is also a hatred and distrust of Islam, with many condemning it and all its followers for the actions of some, as shown in Texas when a peaceful rally to promote religious tolerance was disrupted by a group of Christian protesters claiming Texas would stand against Islam.

In both cases, ignorance of the actual ideas of the ideologies causes much of the fear. It is important to see the merit of different ideas, and the merits of your own ideas, for various reasons, such as better understanding within a society towards different groups, personal betterment, and justice for those who are of a minority ideology.

If someone in this country was asked about what they thought of communism, they would likely have a fairly negative response. But if the same person was asked about what they knew about it, they would usually be able to say ‘it’s bad and Russia was communist.’ but not much else. The idea I’m getting at is that in most of this country people are trained to hate communism and discouraged from looking into the ideology. This way of thinking about ‘foreign’ ideologies causes many to be close minded and and hostile towards those who identify with the idea.

Now how does one get out of the mindset of their ideas being the only right and all others being hostile? The best way would to be to look into works relating to a different idea, such as if you’re a capitalist look into The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx, or if you’re a communist look into the writings like Andrew Carnegie’s Gospel of Wealth. The same goes for religion, Christians would read the Quran, the works of Confucius, and followers of other religions do similar.

Another important thing to note is to look into your own ideology. Many think that their beliefs are proper and true yet have a superficial understanding or not looked into them.  They adopt their ideology by following their family or the crowd, many indoctrinated when they are young or in moments of weakness.  One should be able to defend their beliefs.
Now, not all people hate things for no reason or even when they have reason. Many are more versed in the merits of differing ideologies and know what they are about and why they have traction. One such person, Megan Lopes, feels that when it’s done right it can be beneficial. She is one of many who knows more than just the fact that it exists and knows some of its parts. Although the ‘many’ are unfortunately small in number, they are growing due to things like the internet and more social acceptance of varied ideas.

So, I encourage everyone to explore ideas different from his or her own.  And people should be certain to understand their own beliefs.

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Lowell High School's Newspaper of Record
Why read the Communist Manifesto?