Marx's Prophecy in the Light of History:
Balance Sheet After a Century
Marxism presents itself as a science capable of practical application. Its best interpreters have laid stress, first and foremost, upon the relation between theory and practice, upon their “unity,” which Marx is alleged to have realized for the first time in the whole history of critical thought (in contrast to all previous metaphysics). But the hallmark of modern science is that it treats practice—that is, experimental verification—as the final measure of the validity of all doctrine, and that it makes doctrine itself no more than a function of practice. Is Marxism a science in this sense? Certainly not. Neither Marx himself nor any orthodox Marxist was ever willing to admit that Marxism, like any genuine scientific theory based on experiment, is only a provisional hypothesis subject to constant and unlimited revision as new facts emerge. Yet only such an attitude can be called truly scientific.
Let us therefore stop talking about Marxism as a scientific theory. Marxism is a faith, a dogma, and the task of Marxists has been not to fit doctrine to the facts but, on the contrary, to persuade us that the facts, whatever they are, can always be reconciled with doctrine.
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