Paul Brownsey (Letters, 12 October) has asked what is wrong with the observation that man is limited by his environment. Not unusually for a Marxist, he asks, perhaps, only the part of the question he thinks will justify his a priori standpoint.
Surely the better question is whether man is more limited by a Marxist environment than a free market one. In a free market society, a man has something a Marxist environment will never avow him: choice. The choice to do or not do the job before him and either withdraw his labour or seek another one, to believe or not believe the controlling dogma, to speak his mind on matters of disagreement and opinion and ultimately to use his vote for more than just another stirring of the same pudding of communist apparatchiks.
Even the most cursory examination of world history in the past 60 years will show that this was the universal fall away of every socialist revolution, and that within a lifetime the curtailment of liberty and ridiculous degree of universal impoverishment diseased every nation it visited to such a degree that it was rejected as soon as those who found themselves under its yoke gained the voice and strength to make an end of it. Of course, people are limited to some extent by their circumstances. But they are not the puppets Marxism and Mr Brownsey perhaps want them to be, and as long as they are alive to the idea that they have choices and have the push and initiative to use those choices, they can advance themselves and society in doing so. Under Mr Brownsey’s society, they would be far more powerless and far more at the mercy of “the system” than the alternative.
Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne