I think that the author has no illusions as to why scientists are in general so reactionary and unscientific. The article by Comrade Ogienko should serve to pry some doubters of the monolithic cult of modern “science” so that they can join our ranks in fighting for a new society as actual science demands.
Some reasons why “scientists” are so reactionary:
(A) By far, the absence of dialectical thinking has been the main problem, which results in the common perception that capitalism is correct and eternal. The dominance of positivism crowds out dialectical thinking. With the current preponderance of nonsense unleashed by mass media and thorough bribery of the proletariat using welfare benefits, the importance of dialectical thinking has only magnified. After all, how can anyone fight against capitalism if they, deep down, even partially believe that capitalism is morally right, eternal, and should be reformed? However, a scientist needs to mentally vault over quite a few obstacles even before reaching this critical stage of realization.
(B) To succeed in modern “science,” one would have to adapt themselves or to “imitate” science teachers and professors. Typically, if one were to obtain a PhD, then one must imitate for at least a decade. Problem with imitation is that science becomes whatever the mentors do.
(C) Careerism. Scientists are not immune to this but are especially captured by this since other career options that one could have chosen are often less time-consuming, so unless a person wants to spend even more time in school for challenging the status quo, they’d do better to just adapt. Furthermore, who knows what kind of letters of recommendation your superior is going to write which may break your career that is 10 years in the making. In the West, a doctoral student is always considered as a kid (cultural result of warped capitalist thinking), so the kid tries to grow up fast to the detriment of his/her intellectual development. No money = failure. Nobody wants to be a failure, so let’s just be “worldly wise” and adapt.
(D) Primitive thinking: Here, in the United States, if you are not a democrat (liberal), then you are a republican (conservative) and no other answer is possible. So, in other aspects of life, if you are not a religious nut, then you are a scientist. A question of science vs bad “science?” Well, that’s a story for another time!
(E) Liberalism: all ideas are correct for people who have them. Nobody gets to say that other people are wrong. Marxism is the opposite of this. That’s dictatorial and so it’s wrong. Instead, modern science works on consensus! Eclecticism: for example, I know many “scientists” personally who believe in the Christian God.
(F) Scientists: we work for the government. Overthrow it? Are you kidding?
(G) Marxism is not science because I cannot measure anything like I measure the intensity of a protein band on nitrocellulose. So, the conclusions of Marxism are simply more “shaky.” Of course, scientists cannot ever do anything without 100 percent guarantee of success. (I find it amusing that this requirement only ever applies to Marxism and not anything else in academia and democracy).
(H) Society is too big for us to study. Society is too “chaotic” for us to study. We cannot have any general law or big narrative. The bourgeois scientists cannot see Marxism as being correct because it’s easy for him to imagine finding a single counter-example to crumble Marxism in his head. This is the deadliest enemy of dialectical thinking, because scientists say that you cannot use your mind too much in general (let alone dialectical thinking!), you have to do experiments instead, viz. We simply cannot say anything about nature in general (positivism & agnosticism). Furthermore, big change necessarily leads to massive suffering, so it’s always better to reform.
(I) Arrogance: you talk to a person holding a doctorate degree, you will see how elitist their education has made them. Dr. Drobyshevsky talking about Engels’ work without reading it is a case in point.
(J) One can still get on with life as a scientist (which is less true as time goes on), so we don’t need to think about revolution or even try to find out reasons why certain peoples in the 19th and 20th century revolted. We all see the narrow-mindedness of this kind of thinking, which should have no place in any intelligent person. Other versions of this: I only study this particular protein, some remote village, or some other small corner of scientific investigation, I know nothing else! Don’t expect me to put two and two together! I’m too busy! Also, I went to school for a long time, so I deserve to live easier now. Do not expect me to even join a union and much less fight for socialism! None of my teachers ever required Marxism as part of the curriculum, I don’t see why I am responsible for it! Besides, socialism = communism = Stalin’s USSR = famine during collectivization + mass repression + incompetence in WWII (a brilliant formula by Comrade Fedotov on the insane version of world history that almost nobody in academia challenges), so don’t pester me about socialism!
(K) Intellectual cowardice. No need for me to elaborate much on this one. It’s just intellectuals being cowards and neglecting their social duty in leading the masses. Another version of this is for them to hide behind democracy: the people should decide political questions collectively! Since bourgeois ruling ideology is ingrained into the exploited population and that the bourgeoisie can literally buy votes with their stolen wealth, this is essentially no different than saying that the bourgeoisie should decide.
In other words, most scientists are products of capitalist dictatorship. No more no less.
As for having the tools to rise above our environment and to create a new society, there is no excuse for the fact that we have bad science and bad philosophy.
Comrades, before reading some of the classics of Marxism-Leninism, in my 10 years’ experience as a student and a university researcher, I have NOT heard of the words “materialism” and “idealism” used even ONCE in ANY context!
The model for modern science is this: think about a model that fits all the facts, then do an experiment to confirm our model. If the experiment confirms our model, then our model is correct for the moment and let’s try to take another step. If the experiment does not fit our model, then do more experiments or scrap the model. There is no need to discuss idealism and materialism. No philosophy is required. In fact, I’d say that I have discussed more philosophy of science with comrades in a single day than in ten years in academia.
According to bourgeois science, social progress can ONLY be made by doing experiments to march humanity understanding 1-2 cm at a time. The good scientists are the ones who can apply their knowledge to help create products that are then distributed through the market. That is what scientific success is defined as. If a problem lies outside our careers (on, you know, such a small problem as, say, the fact that benefits of scientific advancement go primarily to the rich and powerful)? Well, tough luck, that’s not our problem as scientists!
While we tolerate this kind of slow “progress,” there is no doubt or consideration that our current social system simply does not fit the level of technology (I refrain from using words “productive forces” and “relations of production” because they conjure up the image of Marx, and, as we know, Marx had nothing but his personal opinions to rile up poor people…). Apparently, scientists are not sick of their own budgetary problems, apocalyptic inequality, broken healthcare system, broken prison system, broken education system, and the general immense daily man-made suffering around the world, etc, which their “theories” and “democracies” have been, at least for many decades, absolutely POWERLESS to fix (here, of course, in the first place, I am being exceptionally generous in granting their “democracy” even in having such an objective as “fixing social problems”). For honest people, almost every social problem points to the capitalists and private property as the chief culprit, but somehow, “scientists” big and small still say “more research is needed!” whenever they are not busy straight up defending capital and the status quo. We modern scientists, I’m sorry to say, are, objectively, useless imbeciles living in denial since hardly any scientist even dares to say “hey, something is wrong here” let alone an attempt in finding a solution. Is this harsh? Not in the least, since we scientists claim to know but our record stinks. If we scientists collectively go to the public and say that even though we study things, we are absolutely clueless about social development and someone else should take the wheel instead, then I won’t have the need to be “harsh.”
Naked consistent idealism has become much too easy to debunk in the 21st century, even for bourgeois “scientists” who are unconscious and inconsistent materialists. Professor Drobyshevsky is not alone in his combination of ignorance and arrogance to think that just because he can’t figure out some law of development of society from the apparent “chaos,” then nobody else can discover such a law.
In the East, more than two thousand years ago, Taoist philosophy worked out a dialectical worldview of development expressed in “the Tao» or “the way,” and that human efforts should be directed along this correct “Tao.” In Sun Tzu’s Art of War, for example, when making plans for a battle, consideration must first be given to the still elusive “Tao.” In the West, as early as the 17th century, there have already been observations of a general pattern of development among different peoples around the world and there have been attempts (and a successful attempt in Marx’s case in the 19th century) at discovering a scientific law of development of society without involving God or certain “ideas” like “progress” that are the products of the minds of their corresponding epoch, which characterized the earlier attempts. Those earlier idealistic attempts were no good and they often devolved into hocus pocus because they got reality of the situation exactly backwards – that is, they are bankrupt because they are idealistic in origin and idealism is simply incorrect. Then, from Giambattista Vico’s still idealistic attempt to Lewis Henry Morgan’s attempt and subsequently to the theory of the dialectical materialists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in making sense of the acquired knowledge using a proper method to finally formulate the scientific law of social development on the basis of the mode of production and the class struggle. Of course, if someone were to put these attempts and theories in a textbook with those people’s names bolded under the heading of “theories of general developments of society,” then professor Drobyshevsky would probably be aware of them and may even start at least considering them as legitimate theories, that is, if his egotistical mind (which he claims to contain a society) and his anti-communism don’t happen to get the better of him.
One can’t help but be amused when he imagines the ecstatic reaction of Laozi if we were to tell him that, by using more than two thousand years of historical data and development, Karl Marx has been able to formulate a law of development of society or the “Tao” of society, which had been largely elusive in Laozi’s time; and also Laozi’s disappointment, when we tell him that our best intellectuals have chosen to spit on Marx and ignore Marx’s theory and that Laozi himself would be turned into the philosopher who first came up with the “theory” of “Hakuna Matata.”
Much like what happened for economics, the bourgeoisie bought off anthropology and the academics and neutered the science to give it even more baggage than when the bourgeoisie had first found them. Is this assessment fair? Yes, because we do not see anthropologists entering the working class movement as conscious Marxists even though their “science” should have put them front and center with the understanding of the law of development of society. As for economists, we all should just learn to be impressed that not all of them favor scrapping the minimum wage or that they are able to use the knife and fork when consuming a meal.
Finally, I can see that even some sophisticated scientists themselves may find professor Drobyshevsky’s statements laughable. However, until they themselves courageously break out of their molds and start changing their own conducts, these scientists are, practically, equal to professor Drobyshevsky in terms of their social usefulness. Even bourgeois television sometimes brings up this concept: do you want to do what’s right? Or live a life of regret? That is the question and that is the decision that everyone has to make, including scientists.