What do Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Ayn Rand have in common?
Marx claimed that man is born as a beast, with no greater ambition. Marxist philosophy states that material circumstance shapes history while ideology and spirit have no hold at all. The American Civil War was fought over slavery, the French Revolution was fought over bread. So long as a man has his bed and his supper, he will be happy and will turn from blood and unrest. The greatest calling, according to Marx, is to supply all men with this base necessity with little in the way of excess for any individual. This will bring peace and prosperity.
Freud taught that man constantly wrestles with base desires that dominate his subconscious, and that this battle is the root of most psychological ills. Freud's teachings dictate that a man who is most comfortable with himself as an animal, happy to copulate and consume, will be content with his life. Conversely, a man who seeks to supersede this base animalism will find unhappiness.
According to Ayn Rand, a human is at peace when they can reject the interests of others in favor of their own. Restrictions placed by society are necessarily burdens, they may contribute to the blossoming of a society but necessarily reduce the happiness which can be felt by the individual. According to Rand, any collective which prioritizes its own prosperity and survival over that of its constituents is doomed to fail.
There is a common theme in these trains of thought. Man is not in control of his motivations. He has no honor, no genuine interest in his neighbor's wellbeing beyond what is necessary to prevent societal backlash, no higher guidance. There is no practical reward for self-restraint, ambition, or brotherly love.
There is also a common theme in each of these individuals. All three are ethnic Jews.
Let us compare these philosophies now with those of famed European thinkers and statesmen who are rough counterparts to the three Jews covered thus far.
Friedrich Nietzsche drove himself to insanity to create a path to God from Man. Nietzsche sang the praises of the Ubermensch, the Overman, who would overcome Man as Man has overcome the Animal. Moderation of impulse, admiration of aesthetics, respect for the body, wisdom and intellect tempered with a natural goodness. This may seem like hollow ambition, but Nietzche claimed the path to the Ubermensch was natural progression as a form of evolution. As he said, a man who forgets the earth is a traitor. The contrast to the natural, strong, self-driven Ubermensch is the Untermensch, or Underman. This is a man who has fallen back to the animal, content with a warm hole to curl up in. He is the Last Man, as he will birth nothing. These are the two paths which man may find himself going down.
Carl Jung was the student of Sigmund Freud. His sophisticated theories included that of a collective unconscious, the Jungian archetypes, and Individuation (or the lifelong process through which a mind shapes itself and matures). According to Jung, man naturally assists those like himself as he literally lives on in them and they in him. Man helps his neighbor as an act of legitimate kindness and of survival. Groups are as powerful as the individual, and each can recognize this. Happiness comes from defying the basest of individual instinct to satisfy a greater tribe.
Immanuel Kant worked, like Nietzsche, to create a way for man to motivate himself to live a moral and fulfilling life. He is best known for his categorical imperative, which he formulated as an objective moral law that is self-justifying and can be applied universally to all actions by all people. The categorical imperative states that for every decision an individual finds themselves making they should consider the consequences of each choice if everyone made that specific choice. If the end result is a more pleasant and prosperous world, that decision must be correct. If the result is a more paranoid and unstable society, that decision must be morally wrong. Kant taught that happiness comes from broad moral behaviors and adherence to societal law by all individuals.
Do you see now? Antisocial versus social, sickness versus health, instant gratification versus long-term fulfillment, Semite versus European. This battle has been fought for millennia, not only between these relatively modern thinkers. These same thoughts, by these same peoples, have clashed time and time again. Only one brings prosperity and happiness to the people, only one promotes perseverance and industry and virtue and all manner of beauty. The other is used in subversion, corruption, collapse, decay, and hideousness.