One of the last (4,000 or so) essays the late Christopher Hitchens produced in his dying months was a fond remembrance, post–2008 financial crisis, of the pope of Communism (“The Revenge of Karl Marx: What the author of Das Kapital reveals about the current economic crisis”). In a witty letter to the editor, reader Edmund C. Tiryakian of Hillsborough, N.C., wrote, “Over many years of following the stock market, I have found no more consistent sign that we are at the bottom of a bear market than a renewed interest in the teachings of the author of Das Kapital. I have therefore given appropriate directions to my stockbroker.” Hitchens’s essay was published in the April 2009 issue of The Atlantic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average duly hit a low of 6,443.27 on March 6, 2009.
Recently the Dow crossed the 22,000 mark. Great time to celebrate Marx’s fellow master of disaster, Friedrich Engels! British artist Phil Collins announced that after a year of searching for a statue of Engels he had found a vandalized one erected in 1970 in Ukraine—but ungrateful proletarians had knocked the thing off its pedestal, sawn it in half, and left it lying face down behind a creamery. Because Communism’s junkyard is progressivism’s museum, Collins triumphantly brought the two-ton concrete hunk to a pedestal in front of an arts center in Manchester, England, where Engels, before co-writing The Communist Manifesto with Marx, worked at the family cotton mill and began absorbing exactly the wrong lessons about what industrialized capitalism was doing to poverty. Manchester: the petri dish in which the world’s deadliest political virus was born.