td;lr: My Marxist Professor said some wild things
So I have quite a long story for y’all regarding my Marxist professor. In fact, he’s such an interesting person that I’m not going to give him his own tag (#adventures with my marxist professor)… so if you wanna track my wild stories about him, you know where to look lmao.
So on Thursday night, he had scheduled a pub outing with he and our class. I wanted to go because the pub was located about 10 minutes (on foot) from my internship, plus I want good grades in his class and I believe that part of getting a good grade entails getting to know your professor a little better by going to his office hours and seeing him outside of class to discuss class work).
So anyways, I show up at the pub and he’s sitting at one of the tables so I join him. What ended up happening is that nobody else in my class showed up to his pub outing invitation. It was just me and him. Me, a 21-year old American Republican, and this 32 year-old Greek Marxist. I knew it was going to be an interesting night and quite frankly, I was far from disappointed; it’s made for a great story to tell at parties and to tell anyone, really. I will certainly never forget it!
He buys me a pint of cider. I insisted on paying but he wouldn’t let me! It was really nice of him to do that. The cider tasted great. He ordered a beer.
Anyways, we get to talking. He notices the Republican elephant necklace I’m wearing and points to it with a furrowed brow and half smile. My reflex was to tuck it back underneath my collar because I was full aware of his political views. Then he goes all “DOn’t worry, I’m not going to give you a bad grade or hate you for your political views! But I do have a question for you… why do you hate poor people?” His blunt question kind of threw me off guard so I asked him if he was being serious or sarcasm… hint: he was completely serious. So I told him that I don’t hate poor people at all. I went on to explain to him about my beliefs in low taxes and a free market, and how I don’t believe in government handouts to those who don’t want to work.
So we end up in a heated debate. He starts telling me that he hates Capitalism and that he hates the rich because as a direct result, other people suffer. He continues to talk about wealth privilege and how Capitalism promotes that. I acknowledged his argument by saying that I felt fortunate that I was born into a well-off family, but I told him that they haven’t always been well-off. He then exclaimed, “A Republican acknowledging her privilege? That’s unusual! Not only do you benefit from wealth privilege but you also benefit from white privilege! The fact that you have blonde hair allows you to benefit from white privilege even more!” I told him I wasn’t a real blonde and he responded with “Yeah, but you look like a natural blonde so others don’t know it’s fake. If I dyed my hair blonde, everyone would know it’s fake.”
He then went on to say that he doesn’t like Obama because he benefits from wealth privilege and he also said that Obama is still half white so benefits from white privilege too. He also claimed that Obama is more white than he is, which confused me because he’s full blood greek and I’m fairly certain that the Greeks are more white than a biracial white/black man is… unless I’m completely missing something?
Next he asks me about my views on abortion. i tell him I believe it’s morally wrong and he expresses is bafflement on how I could possibly be female AND pro life. I told him that it’s not a matter of gender, it’s matter of ethics and I believe that abortion is ethically wrong.
We discuss the Second Amendment next. He believes that people should not be allowed to own guns, I firmly disagree with that. That was the gist of that discussion. He tells me that he used guns when he fought in two wars. Which is why he has a cane – he injured his knee in war and had to get it replaced. He told me that I must love the fact that he fought in wars considering I’m a Republican and all. To be honest, I don’t automatically love someone just because they fought in a war and I’m Republican.
After our brief abortion and guns discussion, I ask him his views on Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. He was born in Moscow originally, because his parents were diplomats. He says he grew up with a lot of Communist influence so that’s sort of how he learned about Marxism and began to identify with it. He claims he is a Marxist, Leninist, and a Stalinist. I ask him how he justifies being a Stalinist even though Stalin killed millions of people, even more than Hitler did. I was worried that maybe he would deny Stalin’s atrocities like a Neo Nazi denies HItler’s atrocities, but he didn’t deny them whatsoever. He said in response that “individual life is not worth much” along with a weirdly explained, jumbled answer surrounding that explanation. I felt I may have put him in the spotlight. It made me a bit uncomfortable to be honest.
He tells me that religion is the “opiate of the people”, as Marx said. I found it funny that he hated religion and capitalism so much considering that he teaches at a private Catholic university.
We go back to talking about Capitalism. I tell him that a person deserves money for their labor and he tells me he disagrees because every person should just willingly help out in society so no one is poor. He says he hates the rich with a passion because it isn’t fair. I retort with saying “So what you’re saying is that if one person is poor and miserable, then we should all be poor and miserable?” He says yes, and his blunt honesty shocked me but I still appreciated his honesty instead of straight up lying about it.
Later on, things get personal. He tells me about the things that he’s gone through in the past (and boy has he had to go through A LOT OF HORRIBLE things). I’m not going to talk about them here because that stuff is real private and I promised him I wouldn’t tell anyone.
He then tells me that I am extremely unlikeable because I come off as arrogant, standoffish, and socially… different. I ask him why and he tells me that I’m a really intense person in that my preferred topics of conversation tend to be heavy. I’m also not super bubbly and I don’t act friendly just for the sake of being friendly. He says that it’s a result of me being highly intelligent. Every time he complimented me, he would say “I can’t believe I’m actually saying this to a Republican but you’re very intelligent.” He said it was too late for me to change others’ minds of me and I said that I thought that was unfortunate because I always give people second and third chances in making impressions on me. He tells me that I’m extremely open minded as a person and again, he can’t believe he’s saying that to a Republican.
He told me that we’re a lot alike in that we’re both really intense and intelligent people and that most people don’t like that and so they don’t want to talk to us that much. I was complimented when he told me I was highly intelligent but kinda sad when he explained how I came across to people. On the contrary, I was so relieved by is brute honesty. I knew I was having trouble socializing with people and I kept trying to figure out why. He didn’t brush things over and I appreciated that.
We sat in the pub and talked for 4 hours. He told me that, and he can’t believe he’s saying this, but I, a Republican, held his interest and attention for 4 hours and apparently, people rarely hold his interest and attention.
Ultimately, I have extremely mixed feelings about him. I HATE his views with a burning passion. Sometimes he hurt my feelings. But he was honest and he liked to engage in debate and he’s, although politically stupid in my opinion, generally highly intelligent. The man speaks 8 languages fluently after all! I don’t know what to think, honestly. I’m so confused!