A friend sent me a quote from the German Ideology:

Just because individuals seek only their particular interest, which for them does not coincide with their common interest, the latter is asserted as an interest “alien” [‘fremd’] to them, and “independent” of them, as in its turn a particular and distinctive “general” interest; or they themselves must remain within this discord, as in democracy. On the other hand, too, the practical struggle of these particular interests, which actually constantly run counter to the common and illusory common interests, necessitates practical intervention and restraint by the illusory “general” interest in the form of the state.

It’s dense and poorly written in that unpublished Marx kind of way. Here’s my take on it.

1. Individuals pursue their particular interest.
2. For them their particular interest does not coincide with their common interest.
3. Their collective interest is held to be independent to them as individuals.
4. Independent interest becomes (is treated as, serves as pretext for the production of) a knowable general interest, itself a particular interest.
5. The (pursuits of) particular interests conflict with both false and (pursuite of) real collective interests.
6. This conflict is intervened upon by the state, acting as the representative of the general interest. (Or, this conflict is intervened upon by the general interest, which is another word for the state or the state-like.)

I’m unclear on the “or they themselves must remain within this discord, as in democracy” thing, which comes between 4 and 5 above. (So, the time of discord is about 4:30. Ha.)

Advertisements