It really doesn’t matter what an author says or intends. What matters is whether its true or not- and I do not mean internally consistent, I mean externally correspondent. In the sense that logical conclusions can be and must be drawn from any set of statements. and that the author’s ‘way of thinking’ is either correspondent with reality or not. Most of the time, it’s not. That’s what separates pseudoscience, rationalism, mysticism from truth telling (science).
When we roll a bag of conceptual marbles down the hill, we do not control them – reality does. When we roll our sentences into the public it does not matter what we say or how we say it but whether what we say is true and truthful.
Nothing marx, freud and rothbard say for example, is truthfully expressed. So we cannot judge an author by his own terms, but on whether his arguments are operationally possible in reality, regardless of what he means, intends, or portends.
Meaning is a great way to lie. Which is useful in myths and religious dogma. It was useful in pseudosciences. It was useful in the fallacy of psychologizing. It was useful by the postmoderns. It is useful in all public speech. But it is just a perfect vehicle for lying.
I run into this all the time, when criticizing certain authors. My favorite is still the typical economist’s reply that ‘we don’t concern ourselves with that’.
Which makes me crazy because they do affect that which they claim to ignore, without admitting that it is precisely what they ignore that allows them to justify their work.
Marx is better though. Best. Liar.Ever.