Marx-Engels Correspondence 1885

Engels to August Bebel
In Zurich


Published: Gesamtausgabe, International Publishers, 1942;
Transcribed: Sally Ryan;
HTML Markup: Sally Ryan.

London, 24 July, 1885

You have exactly hit off Kautsky's decisive weakness. His youthful inclination towards hasty judgment has been still more intensified by the wretched method of teaching history in the universities--especially the Austrian ones. The students there are systematically taught to do historical work with materials which they know to be inadequate but which they are supposed to treat as adequate, that is, to write things which they themselves must know to be false but which they are supposed to consider correct. That has naturally made Kautsky thoroughly cocky. Then the literary life--writing for pay and writing a lot. So that he has absolutely no idea of what really scientific work means. There he has thoroughly burnt his fingers a few times, with his history of population and later with the articles on marriage in primitive times. In all friendship I rubbed that well into him too and spare him nothing in this respect: on this side I criticise all his things mercilessly. Fortunately, however, I can comfort him with the fact that I did exactly the same in my impudent youth and only first learnt the way one has got to work from Marx. It helps quite considerably, too.