by Matt McCaffrey
Libertarians are often skeptical about the idea of class struggle. This is no surprise, given how closely associated it is with Karl Marx. However, Marx did not originate the theory of class conflict, which was actually developed by the French liberals in the 19th century. In fact, it was classical liberal intellectuals in France, England, and the United States who spearheaded the early development of class theory.
Marx, Engels, and even Lenin were well aware of the origins of class doctrine, and openly acknowledged their bourgeois influences. However, the Marxists developed their own version of the theory that was distinctly inferior to that advanced by the French.
Both sides agreed that society contained exploited and exploiting classes. However, for the liberals, society was not divided between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, but between the productive class and the political class.