"It’s possible that I shall make an ass of myself. But in that case one can always get out of it with a little dialectic. I have, of course, so worded my proposition as to be right either way." ~ Karl Marx, in a letter to Friedrich Engels (1857)
In light of the history of the last 120 years, it is clear that Marx did not make an ass of himself. He became the most powerful philosopher of the modern age. In the twentieth century, his ideas have touched (for good or bad) the life of the vast majority of people in most major countries. In the twenty-first century, it does not seem that the age of Marxism is over. He continues to be relevant. Intellectuals are in awe of his world historical philosophy. His ideas drive the politics and culture of most major countries.
The doctrines that have emerged from Marx’s works—socialism, communism, liberalism, neoliberalism, environmentalism, Maoism, and capitalism—are the fulcrum on which world’s politics revolves. (I include capitalism among the Marxist doctrines because while critiquing capitalism, he gave shape to it.) If Marx had not created his philosophy, there would be no capitalism (or socialism and communism). Marx is the only modern philosopher who deserves the Platonic title: “Philosopher King.”