We should note that Barzun critiqued Marx along with Darwin (and also Wagner) and even for a socialist his arguments are interesting. In fact, we have suggested a post marxist interpretation for the left that can absorb criticisms of Marx’s theories. We are in the process of doing that ourselves. Marx ironically once critiqued comes into his own more effectively without his Grand Theory.
But the debate between Hegelians and Marx/marxists is classic and is an obvious earlier version of the design argument current. This was before Darwin but the ‘dialectic’ resembles the recent one because they both enter the terrain carefully marked out by Kant as: Achtung: minefields ahead.
Let us note that Hegel is a renegade from Kant, a scandal in itself, and proceeds to sense design in world history abstracted to a ‘concept’ of ‘Geist’, and this is countered by Marx’s attempt to promote the up and coming scientific reductionist scientism that cannot allow design arguments. Ironically Marx’s theory ends up with a materialist design argument in the posit of epochs of history leading inexorably to communism. Hegel’s ‘spirit’ is a handy mystical tidbit indeed, and consider the eonic effect and its model: some intangible something that straddles a planet and explains everything including the emergence of freedom. Result? a generation of post-Hegelians throwing rotten tomatoes at the Hegelian temple. The critique of Hegel is well taken but the attempted opposite of historical materialism is equally flawed.
In fact, the argument is intractable and for good Kantian reasons sets off multiple alarm bells is those who evidently will never learn, poor post-Kantians all.