Because I’ve been caught up for the past four months with trying to find a place to live, residing temporarily in Airbnb’s (I move to another next week), along with fighting with my bank who don’t seem to understand that I am the court-appointed trustee of my wife’s modest estate, not them, I haven’t been able to write much here.
But it occurred to me today that there are bloggers who primarily blog quotes, a couple of whom I follow since I’ve been a collector of quotes for many years.
So here I’m going to show how some writers/thinkers are misquoted, without changing any of their words. For example, I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen Karl Marx’s famous “Religion is the opium of the people.” The proper quote is this:
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
So you see that he wasn’t rejecting religion at all. As in most of his work, what he was rejecting was the heartless social machine unleashed by the industrial revolution, and which most people in the world are still suffering from today. And you see what a fine writer he was.
As for opium, keep in mind that in the late 19th century, when Marx was writing, opium was still the plaything of the European upper class. It would only become illegal when the working class began to get access to it.
Marx is very misunderstood. Contrary to the reclusive introvert working hour after hour in the British library as many people think of him, he was a man of the world, a journalist who made his living writing for American magazines, who had a keen sense of humor, and was a known ‘womanizer’. He sometimes mocked his Marxist followers because they didn’t understand the subtleties of his ideas. He would have seen most of the 20th century communists in the same light.
Another thing remarkable about Marx, is that in our time when few people read him because they think communism has been dismissed from the world, that it’s a thing of the past, the only people who do take him seriously are economists. His analysis of capitalism is still considered the best ever done. In most western universities, when you take Economics 101 you have to read Marx.