October 19, 2011

“Religion is the opium of the people.”


“Religion...is the opium of the people.”
(“Die Religion...ist das Opium des Volks.”)
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
       German philosopher, historian and “Founding Father” of socialism and communism
       From the introduction to his manuscript
Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1844)
       The quote above (sometimes translated as “Religion...is the opiate of the people” or “Religion...is the opium of the masses”) is the familiar condensed sound bite taken from the more nuanced point Marx made in the introduction to his critique of the views of German philosopher
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). Here’s what he actually wrote: “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. 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. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.”


“Occupy Wall Street...ignited a month ago after a prompt from AdBusters, a not-quite-underground magazine based in Toronto that wraps its anti-corporate message — hyper-consumption is the opiate of the people — in high-definition, high-gloss irony. (It is rather delicious that the counterattack to the vast class war waged for so long by the American right wing and its corporate masters was hatched under Canadian sponsorship. The last time Canada provided such a public service was when it harbored Vietnam-era draft resisters.)”
       Editorial in
The Boston Phoenix, October 17, 2011


“Is talking about the economy becoming the opiate of the classes?”
Rev. Michael Bresciani
       American minister, author and conservative columnist
one of his recent columns on the RenewAmerica website, September 25, 2011


“We might not have free education, healthcare, or affordable housing but at least we have the ‘freedom’ to pay for unlimited access to online pornography. But what is this tawdry freedom really? Surely the masturbating porn audience is a parody of sexuality. Work, consume, masturbate to porn, be silent, die. Pornography is the opium of the people.”
Dr. Abigail Bray
       Australian sociologist and author of the book
Misogyny Re-Loaded  
in an opinion piece published in The Sydney Morning Herald, October 8, 2011


“If religion is the opiate of the masses, then what the fuck is opium?”
Mason Lerner
       American stand-up comedian and freelance writer
       One of the 25 things Lerner said he cares about more than whether the NBA is going to have to cancel some games,
in his column on the FasterTimes website, October 17, 2001

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