9/9/13

Marx and the American Idea of the State

I'm read some Marx on vacation, catching up on some of the essential education I feel like I skipped in college. I decided to start from the beginning, which for me means the beginning of The Marx-Engels Reader, which compiles Marx's most important writings in roughly chronological order from age 19 until his death in 1883. 

I love reading the early writings of great economists. First, it's illuminating to understand how their thoughts developed, and what deep ideas drove them towards their final contributions.  Second, there's something maliciously satisfactory about consuming their sophomoric content: essays that wander back on themselves and are sometimes inconsistent; paragraphs with more passion than substance, and pieces that never really come to a clear point. It proves that they were human once, too, and also that there's hope yet for another great to arrive.  

Why does no one talk about how Marx was a first-class dreamboat?

The particular passage that I'm reading right now is Marx's Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction, which to be fair is a bit past sophomoric. It's best known for it's fourth paragraph: 

"Religious suffering is at the same time an expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sign of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless condition. It is the opium of the people."