Here is the deep, dark secret at the heart of the socialistic Commie Red Pinko Conspiracy — the esoteric doctrine kept hidden by hooded illuminati since time out of mind, revealed at last by Terry Eagelton in the London Review of Books:
Marx, too, was an artist of sorts. It is often forgotten how staggeringly well read he was, and what painstaking labour he invested in the literary style of his works. He was eager, he remarked, to get shot of the ‘economic crap’ of Capital and get down to his big book on Balzac. Marxism is about leisure, not labour. It is a project that should be eagerly supported by all those who dislike having to work. It holds that the most precious activities are those done simply for the hell of it, and that art is in this sense the paradigm of authentic human activity. It also holds that the material resources that would make such a society possible already exist in principle, but are generated in a way that compels the great majority to work as hard as our Neolithic ancestors did. We have thus made astounding progress, and no progress at all.
My god! Time for art, time for leisure, time for aimless noodling around?! Have you heard of such a hellish vision of society in all your born days? No nose to the grindstone, no pickaxe in the salt mine? “Leisure not labour?” Heaven forfend! You see now why our hip-joined bipartisan elites (the double-headed hydra known as Beckobama, or Barakobeck; depends on what faction you favor) are so fierce in their efforts to save us from Commie-ism and force us all to “have some skin in the game” by “sacrificing” little things like entitlements, bargaining rights, benefits, vacations, family life and personal freedoms to keep Wall Street living high on the hog.
Of course, there’s nothing new about Marx’s deeply buried notion (buried no less assiduously by most Marxists as well). The yearning for idleness — that is, for a deeper, freer, more human life — has been a revolutionary idea since the beginning of recorded history. The Babylonians encoded it in their myths about their ruling gods, who staged a heavenly uprising in order to set themselves up on easy street. Which brings to mind a few idle lines quickly scrabbled down in the back of a copy of Gilgamesh a few years ago:
If the gods themselves grew tired of ceaseless labor
and rebelled, making the clay things that we are,
endowing us with sufficient mind and spirit
not only to do their work but also look and yearn beyond,
why shouldn’t we in our turn overthrow divine order
in search of ease, rich pleasures and idleness?
Death, you say, will follow; but death is here already,
it waits on the good servant and the bad,
swallows both, swallows all. Why then blister
your hand with the heft of an axe
when you might instead lay it gently on some soft flesh?
But for god’s sake, don’t tell the children that’s what it’s all about. For who would serve as cannon fodder for plutocratic domination if this radical doctrine ever takes hold?