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  1. #1
    ♖♞Atheist Warlord♞♖ Hagakure24's Avatar
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    Why did Karl Marx write, "Religion is the opiate of the masses"?

    yes, i know that's not a literal translation, but the point is effectively the same.

    So why did he write this?

    Was it because he believed that religion prohibited the working class from developing a 'class consciousness'?

    Would he have also said the same thing about nationalism: that nationalism prohibits the development of 'class consciousness'?

    Also,

    do you think he would have said that anything that prohibits the development of class consciousness is a drug that prohibits a people from engaging in the reality of their class and station within society?
    → 92b


    arguing with a socialist is like arguing with a religious zealot. it's what comes from having a more feminine, emotional mind, rather than a masculine rational mind IMO.
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  2. #2
    Resident Animal VAPlowhorse's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Hagakure24 View Post
    So why did he write this?
    I would think it has something to do with the way that the religious establishment has upheld the rule of authoritarian figures for pretty much all of human history, with all the violence and diving manipulation that comes with it. Everywhere from Russia under the Tsars to Chinese emperors to European kings during the Middle Ages had their rule upheld to some degree by the local religious leaders. Anyone seeking to radically change the governing and social structure of one of these countries would face opposition from religion, even if it were to replace a king with a Constitutional Republic.

    Have fun sorting out whether or not Marx intended the state-controlled cults of personality to replace religion.

    In all seriousness, that has to be one of the most abused quotes of all time. "Derp, my faith helped me in situation x, so much for religion being the opiate of the masses." I guess the replacement of opium as a drug with heroine and prescription drugs has diluted understanding of the phrase.


    Now days, TV is the opiate of the masses, soon to be replaced by the internet. Then again, watch a Republican debate and it makes you wonder. Failing public schools are not helping either, but they do not fit the context of the quote.
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  3. #3
    Reptilian Hebrew Hammer Kumquatv1's Avatar
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    Marx was short sighted in a lot of ways but he was spot on here.

    I believe religion is used as a tool to make poor/exploited people content with their lot in life. It takes the path of their life out of their hands and puts it into a gods hands. If you believe god is putting you on a path then you are much less likely to try to better yourself or to revolt. Religion placates people and Marx knew that a working class who was very religious was much less likely to revolt against the Bourgeoise. Religion, for lack of a better explanation, is an effective tool for putting people in their place. It gives an oppressed people a sense of contentment and comfort that would prevent them from rising up as a proletarian mass.

    I could go on but you get the gist and I don't want to start a dissertation.
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  4. #4
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    Originally Posted by VAPlowhorse View Post
    I would think it has something to do with the way that the religious establishment has upheld the rule of authoritarian figures for pretty much all of human history, with all the violence and diving manipulation that comes with it. Everywhere from Russia under the Tsars to Chinese emperors to European kings during the Middle Ages had their rule upheld to some degree by the local religious leaders. Anyone seeking to radically change the governing and social structure of one of these countries would face opposition from religion, even if it were to replace a king with a Constitutional Republic.

    Have fun sorting out whether or not Marx intended the state-controlled cults of personality to replace religion.

    In all seriousness, that has to be one of the most abused quotes of all time. "Derp, my faith helped me in situation x, so much for religion being the opiate of the masses." I guess the replacement of opium as a drug with heroine and prescription drugs has diluted understanding of the phrase.


    Now days, TV is the opiate of the masses, soon to be replaced by the internet. Then again, watch a Republican debate and it makes you wonder. Failing public schools are not helping either, but they do not fit the context of the quote.
    No.

    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.
    Marx was himself an opium addict.
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  5. #5
    Reptilian Hebrew Hammer Kumquatv1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by VAPlowhorse View Post
    I would think it has something to do with the way that the religious establishment has upheld the rule of authoritarian figures for pretty much all of human history, with all the violence and diving manipulation that comes with it. Everywhere from Russia under the Tsars to Chinese emperors to European kings during the Middle Ages had their rule upheld to some degree by the local religious leaders. Anyone seeking to radically change the governing and social structure of one of these countries would face opposition from religion, even if it were to replace a king with a Constitutional Republic.

    Have fun sorting out whether or not Marx intended the state-controlled cults of personality to replace religion.

    In all seriousness, that has to be one of the most abused quotes of all time. "Derp, my faith helped me in situation x, so much for religion being the opiate of the masses." I guess the replacement of opium as a drug with heroine and prescription drugs has diluted understanding of the phrase.


    Now days, TV is the opiate of the masses, soon to be replaced by the internet. Then again, watch a Republican debate and it makes you wonder. Failing public schools are not helping either, but they do not fit the context of the quote.
    Marx actually intended for the state to dissolve once the Communist structure had been set up. It was Lenin who perverted it to the Communism we are familiar with today. Marx really intended us to live as one giant Smurf village.
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  6. #6
    Lights & Clockwork Flakker's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Kumquatv1 View Post
    Marx was short sighted in a lot of ways but he was spot on here.

    I believe religion is used as a tool to make poor/exploited people content with their lot in life. It takes the path of their life out of their hands and puts it into a gods hands. If you believe god is putting you on a path then you are much less likely to try to better yourself or to revolt. Religion placates people and Marx knew that a working class who was very religious was much less likely to revolt against the Bourgeoise. Religion, for lack of a better explanation, is an effective tool for putting people in their place. It gives an oppressed people a sense of contentment and comfort that would prevent them from rising up as a proletarian mass.

    I could go on but you get the gist and I don't want to start a dissertation.

    No, he was saying that it was a symptom of suffering, not a tool of the state.
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  7. #7
    Reptilian Hebrew Hammer Kumquatv1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Flakker View Post
    No, he was saying that it was a symptom of suffering, not a tool of the state.
    He implied it was both. Read the passage again. Religion prevented people from revolution.
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  8. #8
    ♖♞Atheist Warlord♞♖ Hagakure24's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Kumquatv1 View Post
    He implied it was both. Read the passage again. Religion prevented people from revolution.
    and this was because, and i think we agree on this, that religion restrained people from developing class consciousness.
    → 92b


    arguing with a socialist is like arguing with a religious zealot. it's what comes from having a more feminine, emotional mind, rather than a masculine rational mind IMO.
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  9. #9
    Reptilian Hebrew Hammer Kumquatv1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Hagakure24 View Post
    and this was because, and i think we agree on this, that religion restrained people from developing class consciousness.
    Indeed. Pretty much what I was getting at.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by Flakker View Post
    No, he was saying that it was a symptom of suffering, not a tool of the state.
    Wasn't trying to imply it was a tool of the state, only that it helped maintain the status quot. If religion were simply a symptom of the problem, than persecution of religious authority would not have followed revolutions, only a natural falling away from religion.
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by Kumquatv1 View Post
    Marx actually intended for the state to dissolve once the Communist structure had been set up. It was Lenin who perverted it to the Communism we are familiar with today. Marx really intended us to live as one giant Smurf village.
    Except Marx proposed a two step socialist transitory phase 1) socialism hierarchical by class 2) Classes socialism. In effect Lenin simply formalised the process with the Vanguard party which strangely stagnated at step 1
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    Originally Posted by Flakker View Post
    No, he was saying that it was a symptom of suffering, not a tool of the state.
    I quite its' difficult given the number of theocratic states around at the time that he wasn't arguing for the synonym between state and church. You only have to look at Bukunin's anti-theism to see the same sentiments echoed. But then again I don't know Marx in massive detail so perhaps I'm missing some sort of subtly.
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  13. #13
    Reptilian Hebrew Hammer Kumquatv1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Queequeg View Post
    Except Marx proposed a two step socialist transitory phase 1) socialism hierarchical by class 2) Classes socialism. In effect Lenin simply formalised the process with the Vanguard party which strangely stagnated at step 1
    Very true. It stagnated at step 1 because people will not give up their power.
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    Originally Posted by Kumquatv1 View Post
    Very true. It stagnated at step 1 because people will not give up their power.
    That is why imo socialism is not a valid route to communism
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    dunno but marx's writings are definitely an opiate to young college students..
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    Why did Karl Mordecai say that?
    To piss of his rabbi grandpa..

    Moses Mordecai Marx Levy, 1818-83

    Karl Marx's father, Heinrich Marx (1782-1838) was born in Saarlouis, Saarland in Germany.
    His original name was Hirschel Levi which, upon converting to Protestantism, was changed to Heinrich. He was a lawyer and judge in Saarlois and later in Trier (Treves), Germany.
    Heinrich Marx was the son of Meir Levi, later surnamed Marx, who was born in Postoloprty. Bohemia in 1748, who later moved to Trier, Germany, where he died in 1804. He was married Eva Lwow (1753-1823),
    a daughter of Moses ben Joshua Heschel Lwow, rabbi in Trier. The latter's ancestors were mostly rabbis. Marx succeeded his father-in-law, on the latter's death, as a chief rabbi of Trier.
    Meir Levi Marx's parents were Samuel (Schmuel) ha-Levi (1735-bf. 1777), born in Postoloprty, Bohemia, and Malka of unknown surname. Little is known about Samuel Levi's father, except that his name was Mordechai Marx and that he lived in Postoloprty, Bohemia.

    Maternal Ancestry.
    Karl Marx's mother, Henrietta Pressburg was born on September 20, 1780 in Nijmwegen, The Netherlands. Her parents were Rabbi Isaak Heyman Pressburg and Nanette Cohen.
    Isaak Heyman Pressburg was a native of Bratislava (Pressburg in German), where he was born around 1747. He came to Nijmwegen, The Netherlands in 1832, where he became a merchant, and where he died in 1832. Nanette (1754-1833), who was a native of Amsterdam. The Netherlands, came from a prominent Barent-Cohen family, many of whom were rabbis.
    Isaak Pressburg's father was Chaim Pressburg (Heyman ben Meir Michel), a native of Bratislava who later lived in Bohemia. His spouse was Hendrina Kutsch from Bohemia, whom he married in 1785.

    even marx's father suspected that karl was not much of a human being

    Quote:

    letter from heinrich marx to son karl, written in trier, march 2, 1837: "it is remarkable that i, who am by nature a lazy writer, become quite inexhaustible when i have to write to you. I will not and cannot conceal my weakness for you. At times my heart delights in thinking of you and your future. And yet at times i cannot rid myself of ideas which arouse in me sad forebodings and fear when i am struck as if by lightning by the thought: Is your heart in accord with your head, your talents? Has it room for the earthly but gentler sentiments which in this vale of sorrow are so essentially consoling for a man of feeling? And since that heart is obviously animated and governed by a demon not granted to all men, is that demon heavenly or faustian? Will you ever -- and that is not the least painful doubt of my heart -- will you ever be capable of truly human, domestic happiness? Will -- and this doubt has no less tortured me recently since i have come to love a certain person [jenny von westfalen] like my own child -- will you ever be capable of imparting happiness to those immediately around you?
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    Originally Posted by Queequeg View Post
    That is why imo socialism is not a valid route to communism
    Communism and total free market systems are both pipe dreams that do not take into account human nature and will never work on account of that.

    And Kratos it seems good because they are young and have not experienced much life and they are taught through their childhood to share and be good to the community. Communism is a Utopia that can never be.
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    Registered Pheasant IronRooster2's Avatar
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    "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. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo."

    Originally Posted by Kumquatv1 View Post
    Marx actually intended for the state to dissolve once the Communist structure had been set up. It was Lenin who perverted it to the Communism we are familiar with today. Marx really intended us to live as one giant Smurf village.
    Eventually being key to the concept. You don't jump to communism without passing through the socialist phase. Feudalism > Capitalism > Socialism > Communism. I suppose a citizen's wage, where you're paid for just being a citizen, when it's seen that it entitles you to a share of the wealth that our resources and automation provide for us, would be when you're in the middle of the socialist phase.

    The communist phase would eventually allow you to make steaks out of poo and wives out of sand. Thus there's little reason to fight anyone when you have everything you could possibly want. It's absurd now, but we live in an age of miracles already. Just never appreciate anything you already have..
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    Originally Posted by kratosbrah View Post
    dunno but marx's writings are definitely an opiate to young college students..
    at least for those who don't fully understand marx.


    i think any capitalist would be highly interestd in marx's works.


    this white-house directed class warfare shiz got me going back to the basics.
    → 92b


    arguing with a socialist is like arguing with a religious zealot. it's what comes from having a more feminine, emotional mind, rather than a masculine rational mind IMO.
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    I would like to point you towards exhibit A... semitope.
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    Simple and correct answer: Marx was a materialist. Religion extends beyond material. Therefore, Marx created a justification for religion's existence.
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