Vacationing and Marxism

My absence can be explained thus:  Last week a friend of mine invited me to come to Cape Cod in Massachusetts for a spur-of-the moment vacation.  I almost said, “Well, no, too much to do; can’t find a substitute for work, etc.”  But I decided to dive in head first and live a little, and the reward was more than I anticipated.  You have never gone for a good run until you have run around the beach on the cape. I have experienced nothing like it.  The weather was fantastic, but I have a feeling that those parts of the country are gloriously beautiful even when the weather is crappy.

While I was vacationing I got to thinking about poor old Karl Marx, who said something once about labor, or the right kind of labor, at least, being what makes man happy. Mises argues with this ferociously, but one need not read the books, really.  The fact of the matter is that most of us work because we must, and not because we feel like it.  This is something that musicians-in-training are warned about:  There will be days when you don’t feel like playing that you must play, and you must play well.  This is labor, even toil at times.  Engaging in work is a way of dealing with a present difficulty in order to obtain a future reward.  This becomes abundantly clear when you’re on vacation in a beautiful place.  Work does not make man happy; leisure does, and it is in leisure that he pursues the highest activities:  art, philosophy, story-telling, etc.

I shared all of these thoughts with a friend who was along on the vacation, and he, a liberal, said, “The problem with Marx is that he never worked a day in his life.”  I suppose that’s doubly-ironic.

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One Response

  1. No, what’s ironic is that you and Mr. Marx agree about labor. You might want to read what he has written on the subject.

    Creating art and telling stories require labor. That would be the “right kind” of labor that would make some men happy.

    As for philosophy, well, I’ll just leave you with what Marx says about that:

    “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.”

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