A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
Torpedo Soup (Malaysian bull’s penis soup) (2/17)
Khachapuri (Georgian cheese-filled bread) (2/17)
“Did you hear about the carpenter who drank too many screwdrivers? He got hammered” (2/17)
“Did you hear about the carpenter who drank on the job? He got hammered” (2/17)
Wok Chi (wok energy) (2/16)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from February 08, 2010
“Communism is the opiate of the intellectuals”

Karl Marx (1818-1883) wrote in 1843: “It (religion—ed.) is the opium of the people.” The quotation is often given as: “Religion is the opium/opiate of the masses/people.”

“Communism is the opiate of the people” has been cited in print since at least 1940.

“Intellectuals” was added to the saying by the 1940s and 1950s. Edmund Wilson wrote in 1943: “Marxism is the opium of the intellectuals.” French political writer Raymond Aron (1905-1983) discussed Marxism in his 1955 book, L’Opium des intellectuels (The Opium of the Intellectuals).

“Communism is the opiate of the intellectuals” was said by Clare Booth Luce (1903-1987) in 1955. Luce is often given credit for the phrase, but she didn’t originate it.


Wikipedia: Opium of the people
“Religion is the opiate of the people“ is one of the most frequently quoted statements of Karl Marx. It was translated from the German original, ”Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes“ and is often referred to as “religion is the opiate of the masses.” The quotation originates from the introduction of his 1843 work to Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right which was subsequently released one year later in Marx’s own journal Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, a collaboration with Arnold Ruge. The phrase “This opium you feed your people” appears in 1797 in Marquis de Sade’s text L’Histoire de Juliette.

Marx
The quotation, in context, reads as follows (emphasis added):

Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man—state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. 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. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

Wikiquote: List of misquotations
“Religion is the opiate of the masses.” - Karl Marx
. Correct quote, but often misinterpreted: “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.”

Wikiquote: Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German political philosopher, political economist, and social theorist.
(...)
Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.
. Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1843)
. Variant translation: 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.

Wikipedia: Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson (May 8, 1895 – June 12, 1972) was an American writer and literary critic. Wilson has a very high reputation as a literary critic.

Wikiquote: Clare Boothe Luce
Clare Boothe Luce (April 10, 1903 – October 9, 1987) was an American playwright, journalist, editor, ambassador and political figure.
(...)
Communism is the opiate of the intellectuals [with] no cure except as a guillotine might be called a cure for dandruff.
. Newsweek (Jan. 24, 1955)

Wikipedia: Raymond Aron
Raymond-Claude-Ferdinand Aron (14 March 1905, Paris – 17 October 1983) was a French philosopher, sociologist and political scientist, well known to the broad public for his skeptical analyses of the post-war vogue in France for leftist ideologies that largely took their inspiration from a Marxist tradition.
(...)
L’Opium des intellectuels, Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1955; The Opium of the Intellectuals, London: Secker & Warburg, 1957

Wikiquote: Russell Baker
Russell Baker (born 14 August 1925) is an American writer best known as a newspaper columnist and author of memoirs on his life and times.
(...)
In America, it is sport that is the opiate of the masses.
. “The Muscular Opiate,” The New York Times (1967-10-03)

Google Books
The Common Cause, Volume 2
1912
Pg. 73:
Moreover as Marx has put it:

“Religion is the opium of the people.”

27 November 1920, New York (NY) Times, “Powerful Reds Aid Mrs. Sheridan, Suspected As Spy,” pg. 1:
A tablet now has been inserted in the wall engraved with the inscription, ‘Religion is the opiate of the people.’

6 November 1927, New York (NY) Times, “Ten Years of Bolshevism,” editorial, pg. E4:
Underneath the legend on the walls of the Kremlin that religion is the opiate of the masses the Orthodox faithful throng to the churches.

Time magazine
Books: Red Hunt
Monday, Oct. 28, 1940
THE TROJAN HORSE IN AMERICA—Martin Dies—Dodd, Mead ($2.50).
(...)
After two years of investigating Reds, puzzled Congressman Dies still wonders why they do it. Economic hardship, he says, cannot be the answer. U. S. farmers have suffered economic hardships for years. Paraphrasing Marx, he declares: “Communism is the opiate of the people.”

Google Books
American Affairs
By National Industrial Conference Board
v. 7-8 - 1945
Pg. 150:
Marxism is the opium of the intellectuals. — Edmund Wilson

Google Books
Memoirs of Hecate County
By Edmund Wilson
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1946
Pg. 340:
“Have I told you the wise saying of Old Dr. Antichrist?: Marxism is the opium of the intellectuals.”

Google Books
The Man in the Street:
The impact of American public opinion on foreign policy

By Thomas Andrew Bailey
New York, NY: Macmillan
1948
Pg. 137:
The predisposition of certain intellectuals to foreign ideologies led to the quip that communism is the opiate of the intelligentsia.

Google Books
America Faces Russia;
Russian-American relations from early times to our day

By Thomas Andrew Bailey
Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press
1950
Pg. 294:
Someone has said that communism is the opiate of the intellectuals.

Google Books
People, Places, and Books
By Gilbert Highet
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
1953
Pg. 31:
Since he is an intelligent man, it did not take him too long to see that Marxism is the opium of the intellectuals, and that the dictatorship of one party is bound to mean tyranny, cruelty, and the exercise of ‘power for the sake of power.’

OCLC WorldCat record
L’opium des intellectuels
Author: Raymond Aron
Publisher: Paris : Calmann-Levy, ©1955.
Series: Liberte de l’esprit
Edition/Format: Book : French

Google News Archive
23 September 1959, Village Voice (New York, NY), “Tears” by Adam Margoshes, pg. 5, col. 4
Self-pity is the opiate of the intellectuals, but few of them have the guts to express it openly in tears.

The New York Review of Books
Volume 13, Number 2 · July 31, 1969
A Special Supplement: Technology: The Opiate of the Intellectuals
By John McDermott

Google Books
The Forties:
From Notebooks and Diaries of the Period

By Edmund Wilson
Edited by Leon Edel
New York, NY: Farrar Straus Giroux
1984
Pg. 46 (Thoughts, 1943-1944):
Marxism is the opium of the intellectuals.

The Harvard Crimson
A Hotbed of Radicalism?
BRASS TACKS
By William S. Benjamin,
Published: Friday, March 16, 1984
(...)
Why, each year department chairman David Landes gives a lecture in which he lambastes Marx as a historian and economist, echoing Raymond Aron’s exact words that “Marxism is the opiate of intellectuals.” So much for the nursery of radicalism.

OCLC WorldCat record
Red terrorism in India : Marxism is the opium of intellectuals
Author: Pirāṭla Veṅkaṭēśvarlu
Publisher: Hyderabad : Krishna Kishore Publications, 2000.
Edition/Format: Book : English : 1st ed

HotAir - The Greenroom
Socialism is the opiate of the intellectuals.
I forget who said it.
sleepyhead on February 7, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Monday, February 08, 2010 • Permalink