Editor’s Note: Dillon Eliassen is phoning it in this week. He spoke at University of New England Springfield/Manchester’s commencement ceremonies. Below are his prepared remarks.
Good morning graduates, parents, professors, administrators, trustees, coaches, janitors, Oxycontin and Ritalin dealers, and members of Antifa. Thank you for allowing me to invade your safe space and deliver this speech that I adapted from a Wikihow template.
I have some succinct advice for those of you who are leaving school to begin careers: do it for the money. It is better to work a high-salaried job you hate than it is to be paid peanuts for a job you love.
An individual has a moral obligation to amass as much wealth as he or she can via peaceful and productive means (no, not memes; means) and to recognize that work doesn’t need to be “meaningful.”
If you can have a job that involves doing something you love to do or which brings you a high level of satisfaction and fulfillment, great, do it. But your primary motivating factor in deciding which offer of employment to accept should be the paycheck. Those who place a premium on having a job that provides meaning and happiness rather than a nice fat paycheck are motivated, either unwittingly or deliberately, by Marxist utopian nonsense.
Now, I’m not going to try to be super edgy and provocative and say that your guidance counselors, parents, teachers, professors and other mentors telling you it’s more important to pursue meaningful and fulfilling employment than to pursue employment that provides a high salary is horseshit Marxist indoctrination.
But, it is definitely horseshit Marxist indoctrination.
As you are aware, since Karl Marx is one of the most frequently assigned writer for a myriad of college classes, he advocated for the abolishment of classes and currency, which is fitting since he spent much of his time at university goofing off and incurring debts he couldn’t afford. Perhaps this is one reason why he is idealized on college campuses.
Why Marx continues to be so popular in college is beyond me. But, of course, you guys are taught a lot of debunked and fallacious nonsense. If you have responsible parents, they wouldn’t pay for, or allow you to go into debt, to learn that there are 45 genders or that scientific and mathematical results are valid if they are derived from subjective, ethnocentric experiences. Would responsible parents allow their children anywhere near a place where they stand a one in five chance of being raped? How come that statistic isn’t disclosed during campus tours? Responsible parents want their kids to go to college because they believe it will help them get good paying jobs, not because they want their kids to learn all the different ways they have been, and will continue to be, victimized.
Marx believed private property and specialization had led to workers being alienated from their labor. He argued capitalists exploited their workers, who could not benefit and profit from their production since they were paid wages and did not own the commodities they produced and did not share in ownership of the means of production. This estrangement from the fruits of his labor caused the worker to become enslaved since he is stuck in a cycle of exploitation as the capitalist not only steals the product of labor, but the laborer must become party to his exploitation since he needs to earn the meager wages he is offered in return for his labor to pay for his costs of living.
So, according to Marx, for the worker to have a meaningful life, he must have meaningful work. Marx was unable to conceive of a world in which we could work fewer hours and have higher standards of living, where people could retire and find enjoyment outside of their productivity, like hobbies, friends, family, creative pursuits and recreational drug use.
In “Comment on James Mill” Marx wrote:
Let us suppose that we had carried out production as human beings. Each of us would have, in two ways, affirmed himself, and the other person. (i) In my production I would have objectified my individuality, its specific character, and, therefore, enjoyed not only an individual manifestation of my life during the activity, but also, when looking at the object, I would have the individual pleasure of knowing my personality to be objective, visible to the senses, and, hence, a power beyond all doubt. (ii) In your enjoyment, or use, of my product I would have the direct enjoyment both of being conscious of having satisfied a human need by my work, that is, of having objectified man’s essential nature, and of having thus created an object corresponding to the need of another man’s essential nature . . . Our products would be so many mirrors in which we saw reflected our essential nature.
There are plenty of meaningful things outside of work. The goal of amassing personal wealth is a moral one, since your desires lead to productive supply and demand, and the circulation of wealth via consumer spending enables people to lift themselves out of poverty. The creation of wealth is a moral positive because money allows you to pursue means other than labor that will give you happiness. Work is a means to an end; selfishness and materialism are a much better engine for economic growth because it leads to human flourishing and advancement.
Marx and Marxism are massive exercises in irony. He railed against private property and capitalism, the very things that are responsible for lifting people out of poverty so that they can devote time to pleasurable pursuits, rather than needing to endlessly toil in fields and factories to eke out a living. Marx and Marxists fancy themselves forward-thinking intellectuals, but Marx lacked the capacity for prescience and was mired in myopia, while today’s Marxist “progressives” remain wedded to an economic and political philosophy that’s been outdated for over a century. How ironic is it that Marx opposed specialization, yet he is so popular in academia? Don’t people go to college to learn a specialty? Marx and Marxists advocate “the people” owning the means of production and the abolishment of specialization and capitalism, but it is the creation of personal wealth that allows “the people” to start small businesses and buy shares of publicly traded companies; small business capitalists who cater to the whims of consumers and workers who invest their savings in stocks are the ones who own the means of production, and no revolution was required! It is capitalism that has done more to remove class barriers since it allows those at the bottom a way to get to the top, and we all fall under the classification of “consumers.”
For you little budding Marxists out there: if you want to emulate him and reify his rhetoric, be selfish. Get a great paying job, buy luxurious items and start a business.
Photo: Alex Brandon / AP