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Karl Marx and the semantics of a “post-work left”

Last Sunday, the unthinkable happened: Ross Douthat wrote something halfway sensible.

To be sure, his column “A World Without Work” is no "Communist Manifesto." But I read Douthat, in this deeply conflicted piece, as a metaphorical three-year-old attempting to put together a jigsaw puzzle: He finally has all the pieces, but he just can’t get them to fit together. He admits that work in today’s world is “grinding,” meaningless, alienated, coercive. He argues that government should play an active role in promoting human flourishing. And he seriously considers the position that “the right to not have a boss is actually the hardest won of modern freedoms.”

These are the building blocks of a left politics for the 21st century — but Douthat tries instead to jam them into his conservative lens.

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