I watched a recent interview on Fox News between Jesse Watters, a Fox News pundit, and Doreen Ford, former moderator of the “Anti-Work subreddit. The interview was nothing more than a setup to mock Anti-Work, as is typical of most right-wing punditry. Doreen certainly bombed in terms of optics, appearing in a very unprofessional-looking manner and exhibited poor usage of language. However, I paid close attention to the specific words used to describe “Anti-Work”, and evaluated purely on the content of the language, I think the Anti-Work movement hits on some deep truths about the problems of modernity. They might not be reactionaries and might be lefties through and through, but the truths they grasp at at still there. Here, for example, is the Anti-Work opening statement in the interview, lightly edited with the removal of “ums” and verbal stumbles, with some punctuation added.
There’s some misconceptions about the movement, so we’re a movement where we want to reduce the amount of work that people feel like they’re forced to to do, and so, we want to still put an effort, we want to put in labor, but we don’t want to necessarily, be in a position where we feel trapped; you know, you just quoted from office space where that person feels very trapped in their job. I think we’re calling for a society where there’s less of that, but yeah, absolutely, people still want to do things they just want to do things where they feel rewarded and they feel like they’re in a good spot in their life and that their job respects them.
This reminds me a bit of Ted Kaczynski’s “power process.” The condition of the modern worker is one where there is very little autonomy, quite a lot of stress, many hours of work, and usually no way the worker could garner any direct utility out of their labor. Jesse Watters framed Anti-Work in his introduction as people who just want to sit at home and collect a free check:
Why do you like the idea of being home not working, but still getting paid by corporate America?
Anti-Work is not against the concept of work – they don’t want a free ride, what they want is to be treated with a morsel of dignity.
Jesse Watters, with a dumb smirk on his face the entire time, responded with the typical callousness of degenerate merchant-class elite:
So, you’re not being forced to work. This isn’t slave labor. You’ve applied for a job. You’ve agreed to the terms and conditions of the employment, and, you know, you can walk away from that job at any time and quit, so I don’t understand really what this is about, except it sounds like maybe people are just being lazy. Are you encouraging people to be lazy?
Unfortunately, the Anti-Work representative Doreen responded rather poorly, saying that laziness is a “virtue” and used a hyperbolic idiom:
So, I think laziness is a virtue in a society where people constantly want you to be productive 24/7 and it’s good to have rest. That doesn’t mean you should be resting all the time or not putting effort into things that you care about.
Jesse Watters ran with that slip-up and asked:
What do you think is a good work day? How many hours is a solid work day in your ideal society?
I think as much as people want. I personally work like a 20/25-hour work week, which I think is fairly good. So would like less work hours….
Jesse Watters then asked what Doreen’s age, job, and aspirations were. Doreen is 30, a dog walker, and seems content walking dogs. The rest of the interview had little of substance. The concept of a “dog walker” is a little weird, but it’s not much different than day-care, and that has been entirely normalized. I’m happy that the dogs are not fully neglected by their owners, at least. It’s better than working for McCorporation and doing pointless, managerial labor for the regime; but of course, this is exactly what Jesse Watters expected to hear when he asked about “aspirations.” Every person is meant to aspire to run along on the corporate treadmill to “get somewhere in life,” or “make something of yourself” – which is just coded language for becoming a culturally uprooted minion.
Anti-Work is rebelling, perhaps in a misguided way, against the soul-destroying technics of modernity, against which they and everyone else have legitimate grievances. Modern man is overworked to death, as compared to the medieval peasant, who worked far fewer hours, perhaps even only half as many. The hours we work now are a compromise with the industrial revolution – a compromise away from historical norms. Well, a medieval peasant, you say, was forced to pay taxes to a lord. And you aren’t? Lol.
A peasant, at least, worked for themselves. A peasant could pay taxes in money, seed, craft, or whatever they produced of equivalent value to the monetary demands. The rest of their labor was retained for their own use, and their production was directly beneficial. Virtually every worker today produces nothing that is retained by theirselves. You only produce for a company, and the company keeps everything you create. You take home nothing but fiat currency, which is more heavily taxed in comparison to the taxes and tithes that were normally required for peasants. You could lose your job at any moment, left with only a handful a coins and no means by which to feed yourself. You don’t have the option of working for yourself – you must go to various McCorporations begging for a means of survival. True, there are some advantages to this, and many peasants were serfs, tied to the land, with no possibility of movement; but it was not this way in all times and places, and the advantages of free movement are not so great when the McCorporations are deeply homogenized.
The cruelest element of modern corporate slavery is the fact that you are required to be a self-managing slave. You do not even have the typical benefits of slavery, which are that the anxiety of facing an uncertain future is largely done away with, and your basic needs are all accounted for and planned for. Instead, you are forced to keep self-manage your slavery, by attentive navigation of a myriad of problems such as health insurance, home insurance, a second home insurance plan to cover what is excluded from the first home insurance plan, tax refunds, tax payments, water bill payments, gas bill payments, electric bill payments, internet bill payments, phone bill payments, credit card payments, loan payments, subscription payments, emails, and a mess of bureaucratic obligations. No one will handle these for you, and your basic needs will not be provided for if these obligations are not constantly met. No wonder the average person today is an anxiety-ridden wreck of a human.
Misguided as their solutions might be, the anti-work activists have pierced the veil by pointing their bloodstained communist fingers toward a deep truth about the horrific demands placed upon modern citizen of the “free” world.