Born Free, But
Cockburn, Alexander, The Nation
Born Free, but . . .
I quoted Lenin recently as having said that freedom is the recognition of necessity. I didn't know the context but presumed that he tossed out the tag by way of justifying Taylorist work rhythms. Now Larry Hochman writes to say he thinks it was Engels. It sounds a bit terse for Fred, but the following line does occur in the Anti-Duhring: "Freedom does not occur in the dream of independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives of making them work towards definite ends.' A Dictionary of Marxist Thought says this should be taken in the Baconian, positivist, rather than the Spinozist, Hegelian, sense. All I know is I can't get an American Express card.
Of course Fred and Karl and their heirs, assigns and successors were right to stress the ineluctability of laws both natural and economic, but it does no harm to throw on the rose-tinted spectacles once in a while. This is in accord with my new line, which is, contrary to Gramsci, Optimism of the will, optimism of the intellect. …