A Look Inside the Bizarre World of the ‘Anti-Work’ Movement

An anti-capitalist movement seeking to destigmatize laziness has gained nearly 2 million supporters.

The first time I saw it, I thought it had to be a parody. Nope. The far-left “anti-work” movement is a real thing, and it’s gaining steam with millions of young people online. 

You might be wondering… what the hell does “anti-work” even mean? Well, it’s essentially an anti-capitalist movement seeking to destigmatize laziness and argue that no one should have to work unless they feel like it.

The anti-work movement’s biggest online hub is a Reddit community, r/antiwork, with more than 1.9 million members. (They call themselves “idlers.”) For those unfamiliar with the platform, Reddit is essentially a massive online forum, with its communities each serving as their own sub-forums dedicated to specific topics or causes. 

The “anti-work” community describes itself as “a subreddit for those who want to end work, are curious about ending work, want to get the most out of a work-free life, want more information on anti-work ideas and want personal help with their own jobs/work-related struggles.” 

Yes, seriously.

Want to understand more about this movement? Look no further than their FAQs.

Yeah, I wasn’t exaggerating about the whole “destigmatizing laziness” thing. 

We debunk this entire movement in-depth on the latest BASEDPolitics podcast, but here are a few brief points summarizing why it’s so idiotic:

  • Capitalism has actually improved the quality of a worker’s life immeasurably. As society has gotten richer, jobs have gotten much safer, much less physically arduous, wages have risen, hours have reduced, and overall quality of life has skyrocketed. Just ask yourself, would you rather work as a field hand or factory worker in 1900 or as an office employee in 2022? That progress has all been made under capitalism. 
  • The capitalism and wage labor that “anti-work” advocates so deride have led to drastic reductions in poverty and huge increases in income per person. In the thousands of years prior to the invention and implementation of capitalism in the 18th century, income was basically flat. Then it skyrocketed. That’s no coincidence. Even in recent decades, this progress has continued. 

  • Work is actually an innate good in and of itself. For one, the products and services that we all rely on only exist because of peoples’ hard work. But work also gives life a sense of purpose. There’s meaning in work. Sometimes, that meaning derives from being passionate about your worklike we are at BASEDPolitics. Yet there’s still meaning in providing for your family and contributing to society, even if your job itself doesn’t fulfill you.
  • You have no right to exist at other peoples’ expense. I believe in a social safety net for the truly disabled and other people who cannot work–we can debate whether that ought to be government or charity-basedbut able-bodied adults have no excuses. The “anti-work” advocates in r/antiwork actually believe they have a right to subsist off of everyone else, a right to have their housing, food, etc. provided to them while they lounge around and play video games. They don’t. That would be exploiting others who actually work, and essentially enslaving them under the dominion of lazy people. Let them starve. 

To watch BASEDPolitics’ Brad Polumbo and Hannah Polumbo break down the worst viral posts from r/antiwork and the “anti-work” movement in more depth, check out the below video:

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Brad Polumbo
Brad Polumbo
Brad Polumbo is a libertarian-conservative journalist and co-founder of Based Politics. His work has been cited by top lawmakers such as Senator Rand Paul, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Pat Toomey, Congresswoman Nancy Mace, Congressman Thomas Massie, and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, as well as by prominent media personalities such as Jordan Peterson, Sean Hannity, Dave Rubin, Ben Shapiro, and Mark Levin. Brad has also testified before the US Senate, appeared on Fox News and Fox Business, and written for publications such as USA Today, National Review, Newsweek, and the Daily Beast. He hosts the Breaking Boundaries podcast and has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.