THESE days the Frankfurt School is conservative Enemy #1, on account of “cultural Marxism” and political correctness. But I have been reading a book about Horkheimer and Adorno written in the 1970s, The Frankfurt School: The Critical Theories of Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, by Zoltán Tar.
In Part One, I looked at Tar’s view of Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment and The Authoritarian Personality. Both books were lefty responses to the rise of fascism. Dialectic rather importantly reminds lefties that, foes of domination and oppression as they are, the very fount of their faith issues from the Enlightenment and its program to dominate Nature.
The Authoritarian Personality is something of a joke to me. It is a bunch of lefties trying to understand fascism as a natural outgrowth of lower middle-class culture and the natural end-point of bourgeois capitalism. These lefties are blind to the obvious notion that, when the economic interventionism of the democratic left fails, as it did in the 1930s because its ideas are bad science, the people naturally turn to a strong leader to get them out of a jam.
Zoltán Tar writes off the Frankfurt School as a failure, in part because of the haut-bourgeois Jewish origins of Horkheimer and Adorno, whose Jewishness keeps interfering with their leftiness. This meant that they fell away from the true faith of Marxism:
Critical Theory dissociated itself from the basic tenet of Marxism: the unity of theory, empirical research, and revolutionary praxis… The crucial issue here is the abandonment of the Marxist method for metaphysical speculation.
Amusingly, Tar then admits that the Marxian prophecy had failed:
The Marxist prognosis about the polarization of classes in a capitalist society (bourgeois versus proletariat), with the Verelendung [immiseration] of the latter… did not take place.
Hey! I’d never known what the original German word for the “immiseration” of the working class. Elend is the German for “misery,” according to Google. Thus Ver-elend-ung. So immiseration is a direct translation!
Hey kids! Maybe the failed Marxist prognostication is telling us something! Maybe it is telling us that the portentous Marxian combination of theory, research and praxis was, as the Brits say, a load of bollocks, because its basic prediction, the immiseration of the working class, never took place. In fact the opposite is true.
And by the way, what does "revolutionary praxis" mean when it's at home? The only thing I know is that revolution combined with praxis means riots, and killing, and secret police and revolutionary terror.
As I have mentioned, what Tar could not know in the 1970s, as he complained that American academics knew next to nothing about the Frankfurters and Critical Theory, was that Critical Theory would turn out to be the left’s star turn. Imagine!
In the hands of Horkheimer and Adorno’s students, the Marxian “polarization of classes” was expanded into a polarization of races and genders. Why not? Politics is division and if you can’t burn the place down with class division and the instinctive animosity between rich and poor why not go back further into mankind’s instinctive past and gin up a race war? And Herbert Marcuse with his convoluted idea of repressive tolerance, or tolerant intolerance, or intolerant tolerance, gave the left permission -- as if it needed it -- to persecute anyone it chose in the name of tolerance and diversity. Today every lefty knows how to play the game of political correctness and humiliate anyone that dares to disagree with the lefty agenda du jour. Including getting them fired. They get it in their mother's milk.
Hey lefties, wasn’t firing people for their beliefs a big issue for you in the Fifties when a few Commies got fired from their government teacher jobs and a few Hollywood lefties got blacklisted, but not actually driven out of the industry?
But those Commies were on the right side of history.
HILLARY Clinton is promising to enact "the biggest infrastructure and jobs program that we've had since World War II," according to Yahoo writer Rick Newman. Oh great. According to Newman: Clinton's plan would amount to $300 billion in transportation projects spread over five years... That $300 billion would come from new taxes on the wealthy... Oh great. Do these people never learn? That ...
THESE days the Frankfurt School is conservative Enemy #1, on account of “Cultural Marxism” and political correctness. But I have been reading a book about Horkheimer and Adorno written in the 1970s, The Frankfurt School: The Critical Theories of Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, by Zoltán Tar. Those were the days before the fall of the Soviet Union and before the ideas of the Frankfurt ...
WE moderns are all for freedom, right? And our lefty friends are all for liberation from oppression and marginalization, right? So how come we are taxed on every hour of work? How come we stand in lines at the airport, like peasants? How come the government sequesters our savings for us in government "trust funds" and in special government-regulated IRA and 401k accounts? The answer is that ...
Download latest e-book draft here.
A New Manifesto
A spectre is haunting the liberal elitethe spectre of conservatism.
The Crisis of the Administrative State
It wasnt supposed to be like this.
Government and the Technology of Power
If you scratch a social reformer, you will likely discover a plan for more government.
Business, Slavery, and Trust
Business is all about trust and relationship.
Humanity's Big Problem: Freebooters and Freeloaders
The modern welfare state encourages freeloaders.
The Bonds of Faith
No society known to anthropology or history lacked religion.
A Critique of Social Mechanics
The problem with human society reduced to system.
The Paradox of Individualism
Is individualism the gospel of selfishness or something else?
From Multitude to Civil Society
The larger the government, the smaller the society.
The Answer is Civil Society
In between the separated powers.
The Greater Separation of Powers
If you want to limit power then you must limit power.
Conservatism Three by Three
Conservatism, political, economics, and cultural.
The Culture of Involvement
Imagining lives without the welfare state
The Poor Without the Welfare State
Can the poor thrive without the welfare state?
The Middle Class Without The Welfare State
How would the middle class live without all those middle-class entitlements?
Liberals and the Welfare State
Liberals, the ruling class of the administrative welfare state.
From Freeloaders to Free Givers
The path to the future lies through moral movements.
The Real Meaning of Society
Broadening the horizon of cooperation in the last best hope of man on earth.
Andrew Coulson, Market Education
How universal literacy was achieved before government education
Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic
How we got our education system
James Tooley, The Miseducation of Women
How the feminists wrecked education for boys and for girls
James Tooley, Reclaiming Education
How only a market in education will provide opportunity for the poor
E.G. West, Education and the State
How education was doing fine before the government muscled in
Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
How ordinary people in the United States wrote the law during the 19th century
F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
How to build a society based upon law
Henry Maine, Ancient Law
How the movement of progressive peoples is from status to contract
John Zane, The Story of Law
How law developed from early times down to the present
James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In
How the welfare state makes crime, education, families, and health care worse.
David Beito, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State
How ordinary people built a sturdy social safety net in the 19th century
David Green, Before Beveridge: Welfare Before the Welfare State
How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state
Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy
How the US used to thrive under membership associations and could do again
David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
How Christianity is booming in China
Finke & Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
How the United States grew into a religious nation
Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism
How progressives must act fast if they want to save the welfare state
David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish
How Pentecostalism is spreading across the world
After a year of President Obama most Americans understand that the nation is on the wrong track. But how do we find the right track? Americans knew thirty years ago that liberalism was a busted flush. Yet Reaganism and Bushism seemed to be less than the best answer.
But where can we turn? Where are the thinkers and activists of the old days? Where do we find the best ideas? And how do we persuade our present ruling class to loosen its grip on power so that we can move the locomotive of state back onto the right track?
With all of our problems it seems like the worst of times.
In fact, this is the best of times. Under the radar a generation of great thinkers have been figuring out what went wrong and conjuring up visions of a better future. This book, "An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism" is an introduction to their ideas, and to the great future that awaits an America willing to respond to their call.
Although this book is addressed to all Americans, conservative, moderate, and liberal, and looks to a nation that transcends our present partisan divide, I must tell you that liberals will have the most difficulty with the book. The reason is simple. I am asking liberals to give up a lot of the power they have amassed in the last century. But we are all Americans, and we must all give up something for the sake of the greater good.
I am Christopher Chantrill and I am writing this book in full view. I'll be blogging on the process and the ideas, and I'll be asking you, dear readers, to help. Read the blog. Read the articles as they come out on American Thinker and ponder over the draft chapters here on this site.
Then send me your reactions, your thoughts, and your comments. You will help more than you know.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists
conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.