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    Frankfurt School Analysis, Part Two

    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.


    perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 08/26/16 7:24 pm ET


    The biggest jobs program since World War 2!

    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 ...

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    perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 08/25/16 4:04 pm ET


    Frankfurters for Breakfast

    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 ...

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    perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 08/24/16 7:54 pm ET


    The Descent into Feudalism

    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 ...

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    perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 08/23/16 3:27 pm ET


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    The Poor Without the Welfare State
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    Liberals, the ruling class of the administrative welfare state.

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    Henry Maine, Ancient Law
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    John Zane, The Story of Law
    How law developed from early times down to the present


    AAM Books on Mutual Aid

    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

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    How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland


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    How Christianity is booming in China

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    The End of the Memory Hole
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    Joel Kotkin doesn't like the tech guys.

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    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.

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    What Liberals Think About Conservatives

    [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


    US Life in 1842

    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


    Taking Responsibility

    [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


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    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


    Socialism equals Animism

    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


    Sacrifice

    [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


    Responsible Self

    [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.


     

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