« Watergate Deja Vu and Fake News by Publius Tacitus | Main | DECAMERON: LET THE BUILDING BEGIN -- IN THE USA »

07 December 2017


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I think this comment gets to the nub of the matter.


I'm a classic liberal myself, with Libertarian leanings and a FDR New Deal Democratic Socialist politically. I've dialogued with quite a few of the younger generation online in social media political forums and many are a different breed. Many do support antifa. I generally agree you are right that most liberals are for free-speech but I believe it is larger than fringe opposed to free speech. Some evidence (tho somewhat loaded poll questions) -




Brandies has about 5500 students a year. How many of them took his class and paid attention and agreed? This is as massive as "the Russian hack of the election!"


True; "break the established universe of meaning" also explains the idea that it's obscene for government officials to deal with the officials of foreign governments. And come to think of it (if you've been following the series of articles _Bitcoin Does Not Exist_ at The Automatic Earth blog, it explains the idea that proper registration of transfers of property are not worth the onerous expense of filing, particularly when the meaning of private property has been getting in the way of some financial deals.
There's a lot of Marcuse around, apparently.

David Lentini

iAgreed. The key is to look at those who paid for the Frankfurt School and the propagation of their nonsense and visciousness—The very elites like the Bushes, Fords, Rockefellers, and Carnegies.

The point is that the revolution won't affect them. The revolution is to put the bottom 99.99% of humanity into a planetary work camp while the reaminder live like gods. Marcuse and his ilk were either complicit in this or just useful idiots themselves.

ANd for proof, look no farther than Adorno's famious response to protesters who disrupted one of his classes—He called the police and had them forcibly ejected.

Ishmael Zechariah


Cranston: “ Human rights, real and supposed” Available to read in Google books:

Also interesting:



Good luck.
Ishmael Zechariah



Given that logic I would have to conclude that with their viewership the Kardashians the true leaders of the American left.



The failure to properly register property transfers was one of the numerous scandals during the mortgage meltdown in 2008-7 time frame. The Obama administration cut a deal with the too big to fail banks to avoid the real cost (to banks) and thus failed to provide real justice for Americans affected.


Caligula wished that the mob had one neck so that he might chop its head off with one blow. I think a similar wish animates much of this thread. I wish the care people would like to see used in addressing the nuances of their own opinions would be extended to those they don't agree with.

Sylvia 1

I agree with your observations. I just want to add a bit of history. Our current revival of neoliberalism has not happened by accident--it was planned, well organized and well funded. The objective was to remove all constraints on business in order to recreate the lassiez faire environment within which Capitalism initially arose. The result has been the rise of monopoly power and the corruption of politics via money. This has also resulted in an astonishing concentration of wealth both in the US and globally. Leaving aside for a moment the growth of the size of government and the need for reform--let's look objectively at our current situation--the rebirth of monopoly capitalism.

Unfettered capitalism always has, and always will, tend towards monopoly. Why? A capitalist wants to expand market share and eliminate competition. To maximise profit, companies look to form monopolies and cartels from day one. Monopoly leads to both market power and political power. Left unfettered, monopolists will soon control the political process as well. This allows them to legalize their activity and criminalize everyone else’s. History shows this has happened before and even Adam Smith warned about this tendency way back in the 16th Century.

Today everyone imagines themselves to be a “libertarian” and thus “anti-government” which they have been propagandized to believe is evil and the source of their problems. The monopolists are gleeful over this propaganda coup since government, assuming it is not controlled by the monopolists, is the only means of retaining some form of competition in a capitalist society.

The neoliberal ideal for globalization was small state power, unregulated capitalism. This was how capitalism started centuries ago, and it wasn’t very good for anyone but the monopolists.

Adam Smith observes price gouging in the 1700s: “The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens.”

When lobbyists control the politicians you are really in trouble.

Adam Smith observed the early world of small state, unregulated capitalism in the 1700s and could see today's problems. Adam Smith: “The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.”



Left and Right have become undistinguishable. This is due to victory of wealthy plutocrats. Society is directed top down; a pyramid. Factions of the establishment use identity and ideology to keep control while they fight and torture each other over the spoils. The western middle class, no matter their belief or religion, are being tossed in the trash.


In the hope of clarifying some of the questions and comments, I will post this link: http://www.iep.utm.edu/frankfur/

I was struck by your post, Harper, listing members of of the Frankfurt School with too broad a brush. It included Hannah Arendt. As the article above will indicate, she appears only twice. I believe the only common thread among those you list is their affiliation with Frankfurt. From what I know, most, if not several all of them, were exiles during the Nazi period, and several were disaffected Marxist or Marxian thinkers as a result of the Stalinist purges.

Lemur, I find your reference to their being Jewish rather strange, since they were thinking and writing in the Nazi period and the Stalinist repression and forced internal exile and gulags.

A study of Arendt's life and publications seems to have escaped the attention of many here. I submit for your attention her many works dealing with natality, authority, the crises in culture and education, and the human condition. Perhaps most importantly, she wrote of "the banality of evil" in _The Banality of Evil_. https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/02/07/hannah-arendt-the-banality-of-evil/

Despite my handle, I am not Greek, but I have lived in Thessaloniki for the better part of 40 years. Yesterday, Dec 6th, was the 75th anniversary of the desecration of the Jewish cemetery here: http://tinyurl.com/yamsv6w6

I should not need to add that I am not Jewish, but it seems advisable to do so, given the topic.


Excellent comment! You may be interested in Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism by James Burnham. https://www.amazon.com/Suicide-West-Meaning-Destiny-Liberalism/dp/1594037833

The book was written in 1964 as the progressive era peaked in America. Burnham's warnings appear prescient in view of the last fifty years of decline in American prosperity and influence.


That is troubling for the future of civil liberties. I hope that's something people will grow out of.

For now, fortunately, support for free speech in law remains strong. IMO the biggest looming threat to that is the effort to legally equate criticism of Israel with antisemitism, and allow penalties for same.


It's not left or right, it's the swamp.
The only significant difference between the swamp Democrats and the swamp Republicans is who gets the money first.
I firmly believe that most of them would coldly sell their families into slavery for a chance at a committee chairmanship, another star or a promotion to Deputy Associate Secretary of whatever as long as it comes with a limo and a bodyguard.

Keith Harbaugh

The sad fact is that the Frankfurt School and cultural Marxism
have thoroughly taken over not just the left in America, but the "establishment" right as well.
Strong evidence for this is in the article

"Yes, Virginia (Dare) There Is a Cultural Marxism–and It’s Taking Over Conservatism Inc."
by Paul Gottfried, The Unz Review, 2017-05-22

[Herbert Marcuse and some other] disciples of the Frankfurt School, like Marx, were eager to replace what they defined as bourgeois society by a new social order. In this envisaged new order, humankind would experience true equality for the first time. This would be possible because, in a politically and socially reconstructed society, we would no longer be alienated from our real selves, which had been warped by the inequalities that existed until now.

But unlike authentic Marxists, Cultural Marxists have been principally opposed to the culture of bourgeois societies–and only secondarily to their material arrangements. Homophobia, nationalism, Christianity, masculinity, and anti-Semitism have been the prime villains in the Cultural Marxist script.

As to Brandeis, I was a graduate student there from September 1967 to January 1973.
As to the culture there, here is a relevant fact:
Up through 2016, nine women had made the FBI's ten most wanted list.
Of those nine, one-third, i.e, three, were either current or former Brandeis undergraduates:
Angela Davis
Katherine Ann Power
Susan Edith Saxe

Davis was explicitly influenced by Marcuse, the others at least indirectly.


Yes, it is too narrow to say that this is about the Left alone. Many of you know that some of the founders of the neoconservative movement were originally Marxists, mostly followers of Leon Trotsky. Irving Kristol wrote a series of autobiographical essays in which he recounted the intellectual history of neoconservatism and traced his roots back to his Marxist days in New York City. Neocon ideas of permanent revolution (regime change) have a strong Trotsky taint. The values embodied in what the Frankfurt School called "critical theory" have permeated university social science education and the base of political correctness is much beyond just "the Left."

To your point about Brandeis: Angela Davis followed Marcuse out to the University of California at San Diego and got her PhD under Marcuse. She traveled to Frankfurt to also study under Adorno for a period of time, before she emerged as an icon of the Communist Party USA and black nationalist identity politics.

Martin Jay's book Dialectical Imagination is a pro-Frankfurt School account, but full of useful details of how the influence spread.
Ralph de Toledano wrote an outstanding book Cry Havoc, also going through the history of the Frankfurt School from a much more critical vantage point (he also knew some of the ex-Communists who interacted with the Frankfurt School before they defected and this adds a personal dimension to the book). De Toledano's book has the best bibliography I am aware of on the history of the Frankfurt School and its kindred organizations,including the Tavistock Institute, the Institute for Social Research and Esalin Institute.

Steve G

David Lentini
Andrew Carnegie was the father of
The Public library system.
Did he not give back to the
common man knowledge to
overcome his position in life
if he chose to do it?

Harlan Easley

Excellent comment, dead on



"... a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups ..." That's Evergreen College and quite a few more in the US.

"Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance: ... it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word. "

That is hardly opening the universe of discourse. It is a philosophy that is currently being used for justifying the labeling of opponents as "repressive" and giving free reign to, to use the current phrase, "punch a nazi". Once the "oppressors" have been removed from power I'm sure the newly free oppressed will be able to re-educate the people with wrong think. Kind of like those intellectuals educated at the Grandes écoles, like Ieng Sary, helped Pol Pot do. Of course back then it was all about the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.


Signal-to-noise and could have different pieces of the truth, it seems to me. I was also exposed to Marcuse in the 70s. Found his writing incomprehensible and unreadable. Couldn’t get past the first paragraph on the second page. I think it was a coffee table book for leftists back then.


VV: I could be wrong but I think most Vietnam vets never made it to the middle class (whatever that is). Your right that the 'western middle class are being tossed in the trash'
And another thing. I guess you could call me a Vietnam vet as well, Hell I've got the goddamn ribbon but it doesn't mean a thing to me when I think about my school mates whose lives were forever changed or shortened.


VV, to me, yours is the best comment on this subject.

I think people should wake up to the fact that we are living in an age that Letf or Right is undistinguishable. What the Col calls the Borgs (and their bosses, the oligarchs) is what we need to distinguish from the rest of us. Ideology is a means to divide us.


Totally agree. A label based on a prior bias. My suspicion is the author means corporatist neoconservative when he says leftist


Did you read the first line of my reply? "Let us leave aside, *for the moment*, the question of Leftist or not?" It was most emphatically not my point to 'slander Leftists'. Who, by the way, are doing a good enough job themselves, at that. The question posed was, I believe, anyway; what might a group of people/media entities, superficially diverse, have in common? You pivot off that question and go on to an dialogue that exists in your head alone. Granted, an interesting and informative dialogue...but one of your own making.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad