A Critique of Pure Tolerance


Edité par Beacon Press, Boston, 1966
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One of the major political essays of the 1960’s, forming its ideology wherein tolerance under liberal so-called capitalism (not so-called) was analyzed and shown to be anything but tolerance. Pure clear arguing, even though at first terms such as "repressive desublimation" took a while, then became easily digestible. Marcuse at Brandeis used to be a force until the management decided at 65 he was too old to teach, leading to sit-ins and student protests to no avail. At that point not knowing why crossing picket lines to have lunch was somehow a problem, politically or otherwise, one learnt otherwise through precisely the real tolerance of fellow students (Larry Miller comes to mind) and learning not by abusive argumentation but by model. The fabulous political education in ’64 was crucial, though Marcuse himself tended to think, e.g., Goethe’s utopian poetry by definition was revolutionary as it posited an ideal. It took the rigours and rigidity of post ’68 Althusser (before the obsessiveness of his mind coagulated his body, a collapse leading to him murdering his wife) to disabuse one of that, idealism, inherited apparently from Hegel or just "Germanness". Though Althusser and his followers had another series of problems, often an authoritarianism that led to enormous "errors" or in the cases of his students, defenestration. On the other hand, he was an early critic of Mao and had his problems with the French CP. (This at a time when the Socialists were led by Mitterand, the CP, too, were led by a quasi-collaborator with Vichy, Georges Marchais, and the centre Right fell under the power of de Gaulle, who defended till his death the police chief of Paris who organized the deportations to Auschwitz. The same police chief was a close friend of supposed anti-Gaullist Mitterand, the latter honouring the war criminal’s grave with a wreath yearly and to whom he owed a never elucidated wartime debt – as fellow collaborator? – apart from their 30-year friendship. The closest thing in Britain presently being that of "labour leftists" Tony Benn and Michael Foot both honouring and defending our home grown fascist Enoch Powell’s memory, calling him a dear friend in both cases and also more obscenely, naming his "Rivers of Blood" hate crime speech "a mistake". They seem to think when E.M. Forster famously stated "If it comes to a choice between defending my country or my friend, I hope I would chose the latter" he meant "defending my Fascist friend".) First encountering Althusser in ’71 was nevertheless like reading Beckett in its abstruse complexity. Amazing. Marcuse whilst still at Brandeis that last year of his time there wrote, with his wife, from a short sabbatical in Berlin, admonishing letters to the students and the SDS group that there would hopefully be demonstrations when Axel Springer the German (Murdoch before Murdoch) right-wing publisher of not-so-veiled calls for hate crimes – was to receive his honorary doctorate as "a great friend of Israel". The demonstrations took place, so did the doctorate. Marcuse moved to California, and one 30 years later reads of him in the nasty notes Adorno wrote in the 1930s on Marcuse belittling him as "a dull schoolteacher type who mimics our Frankfurt School". All the while Adorno himself was busy toadying to the Nazi regime, and finally being disabused of the wonders of the new Germany when he couldn’t get work. He thought his half-Jewishness was a minor matter. His (according to Schönberg) greasy toadying in Hollywood didn’t work, though his toadying elsewhere, to Gershom Scholem who shoulda known better, did. The brilliance of Adorno, like the brilliance of Heidegger, seemed to have blinded everyone to their authoritarian egomanias. Adorno even – and here truth is stranger than so-called fiction – secretly wrote glowing hysterical pieces on the Nazi "poet" author of Die Fahne Hoch, Horst Wessel, not somehow forced onto bended knee but using his full intellect to argue it was Joycian moder. N° de réf. du libraire INDE-C70446

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Détails bibliographiques

Titre : A Critique of Pure Tolerance

Éditeur : Beacon Press, Boston

Date d'édition : 1966

Description de la librairie

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