Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Christopher Bray on Combining Marx wh Freud

Frankfurt School Theorists

I once mentioned to Martin Jay that the Frankfurt School had erred in combining Marx's dynamic social theory with the static Freudian system of psychoanalysis, for which I received a quizzical look. I didn't manage much of a follow-up, but by "static," I meant that Freud had a pessimistic view of human nature, with the consequence that the stages of individual psychological development would work out the same way, no matter what the social system, contrary to Marx's view. Perhaps Christopher Bray, in "The Frankfurt School was a place of fearsome seriousness" (Spectator, October 1, 2016), can put my point better than I was able:
Founded in 1923, the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research was a place of fearsome seriousness. Its key thinkers - Adorno, the philosophers Herbert Marcuse and Max Horkheimer, the psychologist Erich Fromm and, more tangentially, the critic Walter Benjamin - were obsessed with the failure of the German Revolution of 1919. By marrying the early Marx's social theory to Freudian psychoanalysis, they hoped to understand why the working classes had renounced socialism for 'modern consumer capitalist society and [subsequently] Nazism . . . . [This] wasn't an easy marriage . . . . Freud and Marx were such different thinkers . . . . Freud’s view of human nature was essentially tenebrous, [while] Marx's was almost facetiously sunny. Whereas Freud argued that repression was the painful price we paid for civilisation, Marx believed that the freedom [that] capitalism's inevitable demise would usher in would make man not only whole, but wholly good . . . . Wide-ranging as Freud's theories were, they were also tightly tethered to the particular. He thought you were explicable by reference to the unconscious dreads and desires engendered by your ineluctably conflicted relations with your parents. But for Marx such talk of individuated existences was bourgeois tosh. He saw you as an expression of whatever class structure you'd been born into. As for the surreptitious sway of the unconscious, forget it. Not even your sentient mind has that much clout: 'It is not the consciousness of human beings which determines their existence,' wrote Marx, 'but their social existence [which] determines their consciousness.'
Bray raises a number of other significant points, but I will stop here, where I feel vindicated.

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At 11:40 AM, Blogger King Baeksu said...

Hmm, let's see:

Martin Jay
Karl Marx
Sigmund Freud
Theodor W. Adorno
Max Horkheimer
Herbert Marcuse
Erich Fromm
Walter Benjamin

Every single name in this post is a member of The Tribe. From an evolutionary-sociological perspective, it would certainly be in their minority interest to attack and deconstruct Western (or gentile) civilization, and thereby dilute and diminish its dominance, would it not? Divide and conquer and all that jazz.

If you think I'm seeing false or imaginary patterns here, think again.

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I see a pattern, certainly. Ashkenazi Jews rise to the top in every field. Reputedly, they have an average IQ of 115, even higher than the reputedly average Han Chinese IQ of 110!

Jeffery Hodges

@ @ @

At 2:19 PM, Blogger King Baeksu said...

The critique of group-evolutionary strategies of Ashkenazi Jews goes beyond IQ. The "universalist" values of Northern Europeans are generally only held by those of Northern European stock, which is to say that they are hardly universal, and are often exploited by other ethnicities or races who prioritize their own in-group interests. (Given your background in Christian theology, you are more qualified than I am to explore the links between Christianity and said "universalism.") What this means in practice is that Northern Europeans, or those of Northern European descent, need to adopt a more realist view of the world and reality, or else ultimately face their own demographic demise. The problem, in other words, is not that there aren't also plenty of high-IQ gentiles; the problem is just that they are often simply too naive, unworldly and idealistic.

The other trick Jewish-Americans in particular have perfected is to effectively preempt all criticism by gentiles as "anti-Semitic." For example, I've never really understood why Americans are constantly lectured by Jews on the evils of the Holocaust. Excuse me, but what did the US have to do with the Holocaust, except to decisively end it? But the underlying agenda here is to effectively weaponize white or gentile guilt in advance, and in so doing conveniently exploit it as need be. Thus, if the neocolonialist policies of Israel are critiqued, and in particular Israeli domination of US foreign policy, such charges can be immediately denounced as "anti-Semitic" (and backed up by such pro-Jewish discourse policers as the Southern Policy Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League). Jewish-Americans thus get to have the best of both worlds: They can pass as "white" as need be, and thereby project the image of fully assimilated members of mainstream American society, and then switch on a dime and play the long-suffering Jewish victim whenever they are called out for pursuing their own ethnic interests at the expense of the greater good of the American nation-state, or collective community. Sorry, but you can't have it both ways: You are either loyal to the US or you are loyal to Israel. And you cannot continually call for unlimited immigration into the US and denounce all critics of said policy as "racist" when you argue for the exact opposite in Israel. And again, it is simply naive of gentile or white Americans to keep putting up with such disingenuous doublespeak and self-serving nonsense.

By the way, you are on a slippery slope when you speak of the IQ averages of specific racial or ethnic groups, for of course that immediately suggests that there are certain groups who occupy the lower levels of such rankings or genetic hierarchies. And if you were an academic in the US, we all know who would immediately be calling for your "disciplining" if not outright dismissal, now don't we? We are simply not supposed to notice these things, because we're all "equals" in American society at least officially, if not in actual reality!

At 9:13 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

On IQ, I will say only that I don't know what shapes it, what ratio of nature to nurture, but I do suspect that a culture that emphasizes education will tend to drive scores up.

Jews are found all over the political map, and they don't all toe the Israeli line.

But let's not go down this road.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 11:26 AM, Blogger King Baeksu said...

"Jews are found all over the political map, and they don't all toe the Israeli line."

True enough, but no one's actually arguing the opposite. Not all Americans supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, either, but certainly enough did to get the job done. In a similar way, there seem to be far too many people in our government with divided loyalties, and their undue influence on US foreign policy needs to be called out by all patriotic Americans.

I wonder how many holders of dual nationality there are in the Chinese, Japanese, North Korean or South Korean governments? Probably not too many, I'm sure you'd agree. Americans are naive and foolish to allow the present status quo to persist. You are either American or you are not, especially when you are a government official who is ostensibly meant to represent the interests of the American people. Sorry, but you simply can't have it both ways.


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