Adorno on Commodity Fetishism, Mass Culture, and Self-Enslavement

Theodor Adorno is probably the most important 20th century Marxist philosopher, sociologist, and social critic.  The fundamental crux of Adorno is his critique of the Enlightenment and mass culture—typified by places like Hollywood—as a form of self-enslavement and bourgeois imperialism.  But instead of the superstructure directly engaging in clamping its controls over people, Adorno argued … Continue reading Adorno on Commodity Fetishism, Mass Culture, and Self-Enslavement

Karl Marx: On the Jewish Question

Karl Marx’s essay “On the Jewish Question,” at the face of it, seems like a typical anti-Semitic piece of writing where Marx decried the god of the Jews as the idol of mammon.  However, the essay is of political importance as it details several noticeable things about Marx’s political thought.  First is his assertion that … Continue reading Karl Marx: On the Jewish Question

Marx’s Dialectical Historicism

One of the core elements to Karl Marx’s philosophy was his dialectical materialism and historicism, which come together in his dialectical historicism.  Most people are probably familiar with it.  There are five distinct stages (or epochs) of history: slavery, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and communism.  But the movement of history is not linear-progressive, it is cyclical; … Continue reading Marx’s Dialectical Historicism

Karl Marx: Song of a Sailor at Sea

"Song of a Sailor at Sea": You may frolic and beat and roll Round my boat just as you will, You must carry me to my goal; For you are my subjects still. Blue waves beneath that now, My little brother's there. You dragged him down below, His bones became your fare. I was a … Continue reading Karl Marx: Song of a Sailor at Sea

Rousseau: The Social Contract, I

Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a widely important philosopher of the mid to late 18th century.  Born in Geneva, but making his name in France, Rousseau is associated with having given the intellectual foundation for the French Revolution, is remembered as the Prophet of the Romantics with regard to analysis and criticism of emerging (sterile) bourgeois materialistic … Continue reading Rousseau: The Social Contract, I

Shulamith Firestone’s Dialectic of Sex

Shulamith Firestone is one of the most important, if not the most important, feminist philosopher of the 20th century.  Though little known to most, she is required reading in most gender studies and women’s studies courses.  Her most famous work was published when she was 25 years old: The Dialectic of Sex.  In her work … Continue reading Shulamith Firestone’s Dialectic of Sex

Carl Schmitt: What is Political Theology?

Carl Schmitt is one of the most controversial and influential political philosophers and political jurists of the 20th century.  His works have influenced everyone from the New Left, including the likes of Derrida and Foucault, and those on the Right, most notably Leo Strauss.  Schmitt, among other things, is generally credited with establishing the sub-discipline … Continue reading Carl Schmitt: What is Political Theology?