Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Dialectic is a powerful thing.

One will say that I have here done nothing? Then one should be able to answer the questions.

"Critical thought, which does not call a halt before progress itself, requires us to take up the cause of the remnants of freedom, of tendencies toward real humanity, even though they seem powerless in face of the great historical trend."*

It "requires us"? According to what law? Here the assumption seems to be bent in favor of a certain (undisclosed) concept of freedom. And yet the authors admit that this act "seems" futile. One must be able to give some kind of foundation for this presumption of hope. Why will our "cause" matter? The fact that life is very short, and lacking power toward the prevalence of sanity, must qualify the value of our imperative.

"Real humanity," is an interesting way to speak. If there is anything to the "cause" of critical theory it must be found in this concept. Our striving is toward the realization of a "real humanity," in contrast to that which is destructive.

Still, one could probe deeper: what happens to the concept of "real humanity" in light of broader analysis? Can we ever raise the notion above preference?

The only reason I affirm the position is because I reject the axioms of barbarism (but this is very far from proving something metaphysical about my humanitarian values).

However, I do believe we will be able to appeal to civility as a justification for critical theory; I also believe we can appeal to intelligence. These two attributes alone mark out the reason for our vocation.

" construct a systematic theory which would do justice to the present economic and political circumstances is a task which, for objective and subjective reasons, we are unable to perform today." Ibid. Preface to Italian Edition 1962/1966     

Is this a confession? Would such a theory have any power toward the betterment of social conditions? [Are we prepared to face this question?] If these gentlemen were unable to perform such a task, then it falls to us? But what if the "administered world" is immune to the powers of criticism? What if criticism simply doesn't matter?

Does one retreat into theory; is theory itself a retreat from society, like a drug, the hedonistic indulgence of one's personal aesthetic?

I maintain that these questions haunt the critical theorist.

* Adorno/ Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, Preface to the New Edition 1969


Wednesday, February 1, 2017


The formation of theory is vital to action. I stand by this premise; I have proven it to be true in my own life.

I am all for activism, but I am not for mindless activism.

Too often the activist is indifferent to his or her cause, this is when the act of activism becomes an end in itself. This is a mistake, it is lacking maturity and integrity; it is an example of adolescents striving for shallow power. What is the point of acting, if the calculation of action, is determined to be ineffectual? The real question is whether or not the activist is concerned with being effective?

Too often, a young man or woman, being full of anger, uses activism to vent that anger (this is easily manifest when it comes to discussing the issues). An angry activist manifests blind allegiance to ideology; they are no longer willing (or able) to entertain valid objections; this leads to dogmatism.

The world doesn't need more mindless activists; we are not lacking in dogmatists. The world needs intelligent dissent. I am an advocate for informed and calculated activism. My philosophy is as simple as the premise, "look before you leap."

Young people can be easily pressured into joining the crowd; my advice is to join the crowd that is intelligent; organize with those who have thought about their strategy; organize with those who have justified their resistance; move toward that which seeks to be effective.

I hear about students disrupting talks at the university, because they disagree with the professor... then refute him! This sabotage is a form of irrationalism; it is no different in methodology than the barbarism it claims to transcend. I believe in refuting my opponents! I believe in interacting with their premises.

If one tries to legislate morality, without ample justification, then one will establish principles without foundation. What does this mean? Can such legislation provide a secure foundation for moral action; should the people conform to such tyranny?

A law which is established on an emotive foundation can never be a law of freedom. 

I believe in justified action, but this is not a reference to analytical justification (which serves as its own form of tyranny). Abstraction takes flight from the world; in the hands of academics and intellectuals it becomes a tool for evasion, an architecture of tyranny. One is assaulted by these pedantic philosophers, for in demanding justification they demand what is unnecessary. Never forget that life is the ultimate criterion of life!

Action is vital to transformation, but the premise which claims that all action is good, is itself, false. Mindless action is destructive, it is often the outcome of anger, as opposed to thought. Too many activists are merely seeking power. The truth is they could just as easily stand with the opposition, but that was not the narrative which offered them power.

It is understandable that we are wounded by mindless actions, but this only means we should not offer mindless action in return. Intelligence is vital to the meaning of action. One should learn to think before they leap.

Many an activist has tried to shame me for my commitment to theory. But I do not bear the burden of proof. When a man comes to me and tells me I must use my body in a specific way in order to be moral, I immediately demand a justification. I believe in justified action; I believe in an action of intelligence; I believe in cultivating the highest possible intelligence in relation to action; I believe in Intelligent Action! This drives us to one question:

How should we proceed?

The emotive activist simply wants to take to the streets, but this is a mistake. Why does he not question; why does he not calculate, to the best of his ability, given all available information, as to whether or not his action will be effective, as to whether or not this is the best way to proceed? Where is the long term projection? We must proceed on more than just the basis of feeling.

Everyday I see intelligent resistance offered by the opposition (albeit shallow ideological superstructures); and what do those who claim to speak in the name of mankind do, they call names, they do not rise to the occasion. We must refute our opponents, not simply offer repudiation! Learn to penetrate the veil of ideology, not merely decry it in the name of refutation.

I believe there is a law of society that says legislation, without foundation, will always be resisted, precisely because it is illegitimate. Legitimacy is vital to social stability. To implement legislation, without first securing its base, means it will be shattered by those who experience its tyranny. If one builds a house on sand, the structure will simply collapse. This is no different in the case of law.

Mindful action does not merely seek to vent its anger; it does not merely seek to gain control, or align itself with an emphasis of power, it seeks to be effective!

What if your actions will make you famous, but they will not have an impact on the world, would you still be driven to carry out your actions? How you answer this question determines the true basis of your motive. I reject those who merely seek power; such social movements are no different, in the long run, than the very tyranny they claim to transcend. Our activism must begin in substance, if it would end in freedom.