Friday, August 9, 2013
VOICES FROM THE PAST
Brian Leiter points us to an extraordinary exchange of letters between Herbert Marcuse and Theodor Adorno, in 1969, about the student movement then roiling America and Western Europe. Here it is. I have just read it, and it is mesmerizing. For all manner of reasons, personal and political, I completely side with my old friend Marcuse in his debate with Adorno. Herbert seems to me to come off as exhibiting the one absolutely indispensable prerequisite for a theoretical commentator on the political scene: knowing clearly which side he is on. Adorno, by contrast, reminds me of the previously progressive professors at Columbia in '68 who were so wounded by the students' affront to their professorial dignity that they ended up throwing in with the forces of reaction.