Maybe The Frankfurt School Can Help

Ever since the news broke that Donald Trump had won the electoral college there has been a wealth of ink wasted trying to explain what went wrong and how this person could have won so much of the electoral college.

Us academics….you know those people that the Right demonizes every chance they get….maybe be able to help explain the situation and that nagging question…how could this happen?

I have read most of the stuff both Right and Left that attempts to explain the 2016 elections….most of it is supposition…..but some of the thoughts of the Frankfurt School could help in this endeavor……

At least spend some time and learn about their thoughts before dismissing them outright.

The Frankfurt School, also known as the Institute of Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung), is a social and political philosophical movement of thought located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It is the original source of what is known as Critical Theory. The Institute was founded, thanks to a donation by Felix Weil in 1923, with the aim of developing Marxist studies in Germany. The Institute eventually generated a specific school of thought after 1933 when the Nazis forced it to close and move to the United States, where it found hospitality at Columbia University, New York.

The academic influence of the “critical” method is far reaching in terms of educational institutions in which such tradition is taught and in terms of the problems it addresses. Some of its core issues involve the critique of modernities and of capitalist society, the definition of social emancipation and the perceived pathologies of society. Critical theory provides a specific interpretation of Marxist philosophy and reinterprets some of its central economic and political notions such as commodification, reification, fetishization and critique of mass culture.

Source: Frankfurt School and Critical Theory | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

In 1923, a motley collection of philosophers, cultural critics, and sociologists formed the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany. Known popularly as the Frankfurt School, it was an all-star crew of lefty theorists, including Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Erich Fromm, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse.

A guiding belief of the Frankfurt School, notably among Adorno and Horkheimer, was that mass culture, in all its forms, was a prop for totalitarian capitalism. The idea was that art, in late-capitalist society, had been reduced to a cultural commodity. Critical theory sought to expose this by rigorously examining the products of popular culture. In particular, they tried to show how culture became a stealth vehicle for the inculcation of capitalist values.

Source: If you want to understand the age of Trump, you need to read the Frankfurt School – Vox

One may not approve of their approach….but they were instrumental in the formation of the “critical theory”…..


19 thoughts on “Maybe The Frankfurt School Can Help

      1. How correct they were/are depends entirely on how somebody views what they have/had to say and how it all turned out. I am wondering why they didn’t use some of their political genius to avoid the immigration crisis they now find themselves facing. If they would have just done that little bit I would have been far more confident in their abilities.

    1. I know that to be absoluitely true! Look at the mess they have made with their immigration policies! Yes, they are right on the cutting edge of being expert at every kind and type of social engineering. Even Merkle is starting to question the advisability of her former stance on migration …. calling for closer controls now that she understands how the hordes can wreck the entire German paradigm. Yes, they are “Never” wrong about anything. (The did kind of screw things up in 1945 though.).

      1. Apparently you did not pick up on the facetious nature of my remarks. Were you married into a rabid German family you would know “they are always right”.

      2. Ich verstehe nicht “Donker”, ich bin Amerikaner, wir wissen wenig, so scheint es.:)

      3. You don’t understand “Donker?” O.K., “Donker” is short and slang for “Donkerschein” which is a form of the gratuitous term, “Thank You.” Sorry for the confusion.

  1. Insitute in the 1930s or not, I am sure some of their “Better Ideas” are still available if anybody wants to use them and if they are as good as you seem to suggest they are/were then I am at a loss to understand why Merkle and her political genius squad never recognized the pragmatism of that institute and it’s work.

  2. The problem is that today critical theory has itself become a commodity, something to be wrapped up, neatly presented, and used as “hard” evidence for the totalitarianism of “intellectuals.” Of course, the academy-turned-priesthood didn’t help…

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