BUT MORE OF a quotable passage.
The Kantian sense of “Critical,” it should be noted, is unrelated to recent uses of the term in “critical” literary theory, “critical legal theory,” “critical race theory,” or even in “multicultural” textbook treatments of “critical thinking,” in all of which the word is usually a dissimulating substitute for “Marxist” — where all analysis is about “power” and class relationships, is contemptuous of “bourgeois” values and freedoms, including freedom of speech, and where the “voices” of other cultures are always coincidentally about oppression by capitalism and/or globalization. Considering the millions murdered, tortured, enslaved, and impoverished by Marxists in the 20th Century, one would have to consider continued true believers among the most uncritical people, let alone the most naive or dishonest, in intellectual history — a description that is sadly all too applicable to much academic culture in the United States, where Marxist doctrine and Leninist behavior are alive and well. These recent uses of “critical,” meaning the dogmatic application of ideology rather than any genuinely critical attitude, are thus oxymoronic examples of Orwellian “double think,” just as when terms like “people’s republic” and “democratic republic” were used to mean, not popular sovereignty and responsible government, but totalitarian statism and dictatorship. Now, combinations of Marx, Nietzsche, Freud and others, as developed by Sartre, Marcuse, Foucault, Derrida, etc., is promoted under the term “Theory,” and scholarly work that doesn’t invoke the canon and its jargon is dismissed as “under-theorized.” Thus, a miserable and largely exploded fragment of 20th Century philosophy comes to be accepted, mainly outside of philosophy, as the equivalent of essential and unproblematic method and truth. Since this preserves a small flame from the moral, political, and economic debacle of Marxism, it is a nice irony that one of the signers of Karl Marx’s own doctoral dissertation on Democritus was none other than Jakob Fries.
–Kelly L. Ross
Proceedings of the Friesian Society