A plea for a return to Différance (with a Minor Pro Domo Sua)

Critical Inquiry 32 (2):226-249 (2006)

Authors
Slavoj Žižek
European Graduate School
Abstract
The conclusion drawn was that this failure was due to underestimating the depth of Western Christian spiritual foundations, so the accent of subversive activity shifted from politico-economic struggle to "cultural revolution," to the patient intellectual-cultural work of undermining national pride, family, religion, and spiritual commitments, and the spirit of sacrifice for one's country was dismissed as involving the "authoritarian personality"; marital fidelity was supposed to express pathological sexual repression; following Benjamin's motto on how every document of culture is a document of barbarism, the highest achievements of Western culture were denounced for concealing the practices of racism and genocide, and so on. MacDonald devotes many pages to The Authoritarian Personality, a collective project coordinated by Adorno, the purpose of which was, for MacDonald, to make every group affiliation sound as if it were a sign of mental disorder; everything, from patriotism to religion to family-and race-loyally, is disqualified as a sign of a dangerous and defective "authoritarian personality." In addition to ridiculing patriotism and racial identity, the Frankfurt school glorified promiscuity and bohemian poverty: "Certainly many of the central attitudes of the largely successful 1960s countercultural revolution find expression in The Authoritarian Personality, including idealizing rebellion against parents, low-investment sexual relationships, and scorn for upward social mobility, social status, family pride, the Christian religion, and patriotism"
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DOI 10.1086/500702
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