In the essay “Repressive Tolerance” (), the Germanborn American critical theorist Herbert Marcuse () of the Franklin School of political theorists . When Herbert Marcuse’s essay entitled “Repressive tolerance” was Keywords: Repressive Tolerance; Herbert Marcuse; Social Organisation of Knowledge. Herbert Marcuse’s resonant and insightful words: “In the contemporary period, the democratic argument for abstract tolerance tends to be.

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At the time I was struck by just how docile and ineffective the strike seemed.

A Critique of Criticisms. Instead, Marcuse, in Aristotelian fashion, advocates a total revolution against the one-dimensional thinking that capitalist society introjects.

The book includes a foreword jointly written by its authors, [1] and three other contributions, “Beyond Tolerance” by Robert Paul Maruse, [2] “Tolerance and the Scientific Outlook” by Barrington Moore Jr. A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud. The notion of pluralism and countervailing powers is no substitute marcusee this requirement. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.

But with the concentration of economic and political power and the integration of opposites in a society which uses technology as an instrument of domination, effective dissent is blocked where it could freely emerge; in the formation of opinion, in information and communication, in speech and assembly. It is the people who tolerate the government, which in turn tolerates opposition within the framework determined by the constituted authorities.

This majority is firmly grounded in the increasing satisfaction of needs, and technological and -mental co-ordination, which testify to the general helplessness of radical groups in a well-functioning social system.

And this contradiction is not simply stipulated, is not simply the product of confused thinking or fantasy, but is the logical development of the given, the existing world.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here The desublimation involved in this sort of self-actualization is itself repressive inasmuch as it weakens the necessity and the power of the intellect, the catalytic force of that unhappy consciousness which does not revel in the archetypal personal release of frustration – hopeless resurgence of the Id which will sooner or later succumb to the omnipresent rationality of the administered world – but which recognizes the horror of the whole in the most private frustration and actualizes itself in this recognition.


Who would these clear-sighted leaders be, and how many could we expect to find? In such a case, freedom of opinion, of assembly, of speech becomes an instrument for absolving servitude. Stoicism is persistently charged with holding contradictory views of determinism and human freedom: Under these circumstances, whatever improvement may occur ‘in the normal course of events’ and without subversion is likely to be an improvement in the direction determined by the particular interests which control the whole.

John Stuart Mill’s conception of the res publica is not the opposite of Plato’s: Moreover, I propose a shift in the focus of the discussion: Liberty is self-determination, autonomy–this is almost a tautology, but a tautology which results from a whole series of synthetic judgments.

The altered social structure tends to weaken the effectiveness of tolerance toward dissenting and oppositional movements and to strengthen conservative and reactionary forces.

Herbert Marcuse on Tolerance | Guided History

Or, if a newscaster reports the torture and murder of civil rights workers in the same unemotional tone he uses to describe the stockmarket or the weather, or with the same great emotion with which he says his commercials, then such objectivity is spurious–more, it offends against humanity and truth by being calm where one should be enraged, by refraining from accusation where accusation is in the facts themselves.

The liberating force of democracy represssive the chance it gave to effective dissent, on the individual as well as social scale, its openness to qualitatively different forms of government, of culture, education, work–of the human existence in general.

With all its limitations and distortions, democratic tolerance is under all circumstances more humane than an institutionalized intolerance which sacrifices the rights and liberties of the living generations for the sake of future generations. The conditions under which tolerance can again become a liberating and humanizing force have still to be created.


Print Hardcover and Paperback. For the facts marcusw never given immediately and never accessible immediately; they are established, ‘mediated’ by those who made them; the truth, ‘the whole truth’ surpasses these facts and requires the rupture with their appearance.

He credited Marcuse with being open in his advocacy of intolerance, but accused Wolff of being incapable of distinguishing “facts from theory” in his criticisms of tolerance and pluralist democracy. Accessed November 25, Oh, you noble Stoics, what fraud of words!

They write that the purpose of the book is to discuss the political role of tolerance and that despite their disagreements with each other they believe that “the prevailing theory and practice of tolerance” is hypocritical and conceals “appalling political realities. Are there historical conditions in which such toleration impedes liberation and multiplies the victims who are sacrificed to the status quo?

Repulsed by the concreteness of the administered society, the effort of emancipation becomes ‘abstract’; it is reduced to facilitating the recognition of what is going on, to freeing language from the tyranny of the Orwellian syntax and logic, to developing the concepts that comprehend reality. Tolerance itself stands subject to overriding criteria: Added July 5, In such cases, the majority is self-perpetuating while perpetuating the vested interests which made it a majority.

But I believe that there is a “natural right” of resistance for oppressed and overpowered minorities to use extralegal means if the legal ones have proved to be inadequate.

Repressive Tolerance

The record of this ‘elite’ is not very promising, and political prerogatives for the intelligentsia reperssive not necessarily be worse for the society as a whole. THIS essay examines the idea of tolerance in our advanced industrial society. Here too, free competition and exchange of ideas have become a farce.

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