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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For if ‘education’ is more and other than training, learning, preparing for the existing society, it means not only enabling man to know and understand the facts which make up reality but also to know and understand the factors that establish the facts so that he can change their inhuman reality.

Print Hardcover and Paperback. Marcuse, Herbert, Marxism, Revolution and Utopia: As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance: Cranston commented that the book was published, “in a peculiar format, bound in black like a prayer book or missal and perhaps designed to compete with The Thoughts of Chairman Mao as devotional reading at student sit-ins. I said that, by virtue of its inner logic, withdrawal of tolerance from regressive movements, and discriminatory tolerance in favor of progressive tendencies would be tantamount to the ‘official’ promotion of subversion.

The notion of pluralism and countervailing powers is no substitute for this requirement. Such extreme suspension of the right of free speech and free assembly is indeed justified only if the whole of society is in extreme danger.

Heresy by itself, however, is no token of truth. Frequently brushed aside is the question as to what has to be repressed before one can be a self, oneself.

Repressive Tolerance

Indeed, such a redressing seems to be tantamount to the establishment of a “right of resistance” to the point of subversion. The whole post-fascist period is one of clear and present danger.


Politics as Radical Creation: Suppression of the regressive ones is a prerequisite for the strengthening of maecuse progressive ones. The small and powerless minorities which struggle against the false consciousness and its beneficiaries must be helped: Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: These conditions invalidate the logic of tolerance which involves the rational development of meaning and precludes the ‘closing of meaning.

A Critique of Pure Tolerance – Wikipedia

In such a case, freedom of opinion, of assembly, of speech becomes an instrument for absolving servitude. Wolff argues that tolerance should be studied “by means of an analysis of the theory and practice of democratic pluralism. Against the emphatic insistence on the part of spokesmen for labor, I maintain that practices such as planned obsolescence, collusion between union leadership and management, slanted publicity are not simply imposed from above on a powerless rank and file, but are tolerated by them and the consumer at large.

The book has been described as “peculiar” by commentators, and its authors have been criticized for advocating intolerance and the suppression of dissenting opinions. Today, they are hopelessly dispersed throughout the society, and the fighting minorities and isolated groups are often in opposition to their own leadership.

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Tolerance to,erance turned from an active into a passive state, from practice to non-practice: 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. This pure toleration of sense and nonsense is justified by the democratic argument that nobody, neither jarcuse nor individual, is in possession of the truth and capable of defining what is right and wrong, good and bad.


It is clear from the historical record that the authentic spokesmen of tolerance had more and other truth in mind than that of propositional logic and academic theory. Stoicism is persistently charged with holding contradictory views of determinism and human freedom: Or better since ‘justification’ herbet a moral connotationis there historical evidence to the yolerance that the social origin and impetus toletance violence from among the ruled or the ruling classes, the have or the have-nots, the Left or the Right is in a demonstratable relation to progress as defined above?

He also argued that Marcuse’s case against tolerance made those radicals who espouse it “allies of the very forces which they claim to attack.

You are commenting using your Twitter account. The Politics of Diagnosisidentified Marcuse’s arguments about “repressive tolerance” as an influence on gay rights activists, who disrupted lectures by psychiatrists and refused to tolerate the views of their opponents as they campaigned for homosexuality to be declassified as a mental disorder.

Accessed November 26, I committed this petitio principii in order to combat the pernicious ideology that tolerance is already institutionalized in this society. Even in the advanced centers of civilization, violence actually prevails: Is the case of India an exception?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Accessed November 27, Reprezsive is not, there cannot be any such right for any group or individual against a constitutional government sustained by a majority of the population. To take a most controversial case: