The New Discourses Podcast with James Lindsay, Episode 41
Liberation Series, Part 1 of 4
The Critical Theorist and neo-Marxist Herbert Marcuse was one of the most influential radical Leftist thinkers of the 20th century, and this fact is evident throughout his writing. The depth of his radicalism can be seen quite clearly in several of his essays, including his 1965 “Repressive Tolerance,” which has been featured on the New Discourses Podcast before in a four-part series. It may stand out even more prominently in “An Essay on Liberation,” written in 1969. In this longer essay, Marcuse lays out what he believes liberation requires, especially at the level of what he refers to as preconditions for that utopian possibility. In this four-part series, James Lindsay presents “An Essay on Liberation” with his commentary. In this first part of the series, he reads through the introduction to the essay and its first of four parts, “A Biological Foundation for Socialism?”, in which Marcuse makes the case that to achieve a liberated utopia, man will have to be changed at the level of his fundamental needs, his instincts, and his biology, and that this can be accomplished by making him live in a society that “introjects” a new critical morality into him. It’s a truly alarming piece of work, and the resonances of it can definitely be felt today. Join James as he begins to explore this essay by Marcuse on the New Discourses Podcast.
This episode of the New Discourses podcast is part one in a four-part series that reads through “An Essay on Liberation.” Part 2 is available here; Part 3 is here; Join James for the whole series as well as his four-part series on Marcuse’s “Repressive Tolerance” (1965), starting here.
Previous episodes of the New Discourses podcast are available here.