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>The End of Treason

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>Does self interest encourage the end of reason? In Horkheimer’s The End of Reason, he carefully plots out the fallacy that is “REASON”, a dated 18th century term that ascribes essentialist justice to the character of society, a sort of noble will in collectivity. “It was supposed to order the relationships among men and to justify all the performances demanded of them,” he says, “…[and] it is from this ideal of reason that the ideas of freedom, justice and truth derived their justification.” Horkheimer’s point is what would become a basic tenant of 20th century criticism – that with ideals like reason, government and society is able to create structure. “…through reason the individual asserts or adapts himself and gets along in society. It induces the individual to subordinate himself to society…by the individuals conciousness of where his [or her] advantage lies…[and create] the proper balance between what is good for the individual and what is good for the totality.”

So where does that leave self-interest? If one is a thief without regard for some sort of reasonable moral judge, is that person making an individual statement that reason and justice can be thwarted by the individual, or is that person merely recognizing how they can get what they want in society? It strikes me that progressive revolutionaries who attempt to reform what is considered just and free still ascribe to the basic tenants of reason. The Human Rights Campaign, for instance, has much invested in theories of what is right. The organization’s ideal is that gay marriage will prevail because America, a country founded on the 18th century concepts of reason and justice, will eventually determine that legal “equality” of sexual orientation is just. Yet I wouldn’t find a gay marriage particularly subversive (with the exception of Pedro Zamora’s MTV marriage in the early 90s, but that’s a whole other story!). And while I’ve made this point a thousand times before, it seems always essential to assert an aversion to convenience.

Yes, I sympathize with those who seek justice NOW, and understand that the world is the way it is, and while we live in it, it myswell be the fairest to the most amount of people, aka, in class based capitalism based on reason, based on the fundamental precepts of American justice, yes, gays should be allowed to marry. But do these concentrations on overarching narratives of justice divert us from far more important battles that would eventually tear up the entire system of justice that our country has been based on for hundreds of years?

I think you’d be much better off stealing a copy of Horkheimer from your local Barnes & Noble then getting gay married in Maine

Written by alexgfrank

May 7, 2009 at 3:39 am