The core objective of a Critical Theory is to tear down the existing cultural hegemony and replace it with a new counter hegemony that will usher in a utopian world ruled by a perfected state (and eventually a perfected society filled with perfected people who need no state). That’s a two-stage process: tear down what is; replace with something they control. The method Critical Theorists use for this, following such luminary thinkers as Marx and his inspiration, Hegel, is aufheben der Kultur, the abolishment of culture. Aufheben der Kultur is so central to Critical Theory that all of the critical left, which is to say virtually all of the left, since Hegel rose to fame in the 1820s, operates on the concept of aufheben, which has been deliberately aimed not just at culture but specifically at Western culture since the birth of the Frankfurt School in the 1920s. In this episode of my subscribers-only podcast, James Lindsay OnlySubs, I try to provide a short introduction to the concept of aufheben der Kultur, building on a recent episode of this same podcast that talks about aufheben in greater generality. Join me here to learn what’s happening to our world today and why it keeps succeeding. Until you understand this aspect of the left over the last 200 years, it’s impossible to understand the world we live in today and have lived through over the past century.
Previous episodes of OnlySubs can be found here.