Having recently quoted Huxley’s Brave New World on consumerism, here’s an equally compelling statement of the situation, from the German philosopher Herbert Marcuse:
Tolerance toward that which is radically evil now appears as good because it serves the cohesion of the whole on the road to affluence or more affluence. The toleration of the systematic moronization of children and adults alike by publicity and propaganda, the release of destructiveness in aggressive driving, the recruitment for and training of special forces, the impotent and benevolent tolerance toward outright deception in merchandizing, waste, and planned obsolescence are not distortions and aberrations, they are the essence of a system which fosters tolerance as a means for perpetuating the struggle for existence and suppressing the alternatives.
From Marcuse’s Repressive Tolerance.
Well, for people of my generation it’s an interesting quote. Marcuse was one of the intellectual stars of the Left during the Sixties, so for old times’ sake…