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21. In so doing, fifthly, Marcuse affronted the academic neutrality and value-free sensibilities of those who had accepted as shibboleth the fact-value dichotomy and its associated value relativist epistemology. Of Marcuse, Kellner (1984:284) noted:
Herbert Marcuse An Essay On Liberation Summary Writing
The materialist bias of modern thought is characteristic not only of people on the Left who may be sympathetic to Marxism, but of many passionate anti-Marxists as well. Indeed, there is on the Right what one might label the Wall Street Journal school of deterministic materialism that discounts the importance of ideology and culture and sees man as essentially a rational, profit-maximizing individual. It is precisely this kind of individual and his pursuit of material incentives that is posited as the basis for economic life as such in economic textbooks. One small example will illustrate the problematic character of such materialist views.
10. According to Marcuse, both forms of tolerance exist in 'advanced industrial society' (95) and function to curtail and limit the application of tolerance to certain groups. As Berki (1971: 55) noted, according to Marcuse tolerance was unequally applied; it was distributed unevenly. In particular, opposition to the existing regime was not tolerated while tolerance of current policy and practice was expected: while tolerance 'is more or less quietly and constitutionally withdrawn from the opposition it is made compulsory behaviour with respect to established policies. Tolerance is turned from active to passive, from practice to non-practice...' (96; emphasis added). Thus, unlike many notions of tolerance, which tend to focus on the thresholds of tolerance in and between individual citizens, Marcuse's emphasis was on the extent of state (in)tolerance. In the tradition of Locke and Mill, it was state intolerance to dissidents which was his concern.
Marcuse's approach to tolerance and the current debate
3. Yet there are also signs that the Federal Governments is withdrawing tolerance from some groups. Consider, for example, new laws which criminalise propagating religious and political perspectives which are regarded as seditious. While many Australians may argue that allegedly anti-Australian rhetoric and actions should be illegal, those most adversely affected argue that they are being discriminated against, that the much-heralded 'virtue' of Australian tolerance is not being afforded them. Another example is that signalled by the change in the name of the relevant Federal bureaucracy, from the Department of Immigration and Multiculturalism to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Such a change foreshadows the attenuation or, arguably, perhaps even the demise, of multiculturalism which for the last three decades or so has been the policy in which tolerance has been enshrined.
Kaufman, Walter, 1969, 'Black and White', Survey , vol. 73.
1. The passing of the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Marcuse's article entitled 'Repressive Tolerance' in 1965 (hereafter RT) provides an opportunity to revisit this work and the 1968 'Postscript'.[ ] There are many reasons for such a revisiting. Tolerance is much proclaimed and vaunted in the West. Notions of 'democracy' and 'tolerance' are invoked in Western foreign policy and when military interventions are foreshadowed or defended (as, for example, in Afghanistan and Iraq). Even the Manichean 'axis of evil' versus the 'coalition of the willing' is defined largely in terms of 'their' tyranny versus 'our' democracy, or the systematic intolerance characteristic of 'their' regime versus 'our' tolerance.
King, P., 1976, Toleration . London: George Allen & Unwin.
4. Indeed, Australia's present Federal Government has discerned what it regards as a disturbing trend whereby multiculturalism has resulted in the fracturing of social harmony. According to this perspective, pluralism and tolerance of cultural voices has led to some cultural enclaves, the members of which allegedly know little of 'Australian values', 'way of life' and, significantly, are not becoming citizens. As the present Minister for Immigration and Citizenship (Andrews 2007) explained,