Application of the Critical Theory

These 'working' definitions are presented to help those who are just beginning their study of the philosophies and theories of the Frankfurt School, more commonly known as the 'Critical Theory.' They should not be considered as the last word in describing the term or concept in question.

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Emergency Ethics -- a form of charitable human interaction during a disaster, that will only hold until the disaster is over and social norms are re-established. For more insight see Solidarity.


Emic -- is a strategy of investigating a culture from the inside looking out or actor-oriented. From Conrad Phillip Kottak's book (pp. 43-44), Anthropology: The Exploration of Human Diversity, "An emic strategy investigates how natives think. How do they perceive and categorize the world? What are their shared rules for behavior and thought? What has meaning for them? How do they imagine and explain things? The anthropologist seeks the "native view-point" and relies on the culture bearers - the actors in a culture - to determine whether something they do, say, or think is significant." The opposite of emic is etic.


Epistemology -- is a division of philosophy that investigates the nature and origin of knowledge; a theory of the nature of knowledge.


Ethics -- the study of the general nature of morals and the specific moral choices to be made by the individual in their interaction with other human beings; the principles of right or good conduct.


Etic -- is a strategy of investigating a culture from the outside looking in or observer-oriented. From Conrad Phillip Kottak's book (pp. 44), Anthropology: The Exploration of Human Diversity, "The etic approach shifts the focus of research from native categories, expressions, explanations, and interpretations to those of the anthropologist." The opposite of etic is emic.


Existentialism -- a philosophical orientation based upon the belief that each individual is determined solely by their actions and that they are the masters of their fate. In other words, an extreme defense of the 'free will' side of the "determinism vs. free will" debate. This philosophical orientation 'brackets out' or ignores how
(1) human biological drives;
(2) the production, exchange & consumption cycle; and
(3) the abundance/deficiency of materials
has on the individual's ability to make 'free' choices and to be the 'master of their fate.' In short, a bourgeois endeavor to justify super individualism.
First posted in 07-09-2007.


Faith -- Quoting James Randi, from his book The Faith Healers page 6-8, "Paul Kurtz, in his book The Transcendental Temptation, defines three distinctly different kinds of faith, derived from the amount (or total lack) of evidence drawn upon to support it. Kurtz defines the first kind as 'intransigent faith.' By this is meant faith that will not be affected by any sort of contrary evidence, no matter how strong. My own experience with some few persons who persist in believing in certain paranormal claims that have been conclusively proven false enables me to label their faith as Type I . . . 

Gerry Straub, who spent two and a half years as evangelist/healer Pat Robertson's television producer and wrote Salvation for Sale, to describe his experiences there, gave his opinion: "I am convinced that if Pat Robertson or any other of television's faith-healers were proven to be pranksters and frauds, the vast majority of their staff and viewers would not drop their belief in the ministers' healing power or weaken their faith in God.Those people would be exhibiting Type I faith . . . 

Type II faith was called by philosopher William James 'the will to believe.' As defined by Professor Kurtz it is "willful belief where there is insufficient or no evidence either way to make a rational choice." It really involves making a decision to believe, even though the reasons for doing so are not compelling. However, there may be reasons for believing that have nothing to do with the logic of the matter; it may be more comforting, more socially advantageous, or simply easier to choose to believe. One who goes along with a political party only because that party has always been the family party exhibits Type II faith . . . 

Last, Type III faith is described as 'hypotheses based upon evidence.' Here, there is evidence, but not enough evidence or evidence of good enough quality to support total belief. As I step off a curb to cross with a traffic light that has just turned green, I may safely assume that the light will stay green long enough for me to reach the other side. That assumption is based upon my long experience with traffic lights and the knowledge of the general intent of those who designed, manufactured, installed, and maintain the device. I have exhibited Type III faith.

Science creates a hypothesis based upon observations, then sets out to examine the validity of that hypothesis. After enough observations have been gathered and the idea has been tested thoroughly with positive results, the hypothesis becomes a theory. The beauty of that theory is that it is subject to revision and/or retraction upon the presentation of contrary evidence. Thus scientists can be said to exhibit Type III faith".


Fascism -- an attitude or belief characterized by the idea that the people of a state exist solely for the promotion and perpetuation of the state and its race. As to its relation to "Surplus Value," fascism is the notion that killing people makes them work harder, in other words, 'Work will set you free'. According to Mark Neocleous (1997), who cites Goebbels and Mussolini, fascism is an active attempt "to ensure that the Enlightenment project remains unfinished, indeed destroyed," in other words, fascism is "against everything that the French revolution was for" (pg. 1 of 'Fascism' - ISBN 0-8166-3040-2). Fascist generally believe in racial purity, adhering to Nature's predatorial hierarchy, glorifying the state, honor for the individual in defending the state, labour for the weak (due to racial impurity, poor breading, and/or inferior birth right), the inequality between the sexes (meaning, women are to be subservient to men), and the destruction of any political philosophy that undermines their believes, including all forms of communism and socialism. For a longer explanation of fascism, click this line.
First posted in 11-26-1997.
Revised 10-12-2004.
For a basic over view of fascism that one can use in a college classroom, click this line.


Flag Fetish -- when a person makes a flag into a 'living' thing at the expensive of oneself and/or others; when an individual makes a flag more important that the people it stands for; in short, a form of idolatry wherein an individual worships that which they are too lazy, weak, and/or cowardly to achieve/produce by themselves and/or as a group.

According to Austin Cline (2006), "Flag fetishists demand that the flag not be defaced or misused because it is a living thing, imbued with mystical powers and a mystical connection to the nation as a whole. Fetishists demand that everyone treat the flag with the same reverence, respect, and obsessive-compulsion that they do. A constitutional amendment to ban burning or defacing the American flag would forcibly induct everyone into the Flag Cult and demand that we all become Flag Fetishists."

In 1961, Erich Fromm wrote, "The essence of what the prophets call "idolatry" is not that man worships many gods instead of only one. It is that the idols are the work of man's own hands - they are things, and man bows down and worships things; worships that which he has created himself. In doing so he transforms himself into a thing. He transfers to the things of his creation the attributes of his own life, and instead of experiencing himself as the creating person, he is in touch with himself only by the worship of the idol. He has become estranged from his own life forces, from the wealth of his own potentialities, and is in touch with himself only in the indirect way of submission to life frozen in the idols ... The more man transfers his own powers to the idol, the poorer he himself becomes, and the more dependent on the idols, so that they permit him to redeem a small part of what was originally his (Fromm 1995, 44-45, italics added)."

As to the flag burning 'debate' in the United States (which really began in 1984, at the Republican convention in Dallas), anti-flag burning proponents claim that they needed to preserve the flag as a symbol of national unity. However, they fail to see that this is, first and foremost, a class society wherein national unity is a tool of obfuscation and pacification in order to continue the flow of Surplus Value. Another way one can look at this debate is from a religious point of view, if a super minority effectively passes a law making defacing and/or flag burning a flag a crime, not only would that force religious men and women of that country to join the 'Flag Cult' but so demand that they purposely sin every day by engaging in the worshipping of a false god, clearly a violation of their religious laws. In short, an anti-flag burning law would make the flag a god in the eyes of 'the nation' and the will of the flag enforced by the legal system.
First posted in 07-03-2006.


Foucault -- The Ann Coulter of academia; the avatar of S&M/B&D psychopathic deviancy; "Foucault was engaged in intellectual self-justification. By portraying the self as a prisoner of society, his writings made it possible to legitimize promiscuity, political violence and sadomasochism as strategies of liberation" ("Life after the death of God? Michel Foucault and postmodern atheism," John Coffey, 1996); "Conformism and empty pieties dominate academe. Rebel. Do not read Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault, and treat as insignificant nothings those that sill prate of them" (Paglia 1992, pg. 170-248). For additional insight into the 'cult of Foucault,' please read Camille Paglia's What I hate about Foucault, Roger Kimball's The perversions of Michel Foucault, & Jonathan Rowe's Foucault, a Pimple on Nietzsche’s Ass.
First posted in 12-03-2007.


Fundamentalist -- anyone who adheres to the strict guide lines of their cultural system of knowledge and pushes it as the correct and / or only system of value.


Globalization -- the efforts of corporations (mostly corporate-America but also increasingly corporate-Europe) to destroy distinct national economic economies and their respective cultures for the purpose of creating a single global market with a one-world culture based on western conservative Christian values in order to standardize the material, labor, and shipping costs needed to do business across the world. Not in the sense of a conscious "conspiracy", like the movie "Wag the Dog" (1997) or Mel Gibson's belief in the "Jewish conspiracy," but in the sense that the 'Free-Market' drives the motives and observations of corporations and their stockholders for greater profit. In short, the greatest collection of historical evidence that Marx was correct in his analysis of capitalism.
First posted in 02-22-2007.

Addendum - Globalization is a economic process wherein “transnational actors” (i.e. fortune 500 companies) struggle to achieve “capitalism without work” and to manufacture ‘profit without taxes’ by circumventing and/or eliminating those political barriers (e.g. trade laws) that were created by nation states to control their own economies (Beck 2004, 5-11).
Addendum added 08-21-2013.


Gospel of Prosperity -- A belief by some Christian conservatives, many Christian evangelicals, and nearly all Christian dominionists that Jesus preached a gospel that God wants Christians to be materially rich and economically successful. In other words, they believe that Jesus wants all of us to be rich and that the government shouldn't be allowed to interfere in our pursuit to be rich. This belief, argued and perpetuated by the theologically insane, is rooted in the twisting of biblical passages in such away that the passage being analyzed affirms what it prohibits.

For example, some of the advocates of the 'Gospel of Prosperity' ground their arguments in an analysis of '1 Timothy 6:10' ("The love of money is the root of all evil..."). They argue that this passage is a warning against greed, not wealth, and therefore amassing wealth is not against the will of God, and therefore it must be good.
The inherent problems with this argument are two fold.

  • First, as one can plainly read, the biblical passage in question is not a warning against greed but an explanation of one of the major causes of 'evil,' a deep feeling, similar to a sexual desire and/or attraction, to currency. Putting it another way, placing the needs of an inanimate object above the needs of a living human being, what nearly every religion prohibits - idolatry.
  • Second, such an argument attempts to persuade the ignorant and slow witted that wealth has nothing to do with money and vis versa. Wealth is defined as the plentiful supply or profuse abundance of material goods and money. In simple terms, wealth is comprised of what you bought with your money, the money left over after the purchase, and the money that constitutes as your income. To attain wealth, you must acquire a 'love for money' in order to buy material goods. Acquiring a 'love for money' can take the shape of neglecting your friends and family in favor of overtime, engaging in illegal and/or unlawful behaviors to get ahead in the office, and etc. The more 'love for money' you have, the more evil you engage in, and therefore, the more material goods you will acquire. If you made your money by stealing the surplus value of you employees (a.k.a. the proletariat) to buy your wealth, your actions are both grounded in evil as discussed in '1 Timothy 6:10' and prohibited by Jesus (see the 'Seven Commandments of Jesus' in Matthew 19:18-24).

To truly understand the Gospel of prosperity, please watch the satirically funny Gospel of Supply Side Jesus, also found on pg.313-323 in "Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them" (ISBN 0-525-94764-7)


Knowledge -- is an individual's belief on how the world works.


Hermeneutics -- the science and methodology of interpretation.


Homo bellum -- a warring human; "every man against every man," Thomas Hobbes; "The clash of civilizations will be the battle lines of the future," Samuel P. Huntington.
First posted in 07-08-2008.


Homo consumens -- "the consumer man [or woman for that fact] whose main interest becomes, aside from working from nine to five, to consume." They have "the attitude of the eternal suckling. It is the attitude of the man or the woman with the open mouth who consumes everything with voracity -- liquor, cigarettes, movies, television, lectures, books, art exhibits, sex; everything [including himself] is transformed into an article of consumption" (see E. Fromm).
First posted in 07-03-2007.


Homo credens -- "we are all really believers," (Smith 2003, 46), meaning, "our elemental assumptions and beliefs themselves cannot be empirically verified or established with certainty." "I am suggesting [Smith writes], then, that all human persons, no mater how well educated, how scientific, how knowledgeable, are, at bottom, believers. We are all necessarily trusting, believing animals, creatures who must and do place our faith in beliefs that cannot themselves be verified except by means established by the presumed beliefs themselves" (2003, 54)... "It is simply that all of this knowledge and understanding, such as it is, does not rest on an epistemological foundation that is indubitable and universal and that can provide certain knowledge binding on everyone" (2003, 54). In summary, homo credens is the battle cry of the post-modernists. Smith continues, "We are moral animals, in part, because we are believing animals, and the character of our believing is inevitably inclines towards sacralization, the differentiation of sacred from profane. Humans do not believe primarily in detached, abstract, practical modes. Our believings are what creates the conditions and shape of our very perceptions, identity, agency, orientation, purpose - in short, or selves, our lives, and our worlds as we know them" (Smith 2003, 56-57). This belief is anchored in Eliade's homo religiosus and the assertion that human only think and/or remember in binary opposition.
First posted in 06-03-2008.


Homo dicens -- a speaking human;
First posted in 07-29-2008.


Homo duplex -- a divided human; the belief that a human being is comprized of an antagonism between (1) the instinctual desires of the human animal (think of the four "Fs") and (2) the desire to follow and obey societal pressures (rules, morals, & ethics) to maintain self-control (see E. Durkheim).
First posted in 07-05-2007.


Homo economicus -- a cost/benifit analysis human; the belief that human beings are constantly attempting to maximizes profits and minimizes cost or, putting it another way, an individual who has a propensity to be rational when it comes to 'rewards' and 'costs' (Stark 2001, 14). The concept of homo economicus was first used by the critics of John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), Adam Smith (1723-1790), and David Ricardo (1772-1823). However, the phrase seems to have first appeared in the work of Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923).
First posted in 07-08-2008.


Homo faber -- a fabricating human; the ingenious maker of things (see B. Franklin, K. Marx, J. Habermas); a workman.
First posted in 07-03-2007.


Homo fabricatus -- A human being who has become part of the machine he or she has made (see J. Habermas).
First posted in 07-03-2007.


Homo indifferens -- the notion that "Perhaps God does not exist, it doesn't matter anyway, we don't miss him" (see Cardinal Paul Poupard (Dec. 19, 2004), president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, speech on Dec. 10 at the Saints Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute).
First posted in 12-12-2007.


Homo ludens -- the notion that amusement, enjoyment, humor, leisure, and pleasure are the most important pursuit of humankind; a playful human.
First posted in 07-05-2007.


Homo ousios -- human nature.
First posted in 07-05-2007.


Homo religiosus -- the unifying dogma in the theories of Mircea Eliade (a right-wing Hegelian, Romanian mystic, who never recanted his fascism) that all human beings are religious by nature, "Whatever the historical context in which he is placed, homo religiosus always believes that there is an absolute reality, the sacred, which transcends this world but manifests itself in this world, thereby sancifying it and making it real. He further believes that life has a sacred origin and that human existence realizes all of its potentialities in proportion as it is religious that is, participates in reality" (1959, 202). In other words, the belief in homo religiosus is a complete rejection of Nietzsche's position that "Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him" (1974, 181 or #125). Olson summarizes Eliade's mind-set by saying, "human existence implies the search for meaning and meaningless is anti-human" (1992, 54). Therefore, if 'God is Dead,' life is meaningless and that is unacceptable to Eliade. Eliade cannot conceive of a world or a reality without the sacred and asserts the belief that human beings are incapable of creating a meaningful existence. Arguing, "...if we reduce a sacred phenomenon to a psychological, sociological, or historical statement, we will lose the original intention of the sacred and fail to understand it as a religious phenomenon" (1992, 32).

Since the publication of The Sacred and the Profane, Eliade's work has been criticized for its lack of empirical support and/or overgeneralization but not for his fascistic mysticism of 'blood and soil.' According to Eliade, "In India I discovered what I later came to refer to as 'cosmic religious feeling.' That is to say, the manifestation of the sacred in objects or in cosmic rhythms: in a spring of water, in a tree, in the springtime of the year" (1984, 56). Olson writes, "Cosmic Christianity, a natural religion as conceived by Eliade, developed from the interaction between Christianity in Central and Western Europe and folk religions of rural areas. In tune with the cosmic rhythms, this popular religion perceived nature as the good work of God and not as a realm of sin" (1992, 55). According to Eliade, "Folk culture is fed on what I have called 'cosmic Christianity,' that is, a Christianity in which the historical elements is ignored, and in which the dogmatic element is scarcely manifest" (1977, 261). Olson claims that Eliade's, "Cosmic Christianity is not a new form of paganism, not a pagan-Christian syncretism, nor a paganization of Christianity, it is rather the impregnation of the peasant ancestral religion by the Christian spirit" (1992, 56) and that it "... does not only exist in places like rural Rumania, but is also to be found in India, in Mediterranean religion, in Negro spirituals, and even in urban centres because, even though urbanites no longer share the values of agricultural society, the rhythms of nature - day and night and the change of seasons - still prevail" (1992, 56).
First posted in 07-03-2007.
Revised 06-04-2008.


Homo sapien -- understood to mean a 'knowing man' or 'man the wise.' According to Erich Fromm (April 13, 1966), a homo sapien is "an animal which uses his intelligence for the purpose of survival. If one sees, that today, men do not seem to use their intelligence for the purpose of survival but rather for the preparation of mass destruction, then indeed, one may have some doubts to what extent the definition of homo sapien still is true."
First posted in 07-03-2007.


Homo socius -- According to the bourgeois sociologists Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, "We contend that the sociology of knowledge is concerned with the analysis of the social construction of reality" (1967, 3), because "Language, which may be defined here as a system of vocal signs, is the most important sign system of society" (1967, 37), and "As soon as one observes phenomena [i.e. social action] that are specifically human [i.e. engaging in speech/language], one enters the realm of the social. Man's specific humanity and his sociality are inextricably intertwined. Homo sapiens is always, and in the same measure, homo socius" (1967, 51). In other words, language analysis is the key and, as a point of fact, superior to all other points of departure, for the understanding and/or analyzing of social relations. This is a complete rejection of Marx's dictum, "the relations of production of every society form a whole is the methodological point of departure and the key to the historical understanding of social relations" (Lukacs 1971, 9).
First posted in 05-12-2008.


Homo sociologicus -- a social human; Homo sociologicus (introduced by German Sociologist Ralf Dahrendorf in 1958) unlike economicus, sociologicus acts not to pursue selfish interests but to fulfill social roles. This "individual" may appear to be all society and no individual.
First posted in 07-08-2008.


Homo techicus -- a "gadget man" (see E. Fromm); a human being who is infatuated by and/or owns many technical gadgets. If you were excited over the release of the iPhone and bought it when it first came out, just like all the other shiny pieces of technology around your house, you might be a good example of homo techicus.
First posted in 07-03-2007.


Hoople-heads -- a derogatory term that describes migratory, uneducated individuals of low intelligence who search to make their money with the least amount of effort and/or labor. In other words, hoople-heads can be either part of the lumpenproletariat or the proletariat classes. Allegedly, the term was constructed by the shady characters of Deadwood (South Dakota, cir. 1870's) to describe the residents of Hoople (South Dakota) who came to the Deadwood area to make their fortune as gold prospectors. Another way to think of a hoople-head is as a 'mark' or a 'sucker,' a victim or potential victim of a scam artist and/or politician. The term is also used by Willard Manus in his 1966 novel "Mott the Hoople".
First posted in 07-19-2006.
Revised 02-11-2007.


Humanism -- According to the magazine of critical inquiry and social concern (Vol. 57, No.4), entitled "The Humanist", "Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports the maximization of individual liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility. It advocates the extension of participatory democracy and the expansion of the open society, standing for human rights and social justice. Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as a part of nature and holds that values - be they religious, ethical, social, or political - have their source in human nature, experience, and culture. Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny." For more information on Secular Humanism check out Free Inquire or Some Reasons Why Humanists Reject The Bible by Joseph C. Sommer.


Ideology -- is a false consciousness, a masking of class and/or nationalistic interests. In short, an untruth.


Information Civilization -- According to Andrew Targowski, on page I-5 of his book, "Global Information Infrastructure," the purpose of the Information Civilization is:

  • To optimize operations and development of the Material Civilization in order to minimize the use of resources (including the ecology), to increase consumer choices of innovative and quality products and services, and to improve customer satisfaction.
  • And, To sustain the development of human cognition in order to make aware and wise decisions about; the sense of human possibility, life, education, politics, defense, business, entertainment, and leisure time.
Infotainer -- any member of the media that places entertaining the viewer, listener, or reader over relaying information. The opposite of infotainer is disinfotainer.


Intellectualist Theory of Religion -- is based on humanity's inherent curiosity and its need to explain things logically and rationally. It evolved from the study of primitive societies by early anthropologist and Darwin's paper "Origin of the Species" (1859). An Intellectualist envision religion as a means of explaining and controlling the environment in which early humans inhabited, a proto (crude) science. For Intellectualist, "myths" are an attempt to explain one's environment and "rituals" are form of technology in order to control it.


Inverse Theology -- proving what god is not.


Instrumental Rationality -- A form of rationality where in reason is used as a tool to attain a goal in the fastest, most efficient, and/or labor saving way, while at the same time, ignoring and/or disregarding the 'cost,' in human suffering, that must be 'paid' to achieve the goal in question.
First posted 07-02-2007


Journalist -- (1) misery merchant; (2) those in the media industry who live by the dogma "if it bleeds, it leads;" (3) an individual who records, by the written word, photograph, and/or videotape, the afflictions and/or misfortunes of people and sells then to make a living; (4) those in the media industry who ignor and/or dismiss the Society of Professional Journalists: Code of Ethics;
Examples: morning news programs, especially ABC's 'Good Morning America.' see above Infotainer.
Possible Exceptions: Walter Cronkite, Peter Jenning
First posted 01-20-2008


John Birch Society -- is an educational organization for right wing extremist. According to the John Birch Society web site, they believe

  • that the American system of government is the finest yet developed by man,
  • that Communism is the worst form of government ever developed (it appears that they have a rabid loathing and hatred of Communist)
  • in the traditional moral values of our Judeo-Christian heritage,
  • that the free market system, competitive capitalism, and private enterprise afford the widest opportunity and highest standard of living for all,
  • that the rights of the individual are endowed by his Creator, not by governments,
  • less government and more personal responsibility will bring about a better world (with God's help, of course),
  • that they need to preserve 'freedom' by exposing and defeating those forces of America’s Establishment which work to create a totalitarian one-world government, often referred to as a "new world order" (Conspiracy),
  • that since the United Nations does not recognize the supremacy of God and views itself as the source of "rights," the United States should pull out of the United Nations, and
  • that the International Criminal Court will destrory American's freedom.

According to Ira Straus, in the Christian Science Monitor (May 13, 1996), "For decades, the John Birch Society has spread word of the Conspiracy: The international bankers who pull all the strings. The ones who really control both the Communist conspiracy and the United States government: The Trilateral Commission. The Federal Reserve, which is ruining our money. The Council on Foreign Relations -- psst, they're out to destroy the Constitution, take away our guns, and enslave us in a United Nations One-World Communist government. Their code words: 'New World Order.'"


Liberal -- one who is open minded, not strict in his or her observance of traditional values, existing social norms, and established social institutions. Their political-economical philosophy continually seeks what it considers to be improvement or progress.


Liberalism -- The present liberalism grew out of the classic liberal position of the 1800s. The classic position is based on the principles of representative government, the protection of civil liberties, and Laissez Faire economics. The growth of industrial society soon produced great inequalities in wealth and power between the Proletariat and the Bourgeois, which led many people to question the classic liberal position. This was one of the major causes of the workers' movements; the peoples reaction to the failure of classic liberal position to provide a good life for everyone. By 1900, philosophers like Hobhouse and Green began to look to the state to advance the welfare of all individuals and to prevent oppression. Because true liberalism is concerned with constant push for the individual to become liberated, its doctrines changed in the face of this historical situation. Current liberal goals in the United States include sexual equality, racial integration, and the eradication of poverty.

The early 20th century, within mainly the United States, Great Britain, and France, saw the welfare state come to be and social reform became an accepted governmental role. In the United States minimum wage laws, progressive taxation, and social security programs were all instituted by Franklin D. Roosevelt' s "New Deal", which has been slowly destroyed by the Neo-Conservative trend. While some of the liberal programs are also advocated by Socialism, liberalism does not support the socialist goal because liberalism is more dedicated to the needs of the individual and Laissez Faire economics. Liberalism strongly opposes Communism. Liberalism also is opposited to Conservatism, which, simply stated, supports the maintenance of the status quo. Remember not all "liberals" believe in "liberalism". For an "overview of America's most widely accepted political philosophy" see, the Short FAQ on Liberalism by Steve Kangas.


Liberation Theology -- is a theory that claims Jesus' primary goal in the New Testament was as a "Liberator". According to liberation theologians, this theory is based on the Gospel of Matthew (19:21 and 25:35, for example). They believe that Jesus identified with the marginal members of society and that he was devoted to freeing them from oppression. For more information, read "The Theology of Liberation" by Gustavo Gutierrez, written in 1969.


Liberation Theologian -- one who beliefs and practices that the message of Jesus is one of concern for the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized members of any society. They see the Bible as a collection of stories and examples to prove their point. They also believe that the Trinity did not will poverty and has called all Christians to work for the elimination of all forms of oppression, slavery, exile, and sin.


Libertarian -- According to the Libertarian Party, "all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose." Their statement, "People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others," leads one to believe, in the eyes of a libertarian, the needs of the one or the few out-weight the needs of the many. Libertarians believe in the following:

  • All military service should be voluntary,
  • Minimum wage laws cause unemployment and should be repealed.
  • Government should not control radio, TV, the press or the Internet,
  • Drug laws should be repealed because they do more harm than good,
  • All laws concerning sexual relations between consenting adults should be repealed,
  • That there should be no borders between countries,
  • Businesses and farms should operate without government subsidies,
  • Tariffs hinder or stop free trade, so all tariff laws should be repealed,
  • That there should be no laws to force citizens to pay taxes, ending government as we know it, and
  • All foreign aid should be privately funded.

This extreme political ideology believes in less government then Neo-Conservatives and no social programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and etc. Lately, Libertarians have been trying to promote the ideology that the concepts of "left" and "right," in other words political-economic "left" or political-economic "right," do not exist. For more information visit the "World's Smallest Political Quiz" or as I call it "Are you a Libertarian?" For a more or less impartial critique of their political philosophy see, A Non-Libertarian FAQ by Mike Huben.


Lumpenproletarians ( a.k.a. 'the Dangerous Proletariat') - A class of labourers who cannot find legal work on a regular basis and/or engage in illegal or unlawful activities to earn money. The lumpenproletarian's quest for steady and long-term employment causes many of them to travel from town to town hoping to achieve the stability of the industrial proletariat. In short, lumpenproletarians are migratory, lack a class-consciousness, and a future orientation. This class is generally comprised of beggars, brothel keepers, discharged jailbirds & soldiers, drug dealers, escaped slaves, gamblers, pickpockets, pimps, prostitutes, ranch or farm hands, scam artists, seasonal workers, street entertainers, the homeless, and thieves (Marx, 1852, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte). In short, anyone who works outside our employer/employee political-economic system, which is being maintained by the bourgeoisie, should be considered a lumpenproletarian.
First posted 10-16-2005


Maverick -- an unbranded stray calf or other range animal that belongs to the 1st cattle ranch company who puts their brand on it. Usually, maverick calves reject the security and structure of the heard, wander off on their own, and are eaten by wolves. In political terms, an inexperienced politician leading a group of people to ruin and disaster AND/OR a politician who is proud of his or her corporate sponsorship (a form of mental branding). In short, a politician who has had their hindquarters branded by a corporation; a proud corporate whore.


Media -- any group that uses their constitutional right "Freedom of the Press"; those who make up television and radio newscasting, talk show host, and writers for newspapers and magazines.


Mentally Debased -- to reduce the value of and/or ability to think and reflect; the results of alienation (FMI, see Alienation handout).


Metaphysics -- the branch of philosophy that systematically investigates the nature of first principles and problems of the ultimate reality, including ontology and cosmology. According to Bertrand Russell, in his essays on "Mysticism and Logic and other Essays" (1913), metaphysics is "the attempt to conceive the world as a whole by means of thought, has been developed, from the first, by the union and conflict of two very different human impulses, the one urging men towards mysticism, the other urging them towards science."


Misandrist -- a recent combination of the Greek verb 'misein' (to hate) and the Greek noun 'andro' (that which is male) used by a very few to negatively describe a particular variety of feminist.
First posted in 03-17-2006.


Misogynist -- a modern combination of the Greek verb 'misein' (to hate) and the Greek noun gyne (that which is female, also used to denote the words woman and/or wife in Greek) used by feminists to negatively describe a particular group of human males. Feminists, who typically define misogyny as 'one who hates women' or, more precisely 'a male who hates women,' argue that this particular group dislike, mistrust, and/or hate the common features shared by all females. In academic settings, the term is sometimes used to berate males who challenge, reject, and/or critique feminists' ideology.
First posted in 03-17-2006.


Misanthropist -- an individual who dislikes, mistrusts, and/or hates the common features shared by all human beings. It is not that they hate a particular group of individuals (e.g. blacks, whites, Jews, Catholics, etc.), a misanthropist dislikes, mistrusts, and/or hates the human race in general. For example, a common theme in the philosophical works of Martin Heidegger and Arthur Schopenhauer is misanthropy.
First posted in 03-17-2006.


Modernity -- is society's progression towards realization of equality, liberty, and solidarity for all its members. Modernity began with the Renaissance period with the first inkling of subjectivity; the individual has worth, not just the collective. According to many scholars, there are three possible avenues that can lead society towards this goal: Neo-Conservatism, Deconstructism, and Critical Theory.


Mysticism -- refers to a religious experience from which knowledge is attained by intuition, stemming from the religious insight itself, in a way differing from ordinary sense perception. This knowledge usually pertains to an ultimate reality, the nature or purpose of the divine, and/or an understanding of ones' owns purpose in the universe. According to Joan A. Range (Associate Professor of Theology, St. Louis University), in her article on mysticism for Grolier Interactive, "The criteria and conditions for mystical experience vary depending on the tradition, but three attributes are found almost universally.

  • First, the experience is immediate and overwhelming, divorced from the common experience of reality.
  • Second, the experience or the knowledge imparted by it is felt to be self-authenticating, without need of further evidence or justification.
  • Finally, it is held to be ineffable, its essence incapable of being expressed or understood outside the experience itself."

Myth -- According to Alan Dundes, on page one of his book, "Sacred Narrative," myth is a sacred narrative explaining how the world and human kind came to be in their present form.


Narcissism -- self-love: erotic gratification derived from admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes: a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.


Nationalism -- an attitude and/or belief characterized by the sense that one's own nation is superior to all other nations and that their nation should exert control over the world (Social Darwinism at a global level). Nationalist place a large emphasis on loyalty to ones country, the development of strong national government, and the export of their own culture and interest to the world. "You can love this nation or you can leave it," is nationalistic statement.

Benedict Anderson simplistically defines nationalism as "an imagined political community - and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign" (1983/2006, pg.6-7).

According to Erich Fromm, "Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. 'Patriotism' is its cult. It should hardly be necessary to say, that by 'patriotism' I mean that attitude which puts the own nation above humanity, above the principles of truth and justice; not the loving interest in one‘s own nation, which is the concern with the nation‘s spiritual as much as with its material welfare-never with its power over other nations. Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one‘s country which is not part of one‘s love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship" (Fromm 1955/1990). In short, nationalism is a social disease.

According to George Orwell, "By 'patriotism' I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, NOT for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality" (Orwell 1945/1953).

Thomas Paine's statment, "Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good" (Paine 1791), would run counter to those attitudes and/or believes of nationalists.
Revised 05-19-2008.

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