Randolph Bourne died 100 years ago this December at the age of 32. While his legacy lives on, to properly pay homage to his work we can recover the spirit of his prophetic philosophy, which has too often been overlooked or misapprehended.
Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, became arguably the most impactful public intellectual in the present-day online media sphere after speaking out against impediments to free speech in the fall of 2016. While the “father figure” of the YouTube world is revered as a conservative warrior against “social justice”—and for inveighing against activists, postmodernists, neo-Marxists and those he labels “radical leftists”—closer inspection of his ideas suggests that, significant shortcomings aside, there are lessons even those of us who disagree politically and philosophically with Peterson can still learn from his public pedagogy.
Paulo Freire’s pedagogical philosophy was premised upon a notion of not just what it means to be human, but also what it means for humans to be incomplete beings, subjects in a dialectical relationship with the objective world, or social order, that shapes and yet can also be consciously transformed by us.
Of all the first-generation Frankfurt School writers, Herbert Marcuse offered the kind of Critical Theory most concerned with revolution. It should come as no surprise, then, that Marcuse generated condemnation from across the political spectrum.