Mastery and Respite

  • C. Fred Alford


Radical students in the 1960s referred to them as the “3 M’s”: Marx, Mao, and Marcuse. Though there is nothing politically radical about most of the young people I talked with, their view of freedom is—Xin its own way—about as radical as that of Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse can help explain the strange split in their accounts between freedom as mastery and freedom as respite, showing why young people can hardly imagine a world in which these two dimensions of freedom might coexist a little more comfortably. In other words, Marcuse can help explain the borderline quality of many people’s experience of freedom. He can’t cure it but he can explain what it would take to do so.


Young People Social Contract Western Thought Chestnut Tree Personal Dependence 
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© C. Fred Alford 2005

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  • C. Fred Alford

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