Progress as Delusion?

Progress as Delusion?

Christopher Lasch’s earliest books were about radical intellectuals in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century America and the movements of the left they supported. Lasch was critical of these movements and their intellectual allies for failing to maintain a consistent and realistic opposition to capitalism, identifying himself with the assault on “corporate liberalism” of the then-ascendant New Left. It did not take Lasch long, however, to discern in the New Left itself all the faults of its predecessors writ large. Without abandoning his earlier criticisms of “coldwar liberals” and “technocrats,” he assimilated the New Left to the broadly elitist and self-serving assumptions shared, in his view, by all progressivist intellectuals. The books that established Lasch’s reputation as a social critic, Haven in a Heartless World, The Culture of Narcissism, and The Minimal Self, drew on Freud and the culture and personality tradition in sociology and anthropology to buttress rejection of the anxious hedonism of contemporary American life.

...

Duggan | University of California Press Gardels