i have to say that the continuing infestation of the academy with marxist theory is a sad thing in a number of respects. one respect is this: there just seem to be no emerging or creative or even responsive modes of leftism; y'all need something new. zizek shows this on the upper intellectual end, for example.
so, communicating with some colleagues about let's say arts education, i quoted friedrich schiller to the effect that art is a form of play. one thing i got back: well, that sort of romantic individualism was just capitalist ideology. i think the idea that you're going to dismiss someone like friedrich schiller as a bourgeois ideologist is just sad. really, however, everyone y'all disagree with is a bourgeois individualist, just like this was 18fucking70.
first of all, the history of individualism of various sorts (and actually i would not necessarily call schiller an individualist) is, as i have been arguing for many years, pretty damn complex. the brand that ends you up at thoreau or kierkegaard, for example, starts in religious, not economic life; the basic idea is that the individual conscience is important, which i think you can only deny at the cost of nightmares. but the marxist interpretation would make the spiritual and political dimensions illusory: all of this, protestantism, republicanism, and capitalism, are just capitalism. i'm just going to baldly assert that you need to ditch the idea that only economy is real. the religious, cultural, aesthetic, and economic developments are all intertwined, and none is the only real thing. if you're looking at vermeer, the quakers, schiller, milton etc and all you can say is 'bourgeois', then you are being very primitive and missing a lot of great stuff.
anyway, the 'bourgeois' crap has got to go. first of all, every damn person making the accusation is herself bourgeois by her own acccount, and i guess trance-channeling the proletariat. however, if you were trance-channeling the proletariat in the states - and if these categories made sense anymore at all - you'd be flying 'don't tread on me' and stockpiling ammunition. you can trance-channel them because, unlike them, you know what they think and what their interests are. stop right there, tear down your intellectual structure, and start again from scratch.
second, to say of a doctrine or a figure or a painting that it is bourgeois: is that supposed to be some kind of refutation, or bear on its truth or its quality? one right answer would be: so what? wake me up when you have an argument. well, the bourgeoisie will be left on the slag heap of history (not; marxism has been left on the slag heap of history, however). but even if it was, that just does not bear on its truth. i mean, on your own account, we're in 'late capitalism' (just keep wishing, y'all). does the persistence of capitalism (well, that's how y'all see it yourselves) show that bourgeois ideas are true after all or something?
anyway, dismissing someone's politics - much less northern european and north american intellectual, aesthetic, religious, and political history from 1517 to 1848 - as bourgeois, is sad and really not attentive to the material in any way and irrelevant to its truth or value. and of course the idea that, for example, the concept of individual rights is bourgeois is really just an extraordinarlly empty and irrelevant justification for silencing people, taking their stuff, interning them, or executing them: i suppose on behalf of the proletariat. if your first move is: well, really, you have no rights; that's just bourgeois ideology: ask yourself: what do they want to do with the claim that you have no rights: why is that an important claim to them? the answer, i believe, is that they want to violate individuals in every possible way on the journey to collective identity.
anyway, the whole structure of thought is a meat cleaver: it's irrational; it's irrelevant; it's crude; it's false; and if history has demonstrated anything, it's that it's extremely dangerous. and it's so bourgeois.