In Memoriam: Fred Siegel

Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 2023 (203):177-179 (2023)
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Abstract

ExcerptFred Siegel’s passing on May 7th of this year was a profound loss for us all. A frequent guest and participant at our events, he contributed to Telos from the 1980s to the 2020 publication of his last book, The Crisis of Liberalism: Prelude to Trump. His ideas had a defining impact on Paul Piccone and the journal’s development, laying the foundations for what would become the Telos populist critique of liberalism. With a keen ear for the right turn of phrase to describe a complex idea, he titled his seminal essay for Telos “Is Archie Bunker Fit to Rule? Or: How Immanuel Kant Became One of the Founding Fathers.”1 Setting Archie Bunker as the representative of democracy against the intellectual Immanuel Kant, Siegel succinctly crystallized what was at stake as well as the audacity of his argument, especially for a Telos readership that was inclined to support German philosophy over American pop culture. In making his case for Archie Bunker, Siegel attacked with eloquence and perspicacity the intellectual foundations of liberal thinking.

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