Stephen Eric Bronner, at the beginning of Reclaiming the Englightenment, talks about Horkheimer and Adorno and about the ethos of the Enlightenment and says that making sense of it
is impossible without recognizing what became a general stylistic commitment to clarity, communicability, and what rhetoricians term “plain speech.”
Horkheimer and Adorno thought they needed a very difficult style in their resistance to the culture industry.
Their esoteric and academic style is a far cry from that of Enlightenment intellectuals who debated first principles in public, who introduced freelance writing, who employed satire and wit to demolish puffery and dogma, and who were preoccupied with reaching a general audience of educated readers. [pp 8-9]
Who employed satire and wit to demolish puffery and dogma – that proud Enlightenment tradition.
We need to hang on to that, embrace it and cherish it, not revile it and reject it. It’s a heritage for everyone, and everyone needs it. The fanatics and theocrats are the ones who need it most.