Theodor W. Adorno ( ə-DOR-noh, German: [ˈteːodoːɐ̯ ʔaˈdɔʁno] ; born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund; 11 September 1903 – 6 August 1969) was a German philosopher, musicologist, and social theorist.
The admonitions to be happy, voiced in concert by the . . . sanatorium director and the . . . propaganda chiefs of the entertainment industry, have about them the fury of the father berating his children for not rushing joyously downstairs when he comes home irritable from his office. It is part of the mechanism of domination to forbid recognition of the suffering it produces, and there is a direct line of development between the gospel of happiness and the construction of camps of extermination so far off in Poland that each of our own countrymen can convince himself that he cannot hear the screams of pain.
As one reads history . . . one is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted; and a community is infinitely more brutalized by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime.
It's universally wrong to steal from your neighbor, but once you get beyond this one-to-one level and pit the individual against the multinational conglomerate, the federal bureaucracy, . . . or the utility company, it becomes strictly a value judgment to decide who exactly is stealing from whom. One person's crime is another person's profit.