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This essay examines three recent monographs wrestling with the question of what’s living and what’s dead in Frankfurt School critical theory. What’s living, these books argue, is the project of a critical theory oriented towards universal values of human emancipatory; what’s dead is a certain neo-Kantian version of this project that collapsed political morality into a moralization of politics. This essay examines how each of these works charts a different path through this puzzle of politicizing morality without moralizing politics. It argues that what these works is a profound distrust of time at the heart of critical theory, a distrust that reiterates a drive towards moralism even where it is the object of critique.