Others have already chronicled this so well that I am largely just going to assemble quotations here. For some of you, this will be review. For the rest of you, this is a necessary foundation. It took me years of digging through books and blogs and websites before I found out about this.
Most Americans look back on the 1950s as a good time. Our homes were safe, to the point where many people did not bother to lock their doors. Public schools were generally excellent, and their problems were things like talking in class and running in the halls. Most men treated women like ladies, and most ladies devoted their time and effort to making good homes, rearing their children well and helping their communities through volunteer work. Children grew up in two–parent households, and the mother was there to meet the child when he came home from school. Entertainment was something the whole family could enjoy.
If a man from America of the 1950s were suddenly introduced into America in the 2000s, he would hardly recognize it as the same country. He would be in immediate danger of getting mugged, carjacked or worse, because he would not have learned to live in constant fear. He would not know that he shouldn’t go into certain parts of the city, that his car must not only be locked but equipped with an alarm, that he dare not go to sleep at night without locking the windows and bolting the doors – and setting the electronic security system.
If he brought his family with him, he and his wife would probably cheerfully pack their children off to the nearest public school. When the children came home in the afternoon and told them they had to go through a metal detector to get in the building, had been given some funny white powder by another kid and learned that homosexuality is normal and good, the parents would be uncomprehending.
What is “Political Correctness”? by William S. Lind
This, by the way, was brilliantly dramatized in the delightful movie Blast From The Past. A man who has been hiding in a bomb shelter since 1962 emerges, looks around 1997 Los Angeles, and promptly concludes that what he sees is the result of nuclear devastation.
Mr. Lind answers his own question:
Cultural Marxism began not in the 1960s but in 1919, immediately after World War I. Marxist theory had predicted that in the event of a big European war, the working class all over Europe would rise up to overthrow capitalism and create communism. But when war came in 1914, that did not happen. When it finally did happen in Russia in 1917, workers in other European countries did not support it. What had gone wrong?
Independently, two Marxist theorists, Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary, came to the same answer: Western culture and the Christian religion had so blinded the working class to its true, Marxist class interest that Communism was impossible in the West until both could be destroyed. In 1919, Lukacs asked, “Who will save us from Western civilization?” That same year, when he became Deputy Commissar for Culture in the short-lived Bolshevik Bela Kun government in Hungary, one of Lukacs’s first acts was to introduce sex education into Hungary’s public schools. He knew that if he could destroy the West’s traditional sexual morals, he would have taken a giant step toward destroying Western culture itself.
In 1923, inspired in part by Lukacs, a group of German Marxists established a think tank at Frankfurt University in Germany called the Institute for Social Research. This institute, soon known simply as the Frankfurt School, would become the creator of cultural Marxism.
To translate Marxism from economic into cultural terms, the members of the Frankfurt School – – Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Wilhelm Reich, Eric Fromm and Herbert Marcuse, to name the most important – – had to contradict Marx on several points. They argued that culture was not just part of what Marx had called society’s “superstructure,” but an independent and very important variable. They also said that the working class would not lead a Marxist revolution, because it was becoming part of the middle class, the hated bourgeoisie.
Who would? In the 1950s, Marcuse answered the question: a coalition of blacks, students, feminist women and homosexuals.
What is Cultural Marxism? By William S. Lind
In 1926, an Italian communist named Antonio Gramsci ended up in Mussolini’s prison after a return from Russia. While there, he wrote his “prison notebooks” and they laid out a plan for destroying Western faith and culture. His plans included ways to undermine and discourage Westerners through the intentional collapse of the existing social structure from within.
Gramsci advocated not only Marxist class warfare, which was economically focused, but also social and cultural warfare at the same time. His theories and the “slow march through the culture” (or institutions) which he envisioned to destroy the West are enshrined in current American social policy. His theories surrounding “hegemony” and a “counter-hegemony” were designed to destroy Western social structure and overthrow the “West” from within.
Hegemony, as defined by Gramsci is that widely accepted system of values, morals, ethics, and social structure which holds a society together and creates a cohesive people. Western social structures holding society together (i.e. “the hegemony”) include: authority, morality, sexual restraint, monogamous marriage, personal responsibility, patriotism, national unity, community, tradition, heredity, education, conservatism, language, Christianity, law, and truth. His theory called for media and communications to slowly co-opt the people with the “counter-hegemony” propaganda message.
The members of the Frankfurt School are Marxist, they are also, to a man, Jewish. In 1933 the Nazis came to power in Germany, and not surprisingly they shut down the Institute for Social Research. And its members fled. They fled to New York City, and the Institute was reestablished there in 1933 with help from Columbia University. And the members of the Institute, gradually through the 1930s, though many of them remained writing in German, shift their focus from Critical Theory about German society, destructive criticism about every aspect of that society, to Critical Theory directed toward American society. There is another very important transition when the war comes. Some of them go to work for the government, including Herbert Marcuse, who became a key figure in the OSS (the predecessor to the CIA), and some, including Horkheimer and Adorno, move to Hollywood.
These origins of Political Correctness would probably not mean too much to us today except for two subsequent events. The first was the student rebellion in the mid-1960s, which was driven largely by resistance to the draft and the Vietnam War. But the student rebels needed theory of some sort. They couldn’t just get out there and say, “Hell no we won’t go,” they had to have some theoretical explanation behind it. Very few of them were interested in wading through Das Kapital. Classical, economic Marxism is not light, and most of the radicals of the 60s were not deep. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for our country today, and not just in the university, Herbert Marcuse remained in America when the Frankfurt School relocated back to Frankfurt after the war. And whereas Mr. Adorno in Germany is appalled by the student rebellion when it breaks out there – when the student rebels come into Adorno’s classroom, he calls the police and has them arrested – Herbert Marcuse, who remained here, saw the 60s student rebellion as the great chance. He saw the opportunity to take the work of the Frankfurt School and make it the theory of the New Left in the United States.
The Origins of Political Correctness by Bill Lind
Let me pause to draw some attention to this sentence from the above: “The members of the Frankfurt School are Marxist, they are also, to a man, Jewish.” This is not, in fact, correct. Gramsci was an Italian Catholic; indeed, the Vatican claims that he had a deathbed conversion. As far as I have been able to determine, Felix Weil and Jürgen Habermas were not Jewish (correct me if I am wrong). And there are a few other, lesser-known Frankfurt School members who were not. However, most of them were, which of course just lends support to those who believe that we Jews are in a worldwide conspiracy to destroy/dominate/make money off everyone else. (I would like to know why I haven’t been invited to join.)
My own theory about why so many of these eggheaded scoundrels were Jewish is that first, we tend to be intellectual, so where goyische scoundrels rob banks or beat their wives and Islamic scoundrels blow up buildings, our scoundrels come up with deranged theories (see: Marx, Freud). Second, they were all from secular, assimilated families. Barred from their own heritage and not entirely belonging to the larger society in which they were moving, they had to feel alienated, and they struck out in the only way that they could see.
On the other end of the scale, cultural Marxists who read conservative articles exposing the well documented activities of the Frankfurt School do not hesitate to ignore all of the facts involved except for the fact that most of them were Jewish and accuse these conservatives of antisemitism for daring to criticize Jewish Marxists. In doing this, they are only following Communist Party procedure as set out by the Moscow Central Committee in 1943: “Members and front organizations must continually embarrass, discredit and degrade our critics. When obstructionists become too irritating, label them as fascist, or Nazi or anti-Semitic…The association will, after enough repetition, become ‘fact’ in the public mind.”
Since nearly all of the Frankfurt School denizens were German, except for a Hungarian and a couple of Italians, those of us who denounce it could just as easily be labelled “anti-German” – which, by the way, I am not. However, I am reminded that in his popular book The Closing of the American Mind, Jewish author Allan Bloom discusses several of these same cultural Marxists, without using the phrase “Frankfurt School”, and then remarks, “My insistence on the Germanness of all this is intended not as a know-nothing response to foreign influence, the search for a German intellectual under every bed, but to heighten awareness of where we must look if we are to understand what we are saying and thinking, for we are in danger of forgetting.”
Today’s disintegration of the family can be laid entirely at the door of the Frankfurt School. Lenin said, “Destroy the family and you destroy society.” His followers have proven him right:
“Gramsci hated marriage and the family, the very founding blocks of a civilized society. To him, marriage was a plot, a conspiracy… to perpetuate an evil system that oppressed women and children. It was a dangerous institution, characterized by violence and exploitation, the forerunner of fascism and tyranny. Patriarchy served as the main target of the cultural Marxists. They strove to feminize the family with legions of single and homosexual mothers and ‘fathers’ who would serve to weaken the structure of civilized society.”
…[A]nother cultural Marxist (George Lukacs) brought the Gramscian strategy to the schools… As deputy commissioner in Hungary… his first task was to put radical sex education in the schools… it was the best way to destroy traditional sexual morality, and weaken the family. Hungarian children learned… free love, sexual intercourse, and the archaic nature of middle-class family codes, the obsolete nature of monogamy, and the irrelevance of organized religion which deprived man of pleasure. Children were urged to deride and ignore… parental authority, and precepts of traditional morality. If this sounds familiar, it is because this is what is happening in our public… schools.
…Under the rubric of ‘diversity,’ its hidden goal is to impose a uniformity of thought and behavior on all Americans. The cultural Marxists, often teachers, university professors and administrators, TV producers, newspaper editor and the like, serve as gatekeepers by keeping all traditional and positive ideas, especially religious ideas, out of the public marketplace.
Herbert Marcuse was largely responsible for bringing cultural Marxism to the United States… He believed that all taboos, especially sexual ones, should be relaxed. “Make love, not war!” was his battle cry that echoed through ivy-covered college campuses all over America. His methodology for rebellion included the deconstruction of the language, the infamous “what does ‘is’ mean?” which fostered the destruction of the culture. By confusing and obliterating word meanings, he helped cause a breakdown in the social conformity of the nation, especially among the… young of America…
Many people would be shocked to learn that much of the current “family law” system we have today, which is at the heart of so much of our modern social upheaval and America’s “welfare state,” was born in the Soviet Union. Still more shocking would be the revelation that when the Soviet Union discovered its system was a disastrous failure, it instituted serious reforms in the early 1940’s to try to restore the family and the country. The Soviets made these changes when fatherlessness (which included children from divorced fathers) reached around 7 million children and their social welfare structure (day cares, kindergartens, state children’s facilities, etc.) was overburdened….
“Family law” is one of the key tools of the “counter-hegemony” which is used to advance the social welfare state through the promotion of the social structural collapse of America. The early Soviet system focused on personal happiness and self-centered fulfillment with its roots in class warfare. When it was determined that this type of class warfare directed at the family was a complete failure, the Soviets worked quickly to restore the traditional nuclear family in the 1940’s. Shortly after this, the NAWL (National Association of Women Lawyers) began their push for adopting these failed Soviet policies in America.
Communist ACLU founder William Z. Foster says this: “To free the woman from the enslavement of the perpetual care of her children is also a major object of Socialism. To this end in the Soviet Union there is being developed the most elaborate system of kindergartens and playgrounds in the world . . . .”
Here, Foster really spills the frijoles. Notice that for a mother to take care of her own children is “enslavement.” Apparently it is not enslavement for someone else – a different mother – to take care of them, while their own mother works as a machinist.
THE COMMUNIST PLAN FOR AMERICAN WOMEN by Alan Stang
Conservative Americans fancy that socialism has been largely defeated or that its greatest remaining threat lies in taxation and spending. They forget that the dream of leftist revolutionaries for centuries has been not only to equalize wealth and social status, but to eliminate all distinctions among the citizens of their ideal republic. All of these revolutionaries from Marx on down have targeted the family for destruction.
The family is a highly undemocratic institution. The nuclear family consists of one man and one woman, a highly specific and unliberated straitjacket of a social structure. They have loyalty to one another greater than that to society at large and also dedication to their own children, over whom they have authority—and any private authority is a rival to the government’s. To a true democrat, this preference for one’s spouse and authority over one’s children violates the principle of equality, which proclaims that we must treat everyone exactly the same. For the modern democratic statist, these loyalties and authorities weaken his own power and inhibit the ongoing concentration of all authority in one central government.
Children of the State by Joseph A. D’Agostino
And there was one more area that Marxists had to attack for their plan to work. I have been contending for years that the ugliness of the modern world is not just a fashion or an accident, but that it has a fundamental connection to the collapse of morality and of our legal system. Hardly anyone agrees with me, but I stand by my assertions: the ugly fonts, advertisements, clothes, music, cars and houses go hand in hand with no-fault divorce, man-hating feminism, our current useless educational system, welfare, the crime rate, and our inability to deal with terrorism. The two feed upon each other. Get rid of one and the other will collapse.
Guess what? I was right about that too.
Congressman George Dondero said, “Modern art is Communistic because it is distorted and ugly, because it does not glorify our beautiful country…. It is therefore opposed to our government, and those who create and promote it are our enemies.” I wouldn’t confine it it “our beautiful country” or “our government” – it does not glorify any beautiful country and it opposes all non-communist governments – but other than that, he was quite right.
On a different level, in the 1930s members of CPUSA (the Communist Party of the USA) got instructions from Moscow to promote non-representational art so that the US’s public spaces would become arid and ugly.
Americans hearing that last one tend to laugh. But the Soviets, following the lead of Marxist theoreticians like Antonio Gramsci, took very seriously the idea that by blighting the U.S.’s intellectual and esthetic life, they could sap Americans’ will to resist Communist ideology and an eventual Communist takeover. The explicit goal was to erode the confidence of America’s ruling class and create an ideological vacuum to be filled by Marxism-Leninism.
The Soviets consciously followed the Gramscian prescription; they pursued a war of position, subverting the “leading elements” of society through their agents of influence. (See, for example, Stephen Koch’s Double Lives: Stalin, Willi Munzenberg and the Seduction of the Intellectuals; summary by Koch here.) This worked exactly as expected; their memes seeped into Western popular culture and are repeated endlessly in (for example) the products of Hollywood.
Indeed, the index of Soviet success is that most of us no longer think of these memes as Communist propaganda. It takes a significant amount of digging and rethinking and remembering, even for a lifelong anti-Communist like myself, to realize that there was a time (within the lifetime of my parents) when all of these ideas would have seemed alien, absurd, and repulsive to most people — at best, the beliefs of a nutty left-wing fringe, and at worst instruments of deliberate subversion intended to destroy the American way of life….
Adorno, a trained musician, wrote The Philosophy of Modern Music, in which he, in essence, polemicizes against beauty itself — because it has become part of the ideology of advanced capitalist society and the false consciousness that contributes to domination by prettifying it. Avant-garde art and music preserve the truth by capturing the reality of human suffering. Hence:
“What radical music perceives is the untransfigured suffering of man… The seismographic registration of traumatic shock becomes, at the same time, the technical structural law of music. It forbids continuity and development. Musical language is polarized according to its extreme; towards gestures of shock resembling bodily convulsions on the one hand, and on the other towards a crystalline standstill of a human being whom anxiety causes to freeze in her tracks… Modern music sees absolute oblivion as its goal. It is the surviving message of despair from the shipwrecked.”
This view of modern art as producing truth only through the negation of traditional aesthetic form and traditional norms of beauty because they have become ideological is characteristic of Adorno and of the Frankfurt School generally. It has been criticized by those who do not share its conception of modern society as a false totality that renders obsolete traditional conceptions and images of beauty and harmony.
Here are a few more links for those who wish to read further:
Political Correctness — The Revenge of Marxismby Baron Bodissey
The Origins of Political Correctness by Bill Lind
The Four Horsemen of the Frankfort SchoolBy Charles A. Morse
What is the Frankfurt School? By Dr. Gerald L. Atkinson CDR USN (Ret.)
Who are the real radicals? by Jennifer King
EDIT: I just came across a link I forgot to include in this post: Why There Is A Culture War
“The Revolution won’t happen with guns, rather it will happen incrementally, year by year, generation by generation. We will gradually infiltrate their educational institutions and their political offices, transforming them slowly into Marxist entities as we move towards universal egalitarianism.”