Cruising around the interwebs, I got to thinking, hmmm, I wonder what books liberals like to read? So I Googled “books liberals read.”
Search results: answers.yahoo.com:
So, the Communist Manifesto and Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom are interesting search results.
Erich Seligmann Fromm was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was associated with what became known as the Frankfurt School of critical theory.
Ah yes, the notorious Frankfurt School (formerly known as the Institute of Marxism) and the whole Critical Theory thing. The Frankfurt School labored at developing and implementing Cultural Marxism (i.e. Political Correctness)—comprised of fervent Marxists like Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Leo Lowenthal, Wilhelm Reich, Erich Fromm, Georg Lukacs, Robert Sorge and other well-known Marxist theoreticians of the time.
The purpose and effect of Political Correctness is ostensibly to chill free speech. It is a sort of Pavlovian conditioning of the population to censor their individual thoughts and speech in conformance to a political ideology disseminated and controlled by an intellectual elite—a nullifying of the First Amendment by proxy and stealth, yet self-administered. The purpose is simple—power and control.
But just what is Marxism in the first place?
It is not an easy subject to sum up in a brief article. About ninety percent of what Karl Marx wrote concerned economics. Marx’s interminably boring work Das Kapital gave us the term capitalism. Before Marx, capitalism was simply known as freedom. Only about ten percent of what Karl Marx wrote concerned revolution and drastic social upheaval. But the appeal of class struggle and revolutionary social change is what has captured the imaginations of many of the militant proponents of Marxist-Leninist dogma.
Since the failure of a trans-national workers’ revolt failed to materialize after war broke out in Europe in 1914, which contradicted Marx’s theory, Marxist theorists struggled to find a surrogate for the “workers.” The long-hoped-for-dream of the masses uniting across national boundaries in Russia, France, Britain, Italy, Austria-Hungary and Germany, forgoing their allegiance to their respective countries for the sake of Marxian socialist revolution, seemingly brought the vision of Marx and his “dictatorship of the proletariat” to an ignominious end.
Marx might be quite surprised to learn the first place to implement Marxist-centered government would be Russia, since Marx had propounded revolution would occur in the evil, greedy industrialized nations, not in an agrarian society. Almost overnight an entire society was destroyed and replaced with one of the most radical social experiments ever seen–Communism. Where Marx provided the theory, Vladimir Illyich Lenin put it into practice.
In October 1919, Lenin payed a personal visit to the world-renown Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov–famous for his conditioned reflex training on animals (see Pavlov’s Dog). Lenin wished to employ the same reflexive conditioning methods on the whole of Russian society. Lenin explained, “I want the masses to follow a Communistic pattern of thinking and reacting.” A shocked Pavlov asked Lenin, “Do you mean to say you would like to standardize the population of Russia? Make them all behave in the same way?” Lenin replied, “Exactly. Man can be corrected. Man can be made what we want him to be.”
The individual was simply an animal to be conditioned and trained, according to Lenin. There was nothing sacred or divine about humanity–only the state was truly divine in Lenin’s mind. Lenin’s mentor, Marxist theoretician Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov, wrote Marxism is “Darwinism in its application to social science.” To Lenin and his followers, whole human societies were little more than herds of animals–worthy of slaughter if need be–to be made the slaves and oxen of an all-powerful state apparatus.
Lenin promised “peace, bread and land” to the Russian masses. But the most radical social experiment in history failed and millions were killed.
Like addicts repeating the same thing over and over again, expecting a different and unique result each and every time–the very definition of insanity–Marxist theoreticians began to focus their efforts on cultural and social issues.
One of the predecessor’s of Political Correctness was Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci Instead of direct revolt by the working class, Gramsci believed the masses of repressive capitalist systems must be conditioned and prepared to accept a pure Communistic society.
Gramsci decided the best way to do this would be to attack the culture–a cultural revolution, as opposed to a bloody revolution. Gramsci sought to attack the cultural values and traditions of capitalist systems from within; thereby, destroying the traditions and values in order to pave the way for a truly Marxian socialist system.
The whole goal of Gramscis’s Marxist strategy of cultural revolution was to infiltrate the institutions of capitalist and industrialized society–the arts, cinema, media, schools, churches, synagogues, etc. Once the hold on the culture was complete, by dint of “the long march through the institutions,” a long march through the halls of government could begin–a fundamental transformation per social change toward a pure Communistic society.
“Capture the citadels of the culture and turn them into a collective Fifth Column; thereby, undermining the culture from within, and turning the core values of the society upside down and inside out.”
The biggest obstacles to the implementation of a Marxist-centered state are the deeply-held traditions and patriotism citizens typically have for their own country of origin. Communism is an intensely atheistic, anti-family ideology that seeks to destroy “Christendom,” and all religions, for that matter–for the state is the religion. The state is the Higher Power–God–in a pure Communistic society. The state will provide all spiritual and material needs according to ability and need–or what the state perceives to be ability or need.
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
Gramsci’s strategy of cultural pessimism and cultural terrorism immeasurably influenced the New Marxists of the day, and helped establish the foundation for today’s New Left.
It is noteworthy former U.S. president Bill Clinton visited the Gramsci Institute in Italy in 1987, and its associated youth cooperatives. (I’ve written in more detail about Gramsci and Clinton’s visit here.)
At first the Frankfurt school members worked on economic questions and the labor movement–orthodox Marxism. But in 1930 the director of the Frankfurt School was replaced by a young Marxist intellectual named Max Horkheimer. Horkheimer began to develop a theory of a New Marxism–translating Marxism from economic to cultural terms. Giving us what we now call “Political Correctness.”
Horkheimer recognized the economic success of capitalist systems, and announced that revolution by the working class was unlikely to come about. A surrogate for the workers would be needed.
Meanwhile, the Frankfurt School began to link Marx with Freud–which led to the theory that all citizens of capitalistic, free market systems lived under a constant state of psychological repression. At this time the theory of “sexual alienation” and the use of Freudian psycho-analysis to further the New Marxism were put forth. The solution to preparing a populace for Marxist revolution was to attack on all fronts–economic, social and culture. Another Frankfurt School member, radical social psychologist Erich Fromm, pioneered the concept of “sexual liberation” and “gender politics.”
In 1932, Herbert Marcuse joined the Frankfurt School and soon became the most important and influential figure for the development of “Political Correctness.” It was Marcuse who would finally translate the theories of the Frankfurt school from economic to cultural terms. In the 1960?s, it was Marcuse who provided a substitute for the working class–”the youth.”
“The West is guilty of genocidal crimes against every civilization and culture it has encountered. American and Western Civilization are the world’s greatest repositories of racism, sexism, nativism, xenophobia, antisemitism, fascism, and narcissism. American society is oppressive, evil, and undeserving of loyalty.”
In 1933, the fiercely anti-Bolshevik and fascist leader Adolf Hitler arose to seize power in Germany. The Frankfurt School decided to relocate to none other than New York City–with support from the President of Columbia University. The location where the Frankfurt School set up shop was a just a few hundred yards away from where the Pulitzer Prize is awarded. Some members of the Frankfurt School even infiltrated Hollywood and the press upon arrival to their new land of “refuge.”
The first tangible product of the Frankfurt School was “Critical Theory”–to attack the culture from all sides simultaneously. Critical Theory is really no theory at all; it is instead a strategy of criticizing all traditional, cultural and religious beliefs of a so-called Bourgeoisie society in order to weaken, question and dissipate the firmly-held beliefs of the masses–the citizenry. Critical Theory forms the basis for Gay Studies, Women’s Studies, Black Studies, and various other “studies” departments prevalent on American college campuses across the nation–the home place for Political Correctness, i.e. Cultural Marxism, i.e Cultural Pessimism.
Critical Theory does not provide an explanation for what it is for, only for what it is against. Critical Theory even attempts to politicize and criticize logic itself. Max Horkheimer wrote that “logic is not independent of content.” That means an argument is logical if it is against Western culture–illogical if it supports it. This philosophy has been inculcated into the minds of many college students in America today.
The Frankfurt School in America added some new elements, such as the “Studies in Prejudice”–which eventually culminated in the immensely influential book, The Authoritarian Personality, by Theodor W. Adorno–who argued that America contains many “fascist traits.” Adorno insisted anybody who supported traditional American culture was psychologically unbalanced. This all gave rise to the New Left’s version of “sensitivity training.” It also explains why the devotees of Political Correctness are quick to label their opponents “fascists.”
The antonym to Critical Theory would be “constructive dialogue.” But constructive dialogue does not further the cause of tearing down and destroying Western society. Critical Theory is a strategy of hate–the hate of Christianity, authority, capitalism, the family, patriarchy, hierarchy, morality, tradition, sexual restraint, loyalty, patriotism, nationalism, heredity–anything from the West is to be blamed and rejected outright. Anyone not accepting this premise is to be considered mentally deranged.
In Adorno and Horkheimer’s book, The Dialectic of Enlightenment, they co-opted the fashionable cause of environmentalism into their cultural Marxism. Now the notion of economic oppression by Western societies was applied to domination of the natural world itself–the Bourgeoisie were oppressing the planet itself–species domination. Once again, the Judeo-Christian belief that man has dominion over the earth, and is an order of magnitude above the animal kingdom, must be smashed–destroy Christendom and its ilk is the goal.
In order to gain dominance over the economic engine of America, and other free market systems, the members of the Frankfurt School theorized the middle-class must be destroyed. Perverting and breaking apart the traditional family structure became the goal, since the family is the main element of the middle class–the economic engine. Marxism seeks to control the means of production. The family is to be replaced by the state. Values come from the state collective.
Following World War Two, some members of the Frankfurt School returned to Germany. But Herbert Marcuse remained in the United States, eventually becoming a professor at Brandeis University. Marcuse became the so-called guru of the New Left. Posters of Marx, Mao and Marcuse even appeared in France–such was the elevation of Marcuse by the Cultural Marxists of the day.
Critical Theory is the sword of the New Left; it is used to attack its opponents. Political Correctness provides the shield–a means to deflect any arrows coming from the opposition. Simply cry racism, sexism, nativism, xenophobia–what have you–the opposition is always wrong, despite any evidence contrary.
Noteworthy is the fact Barack Obama was left with his grandparents so his young mother could go off abroad to study Critical Theory.
Executive Director for the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism and political science professor at Clemson University in South Carolina, C. Bradley Thompson, gave a informative presentation at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) entitled “Why Marxism?” back in April 2012. Thompson provides some important insights into the core ideology that is Marxian socialism.
When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Marxism went underground in the following decade– reinventing itself and reemerging under the guise of new academic methodologies, such as post-modernism, deconstructionism, semiotics, multiculturalism, feminism–and a plethora of academic programs–black, women’s, chicano, critical and environmental studies. The scourge of Political Correctness, i.e. Cultural Marxism, swept through the campuses of the 80?s–bringing about what C. Bradley Thompson refers to as the “dictatorship of the professorial.”
The Marx-inspired “Occupy Wall Street” movement is, in effect, a Marxian socialist Fifth Column into American culture and politics–a vast left-wing conspiracy. It is noteworthy Hillary Clinton once referred to a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” It appears it is just the opposite. But this sort of deflection and sophistry is all part of the praxis of Marxism: always accuse the enemy of the very same crimes they themselves are committing. And if they get caught? Deny, deny, deny!
Thompson states the left-wing Fifth Column includes the main-stream media (i.e. MSM) and scores of various left-wing think tanks; like the Institute for Policy Studies; community organizing groups, such as ACORN; unions, such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); professional organizations, such as the National Education Association (NEA); philanthropic organizations, such as the MacArthur Foundation or the Ford Foundation; special-interest advocacy groups, such as the Soros’ funded Media Matters; religious organizations, such as the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO); political parties, such as the Working Families Party; indoctrination boot camps, such as the Midwest Academy; and then, of course, there are the universities. The Socialist Party of America claims 70 democratic members of Congress are associated with the SPA.
Marx’s angry, spitting moralism, as Thompson eloquently puts it, is forever directed at someone else or thing–specifically, the evil, greedy industrialized nations. Marx sums up his view of capitalism in his Economic & Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844:
“The enemy of being is having.”
Marx opposed capitalism because he thought it unjust–a system of alleged inequality, exploitation, class conflict, etc. Marxian socialism is all about equalizing income and social status. This classic definition of communism is sometimes referred to as the “late Marxism of Das Kapital” or Stalinism–the “Old Left,” as Thompson points out. Marxian socialism is a political philosophy that appeals to the worst traits of human nature—envy and hate.
According to Marx, the accumulation of wealth and material goods is anathema to man’s “true being”; it alienates man from his true essence. The following quote from Marx’s Economic & Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 gives deep insight into Marx’s morals and values:
“The less you eat, drink and read books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save-the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor dust will devour-your capital. The less you are, the more you have; the less you express your own life, the greater is your alienated life-the greater is the store of your estranged being.”
Marx expresses moral revulsion at those who work and save–the very idea of “having” is revolting to Marx. Marx sees money as the root of all evil. Conversely, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is the love of money that is the root of all evil, not money in and of itself.
Thompson: “Communism is like a Montessori for adults.” The whole notion of work and productivity is contemptible to Marx; it is some sort of curse perpetrated by the evil, greedy capitalist societies of the world on the rest of humanity–the “workers.” Marx believes people should be able to indulge their whims whenever and wherever one chooses–even at work. The unearned is to be demanded and received.
Ironically, Karl Marx had a sugar daddy in the form of Freidrich Engels, who personally bankrolled Marx’s profligate lifestyle.
So, according to Yahoo! Answers, the Communist Manifesto and Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom are two books liberals like to read. Which suggests collectivism and eternal class struggle appeals to liberals, or, at the very least, interests them a great deal.
I’m reminded of an article I read a while back with the rather arcane title of “Dialectic and Praxis: Diaprax and the End of the Ages” by Dean Gotcher.
Here’s an excerpt:
There is a major move to change the way Americans think. Some call it “the reculturing of America,” others call it “reinventing government,” and still others refer to it as “being competitive in a global economy.” This scheme that socio-psychologists have designed for American education, business, and politics consists of the three phases: 1) “social-class” consciousness; 2) sustainable “social mobility;” and 3) perpetual “equality of opportunity.” The reason behind the quest of these socio-psychologists is simply the resentment of having anyone in authority tell them what they must do. It is rebellion against authority. It is rebellion against God—Intellectualized.
This attitude goes back beyond the garden experience of Adam and Eve and, as you will see, “justifies” itself according to a particular “scientific” way of thinking. This work is about this New Age way of thinking, the dialectic, and its environment of deceit and manipulation, called praxis. This way of thinking is currently being used in education, business, and politics around the world. The answer to the world’s problems, according to those who worship this process, is not found in maturity, but is instead found in adolescence—not found in what “is,” nor found in what “ought to be,” but is instead found in the combination of the two: “potential.”
So many times it does appear the left is in perpetual rebellion against authority, yet they demand supreme authority. Unfortunately, as is the case when Communistic systems reach their zenith, the rule of law is replaced with the law of force. In such a scenario, no one is safe or secure. The pursuit of happiness soon becomes the pursuit of survival under a perpetual cloud of fear, intimidation, stress, crisis and chaos. The chaos is purposeful, for a fearful and terrorized people are easier to control.
Which brings us back to the insanity of all this Marxian socialist-style tyranny.
Despite the failures and crimes of communism, and the hundreds of millions killed by Marxist regimes in the Twentieth Century–not to mention the millions tortured, exiled and imprisoned–Marxist apologists routinely blame “unforeseen historical circumstances” as the reason why the utopian workers’ paradise never materialized. The radical left-wing elites inexplicably insist, “It just hasn’t been done correctly yet. It’s still a noble ideal worth fighting for.”
If Horkheimer recognized the economic success of capitalist systems, and the failure of proletarian economics, why does he and his ilk insist on dedicating their lives to destroying it? It truly reminds me of the insanity of an addict who just can’t stop their incredibly self-destructive behavior, despite all the awful consequences.