A friend of mine recently approached me at one of my lectures on communist activities within the United States. Heard about my talk from others who had listened at other venues. He indicated that he was intrigued by my topic because he was writing a book on our lost culture due to the communist influences.
He subsequently asked that I include one of his chapters on my blog so that others could read how successful this movement has been. This is a very important topic to both of us. Please read the following comparatively brief text on the subject.
CULTURAL MARXISM by John R. Cassata
The last half of the 20th century has seen a major transformation of American culture. Fifty years ago American neighborhoods were safe and decent. Most public schools were safe, drug free and did a good job of educating children. Blue-collar fathers brought home middle-class incomes, enough to purchase a modest house and buy a new car every four or five years. Moms could stay home with the kids. Almost everyone belonged to some branch of organized religion and regularly attended worship services. Illegitimacy was rare and divorce was generally frowned upon. Television shows reflected sound, traditional values. What happened to that America? How did it become the hedonistic, politically corrupt and immoral country that exists today? Did that American culture just mysteriously evaporate over the past fifty years?
That America did not just disappear. Although several factors have worked synergistically to transform our culture, one profoundly effective transformative initiative has been at work. This highly focused effort combined a detailed strategy with patient and meticulous execution to transform America into a social order that the Founders could never have envisioned. Because this agenda was intentionally kept hidden few people are aware of it. This essay briefly summarizes this hidden agenda and its impact on America. We must wake up and recognize what has been happening in our country and begin to take it back. “…it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.”
THE FRANKFURT SCHOOL
An old political ideology underlies ongoing efforts to fundamentally transform America. It was brought here many years ago by a small cadre of German intellectuals. The ideology is Marxist communism and the goal is the implementation of Cultural Marxism utilizing a strategy called “critical theory.” The objective is to transform America into a Marxist communist state. Prior to world War I, Marxist theorists believed that if war broke out in Europe, people would arise and overthrow the existing governments, replacing them with a Marxist social utopia. By the end of the war, Marxist theory had been proven wrong as citizens had patriotically defended their existing governments. According to historian William S. Lind (see the article “Who Stole Our culture?”)1, post-war Marxist leaders struggled to understand what went wrong and why their anticipated Marxist revolution failed to materialize.
Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary, two leading Marxist theorists, independently arrived at the same answer to that question. Gramsci and Lukacs concluded that Christianity and Western cultural norms prevented the proletariat (common, working-class citizens) from recognizing that their best interests lay in Marxist communism. Gramsci and Lukacs determined that a Marxist revolution would be impossible unless Christianity and Western cultural values were degraded and destroyed. That objective, the destruction of Christianity and accepted cultural norms, drives the development and implementation of Cultural Marxism to the present day.
In 1923 a group of German intellectuals established the Institute for Social Research at Frankfurt University, a think-tank modeled after the Marx-Engles Institute in Moscow. According to Timothy Matthews in his article “The Frankfurt School: Conspiracy to Corrupt”,2 the institute came to be known as the Frankfurt School and was home to notable sociologists and political philosophers like Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Eric Fromm, Leo Lowenthal, Jurgen Habermas, and Max Horkheimer. These intellectuals reasoned that political and cultural revolution, rather than violent armed rebellion, were the means by which Cultural Marxism would be implemented throughout Europe and across the globe.
Owing to Hitler’s hatred for Marxism, the Frankfurt School became a major target when the National Socialist Party (the Nazis) came to power in 1933. Because the Institute’s most prominent members were Jewish, they closed the Institute and emigrated from Germany to the United States. The key members landed in New York and were aided by Columbia University in getting re-established. From there they migrated to other major U.S. universities including Princeton, Brandeis, and California at Berkeley. The new target of the Institute would be America.
Horkheimer and his staff made significant progress in advancing Cultural Marxism. They accepted Antonio Gramski’s hypothesis and concluded that America’s cultural institutions were an extremely important factor in shaping society. Horkheimer realized that the working class and organized labor would likely not catalyze the hoped-for Marxist revolution on their own. New standard bearers would be needed.
Frankfurt School members decided that Western culture could be destroyed by comingling Marx with Freud. They reasoned that a major impact of Cultural Marxism would be to “liberate” Western culture from a state of psychological repression. They cleverly surmised that psychological conditioning would be much more effective than attempting a top-down imposition of Marxist ideology.
With Hitler gone after the war, Horkheimer and others returned to Germany where they reestablished the Institute in Frankfurt. Herbert Marcuse, however, remained in the U.S. where he continued his efforts at joining Marxism with Freudian concepts. “Critical theory” was the concept and strategy that emerged. In simplest terms, it called for harsh, unceasing criticism, and ultimately the destruction or radical transformation, of every traditional American institution, starting with the building block of American society, the family.
Critical theory is a concept developed by key members of the Frankfurt School. Its objective is the destruction of all traditional institutions, including the family itself. It is based on the thinking of two brilliant Marxist communist protagonists, Antonio Gramsci and Georg Lukacs. Both Gramsci and Lukacs concluded that Christianity and Western culture made it impossible for the proletariat, every day working people, to embrace Marxist communism. This, they reasoned, was due to Western civilization’s 2000 year history rooted in Judeo-Christian faith and long established cultural traditions. They concluded that Marxism would not be possible without the destruction of Christianity and Western culture.
Georg Lukacs made a determined effort to de-Christianize Hungary by undermining sexual ethics. He became the Deputy Commissar for Culture in 1919 in the short-lived Bolshevik Bela Kun regime. Linda Kimball has described Lukacs’ rationale in her article “Cultural Marxism”. According to Kimball, Lukacs believed the family and the Church could be destroyed if Christian sexual ethics could be undermined in children. He began a radical sex education program in Hungarian schools. He provided graphic literature instructing youth in free love (sexual promiscuity) while prompting them to reject Christian moral ethics, monogamy, and parental and church authority. This values-absent radical sex education and encouragement to defy traditional authority led to rampant delinquency among Hungarian youth during his short tenure in Hungary.
Antonio Gramsci was born in Sardinia in 1891 and studied philosophy and history at the University of Turin. While there he became a Marxist and joined the Italian Socialist Party. The growth of Italian fascism forced him to move to the USSR. Once there he became disillusioned with the promise of a working-class paradise, a promise being enforced by terror, mass murder and fear of Stalin’s labor camps where many supporters of communism were sent. Gramsci returned to Italy to fight against Mussolini’s fascist regime. He was soon imprisoned where he wrote his Prison Notebooks, which outlined a new Marxist strategy.
Fr. James Thornton has summarized Gramsci’s life and his thinking in his article “Gramsci’s Grand Plan.”4 Gramsci realized that faith in God and love of family and country were more meaningful to ordinary people than communist theories of class struggle. Because Christianity was so thoroughly integrated into daily life, and had been so for well over a thousand years, it represented an impenetrable obstacle to the formation of a Marxist society. Gramsci concluded that a better approach would be a subtle attack aimed at transforming society gradually over a period of a few generations. This strategy required control over the consciousness of the people. Such control could be achieved by first obtaining control of the organs of culture – churches, educational institutions, newspapers, magazines, the electronic media, serious literature, music, the visual arts, etc. Gramsci realized that calling for an armed revolution as had occurred in Russia would be unsuccessful. His strategy called for the destruction of Christianity and Western culture through a “long march through the institutions” with political power the last thing to be grasped.
Using this conceptual framework, critical theory emerged from the Frankfurt School intellectuals as the means of implementing Cultural Marxism in America. Linda Kimball describes critical theory as an ongoing and brutal assault via vicious and relentless criticism of Christianity, Christmas, the Boy Scouts, the Ten Commandments, sexual morality, the military, and virtually all of America’s cultural and societal institutions and traditions. Essentially critical theory is psychological bullying, a psycho-political battering-ram used by Frankfurt School acolytes to force Americans to submit to the will of Marxist ideologues. Critical theory challenges traditional American norms in multiple target areas including: family, education, drug use, music, television, popular culture, sexual morality, and the media. Political Correctness is a direct application of these critical theory concepts.
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS AND ITS TARGETS
The Frankfurt School intellectuals concluded that Western culture, values and Christianity must be destroyed before Marxism could take hold. Their early leader, Max Horkheimer, was uncertain who would instigate that destruction and facilitate the Marxist revolution in America. Herbert Marcuse provided the answer: a coalition of students, ethnic and racial minorities, feminist women, homosexuals, and others who felt “victimized” by American society. The strategy would employ critical theory, Political Correctness, and multiculturalism as principal tools. Marcuse redefined the word “tolerance” in the context of Political Correctness and these “victimized” groups. When “victimized” groups call for “tolerance” today, they mean tolerance for all Marxist ideas and movements, and intolerance for the traditional cultural norms that stand in their way.
The student rebellion of the 1960’s, driven by opposition to the Vietnam War and a new-found freedom from the reproductive consequences of extramarital sex, presented a historic opportunity to advance Cultural Marxism in academe. Marcuse, who coined the phrase “make love not war,” did not let the opportunity pass. Soon college students and faculty were being demonized and punished whenever they crossed the ideological lines established by feminists, homosexual-rights activists, ethnic/racial minorities, atheists, or any other “victims” groups. Atheism, Darwinism, and Humanism were elevated above Christianity on the premise that “science” somehow trumps “scripture.”
Frankfurt School intellectuals did not advertise Political Correctness as a form of Marxism. Many of the Baby Boom generation, especially university-educated elitists, embraced Political Correctness and its less obvious Marxist underpinnings. These elitists now occupy influential positions in universities, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations and they share the “blame America first” mentality, e.g., blame for the rise of radical Islam, for exploitation of third world countries, for environmental destruction, etc.
Theodor Adorno, a key Frankfurt School thinker, promoted the idea of the “authoritarian personality.” This concept claims that Christianity, capitalism, and the traditional family foster oppressive and racist tendencies. It alleges that masculinity and femininity are not essential sexual differences, but arise from life-function differences determined by society. This theory provides the basis for radical feminism, its “war on women” theme, and other elements of the feminist agenda. Adorno taught that upholding traditional American values and institutions was racist and oppressive.
Political Correctness largely guides the content and messages coming from the entertainment industry. When Hollywood’s Cultural Marxists want to “normalize” something like homosexuality, they produce movies and programs with politically correct characterizations where the only normal white male is a homosexual. Through such psychological conditioning people absorb the lessons of Cultural Marxism without even knowing it.
The Boy Scouts became a target of homosexual-rights activists, ultimately allowing homosexuals to be scout leaders after succumbing to threats of lawsuits and the loss of sponsorships by politically correct corporations. So-called “anti-discrimination statutes” have been enacted at the state and local level to enforce politically correct tolerance and deny Christians their First Amendment rights. Community traditions have also been attacked via lawsuits demanding removal of memorial crosses, the Ten Commandments, the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, and Christmas nativity displays, among others.
Many single-issue groups, politicians, and members of the judiciary sympathetic to their ideas, promote Cultural Marxism through identity politics. These groups include radical feminists, racial and ethnic extremists, anti-war ‘peace’ activists, animal rights groups, radical environmentalists, and the LGBT lobby. They operate through organizations such as the Gay Straight Lesbian Education Network (GSLEN), the ACLU, People for the American Way, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), Planned Parenthood, Code Pink for Peace, American Atheists, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), the Southern Poverty Law Center, and others. They all reach politically correct tolerance but refuse to tolerate any person, group, or institution that espouses traditional cultural principles and norms.
In addition to Political Correctness, Cultural Marxists employ other ways to destroy American culture, values and Christianity in their drive to implement a Marxist society. The radical Saul Alinsky provided his strategy in his book Rules for Radicals.
To Alinsky, politics is war. His followers are at war and complete destruction of the political opposition is the objective, there is no middle ground. Enemies must be destroyed, demonized and discredited. He taught that the preferred approach is to work from within, attack the [political] system at its foundation while avoiding overt confrontation. Alinsky explains: “Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people.”
His Rules for Radicals recommends various power tactics. Some of the most effective are:
- Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules
- Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon
- Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
Alinsky realized that when opponents are pressured to abide by every law, religious tenet and political pledge, in other words to live up to their own book of rules, humans inevitably fail. This failure provides the opportunity to discredit not only the political opponent but the system [capitalism] in general. He also provided very effective tactics: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.” He explained: “You can insult and annoy him [the enemy], but the one thing that is unforgivable and that is certain to get him to react is to laugh at him. This causes irrational anger.” Alinsky provided advice to local activists: “…the community organizer…must first rub raw the resentments of the people; fan the latent hostilities to the point of overt expression.”
Some of Alinsky’s prominent disciples include the former community organizer Barack Obama who taught workshops on Alinsky tactics in Chicago. Another Alinsky disciple is Hillary Clinton who authored “There Is Only The Fight – An Analysis of the Alinsky Model” as her BA Honors Thesis at Wellesley College in 1969. Hillary Clinton’s use of the politics of personal destruction is well documented, characterized by destructive and demonizing personal attacks on political opponents, a brutal application of critical theory.
The “Strategy of Manufactured Crisis” is a tactic developed by Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, a husband and wife team of radical socialist professors at Columbia University. Forcing change through orchestrated financial crises is the essence of their concept. Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel clearly appreciates that, once advising: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before…”
The housing bubble of 2007, caused by issuing millions of home loans to unqualified borrowers, was one such crisis. It precipitated the Troubled Asset Relief Program (the TARP bailout), thereby increasing the national debt by nearly a trillion dollars. The 2008 stimulus package added almost another trillion to the national debt. According to CBO estimates, Obamacare will increase the debt even higher in future years.
When interest rates rise, which they inevitably must, interest payments on this debt will starve all other federal expenditures. It is estimated that if interest rates increase a mere 1 to 2 %, the interest on the debt would equal the entire GDP. Cultural Marxists hope this will cause massive domestic unrest and collapse the economy and the government. Amidst the anticipated rioting and social chaos the existing political system could then be toppled. Progressive and socialist politicians, assisted by plutocrats such as George Soros, Warren Buffett, Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg and others, will then be able to remedy the failures of capitalism by imposing a Marxist socialist political system to restore order and economic stability.
A STATUS REPORT
Over eighty years have passed since the founding of the Frankfurt School. Establishing a marxist communist society in the United States became its goal. The chosen strategy was not armed revolution but rather the destruction of the fundamental institutions of American society from within.
Although it is extremely late, Americans must recognize the objective for what it is – the fundamental transformation of America into a Marxist communist state. Recall that Antonio ramsci believed that Marxists could ultimately destroy Western culture and Christianity through control of the organs of culture – churches, schools, newspapers, magazines, electronic media, serious literature, music, the visual arts, etc. – over the course of a multigenerational “long march through the institutions.” Political power would then be within grasp. An assessment of Gramsci’s “long march through the institutions” is sobering.
- Church attendance is down, secularism has increased, illegitimacy has skyrocketed and large segments of the population now claim no religious affiliation. Prayer has been banished from schools. Christmas, the cross, and the Ten Commandments have been driven from the public square. The right to life is not protected within the womb and euthanasia is gaining legitimacy.
- Secular indoctrination has taken root in our schools. Traditional values of honor, patriotism, honesty, chastity, self-reliance, personal initiative, personal responsibility, and America’s Judeo-Christian foundation are increasingly absent from the school curriculum. In their place we now find, in varying degrees, the condemnation of capitalism, the “blame America first” syndrome, indoctrination in radical environmentalism, libertine “anything goes” sexual education, rampant narcissism, and the vilification of the Founding Fathers.
- Lawless violent youth gangs have proliferated. Some states have legalized addictive, mind-altering gateway drugs. Meanwhile, Political Correctness promotes tolerance for diverse liberal positions, but not for conservative or traditional points of view.
- Radical feminism has brought confusion and conflict in traditional male and female gender roles. It proclaims a “war on women” is limiting opportunity and wages for women. It elevates birth control and abortion to be every woman’s inalienable right, to be provided without charge by society. It demands equality with men in all respects, including military combat and other roles where individual size, speed, and strength may be critical to success.
- Homosexuality has been normalized. The entertainment media portrays homosexuality as normal and perfectly acceptable. Religious institutions have abandoned providing adoption services rather than placing children in homosexual “families” by force of law. Homosexual “marriage” has been elevated to equivalence with traditional marriage.
- The entertainment industry, news outlets, colleges and universities, contemporary literature, and the arts endorse and promote the tenets of Cultural Marxism. Identity politics is used to emphasize the helpless victimhood of women, ethnic and racial minorities, single mothers, the LGBT community, and other groups. The same identity politics is also used to demonize those allegedly to blame: Republicans, conservatives, Catholics and evangelical Christians, Tea Party members (now considered terrorists), white males, and all who are “clinging to their guns and bibles.”
- Most branches of government, particularly state and federal judiciaries, subscribe to Marxist ideology on many issues. The welfare state has created multiple generations of government dependency resulting in destructive consequences for the family. Government agencies intrude into almost all aspects of life, from permissible light bulbs, to the size of one’s soft drink, to the contents of a child’s school lunch. The national debt is over 17 trillion dollars and increasing with no end in sight.
Gramsci’s “long march through the institutions” has been very successful. Most of the “organs of American culture” have succumbed to the ideology of Cultural Marxism. Our challenge is to stop the fundamental transformation of America and restore traditional American norms, onstitutional principles, and Judeo-Christian values before it is too late.
- William S. Lind, Who Stole Our Culture, May 24, 2007, World Net Daily, web. http://www.wnd.com/2007/05/41737 (This reference is an excerpt taken from the book “The Culture-wise Family: Upholding Christian Values in a Mass Media World” by Dr. Ted Baehr and Pat Boone. William S. Lind provided Chapter 10 to this book. William S. Lind has a B.A. in History from Dartmouth College and an M.A., also in History, from Princeton University. He serves as director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism of the Free Congress Foundation in Washington, D.C., and as a vestryman at St. James Anglican Church in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.)
- Timothy Matthews. Free Republic, mar. 28, 2009, web, The Frankfurt School: Conspiracy to corrupt (from catholicinsightlcom), http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2216734/posts
- Linda Kimball, American Thinker, Feb. 15, 2007, Cultural Marxism, web. http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/02/cultural_marxism.html
- Fr. James Thornton, Free Republic, July 5, 1999, Gramsci’s Grand Plan, web. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/823368/posts