Yesterday I tried to reach across the political aisle, with an article designed to find, and then build on, common ground. That article was, ironically, not the best received article in right-wing circles. Today I’m writing an article that will likely set the left’s collective hair on fire. I take no pleasure in doing so, but this topic is critically important.
In the late 1940s, and early 1950s, Joseph McCarthy told the world that communists were infiltrating the American government, as well as our educational system and media, in a ploy to take down the free market mechanics upon which the United States was built. Joseph McCarthy used terrible smear tactics to get those he listed as ‘communists’ blacklisted from the industries within which they worked, and what became known as ‘McCarthyism’ destroyed a lot of innocent lives.
Joseph McCarthy was eventually censured by the US Senate, and ‘McCarthyism’ is a phrase used today to indicate that someone is making demagogic and reckless accusations against political opponents, but we might also consider that though Joseph McCarthy used reckless and demagogic tactics to destroy his political opponents, his assertion that communists were actively working to infiltrate our government, as well as our educational system, and our media, were spot-on. Communism was doing exactly that, and after McCarthy was censured, communists could hide behind cries of ‘McCarthyism’ whenever they were called out.
There is a quote in one of my favorite movies (The Usual Suspects) that says, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.” The ‘devil’ being referred to in the movie was a crime lord named Keyser Soze, who had grown to such mythical proportions that nobody – criminal or prosecutor – even believed he existed. The quote could just as easily be used to describe Cultural Marxism, and the Frankfurt School of economic thought, from which Cultural Marxism emerged.
When you tell people that something comes out of the Cultural Marxist school of thought, you are apt to be accused of subscribing to a grand conspiracy theory. This is in spite of the fact that the Institute of Social Research at Goethe University (in Frankfurt, Germany), really existed. Such luminaries as Carl Grunberg, Karl Korsch, and Friedrich Pullock, founded this institute, which they called the ‘Frankfurt School,’ and their teachings, published in the writings of, among other people, Theodor Adorno, Erich Fromm, and Herbert Marcuse, are readily available for anyone who wishes to read them. Herbert Marcuse was probably the most prolific of them, and is a good starting place for anyone who wants to see whether or not Cultural Marxism is real. Those who followed these early Cultural Marxists have been publishing books, illustrating exactly what they are doing and exactly what they want to do, for over 100 years, and yet, just as with Keyser Soze in The Usual Suspects, as soon as one mentions Cultural Marxism, those who support tenets of Cultural Marxism pretend that no such animal exists.
When Hitler came to power, the members of the Frankfurt School fled Germany, and settled at Columbia University, in New York, where they began implementing Cultural Marxism in the United States. The Soviet Union, for obvious reasons, supported Cultural Marxism, but in spite of this, Cultural Marxism grew somewhat slowly until the Vietnam War. Once the Hippie Revolution started, Marxist ideas grew more rapidly, such that today the top economist taught at American universities is none other than Karl Marx.
In a nutshell, the Frankfurt School realized that the whole ‘proletariat vs. bourgeois’ thing was not going to work in the West, and sought other ways to spin the narrative of the world being one of oppressed vs. oppressor. ‘White privilege’ and the notion of the United States as an ‘oppressive, racist patriarchy’ stem from Cultural Marxism.
One of the main tenets of Cultural Marxism is postmodernism, which draws from the philosophies of Immanuel Kant. In his seminal work, Critique of Pure Reason, Kant showed how the only thing that can truly be known is the existence of the self. Everything else is based on perceptions from our five senses, and it would be entirely possible for all of those to be fake. Some ‘Grand Trickster’, according to Kant, could be stimulating sensory inputs on, for example, a brain in a jar, and as in The Matrix, the entire world within which we live could be nothing more than an illusion. You’ve heard the quote, “I think, therefore I am.” That’s Kant, but Kant was not trying to prove the existence of the self, so much as to create a rational way to deny the existence of everything else.
People like Herbert Marcuse built on the works of Kant to suggest that the world is the product of our own perceptions. They started with language, reasoning that every word has multiple meanings, and that as words are put together into sentences, and sentences into paragraphs, the number of possible interpretations grows exponentially. By the time you get to a book, there are an almost infinite number of possible interpretations, with no way to know which interpretation is correct. Interpretations become totally subjective. Likewise, everything we know about the world around us is driven by imperfect senses, and our perceptions of those senses. There are infinitely more ways to interpret our perceptions than there are to interpret a book, so everything we know about the world around us is even more subjective than are the interpretations we can take from the books we read. Truth is subjective to the postmodernist – we each have our own ‘truth’. The world is divided between oppressed and oppressor, and things like science and reason are just tools used by the oppressor to stay in power. It is time for the oppressor to listen to the truths of the oppressed, and to recognize how the existing order was designed from the ground up to keep the existing power structure in place. To the postmodernist, freedom is quite literally the cause of oppression, and the only solution to unfair oppression is the application of oppression against those who would otherwise have privilege.
One could point out that while there are a nearly infinite number of possible ways to interpret a book, the number of viable interpretations are limited, and are all very similar. The same is true for the world around us – there are an infinite number of ways to interpret our senses and perceptions, but very few of them are in any way useful, and those that are useful are all very similar. The truth of the rational world (and the folly of postmodernism) is proven every time someone flips a light switch and the lights come on. The simple fact that complex systems work in predictable ways disproves postmodernism, but to the postmodernist, ‘proof’ is just another tool the oppressor uses to stay in power. Postmodernists don’t believe in ‘proof’.
Before Cultural Marxism, we had plain-Jane Marxism, and according to the teachings of Karl Marx, World War One was the perfect catalyst to turn the Western World communist. The ‘Workers of the World’ had just been driven through the meat-grinder of industrialized warfare. Surely, Marx’ followers thought, the workers of the industrialized nations would go back to their home nations, and demand that changes be made such that wars could never be fought again. Surely, they reasoned, the industrialized world would move into a communist age.
Ironically, the only nation that became communist (Russia) had not yet been through the industrial revolution, which Marx believed was a necessary precursor of communism. The workers of the West simply went home and re-entered their pre-war lives, with no interest in communism. Marx taught that each person should work as much they are able while taking only what they absolutely needed. Workers in the West were already working less than they were able, and earning more than they needed. Nobody was going to rise up and fight to earn less.
Marx based his work on that of an earlier economist, named Thomas Malthus. Malthus looked at the world around him and realized two things: 1) 90% of the populations in every country on Earth lived in abject poverty, no more than a bad harvest from starvation; and 2) even during the ‘good times,’ populations always grew faster than food supplies, ensuring that 90% of the population would always be in a perpetual state of slow-starvation. Malthus was not alone in this observation. One of his contemporaries, Adam Smith, wrote his seminal work (A Treaty into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations), after noticing that in two places (the United States and England), food supplies were growing at several times the growth rate of the population. Smith realized, as Malthus did, that food supplies had always grown more slowly than populations in the past, but unlike Malthus, Adam Smith saw that something important had changed, allowing food supplies to outpace population growth.
Marx did not read Adam Smith. Marx was, in fact, not even an economist. Marx was a terrible alcoholic, who was only able to survive (and write), based on the patronage of Friedrich Engels, whose father owned a textile factory. It is somewhat ironic to think that the seminal communist works were funded by capitalism, but it’s actually even worse than that: Karl Marx moved to England to enjoy the lifestyle only available in countries practicing free market economics.
If you ignore Adam Smith, and focus only on Thomas Malthus, you might suggest, as Marx did, that the solution to the problems Malthus observed was to do a better job of sharing. If you do not ignore Adam Smith, Marx sounds crazy, believing that the only nations on Earth where communism could take hold were in the very nations where the ‘workers of the world’ were becoming relatively rich without communism, and where communism would make them worse – not better – off.
Immanual Kant came up with his philosophy to justify a belief in God, in a world where rationality appeared to be encroaching on religion (Kant had no way of knowing that rationality and religion would prove to coexist), and similarly, postmodernism was created to justify a belief in communism in spite of all of the evidence that communism would not improve lives, even if it worked. Over time, as at least 100 million people died at the hands of those trying to make communism work, it became evident that communism could not work, and postmodernism was needed, along with Critical Theory, and political correctness, to allow the left to believe what they wanted to be true, in spite of what is demonstrably true. I’m not going to get into a long discourse today on what, exactly, Critical Theory, postmodernism, political correctness are (though I did do that in a speech to the Oakland County Libertarian Party about a year ago, and you are welcome to watch that video on YouTube), but suffice it to say that in order for the public to believe these things, these things must be taught, and if you want to teach the public things, you need to take over the education system and the media, which is hard to do that unless you also have strong tentacles in government.
Liberalism has taken over exactly those institutions.
Who was it who warned us that communists were infiltrating our education system, media, and government? Joseph McCarthy.
McCarthy’s tactics were un-American, which is why they eventually failed, but he was absolutely correct in his view of communism, and of how communism planned to take over the Western World. If we want to reverse the trend and start to take our education system, media, and government back, we need to call the enemy out, and admit that Joseph McCarthy was right.