The piece below is the third part of the latest in an occasional series of essays by our expatriate English correspondent Peter on the history of the Socialist Left in Britain. (Previously: Part 1, Part 2.)
The Red Evolution IV: The Subversive Left, the Destabilising Left, the Antecedents of Generation Snowflake and the Ultimate Surrender of Rationality
By the mid-1970s, students had returned to those classes that would have them. Some had progressed to become lecturers while some lecturers had become professors, having produced books, theses, papers and other unintelligible documents of which only they could make sense, and about which only other academics cared. Others went into the professions and trades, earned a living and paid their taxes, but that was by no means the end of it. In the UK, particularly during the 1980s, we had the rise of political correctness in tandem with that of the Looney Left, except nobody used the term “political correctness” in those days — although “Looney Left,” was on the lips of many people, particularly those of the mainstream media since Political Correctness, or whatever it was they were calling it back then, had first manifested itself in Labour-controlled local authorities. In those days, these were seen as fair game for journalists of every political persuasion, especially those who sought to deflect public attention from the excesses of Margaret Thatcher.
For about twenty-five years, a scenario then unfolded which I would never have believed possible, had I not lived through it myself as the doctrine of the Frankfurt School insinuated itself into our daily working lives, though nobody could put a handle on it. We didn’t even have a name for it. Some places called it “equal opportunities,” but as Orwell himself put it, some people were more equal than others.
From just before 1980 until just after the end of the Millennium, the entire Western world was enslaved by this leftist creed, and many people still did not know what to call it. It was only after the publication of Allan Bloom’s book The Closing of the American Mind in 1987 that many of us first heard the phrase “Political Correctness”, by which time we were not so much submersed by it as being held under by some dark satanic hand and drowned in it. It was only during the first ten years of the Millennium that I was finally able to identify what had been going on, when I came upon an article on the Catholic Insight website entitled “The Frankfurt School: Conspiracy to Corrupt” by Timothy Matthews. I downloaded the article and re-read it over and over again. It is still online and well worth a read. That article led me to “The New Dark Age — The Frankfurt School and Political Correctness” by Michael Minnicino and from there to a piece co-authored by William S. Lind and Paul Weyrich about Cultural Marxism as a conspiracy against traditional Judeo-Christian values.
At about this time, everyone seemed to have learned about the Frankfurt School and its activities, and the cat was well and truly out of the bag. Even a Guardian reporter sarcastically stated as an aside to an unconnected article that he had never even heard of the Frankfurt School, with that familiar swagger adopted by Guardian reporters and their far-left ilk.
I’d first come across the term Cultural Marxism in Melanie Phillips’ book Londonistan in 2006. When I checked out the various references, I used Wikipedia as a starting, point even though it is described as left-leaning, and therefore should be taken with a pillar of salt, the type I usually save for The Guardian. Initially, Wikipedia reflected faithfully the contents of Matthews’ article and I did not pursue the matter, at least not then. Some months later I double-checked the Wikipedia page and was shocked to find that it had been re-written. The part of the narrative that corresponded to Timothy Matthews’ article was now relegated to the status of a conspiracy theory rather than the full-blown conspiracy I believed it to be. Wikipedia stated that the primary purpose of the Frankfurt School was the development of Critical Theory, without attempting to explain what Critical Theory actually was — the arrogance of the Left never changes.
Suddenly the Left had started to bite back, as it always does, with lies, misrepresentation, abuse, superciliousness and the now-familiar supremacist attitude. Finally, they would resort to the three “Ss,”: Sneer, Smear and Slander. Firstly, they sneer at any opinion that contradicts the leftist narrative, often with an acidic air of condescension, as if they should not be expected to acknowledge the existence of a low-caste dissenter, never mind engage with him. Having attempted to undermine the conflicting message, they then turn on the messenger, whom they subject to a smear campaign which morphs into slander as time progresses. We have all seen something similar happen to conservative commentators over the last few years. The leftist internet response is rather like a mass leafleting campaign.
The first article I read which supported the conspiracy theory notion was entitled “Cultural Marxism’: a uniting theory for rightwingers who love to play the victim”, written by one Jason Wilson in the Australia News section of The Guardian online. The Australian-born Wilson, now domiciled in Portland, Oregon, goes straight for the jugular.
He begins (and remember,he is Australian writing for an Australian audience):
What do the Australian’s columnist Nick Cater, video game hate group # Gamergate, Norwegian mass shooter Anders Breivik and random blokes on YouTube have in common? Apart from anything else, they have all invoked the spectre of “cultural Marxism” to account for things they disapprove of — things like Islamic immigrant communities, feminism and, er, opposition leader Bill Shorten.
What are they talking about? The tale varies in the telling, but the theory of cultural Marxism is integral to the fantasy life of the contemporary right. It depends on a crazy-mirror history, which glancingly reflects things that really happened, only to distort them in the most bizarre ways.
That briefly encapsulates the leftist counter-narrative, which issues a brief denial and smears and ridicules anyone who thinks differently. Look how quickly Wilson resorts to the Breivik slur to establish some sort of guilt-by-association.
They believe in Cultural Marxism; therefore the Right are all mass-murdering criminals like Breivik — right? Wrong, but try telling them that. Having set out his stall, Wilson then races through the early story of the Frankfurt School and their American escapades, ridiculing at every stage our accepted narrative in a snide and snarky manner — but we are used to that aren’t we? Then he plays his race card, “The theory of cultural Marxism is also blatantly anti-Semitic.” Actually it isn’t.
Indirectly referring to people as racist is another little piece of nastiness utilized by the Left, but on this occasion it is easily refuted by the facts. While certain members of the Frankfurt School had been born into the Jewish faith, they were all committed communists by the time they met up in Frankfurt. If they were to be described as anything, it should be as Jewish apostates and, as such, atheists. Wilson also throws in a reference to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion just to muddy the waters, while smearing William S. Lind. According to Wilson, “The whole story is transparently barmy.” I agree, but I refer to his version of events rather than ours. Wilson’s piece is still online. Check it out if you fancy a laugh.
I then went back to the internet and it didn’t take me long to find this gem on a site rejoicing in the name of Rational Wiki:
Cultural Marxism generally refers to one of two things:
1. First — extremely rarely — “Cultural Marxism” refers to an obscure critique of popular culture by the Frankfurt School, framing culture as being imposed by a capitalist culture industry and consumed passively by the masses. 2. Second — in common usage in the wild — “Cultural Marxism” is a snarl word used to paint anyone with progressive tendencies as a secret Communist. The term alludes to a conspiracy theory in which sinister left-wingers have infiltrated media, academia, and science and are engaged in a decades-long plot to undermine Western culture. Some variants of the conspiracy alleges [sic] that basically all of modern social liberalism is, in fact, a Communist front group.
We have more on the conspiracy theory fiction, and it is amazing how many variations of this post there are in existence, especially with the use of the term “snarl word” — Isn’t that two words? Then, of course, we get the inevitable introduction of Breivik and a continuation of the guilt by association slander, which in this case is directed at Pat Buchanan, dressed up as follows:
Oh, sure, once upon a time “cultural Marxism” was indeed a school of Marxist thought dealing with, you guessed it, culture. But in recent years the term has become a popular buzzword amongst neo-Nazis and other proud bigots on the far right, who use it to suggest a vast Jewish conspiracy against Western Civilization and the white race … without having to use the J-word, which tends to give their anti-Semitic game away.
In current wingnut usage, the term is a favourite of Pat Buchanan and, to the most dangerous extent, Anders Behring Breivik. It is a Cold Warrior’s way of decrying “political correctness” or “multiculturalism.”
So, there we have it, not only are we all dangerous Breivik clones, we are all anti-Semitic neo-Nazis and bigots as well. This criticism, like that of Wilson previously, is full of nasty rhetoric containing little of substance — typical leftist fare, in fact, which must have been written by one of those wingnuts we keep hearing about — a nasty individual whoever he, she or it, might be.
There are thousands of similar articles on the internet, many, including a website by one Devdutt Pattanaik in Mumbai, seeking to caricature those who believe in the genuine existence of cultural Marxism as uneducated… right wing, White Supremacist, trailer-trash… who presumably fear their superior, left wing, non-white rivals — I had trouble typing this as I was laughing so much, but Devdutt Pattanaik actually believes this stuff, as presumably do his various camp followers. According to his website, he is well-read and much published which does not surprise me. I spent much of the 1990s in India and found a lot of pseudo-intellectuals like Pattanaik, who come over the same way — over-educated, anti-Western and a long way up themselves — check him out.
While I was in England in December, 2017, I purchased a paperback entitled Grand Hotel Abyss — The Lives of the Frankfurt School by one Stuart Jeffries, of whom I knew nothing. I thought that this might dispel the aura of untruths, deceit and fiction dispensed by the Left, but I was wrong.
On page 6 of the introduction, the author suddenly deviates from his chronicle and states: “There is though, a rival history of the Frankfurt School… It’s a conspiracy theory that alleges a small group of German Marxist philosophers called the Frankfurt School developed something called Cultural Marxism….” and here we go again, straight into Breivik. At this juncture, I did something I should have done before I started reading: I checked the credentials of the author. Stuart Jeffries is a journalist, which is hardly surprising, as he writes very well, but in 1990 he joined the newspaper at which he finally worked his way up to be feature writer and columnist — The bloody Guardian! I rest my case.
The left dominates radio, television, newspapers and other organs of mass communication, and anyone who utters the words “Cultural Marxism” is automatically branded by leftists as an ignorant, unintelligent, knuckle-dragging fascist, probably with a shaven head and tattoos as well.
Those who indulge in this destructive form of disinformation invariably occupy positions of influence — opinion-shapers — and they abuse their situation obscenely. Their patronizing rhetoric is very tempting to the less knowledgeable, uncommitted and easily-influenced consumer, and I can understand why people fall for it. After all, if the other side of the argument is constantly being rubbished, trivialized and held up to ridicule by known and trusted columnists, the uninformed reader is easily misled. However, there are other papers like The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail which do promote the Frankfurt School conspiracy as accurate, but they, too, and their readership are dismissed by the Left as morons.
However, if the Frankfurt School was only devoted to Critical Theory, why is it that freedom of speech is constantly under attack?
Why are people in the West being imprisoned for “hate speech,” which, as far as I can see is merely making a statement that is at variance with the received wisdom of the establishment?
Why is our language itself being constantly monitored to protect the sensibilities of often unidentified third parties?
Why are homosexuality and LGTB being promoted as normal behavior?
Why is racism regarded as such a heinous offence, more so than violence against the person, rape or grievous bodily harm?
Why do we have a two-tier legal system biased against the victim?
Why are Western governments biased against Christianity?
Why is mass immigration being encouraged by governments when they know it undermines national identity?
Why are governments encouraging dependence on welfare and state benefits?
What do we gain from dumbed-down or controlled media?
I cannot see our getting a sensible answer to any of these questions from the leftist establishment any time soon, except for the predictable denial that any of those scenarios exist. But we all know differently.
In the meantime, I will leave you with the introductory paragraph to Timothy Matthews’ article. The article in the ACW Review to which Matthews refers is identical to the one he submitted as his own. Regardless, I encourage everyone to read it:
Most of Satan’s work in the world he takes care to keep hidden. But two small shafts of light have been thrown onto his work for me just recently. The first, a short article in the Association of Catholic Women’s ACW Review; the second, a remark (which at first surprised me) from a priest in Russia who claimed that we now, in the West, live in a Communist society. These shafts of light help, especially, to explain the onslaught of officialdom which in many countries worldwide has so successfully been removing the rights of parents to be the primary educators and protectors of their children…
- How World War II Shaped Modern Russia — Mark Davis — Euronews.htm.
- Korean War — Facts and Summary — Allan R. Millett www.history.com/topics/korean war
- The Korean War — An Overview — Michael Hickey www.bbc.co.uk/history
- Catholic Insight: The Frankfurt School — Conspiracy to Corrupt — Timothy Matthews
- The Schiller Institute: The New Dark Age — The Frankfurt School and Political Correctness — Michael Minnicino
- The Illusionist — How Herbert Marcuse Convinced a Generation That Censorship is Tolerance and Other Politically Correct Tricks — Robin Phillips www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo20/herbert.marcuse-censorship-is-tolerance-php
- Ascona-Astarte The Cult of Isis cultivated the Counter Consciousness culture-Satan’s Fake Apocalypse
- Has America Been Influenced by Communism_thetrumpet.com.htm — Andrew Miller — March 2015.
- CIA MK Ultra Collection — The Black Vault
- MK-Ultra — Facts and Summary — History.com
- 1960s Counter Culture-The New Left and the Politics of Protest — Michael Ungar
- Bomb Culture — Jeff Nuttall
- Do It — Jerry Rubin
- Seize the Time — Bobby Seale
- The Chicago Eight Conspiracy Trial — An Account — Famous Trials by Professor Douglas Linder
- The Chicago Seven: 1960s Radicalism in the Federal Courts by Bruce A. Ragsdale, Director, Federal Judicial History Office, Federal Judicial Centre.
- Who Were the Chicago Seven? — Wise GEEK
- 1968 — A Timeline of Events
- Cultural Marxism — A Uniting Theory for Rightwingers who love to play the victim — Jason Wilson-Australia News — Opinion-The Guardian
- Cultural Marxism — Rational Wiki
- What is Cultural Marxism? William S. Lind-Cultural Marxism.htm
- Devdutt Pattanaik — The Myth of Cultural Marxism
- Grand Hotel Abyss — The Lives of the Frankfurt School — Stuart Jeffries
Peter is an English expatriate who now lives in Thailand. For his previous essays, see Peter’s Archives.