Cultural Nonsense? A Programmed Denial

Last week I belatedly posted a response by Victor Onrust to an essay by Thai Peter. Below is Peter’s counter-response.

UPDATE: The Catholic Insight article referred to by Peter is here.

Cultural Nonsense? A Programmed Denial

by Peter

That was an interesting response from Victor Onrust. It cuts across something I was working on already concerning Tony Blair and New Labour, but that is for another time. For now, ever since the concept of Cultural Marxism arose, the Left has been unanimous in the vehemence of its denial that it ever existed. At least Victor appears to be prepared to argue the point rather than resort to the usual name-calling and sneering.

There is one point I must refute from the start: I do not see, nor have I ever seen “Cultural Marxism” as a conspiracy theory. It was a conspiracy, pure and simple — a conspiracy to corrupt in order to impose a communist revolution by stealth. That is how I have always seen it, and it is still at work in the here and now. I first came upon the phrase “Cultural Marxism” in Melanie Phillips’ book “Londonistan”, though she attributed it to the work of Antonio Gramsci rather than the Frankfurt School.

Victor states in his opening paragraph “As with most conspiracy ideas, little is said about who the conspirators are.” Not true. The identities of the “conspirators” are well known. Among others, the main players were Georgy Lukacs, Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Leo Lowenthal, Erich Fromm, Max Horkheimer, and Jurgen Habermas — Victor mentions them in his fourth paragraph. As for having a definite plan, that was formulated decades ago and was designed to impose a world-wide Communist revolution by the gradual destruction of Western culture, particularly Judeo-Christianity. It has taken a long time, but it is closer to success today than it has ever been.

Towards the end of 1922, the Comintern (Communist International) began to consider why their 1917 revolution failed to spread into Europe and throughout the West. On Lenin’s initiative, a meeting took place at the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow to “clarify the concept and give concrete effect to a Marxist Cultural Revolution” — presumably as opposed to a proletarian bloody one, which had already failed to take off outside of Russia. Georgy Lukacs was present at the meeting, and I am reminded that, soon after becoming a Communist, sometime in 1917, he wrote, “Who will save us from Western Civilisation?” Maybe he would.

Also at the meeting was one Willi Munzenberg, a German-born Communist propagandist and fundraiser. Munzenberg foresaw a top-down initiative to “mobilise all the intellectuals and use them to make Western civilization stink. Only then, after we have corrupted all its values and made life impossible, will we be able to impose the dictatorship of the proletariat.” It took a lot of time, but that seems to have happened, particularly over the last thirty years or so.

In 1924, after Lenin’s death, Stalin began to view Lukacs and like-minded people as revisionists, so a number of them decamped to Germany, where Lukacs chaired the first meeting of a group of Communist-oriented sociologists, a gathering that was to lead to the foundation of the Frankfurt School. It was from here that the basic principles of Cultural Marxism were formulated. When Hitler’s rise caused the primary members of the group to flee to America, a number of them were put to work by American institutions. For instance, Adorno — an accomplished musician — obtained the post of Head of the Music Section at the Office of Radio Research at the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Popularly known as the “Radio Project,” and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, it examined how the media could affect the population and increase their susceptibility to mass indoctrination and control techniques.

Marcuse, after spending World War Two working for the Allied war effort, went into teaching, first at Brandeis and then at San Diego University. During this time, Marcuse was regarded as the Guru of the New Left and laid down a lot of the principles that are still freely practiced today, such as repressive tolerance which, simply put, encouraged tolerance of ideas and propositions from the left and intolerance of those coming from the right. He also realized that the American working classes would not be engaging in any form of Marxist revolution, and that any revolution he and his cronies could foment would have to be populated from elsewhere. He identified, inter alia, those people that Victor has set out in his second paragraph, the self-proclaimed victims and fringe groups as potential revolutionaries. I agree that there could be no Marxist revolution without the working classes (How I hate that derogatory term!), but what Marcuse was trying to initiate was a Marcusian revolution. Once instigated, this would spread rapidly through universities in the US and elsewhere, where it has become part of the accepted theology, and is why the so-called ruling classes caused those policies Victor identifies to be implemented.

Victor mentions The Dialectical Imagination: A history of the Frankfurt School , the author of which, Martin Jay, taught at the University of Berkley and knew many of the Frankfurt School members personally. He also draws attention to an article on Vice.com by one Scott Oliver which turned out to be another one of those spite-filled anti-right rants seeking to smear anyone with conservative sympathies as a knuckle-dragging, brain-dead Breivik clone. I encountered a lot of those when I was writing my article, and after quoting from some of the worst, I disregarded the rest. There are still a lot of them about.

I grew up in England and also participated in ’68. I must admit that, even then, I found the whole concept of Communist theory and Marxism utterly boring. As far as I was concerned, Marx was reputed to be a hygienically challenged little man who was accused of plagiarizing many of his ideas. As for using the concept of Cultural Marxism to denounce Marx, nothing could be further from the truth. At present he is lying in Highgate Cemetery, North London under a huge pile of masonry, and my only regret is that they didn’t bury all his writings and other meanderings with him. My concern is that from 1922 onwards, certain Communist revolutionaries plotted to destroy Western Civilization and replace it with leftist totalitarianism. They have played a long game, and the original instigators have died, but the evidence of their handiwork is all around us, and all the programmed leftist denials will not change that.

Finally, Victor states, “What is interesting is that I haven’t found any article with reference to Frankfurter (sic) School authors, describing how this Cultural Marxism came about.” I find this curious. There are numerous online articles including:

  • 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

I recommend Timothy Matthews’ article from Catholic Insight. It is rather old and difficult to find but well worth a read. In case you have difficulty locating it, I will send a copy to the Baron and you can get it from him.

Peter is an English expatriate who now lives in Thailand. For his previous essays, see Peter’s Archives.

28 thoughts on “Cultural Nonsense? A Programmed Denial

  1. this knowledge and its like is what I was seeking as a Political Science Major at the Blanding School of Government at the Univ of Kansas (graduate 2003) but did not receive from course curriculum. Perhaps if I had sought Graduate Studies in Political Science I would be confident in extolling the machinations of the USSR’s First Directorate for Foreign Intelligence.

    I have always sought the true, factual history of Marxism and its implementations in the USSR and China.

    Now that I’ve retired for a second time perhaps I will seek further enlightenment regarding these subjects.

  2. ‘Cultural’ (marxism) the conspiracy to destroy the western (Judeo-Christian) culture and replace it with one of the many forms of traditional feudalism.

    Why are there so many Turks in Germany? Because Communists (Marx based religionistas) would not allow Eastern Europeans to work in the then booming West German Auto industry.

    We took our eye off the ball, to fight the toxic National Socialists we allied with, and absorbed, the slow acting poison of the International Socialists. May Europe rest in ‘peace’.

    • MC, Europe isn’t dead yet, far from it, this is only the beginning as human nature is slowly waking from its Marxist induced slumber and easy living. Nature always abhors a vacuum, and the weak, feckless and traitorous class have awoken that good ole tribal spirit that is only going to continue to spiral completely out of anyone’s control and grow stronger by each 3rd world atrocity visited upon us. The coming Great Purge where your race, religion and politics will be your uniform, and the new rules of warfare with be swept away where the old ways will be brought back with a vengeance. Mark my words my friend, it is coming.

    • Great article and emblematic of what I have always feared about the West’s love affair with Communism …

      “Even when I studied computer science one in three of the academics was an open communist.”

      This struck my chord. I studied CS in the eastern part of the Iron Curtain in the 80’s. The anti-communism of my professors was clearly palpable and almost explicit. Few members of the academia were communists; those were almost overtly mocked for their allegiance with the pathetic, inept and openly Stalinist line of the Commparty.

      Well, tempora mutantur. Now living in America and watching our President bullishly oppose the Squad, I am saying to myself: if there’s God, please protect this man as he is our only glimmer of hope; please give him another four years as his chaotic presidency is much better than the leftist onslaught on what America has always stood for; and if all fails and we are left to resist, we will: my best years are over, and my gun cabinet is full of toys and amassed throughout the years … better men than I am died at the beaches of Normandy for what I enjoy now as Western freedoms.

      Sad times are ahead of us.

      • When I was at University one of the lecturers, before even starting his lecture, announced, I am a Marxist.

        I supposed that he bought his clothes at Marks.

  3. There is another group that has been playing a much longer game namely Islam. And the Progressives have teamed up with them. I wonder what that partnership will do to the West. This is a clever move by the more intellectual elements with the Islamist club. Tariq Ramadan is good example. Especially cunning is the way in which they have managed to present Islam as a religion of oppressed Brown people.

  4. I have gone on British Right Wing Blogs and said”Cultural Marxism” and they go absolutely nuts, denying it exists and if it does it surely isn’t in the UK.

    Then again from Prince Andrew to Prince Charles, from the Deep State in small towns to the insanity that is London, the UK is in bad shape if it can’t identify its enemies.

    There is Katie Hopkins, Pat Condell, Tommy Robinson, Paul Watson and a dozen others but after that……?

    I emailed my daughter in London, saying I liked Boris Johnson and she unloaded on me about the Pound going down. “None of my friends nor anyone I know wanted Brexit.” Well, the Brits voted for Brexit years ago and nothing happened. Get rid of the uncertainty and the Pound will most likely rise again, I responded.

  5. “None of my friends nor anyone I know wanted Brexit.”

    Well – it might as well be just generational – older people wanted Brexit, the youth not at all.

    None of my younger British acquaintances wanted Brexit either. Many of them see Jeremy C. as an acceptable alternative to the “dark times” BoJo in ushering (their words).

    I just do not know what the public opinion in UK truly represents (how many Brexiters and Remainers) but my feeling is: the people of the sceptered isle have spoken and their government has betrayed them (until know). Remainers are deeply poisoned by Cultural Marxism, hence my comment below this article …

  6. Thanks to Peter for his pithy response and augmentation.

    The Marxists like to claim, sincerely or insincerely, I don’t know which, that cultural Marxism is different from Marxism, which focuses on class economics. In fact, Karl Marx himself foresaw that the economics program he advocated would demolish bourgeois, European society and culture, and that was just fine with him. In a sense, Marx was the first cultMarxist. Let me quote from another blog:

    From “The Communist Manifesto”

    “All objections urged against the Communistic mode of producing and appropriating material
    products, have, in the same way, been urged against the Communistic mode of producing and appropriating intellectual products. Just as, to the bourgeois, the disappearance of class property is the disappearance of production itself, so the disappearance of class culture is to him identical with the disappearance of all culture.

    That culture, the loss of which he laments, is, for the enormous majority, a mere training to act as a machine”
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Manifesto.pdf

    From “Cultural Marxism: Gramsci and the Frankfurt School, Emerging Worldviews”

    “The bottom line here is that for social progress and the liberation of the worker to occur, the current culture and value system must be attacked and replaced with a new one that reflects the interests of workers and, more broadly, the oppressed. Establishing this new “truth” is critical to human liberation. It thus fits well with the trends we saw in the last article dealing with postmodernism.”

    http://www.breakpoint.org/2019/03/cultural-marxism-gramsci-and-the-frankfurt-school-emerging-worldviews-4/

    https://www.jihadwatch.org/2019/07/ilhan-omar-endorses-violence-against-senator-rand-paul#comment-2128682

    One of the necessary conditions for a destructive theology like cultMarx to gain such widespread influence is the centralization of power in the state. The cultMarx professors are paid with tax fund, the institutions of so-called learning are funded by, and certified by, government bureaucracies, and the employers are forced to go by university degrees as IQ proxies because any real test they could use would be culturally biased, that is, would find a disproportionate number of whites to be qualified.

    In other words, centralization of power provides a cultMarx funnel through which many or most middle and lower-middle class wage-earners will have to pass.

    The larger the state, the easier it is for the bureaucrats to capture control. Bureaucracy and Marxism including cultMarxism naturally go together. Marxism is about control, and that is the bread and butter of bureaucracy.

    Small states are not immune, but simply make it less likely. Sweden is an excellent counter-example. It is a relatively small country that has been forging the chains of socialism and soft totalitarianism for more than half a century. They are now reaping the consequences.

  7. Twelve years ago I wrote an 100-page essay on the Frankfurt School that has never been printed, though it can be read at http://www.kosmospolis.com/2014/07/la-escuela-de-francfort-un-estudio-critico/, which means it is written in Spanish, my mother tongue. Though I can translate English into Spanish, I am incapable of doing it the other way with my essay. So I challenge anyone who finds interesting this crucial theme and is able to do the corresponding translation, to take up the job under the guarantee that I would forgo the copyright thing and demand no compensation of any kind to te one responding positively to my offer. I am sure anyone proficient in Spanish and interested in the theme, will profit from the amount of information contained in a text that took me two years to put together.

    • Gil,

      I used Google translate, which does an extremely credible job of translating. It must be something in your writing style, but the amount of confusion due to untranslatable language construction differences is minimal.

      Your work is as good as you imply. It gives a very full history of the development of cultural Marxism from traditional Marxism, and the march of cultural Marxism through institutions. It shows the development through the contributions of the different cultural Marxist scholars from the beginnings through the present.

      I don’t think you should give up authorship rights. The Google translation is fully enough to get the vast majority of meaning and information. I think you know enough English to collaborate on any ambiguous parts. It is a massively informative work. It confirms explicitly a lot of conclusions I drew intuitively about cultural Marxism and its effects.c

    • Let’s take one aspect of your findings.

      Cultural Marxism derived from classical Marxists who, after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, were disappointed that the workers of different countries did not flock to Communism even after the Russian Revolution. These Marxists concluded that it was traditional European culture, based on Christianity, family values, and the practices of the culture, that prevented the workers from embracing communism. Therefore, to advance communism, the founders of the school which became the Frankfort School, consciously determined a pathway to destroy traditional culture. This would pave the way for workers to accept Marxism.

    • Gil, thank you for contributing here. I hope to learn more from you, but unfortunately I don’t know Spanish.

      [redacted]

  8. Let me make it clear that my proposal above means that the only obligation on the part of the hypothetical translator would be to handle me a copy of his work exclusively for my personal use, he being otherwise free to do with it as he pleases, as my only objective is the dissemination of the terribly dangerous truth my work tries to propagate.

  9. Can anyone point me in the direction of the Timothy Matthews article in “Catholic Insight? (hint, hint, Baron)

    TIA

  10. Ronald b: Thank you for your hint. Never tought the ‘Google tranlator’ would be as proficient as you portray it. So I shall give it a try. If I ever finish it, I shall post it in this very ‘Gates o Vienna’ page for general perusal. I insist my only purpose is dissemination of the origin of all the ills that afflict our Western societies today, as the best way to combat an apparently invisble enemy is to name it first. As for your fianl question. I am an Army officer long ago retired.

    • Gil,

      As I say, I found the Google translation to be quite comprehensible. It needs an editor, rather than a translator, and probably your approval for every page that it reflects your original meaning.

      Felix Quigley motivates a good point, which is that the power of your information would be much enhanced if you inserted footnotes or references for your specific information.

  11. Peter who lives in Thailand

    Perhaps you are engaging in Fake News. Is that possible. Most people engaged in this kind of polemic are careful to source their quotes.

    Consider this Peter where you write:

    “Towards the end of 1922, the Comintern (Communist International) began to consider why their 1917 revolution failed to spread into Europe and throughout the West. On Lenin’s initiative, a meeting took place at the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow to “clarify the concept and give concrete effect to a Marxist Cultural Revolution” — presumably as opposed to a proletarian bloody one, which had already failed to take off outside of Russia. Georgy Lukacs was present at the meeting, and I am reminded that, soon after becoming a Communist, sometime in 1917, he wrote, “Who will save us from Western Civilisation?” Maybe he would.”

    Can you give more details about this meeting which took place on the initiative of Lenin. Usual points, when, where exactly, chairman, and especially the source for the words that are in inverted commas. It is especially the latter that people are usually careful about giving the source.

    Where did you find this information?

  12. Especially these in quotes:

    “clarify the concept and give concrete effect to a Marxist Cultural Revolution”

  13. Any idea that promises hipness will be taken up by our youth. The content is unimportant.

    We do anything to be cool and trendy. The more underground and alarming the idea, the better.

    This is why satire is so important in our pushback efforts.

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