Raymond V. Raehn
America is today dominated by an alien system of beliefs, attitudes and values that we have come to know as “Political Correctness.” Political Correctness seeks to impose a uniformity of thought and behavior on all Americans and is therefore totalitarian in nature. Its roots lie in a version of Marxism which seeks a radical inversion of the traditional culture in order to create a social revolution.
Social revolution has a long history, conceivably going as far back as Plato’s Republic. But it was the French Revolution of 1789 that inspired Karl Marx to develop his theories in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, the success of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia set off a wave of optimistic expectation among the Marxist forces in Europe and America that the new proletarian world of equality was finally coming into being. Russia, as the first communist nation in the world, would lead the revolutionary forces to victory.
The Marxist revolutionary forces in Europe leaped at this opportunity. Following the end of World War I, there was a Communist “Spartacist” uprising in Berlin, Germany led by Rosa Luxemburg; the creation of a “Soviet” in Bavaria led by Kurt Eisner; and a Hungarian communist republic established by Bela Kun in 1919. At the time, there was great concern that all of Europe might fall under the banner of Bolshevism. This sense of impeding doom was given vivid life by Trotsky’s Red Army invasion of Poland in 1919.
However, the Red Army was defeated by Polish forces at the battle of the Vistula in 1920. The Spartacist, Bavarian Soviet and Bela Kun governments all failed to gain widespread support from the workers and after a brief time they were all overthrown. These events created a quandary for the Marxist revolutionaries in Europe. Under Marxist economic theory, the oppressed workers were supposed to be the beneficiaries of a social revolution that would place them on top of the power structure. When these revolutionary opportunities presented themselves, however, the workers did not respond. The Marxist revolutionaries did not blame their theory for these failures. They blamed the workers.
One group of Marxist intellectuals resolved their quandary by an analysis that focused on society’s cultural “superstructure” rather than on the economic substructures as Marx did. The Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci and Hungarian Marxist Georg Lukacs contributed the most to this new cultural Marxism.
Antonio Gramsci worked for the Communist International during 1923-24 in Moscow and Vienna. He was later imprisoned in one of Mussolini’s jails where he wrote his famous “Prison Notebooks.” Among Marxists, Gramsci is noted for his theory of cultural hegemony as the means to class dominance. In his view, a new “Communist man” had to be created before any political revolution was possible. This led to a focus on the efforts of intellectuals in the fields of education and culture. Gramsci envisioned a long march through the society’s institutions, including the government, the judiciary, the military, the schools and the media. He also concluded that so long as the workers had a Christian soul, they would not respond to revolutionary appeals.
Georg Lukacs was the son a wealthy Hungarian banker. Lukacs began his political life as an agent of the Communist International. His book History and Class Consciousness gained him recognition as the leading Marxist theorist since Karl Marx. Lukacs believed that for a new Marxist culture to emerge, the existing culture must be destroyed. He said, “I saw the revolutionary destruction of society as the one and only solution to the cultural contradictions of the epoch,” and, “Such a worldwide overturning of values cannot take place without the annihilation of the old values and the creation of new ones by the revolutionaries.”
When he became Deputy Commissar for Culture in the Bolshevik Bela Kun regime in Hungary in 1919, Lukacs launched what became known as “Cultural Terrorism.” As part of this terrorism he instituted a radical sex education program in Hungarian schools. Hungarian children were instructed in free love, sexual intercourse, the archaic nature of middle-class family codes, the out-datedness of monogamy, and the irrelevance of religion, which deprives man of all pleasures. Women, too, were called to rebel against the sexual mores of the time. Lukacs’s campaign of “Cultural Terrorism” was a precursor to what Political Correctness would later bring to American schools.
In 1923, Lukacs and other Marxist intellectuals associated with the Communist Party of Germany founded the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University in Frankfurt, Germany. The Institute, which became known as the Frankfurt School, was modeled after the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow. In 1933, when Nazis came to power in Germany, the members of the Frankfurt School fled. Most came to the United States.
The members of the Frankfurt School conducted numerous studies on the beliefs, attitudes and values they believed lay behind the rise of National Socialism in Germany. The Frankfurt School’s studies combined Marxist analysis with Freudian psychoanalysis to criticize the bases of Western culture, including Christianity, capitalism, authority, the family, patriarchy, hierarchy, morality, tradition, sexual restraint, loyalty, patriotism, nationalism, heredity, ethnocentrism, convention and conservatism. These criticisms, known collectively as Critical Theory, were reflected in such works of the Frankfurt School as Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom and The Dogma of Christ, Wilhelm’s Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism and Theodor Adorno’s The Authoritarian Personality.
The Authoritarian Personality, published in 1950, substantially influenced American psychologists and social scientists. The book was premised on one basic idea, that the presence in a society of Christianity, capitalism, and the patriarchal-authoritarian family created a character prone to racial prejudice and German fascism. The Authoritarian Personality became a handbook for a national campaign against any kind of prejudice or discrimination on the theory that if these evils were not eradicated, another Holocaust might occur on the American continent. This campaign, in turn, provided a basis for Political Correctness.
Critical Theory incorporated sub-theories which were intended to chip away at specific elements of the existing culture, including “matriarchal theory,” “androgyny theory,” “personality theory,” “authority theory,” “family theory,” “sexuality theory,” “racial theory,” “legal theory,” and “literary theory.” Put into practice, these theories were to be used to overthrow the prevailing social order and usher in social revolution.
To achieve this, the Critical Theorists of the Frankfurt School recognized that traditional beliefs and the existing social structure would have to be destroyed and then replaced. The patriarchal social structure would be replaced with matriarchy; the belief that men and women are different and properly have different roles would be replaced with androgyny; and the belief that heterosexuality is normal would be replaced with the belief that homosexuality is equally “normal.”
As a grand scheme intended to deny the intrinsic worth of white, heterosexual males, the Critical Theorists of the Frankfurt School opened the door to the racial and sexual antagonisms of the Trotskyites. Leon Trotsky believed that oppressed blacks could be the vanguard of a communist revolution in North America. He denounced white workers who were prejudiced against blacks and instructed them to unite with the blacks in revolution. Trotsky’s ideas were adopted by many of the student leaders of the 1960s counterculture movement, who attempted to elevate black revolutionaries to positions of leadership in their movement.
The student revolutionaries were also strongly influenced by the ideas of Herbert Marcuse, another member of the Frankfurt School. Marcuse preached the “Great Refusal,” a rejection of all basic Western concepts, sexual liberation and the merits of feminist and black revolution. His primary thesis was that university students, ghetto blacks, the alienated, the asocial, and the Third World could take the place of the proletariat in the Communist revolution. In his book An Essay on Liberation, Marcuse proclaimed his goals of a radical transvaluation of values; the relaxation of taboos; cultural subversion; Critical Theory; and a linguistic rebellion that would amount to a methodical reversal of meaning. As for racial conflict, Marcuse wrote that white men are guilty and that blacks are the most natural force of rebellion.
Marcuse may be the most important member of the Frankfurt School in terms of the origins of Political Correctness, because he was the critical link to the counterculture of the 1960s. His objective was clear: “One can rightfully speak of a cultural revolution, since the protest is directed toward the whole cultural establishment, including morality of existing society…” His means was liberating the powerful, primeval force of sex from its civilized restraints, a message preached in his book, Eros and Civilization, published in 1955. Marcuse became one of the main gurus of the 1960s adolescent sexual rebellion; he himself coined the expression, “make love, not war.” With that role, the chain of Marxist influence via the Frankfurt School was completed: from Lukacs’ service as Deputy Commissar for Culture in the Bolshevik Hungarian government in 1919 to American students burning the flag and taking over college administration buildings in the 1960s. Today, many of these same colleges are bastions of Political Correctness, and the former student radicals have become the faculties.
One of the most important contributors to Political Correctness was Betty Friedan. Through her book The Feminine Mystique, Friedantied Feminism to Abraham Maslow’s theory of self-actualization. Maslow was a social psychologist who in his early years did research on female dominance and sexuality. Maslow was a friend of Herbert Marcuse at Brandeis University and had met Erich Fromm in 1936. He was strongly impressed by Fromm’s Frankfurt School ideology. He wrote an article, “The Authoritarian Character Structure,” published in 1944, that reflected the personality theory of Critical Theory. Maslow was also impressed with the work of Wilhelm Reich, who was another Frankfurt School originator of personality theory.
The significance of the historical roots of Political Correctness cannot be fully appreciated unless Betty Friedan’s revolution in sex roles is viewed for what it really was – a manifestation of the social revolutionary process begun by Karl Marx. Friedan’s reliance on Abraham Maslow’s reflection of Frankfurt School ideology is only one indicator. Other indicators include the correspondence of Friedan’s revolution in sex roles with Georg Lukacs’ annihilation of old values and the creation of new ones, and with Herbert Marcuse’s transvaluation of values. But the idea of transforming a patriarchy into a matriarchy – which is what a sex-role inversion is designed to do – can be connected directly to Friedrich Engels book The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State. First published in 1884, this book popularized the now-accepted feminist belief that deep-rooted discrimination against the oppressed female sex was a function of patriarchy. The belief that matriarchy was the solution to patriarchy flows from Marx’s comments in The German Ideology, published in 1845. In this work Marx advanced the idea that wives and children were the first property of the patriarchal male. The Frankfurt School’s matriarchal theory and its near-relation, androgyny theory, both originated from these sources.
When addressing the general public, advocates of Political Correctness – or cultural Marxism, to give it its true name – present their beliefs attractively. It’s all just a matter of being “sensitive” to other people, they say. They use words such as “tolerance” and “diversity,” asking, “Why can’t we all just get along?”
The reality is different. Political Correctness is not at all about “being nice,” unless one thinks gulags are nice places. Political Correctness is Marxism, with all that implies: loss of freedom of expression, thought control, inversion of the traditional social order, and, ultimately, a totalitarian state. If anything, the cultural Marxism created by the Frankfurt School is more horrifying than the old, economic Marxism that ruined Russia. At least the economic Marxists did not exalt sexual perversion and attempt to create a matriarchy, as the Frankfurt School and its descendants have done.
This short essay has sought to show one critical linkage, that between classical Marxism and the ingredients of the “cultural revolution” that broke out in America in the 1960s. The appendices to this paper offer a “wiring diagram” which may make the trail easier to follow, along with a more detailed look at some of the main actors. Of course, the action does not stop in the ‘60s; the workings of the Frankfurt School are yet very much with us, especially in the field of education. That topic, and other present-day effects of Frankfurt School thinking, will be the subjects of other chapters in this book.
• He began his political life as a Kremlin agent of the Communist International.
• His History and Class-Consciousness gained him recognition as the leading Marxist theorist since Karl Marx.
• In 1919 he became the Deputy Commissar for Culture in the Bolshevik Bela Kun Regime in Hungary. He instigated what become known as “Cultural Terrorism.”
• Cultural Terrorism was a precursor of what was to happen in American schools.
• He launched an “explosive” sex education program. Special lectures were organized in Hungarian schools and literature was printed and distributed to instruct children about free love, the nature of sexual intercourse, the archaic nature of the bourgeois family codes, the outdatedness of monogamy, and the irrelevance of religion, which deprives man of all pleasure. Children were urged to reject and deride paternal authority and the authority of the Church, and to ignore precepts of morality. They were easily and spontaneously turned into delinquents with whom only the police could cope. This call to rebellion addressed to Hungarian children was matched by a call to rebellion addressed to Hungarian women.
• In rejecting the idea that Bolshevism spelled the destruction of civilization and culture, Lukacs stated: “Such a worldwide overturning of values cannot take place without the annihilation of the old values and the creation of new ones by the revolutionaries.”
• Lukacs’ state of mind was expressed in his own words:
o “All the social forces I had hated since my youth, and which I aimed in spirit to annihilate, now came together to unleash the First Global War.”
o “I saw the revolutionary destruction of society as the one and only solution to the cultural contradictions of the speech.”
o “The question is: Who will free us from the yoke of Western Civilization?”
o “Any political movement capable of bringing Bolshevism to the West would have to be ‘Demonic’.”
o “The abandonment of the soul’s uniqueness solves the problem of ‘unleashing’ the diabolic forces lurking in all the violence which is needed to create revolution.”
• Lukacs’ state of mind was typical of those who represented the forces of Revolutionary Marxism.
• At a secret meeting in Germany in 1923, Lukacs proposed the concept of inducing “Cultural Pessimism” in order to increase the state of hopelessness and alienation in the people of the West as a necessary prerequisite for revolution.
• This meeting led to the founding of the Institute for Social Research at Frankfurt University in Germany in 1923 – an organization of Marxist and Communist-oriented psychologists, sociologists and other intellectuals that came to be known as the Frankfurt School, which devoted itself to implementing Georg Lukacs’s program.
• He was an Italian Marxist on an intellectual par with Georg Lukacs who arrived by analysis at the same conclusions as Lukacs and the Frankfurt School regarding the critical importance of intellectuals in fomenting revolution in the West.
• He had traveled to the Soviet Union after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and made some accurate observations that caused him to conclude that a Bolshevik-style uprising could not be brought about by Western workers due to the nature of their Christian souls.
• Antonio Gramsci became the leader of the Italian Communist Party, which earned him a place in one of Mussolini’s jails in the 1930s, where he wrote Prison Notebooks and other documents.
• These works became available in English to Americans.
• His advice to the intellectuals was to begin a long march through the educational and cultural institutions of the nation in order to create a new Soviet man before there could be a successful political revolution.
• This reflected his observations in the Soviet Union that its leaders could not create such a new Soviet man after the Bolshevik Revolution.
• This blueprint for mind and character change made Gramsci a hero of Revolutionary Marxism in American education and paved the way for creation of the New American Child in the schools by the education cartel.
• The essential nature of Antonio Gramsci’s revolutionary strategy is reflected in Charles A. Reich’s The Greening of America: “There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions in the past. It will originate with the individual and the culture, and it will change the political structure as its final act. It will not require violence to succeed, and it cannot be successfully resisted by violence. This is revolution of the New Generation.”
• In his 1933 book entitled The Mass Psychology of Fascism, he explained that the Frankfurt School departed from the Marxist sociology that set “Bourgeois” against “Proletariat.” Instead, the battle would be between “reactionary” and “revolutionary” characters.
• He also wrote a book entitled The Sexual Revolution which was a precursor of what was to come in the 1960s.
• His “sex-economic” sociology was an effort to harmonize Freud’s psychology with Marx’s economic theory.
• Reich’s theory was expressed in his words: “The authoritarian family is the authoritarian state in miniature. Man’s authoritarian character structure is basically produced by the embedding of sexual inhibitions and fear in the living substance of sexual impulses. Familial imperialism is ideologically reproduced in national imperialism…the authoritarian family…is a factory where reactionary ideology and reactionary structures are produced.”
• Wilhelm Reich’s theory, when coupled with Georg Lukacs’ sex education in Hungary, can be seen as the source for the American education cartel’s insistence on sex education from kindergarten onwards and its complete negation of the paternal family, external authority, and the traditional character structure.
• Reich’s theory encompassed other assertions that seem to have permeated American education:
o The organized religious mysticism of Christianity was an element of the authoritarian family that led to Fascism.
o The patriarchal power in and outside of man was to be dethroned.
o Revolutionary sexual politics would mean the complete collapse of authoritarian ideology.
o Birth control was revolutionary ideology.
o Man was fundamentally a sexual animal.
• Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism was in its ninth printing as of 1991 and is available in most college bookstores.
• Like Wilhelm Reich, Fromm was a social psychologist of the Frankfurt School who came to America in the 1930s.
• His book Escape from Freedom, published in 1941, is an ideological companion to Wilhelm Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism.
• Fromm asserted that early capitalism created a social order that resulted in Calvin’s Theory of Predestination, which reflected the principle of the basic inequality of men which was revived in Nazi ideology.
• He asserted the authoritarian character experiences only domination or submission and “differences, whether sex or race, to him are necessarily of superiority or inferiority.”
• He asserted that “Positive Freedom” implies the principle that there is no higher power than the unique individual self; that man is the center and purpose of life; that the growth and realization of man’s individuality is an end that can be subordinated to purposes which are supposed to have a greater dignity.
• Fromm made the real meaning of this “Positive Freedom” clear in another of his many books – The Dogma of Christ - wherein he describes a revolutionary character such as himself as the man who has emancipated himself from the ties of blood and soil, from his mother and father, and from special loyalties to state, race, party or religion.
• Fromm makes his revolutionary intent very clear in The Dogma of Christ...”We might define revolution in a psychological sense, saying that a revolution is a political movement led by people with revolutionary characters, and attracting people with revolutionary characters.”
• Like Wilhelm Reich and Erich Fromm, Marcuse was an intellectual of the Frankfurt School who came to America in the 1930s.
• He has often been described as a Marxist philosopher, but he was in fact a full-blooded social revolutionary who contemplated the disintegration of American society just as Karl Marx and Georg Lukacs contemplated the disintegration of German society: “One can rightfully speak of a cultural revolution, since the protest is directed toward the whole cultural establishment, including the morality of existing society…there is one thing we can say with complete assurance: the traditional idea of revolution and the traditional strategy of revolution has ended. These ideas are old-fashioned…What we must undertake is a type of diffuse and dispersed disintegration of the system.”
• Marcuse published Eros and Civilization in 1955, which became the founding document of the 1960s counterculture and brought the Frankfurt School into the colleges and universities of America.
• He asserted that the only way to escape the one-dimensionality of modern industrial society was to liberate the erotic side of man, the sensuous instinct, in rebellion against “technological rationality.”
• This erotic liberation was to take the form of the “Great Refusal,” a total rejection of the capitalist monster and its entire works, including technological reason and ritual-authoritarian language.
• He provided the needed intellectual justifications for adolescent sexual rebellion and the slogan “Make Love, Not War.”
• His theory included the belief that the Women’s Liberation Movement was to be the most important component of the opposition, and potentially the most radical.
• His revolutionary efforts would blossom into a full-scale war by revolutionary Marxism against the European white male in the schools and colleges.
• He was another Marxist revolutionary and a member of the Frankfurt School who came to America in the 1930s.
• Along with others, Adorno authored The Authoritarian Personality, which was published in 1950.
• Adorno’s book was inspired by the same kind of theoretical assertions revealed in the works of Wilhelm Reich, Erich Fromm, and Herbert Marcuse based on analytical studies of German society that were begun in 1923.
• The basic theme was the same. There was such a thing as an authoritarian character that was the opposite of the desired revolutionary character. This authoritarian character was a product of capitalism, Christianity, conservatism, the patriarchal family and sexual repression. In Germany, this combination induced prejudice, anti-Semitism and fascism according to Frankfurt School theory.
• It so happened that most Americans were products of capitalism, Christianity, conservatism, the patriarchal family, and sexual repression in their youth. So Theodor Adorno and other members of the Frankfurt School had a golden opportunity to execute Georg Lukacs’ and Antonio Gramsci’s program for creating social revolution in America instead of Germany.
• They would posit the existence of authoritarian personalities among Americans with tendencies toward prejudice, and then exploit this to force the “scientifically planned re-education” of Americans with the excuse that it was being done in order to eradicate prejudice.
• This scientifically-planned re-education would become the master plan for the transformation of America’s system of fundamental values into their opposite revolutionary values in American education so that school children would become replicas of the Frankfurt School revolutionary characters and thus create the New American Child.
• This can be confirmed by noting that The Authoritarian Personality is the key source of the affective domain of Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives of 1964, which guided the education cartel thereafter.