In response to the killing of 13 American soldiers at Ft. Hood by an Islamic U. S. Army major, a number of senior officials have expressed their fear, not of Islam, but of a possible threat to “diversity.” “Diversity” is one of the many false gods of “Political Correctness.” But what exactly is Political Correctness?
Political Correctness is cultural Marxism, Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. Its history goes back not to the 1960s but to World War I. Before 1914, Marxist theory said that if a major war broke out in Europe, the workers of every country would join together in a revolution to overthrow capitalism and replace it with international socialism. But when war came, that did not happen. What had gone wrong?
Two Marxist theorists, Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary, independently came up with the same answer. They said that Western culture and the Christian religion had so “blinded” the working class to its true (Marxist) class interests that Communism was impossible in the West until traditional culture and Christianity were destroyed. When Lukacs became Deputy Commissar for Culture in the short-lived Bela Kun Bolshevik government in Hungary in 1919, one of his first acts was introducing sex education into the Hungarian schools. He knew that destroying traditional sexual morals would be a major step toward destroying Western culture itself.
Lukacs became a major influence on a Marxist think tank established in 1923 at Frankfurt University in Germany, the Institute for Social Research, commonly known as the Frankfurt School. When Max Horkheimer took over as director of the Frankfurt School in 1930, he set about in earnest to do Lukacs’ bidding by translating Marxism from economic into cultural terms. Other Frankfurt School members devoted to this intellectually difficult task were Theodor Adorno, Eric Fromm, Wilhelm Reich and Herbert Marcuse. Theirs was not the Marxism of the Soviet Union – Moscow considered them heretics – but it was Marxism nonetheless.
The Frankfurt School’s key to success was crossing Marx with Freud. They argued that just as under capitalism everyone lived in a state of economic oppression, so under Western culture people lived under psychological repression. From psychology they also drew the technique of psychological conditioning. Want to “normalize” homosexuality? Just show television program after television program where the only normal-seeming white male is homosexual.
In 1933 the Frankfurt School moved from Germany to New York City. There, its products included “critical theory,” which demands constant, destructive criticism of every traditional social institution, starting with the family. It also created a series of “studies in prejudice,” culminating in Adorno’s immensely influential book, The Authoritarian Personality, which argued that anyone who defends traditional culture is a “fascist” and also mentally ill. That is why anyone who now dares defy “PC” gets sent to “sensitivity training,” which is psychological conditioning designed to produce submission.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Herbert Marcuse translated the abstruse work of the other Frankfurt School thinkers into books college students could understand, such as Eros and Civilization, which became the Bible of the New Left in the 1960s. Marcuse injected the Frankfurt School’s cultural Marxism into the baby boom generation, to the point where it is now that generation’s ideology. We know it as “multiculturalism,” “diversity” or just Political Correctness.
That is the dirty little secret of Political Correctness, folks: it is a form of Marxism. If the average American knew that, I suspect Political Correctness would be in serious trouble.
The Ft. Hood killings raise an interesting question: why would Marxists of any variety come to the support of Islam? After all, if the Islamics took over, they would cut Marxists’ throats even before they cut the throats of Christians and Jews. The answer is that cultural Marxism will ally with any force that helps it to achieve its goals, destroying Western culture and Christianity.
Obviously, there is far more to the history of the Frankfurt School and its creation of Political Correctness than I can cover in a short column. This is just a bare-bones outline. For those who want to learn more (and I hope you do), you can find a short book on the subject, which I edited, on the website of the Free Congress Foundation. Free Congress also produced a short video documentary history of the Frankfurt School, which I’m told is available on Youtube (look under Frankfurt School or under my name). The video is especially valuable because we interviewed the principal American expert on the Frankfurt School, Martin Jay, who was then the chairman of the History Department at Berkeley (and obviously no conservative). He spills the beans.
Most people in the U. S. military hate Political Correctness, but they don’t know how to fight it. The way to fight it is to find out what it really is, and make sure all your friends find out too. Political Correctness is cultural Marxism, which is to say intellectual Soylent Green. Here more than in anything else, knowledge is a weapon!
William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation.