Sunday, 11 July 2010

The Communist Origins of Political Correctness

The Frankfurt School of Marxism was a real school. It was really a building in Frankfurt and received gas bills. It was a think-tank set up to marry Marxism-Leninism with the insights of Freud. After the failure of the revolution in Germany, Austria and Hungary, Marxists had to conclude that the workers had failed to rise against their oppressors because of their false consciousness. From the Marxist point of view this was absolutely true, of course. This false consciousness included, in Lukacs’s words, the whole of western civilisation. Western civilisation was itself the enemy of the people. The Frankfurt school was excommunicated by Stalin for heretically adopting insights from psychoanalysis and expelled from Germany when the Nazis came to power (its members were Jews to a man). They sought refuge in academic tenure in third-rate colleges in the United States where they remained like a dormant bacillus. And there in the late 60s student radicals wanting a justification for free love, bohemianism and revolt discovered a philosophy much groovier than that contained in Das Kapital. Foucault was horrified by the student radicals and summoned the police to rid his lecture room of his long haired admirers but Adorno in Pittsburgh sprang from obscurity hoping to achieve the long delayed apotheosis of his revolutionary ideals.

If you seek the monument of the men and women of 1968 look around you. Not to be sure in the economies of western Europe. The moth-eaten phylacteries of Marxism Leninism have been discarded for the free market goose which lays the golden eggs that the welfare state redistributes to its clients. But in an attitude that rejects authority, tradition, organised religion (as opposed to personal, privatised spirituality), rejects parents, rejects the masculinity of the nation in favour of the maternal values of the social worker. The ideas of the Frankfurt School, that marriage was oppressive of women, that bourgeois sexual morality was a means of oppressing workers, women, homosexuals, became the ideology which took over the universities and therefore opinion formers despite the right being in office in America and Great Britain in the 80s and early 90s. None of it is new. All was invented during the Weimar Republic by Leninists seeking to replace bourgeois civilisation with Bolshevism. The student radicals of 1968 included Schroeder, Brown and many people who now help run the E.U.

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