A Nation of Frogs
Just recently, I was discussing the tax system with my attorney who had just completed my mother's estate. When I informed him of the Marxist underpinnings of, not only the so-called "death tax," but also the graduated income tax, he was shocked. He had no idea that Karl Marx had written the major elements in the tax code with which he had been working his entire professional life. All one has to do is read the Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in 1848. The fact that an educated, sophisticated man, such as my lawyer, had been totally unaware of this fact speaks volumes about the vast majority of Americans. As Yankee manager Casey Stengel used to say, "You could look it up!"
Most Americans believe that when the Berlin Wall went down with a thundering crash in 1989, it marked the end of the bloody ogre that had enslaved half of Europe for over forty years. They believe that the country has nothing to fear from Communism any more. They have been conditioned to believe that the anti-Communism crusade of the 1950s was nothing more than paranoidal ranting of Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy. The fact is Communism is still very much alive and thriving in this country. It has taken on a more subtle, destructive guise. The situation is analogous to the frog that is put into a pot of tepid water. If the cook were to quickly increase the temperature of the water, the frog would quickly jump out to safety. But the smart cook increases the temperature, only gradually, so that the poor frog does not realize it is being slowly but surely boiled to death. William Lederer once referred to America as a "nation of sheep." I believe America is more a nation of frogs.
How did this happen? The place to start is with the writings of a Sardinian intellectual, Antonio Gramsci. Born in the village of Ales on the island of Sardinia in 1891, Gramsci became the most successful interpreter of Marxism. He left Sardinia for the mainland where he studied philosophy and history at the University of Turin. In 1919 he founded a newspaper in Italy, the L'Ordinine Nuovo, or the New Order. In 1921 with Palmiro Togliatti, Gramsci founded the Italian Communist party. When Italy adopted Mussolini's fascism, Gramsci fled to Russia where he analyzed Lenin's adaptation of Communism. He was profoundly disturbed that Communist Russia failed to show any great interest in a "workers' paradise." Gramsci clearly understood that the Russian ruling class had maintained its hold on the workers, by resorting to sheer terror and mass extermination. Communism had merely replaced one with the other.
After Lenin's death and the ensuing struggle for power, even Russia became a dangerous place for Gramsci. Lenin's successor Stalin eliminated anyone suspected of deviation from his party line. Gramsci returned to Italy to struggle against Mussolini, was arrested as a likely agent of a foreign power, and imprisoned in 1926. He spent the remaining years of his life expounding on his philosophy. It was here that he wrote Prison Notebooks and Letters from Prison, which have become extremely influential on the college campus. When he died after being released in 1937, he had produced a total of nine volumes on history, sociology, and Marxist theory.
Since economic Marxism was a failure, Gramsci reasoned that the only way to topple the repressive Western institutions was by, what he called, a "long march through the culture." He repackaged Marxism in terms of a bona fide "cultural war," not its doctrinaire class struggle. He was well aware that most people did not believe in the Communist system. Their Christian faith was the big obstacle, preventing the necessary leap to Communism. Gramsci knew that the civilized world had been thoroughly indoctrinated with Christianity for 2000 years, so much so that civilization and Christianity were inexorably bound. It was the Christian character of the West that had provided an almost impenetrable barrier to infiltration. More than an opiate, religion was the peasants' lifeline that helped them endure the harsh realities of life. According to Pat Buchanan's book, The Death of the West, Christianity was the "heat shield of capitalism." To capture the West, Marxists "must first de-Christianize the West," that is, destroy its religious foundations.
De-Christianize the West
Gramsci hated marriage and the family, the very founding blocks of a civilized society. To him, marriage was a plot, a conspiracy if you would, to perpetuate an evil system that oppressed women and children. It was a dangerous institution, characterized by violence and exploitation, the forerunner of fascism and tyranny. Patriarchy served as the main target of the cultural Marxists. They strove to feminize the family with legions of single and homosexual mothers and "fathers," who would serve to weaken the structure of civilized society.
It was another cultural Marxist who brought the Gramascian strategy into the schools. George Lukacs was a wealthy Hungarian banker. He was reputed to have been the most brilliant theorist since Marx himself. Echoing the future sentiments of Jesse Jackson, Lukacs cried out "who will free us from Western civilization?" As deputy commissioner of culture in Hungary under Bela Kun, his first task was to put in radical sex education in the schools. He reasoned that this was the best way to destroy traditional sexual morality, and weaken the family. Hungarian children learned the subtle nuances of free love, sexual intercourse, and the archaic nature of middle-class family codes, the obsolete nature of monogamy, and the irrelevance of organized religion, which deprived man of pleasure. Children were urged to deride and ignore the authority of parental authority, and precepts of traditional morality. If this sounds familiar, it is because this is what is happening in our public and even some Catholic schools today. Lukacs was the forerunner of President Clinton's libidinous Surgeon General, Jocelyn Elders.
Gramsci's and Lukacs' ideas came to fruition through the Frankfurt School or Institute of Social Research, as it was originally called, in the 1920s. They translated Marxism from economics into culture terms. One of the keys in the Frankfurt School was to merge Marxist analysis with Freudian psychoanalysis and psychological conditioning. According to their Freudian and Marxist amalgamation, just as under capitalism, the working class was automatically oppressed, so under Western culture, blacks, homosexuals, Hispanics, and women, that is, everybody but evil white males, were automatically the collective targets of Western oppression. The notion of group solidarity or what is called "identity politics" was designed to create nothing but division, leading to violence and social anarchy. In order to undermine Western society, the cultural Marxists would constantly repeat the charges that the West was guilty of genocidal crimes against each and every civilization that it had ever encountered throughout its history, and the historical oppressions of mankind.
This idea evolved into "Critical Theory," which has served the left as its main weapon in the battle for the soul of American culture. The "Crits" employed destructive criticism of the main pillars of Western civilization, including Christianity, capitalism, authority, the family, morality, tradition, sexual restraint, loyalty, patriotism, nationalism, heredity, ethnocentrism, convention, Conservatism and especially the language. Critical Theory, which is endemic to all the major law schools in the country, holds that the patriarchal social structure should be replaced with matriarchy. The belief that men and women are different and have properly defined roles would be replaced with androgyny and with that, the heterodox belief that homosexuality is normal. The differences between the genders, not sexes, had to be minimized. According to Marxist feminists men and women were fungible. That is they could be easily interchanged. Genders' differences were nothing more than mere anatomical accidents.
Another key ingredient in Cultural Marxism was Theodor Adorno's idea of the "Authoritarian Personality." His book, which he published with Else Frenkel-Brunswick, Daniel J. Levinson, and R. Nevitt Sanford in 1950, was premised on the singular principle that Christianity, Capitalism, and the patriarchal or authoritarian family created a character susceptible to racial prejudice and fascism. To them anyone who upheld the old traditional standards had an authoritarian personality that was basically fascist in nature. If a family adhered to Christian and capitalist principles, the children would most likely grow up to be fascists and racists. Pat Buchanan called Adorno's book, "the altarpiece of the Frankfurt School." If fascism and racism are endemic to the culture, as Adorno believed, everyone who was raised in the traditions of God, motherhood, and family is in need of a psychological help. This is Orwellian logic that seems to have already established a beachhead in the American consciousness. Cultural determinism had replaced Marx's economic determinism.
This corresponds with the idea of "political correctness." Political correctness is the key to understanding the plight of the American culture since the dawning of the sixties. P.C. represents the lead vehicle through which the Marxist mind has driven its cancerous ideas in undermining the genius of American politics and culture. Under the rubric of "diversity," its hidden goal is to impose a uniformity of thought and behavior on all Americans. The cultural Marxists, often teachers, university professors and administrators, TV producers, newspaper editor and the like, serve as gatekeepers by keeping all traditional and positive ideas, especially religious ideas, out of the public marketplace. One can easily see that happening in our society every day.
Probably the most important member of the Frankfurt School was Herbert Marcuse. He was largely responsible for bringing Cultural Marxism to the United States, when he moved to New York City to escape the Nazi persecution in the thirties. In the sixties he became the guru of the New Left while a professor at University of California at San Diego. Marcuse was a full-blooded social revolutionary who contemplated the disintegration of American society just as Karl Marx and Georg Lukacs contemplated the destruction of German society.
In his book, An Essay on Liberation, Marcuse proclaimed the means for transforming American society. He believed that all taboos, especially sexual ones, should be relaxed. "Make love, not war!" was his battle cry that echoed through the ivy-covered college campuses all over America. His methodology for rebellion included the deconstruction of the language, the infamous "what does 'is' mean?" which fostered the destruction of the culture. By confusing and obliterating word meanings, he helped cause a breakdown in the social conformity of the nation, especially among the more uninformed young of America. He deliberately acerbated race relations by emphasizing the idea that white men were all guilty for slavery and blacks could do no wrong.
These cultural revolutionaries were faced with a serious question raised by the Gramascian shift. If the proletariat was not the basis of the revolution, what was? Marcuse said that women should be the cultural proletariat who transformed Western society. They would serve as the catalyst for the new Marxist Revolution. If women could be persuaded to leave their traditional roles as the transmitters of culture, then the traditional culture could not be transmitted to the next generation. The idea that "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world," is no idle statement.
What better way to influence the generations to come than by subverting the traditional roles of women? The Marxists rightfully reasoned that the undermining of women could deal a deadly blow to the culture.
One of the heirs to this cultural strategy was Betty Friedan, the former Naomi Goldstein. Her book, The Feminine Mystique, served as the textbook in sabotaging the American family. Friedan's described the traditional housewife as a "parasite," who was forced to deny her true nature. To Friedan, the stay-at-home mom was a mindless robot devoid of a real brain. Though she was not a member of the Frankfurt School, Friedan's hatred and disdain for men and patriarchy made her the "godmother of radical feminism."
The subversion of the family and the decline in respect for patriarchy has led to the increased feminization of the nation's cultural institutions, including churches, schools, and universities, political parties and even the military and our police forces. "Modern man" resembles more the saccharine sensitivity of an Alan Alda than the lusty bravado of a John Wayne. According to Carolyn Graglia's book Domestic Tranquility, the "editors at Playboy could not have orchestrated the women's movement" any better.
If women were the target, then the Cultural Marxists scored a bull's-eye. Today women unrealistically aspire to anything a man does from being a fighter pilot, a combat soldier, policemen, firemen, priests, boxers, and several jobs that require manly strength or a masculine disposition, even the presidency. They have lowered themselves from their lofty pedestals and sacrificed their natural moral superiority to men on the altar of equality and choice. Women have traded the domestic tranquility of family and the home for the power surge of the boardroom and the sweaty release of casual sex. Divorce court statistics, wife and child abandonment, abortion and even spousal murder can be laid at Betty Friedan's doorstep to a large degree.
This has not happened like the Biblical "thief in the night." It has been a gradual process, as Americans lay fat and lazy on their lily pads, watching Oprah or the next big game. To paraphrase T. S. Eliot, our civilization will end, not with a big bang, but with a faint croak, if we do not do something now.
William A. Borst holds a Ph.D. in American History from St. Louis University. He is a weekly talk show host on WGNU radio and the author of the book, Liberalism: Fatal Consequences.
This item 7314 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org
This item 7314 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org