Join Date: Feb 2006
"Frankfurt School conspiracy theory" Wiki article
I just came across this whilst googling for the 11 points to mention in another thread. I thought it would make a good discussion. Can we prove that it did/does exist? I don't mean its effects: I mean its actual existence.
The Frankfurt School conspiracy theory is a conspiracy theory postulating that the Frankfurt School of critical theorists which advanced a version of Marxism known as "Cultural Marxism" had an agenda of subverting traditional Western values. Many of the Frankfurt School were Jewish, and in some versions (such as those of Kevin MacDonald) the conspiracy theory is explicitly linked with the School's main ethnic background; in some others,[which?] it is "a transparent subtext ... which is not hard to discern and has become more explicit with each telling of the narrative". The theory originates with a 1992 essay in a Lyndon LaRouche movement journal, but derived its most important institutional support from the Free Congress Foundation. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported in 2002 that the theory had been taken up by a number of what it defined as "hate groups". According to historian Martin Jay writing in 2010, "what began as a bizarre Lyndon Larouche coinage has become the common currency of a larger and larger public of addled enragés [and] has entered at least the fringes of the mainstream."
"In a nutshell, the theory posits that a tiny group of Jewish philosophers who fled Germany in the 1930s and set up shop at Columbia University in New York City devised an unorthodox form of 'Marxism' that took aim at American society's culture, rather than its economic system. The theory holds that these self-interested Jews — the so-called 'Frankfurt School' of philosophers — planned to try to convince mainstream Americans that white ethnic pride is bad, that sexual liberation is good, and that supposedly traditional American values — Christianity, 'family values,' and so on — are reactionary and bigoted. With their core values thus subverted, the theory goes, Americans would be quick to sign on to the ideas of the far left."
Although the Communist International is not usually involved, in a version of the theory by Ralph de Toledano published in Cry Havoc! (2007), the Frankfurt School was a Communist front set up Willi Münzenberg.
This conspiracy theory view of Cultural Marxism can be traced in part to the idea of "political correctness" which was popularised in the early 1990s. Although it became more widespread in the late 1990s and 2000s, it originated with a lengthy 1992 essay (Michael Minnicino, "New Dark Age: Frankfurt School and 'Political Correctness'") published in "Fidelio", an organ of the Lyndon LaRouche movement, which further promoted the idea in 1994. This was then picked up by Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation by 1997, and in 1998 the head of the Foundation's Center for Cultural Conservatism, William S. Lind, introduced it at an Accuracy in Academia conference. In 1999 Lind led the creation of an hour-long program Political Correctness: The Frankfurt School. The documentary
"spawned a number of condensed textual versions, which were reproduced on a number of radical right-wing sites. These in turn led to a welter of new videos now available on You Tube, which feature an odd cast of pseudo-experts regurgitating exactly the same line. The message is numbingly simplistic: all the ills of modern American culture, from feminism, affirmative action, sexual liberation and gay rights to the decay of traditional education and even environmentalism are ultimately attributable to the insidious influence of the members of the Institute for Social Research who came to America in the 1930's. The origins of "cultural Marxism" are traced back to Lukács and Gramsci, but because they were not actual émigrés, their role in the narrative is not as prominent."
The paleoconservative William S. Lind may have contributed most to the popularisation of the view (partly through editing a 2004 Free Congress Foundation book, Political Correctness: A Short History of an Ideology), including (in 2002) observing of the Frankfurt School that "these guys were all Jewish". Lind argues that,
"Political Correctness is cultural Marxism. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. It is an effort that goes back not to the 1960s and the hippies and the peace movement, but back to World War I. If we compare the basic tenets of Political Correctness with classical Marxism the parallels are very obvious."
Lind argues that "Political Correctness" has resulted in American citizens, particularly in academia, being "afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as offensive or insensitive, or racist, sexist, or homophobic" and that such changes can be attributed to the influence of cultural Marxists.
Another leading proponent is Kevin B. MacDonald, devoting a chapter of his The Culture of Critique (1998) to the Frankfurt School as part of an argument about Jewish influence. Another significant influence is Patrick Buchanan's The Death of the West (2001), "stigmatizing as it did the Frankfurt School for promoting 'cultural Marxism' (a recycling of the old Weimar conservative charge of 'cultural Bolshevism' aimed at aesthetic modernists)." Buchanan asserted that the Frankfurt School commandeered the American mass media, and used this cartel to infect the minds of Americans. Daniel Estulin's 2006 book Los secretos del club Bilderberg (which was praised by Fidel Castro) included the Frankfurt School conspiracy theory. Estulin links Theodor Adorno's involvement in the Rockefeller-funded Radio Research Project with Walter Lippmann, "who was somehow able to engineer the Beatles' conquest of the American media in the 1960's." Others promoting the theory include Michael Savage and Andrew Breitbart (in his book Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!, 2011.).
Similarly, conservative Paul Gottfried's book, The Strange Death of Marxism (2005) argues that Marxism survived and evolved since the fall of the Soviet Union in the form of "cultural Marxism":
Neomarxists called themselves Marxists without accepting all of Marx’s historical and economic theories but while upholding socialism against capitalism, as a moral position …. Thereafter socialists would build their conceptual fabrics on Marx’s notion of “alienation,” extracted from his writings of the 1840s …. [they] could therefore dispense with a strictly materialist analysis and shift … focus toward religion, morality, and aesthetics. ...
Lind comments on Gottfried's book:
Is the critical observation about the Frankfurt School therefore correct, that it exemplifies 'Cultural Bolshevism,' which pushes Marxist-Leninist revolution under a sociological-Freudian label? To the extent its practitioners and despisers would both answer to this characterization, it may in fact be valid … but if Marxism under the Frankfurt School has undergone [these] alterations, then there may be little Marxism left in it. The appeal of the Critical Theorists to Marx has become increasingly ritualistic and what there is in the theory of Marxist sources is now intermingled with identifiably non-Marxist ones …. In a nutshell, they had moved beyond Marxism … into a militantly antibourgeois stance that operates independently of Marxist economic assumptions.
In a similar vein, in her Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature, Elizabeth Kantor says that it is possible to determine what works of literature are valuable, but that "cultural Marxists" since the 1960s have completely changed the criteria so as to reward mediocre books and denounce truly good literature as racist, sexist, homophobic and elitist.
The "Cultural Marxism" conspiracy theory found fertile ground with the development of the Tea Party movement in 2009, with contributions published in the American Thinker and WorldNetDaily highlighted by some Tea Party websites.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported in 2002 that the theory had been taken up by a number of what it defines as "hate groups"; the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens, for example, picked up the issue in 2000.
The "Cultural Marxism" conspiracy theory reached greater prominence, particularly in Europe, when it was established that Norwegian white nationalist Anders Behring Breivik, who killed dozens of people in 2011, had placed this view of "cultural marxism" as a cornerstone of his ideology, placing a copy of William Lind's 2004 pamphlet on the subject at the beginning of his manifesto. Breivik's manifesto "explicitly equates liberalism and multiculturalism with cultural Marxism, something Breivik says is destroying European Christian civilization." This view was adopted by European white nationalists from American ones, and is grounded in the claim that Cultural Marxism has suppressed white nationalism and racial identity, while African Americans and Latinos have been able to build a strong cultural identity and institutions. As Jared Taylor put it in 2004, "Racial pride is fine for blacks and everyone else, but verboten... for whites. Not just American whites mind you, but all whites everywhere."
According to historian Martin Jay (leading historian of the Frankfurt School) writing in 2010, "what began as a bizarre Lyndon Larouche coinage has become the common currency of a larger and larger public of addled enragés [and] has entered at least the fringes of the mainstream." Although the Communist International is not usually involved, in a version of the theory by Ralph de Toledano published in Cry Havoc! (2007), the Frankfurt School was a Communist front set up Willi Münzenberg, which Jay described as a "crackpot claim".
According to Richard Lichtman, a social psychology professor at the Wright Institute, the Frankfurt School is "a convenient target that very few people really know anything about.... By grounding their critique in Marxism and using the Frankfurt School, [cultural conservatives] make it seem like it's quite foreign to anything American. It takes on a mysterious cast and translates as an incomprehensible, anti-American, foreign movement that is only interested in undermining the U.S." Lichtman says that the "idea being transmitted is that we are being infected from the outside."  Lichtman's critique parallels that of rhetorical critic Edwin Black who demonstrated how John Birch Society co-founder Robert Welch used a similar disease metaphor in his writings and speeches during the "Red scare" era of the 1950s and 60s.
Chip Berlet (2012) situates the theory in a wider context: "From the colonial Salem witch hunts, to the anti-Catholic nativism of the 1800s, to the Palmer raids of 1919–20, to the 1950s McCarthy-era Red Scare, to the Tea Parties of today, the hunt for subversion is built around conspiracy theories. Those seeking to expose the conspiracy build movements to counter the alleged subversion. Their central frame is that the national is imperiled by a secret and sinister conspiracy seeking to crush democracy and install some form of evil totalitarian rule." Berlet argues that the "Cultural Marxism" theory is a form of framing that helps "the power elites of organized wealth" to mobilise right-wing popular movements in the support of their interests: "Blaming hard times as being the result of the secret conspiracy is a time-honored tradition, and conspiracy theories function as a narrative form of scapegoating."
Martin Jay cites the following as "a list cited verbatim from many of the websites devoted to the question:"
The creation of racism offences
Continual change to create confusion
The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children
The undermining of schools' and teachers' authority
Huge immigration to destroy identity
The promotion of excessive drinking
Emptying of churches
An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime
Dependency on the state or state benefits
Control and dumbing down of media
Encouraging the breakdown of the family
The authorship of the list is unclear; Jay cites a 2009 publication but implies it may predate it.
Read more (I've copied it all - only the references/links left to see):
A conspiracy theory? Really?
But Wiki has an article on the Frankfurt School:
- in fact, they're discussing whether the two should be merged.
Wiki's own definition of conspiracy theory:
A conspiracy theory is an explanatory proposition that accuses two or more people, a group or an organization of having caused or covered up, through deliberate collusion, an event or phenomenon of great social, political, or economic impact.
2 Proven conspiracies and conspiracy theories, prevalence of conspiracies in large-scale criminal enterprises
4 Usage history
5 On conspiracism
6 Political use
7 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
The term "conspiracy theory" is used to indicate a narrative genre that includes a broad selection of (not necessarily related) arguments for the existence of conspiracies. Less illustrious uses refer to folklore and urban legend and a variety of explanatory narratives, which are constructed with methodological flaws or biases.
Overwhelmingly negative connotation and use as a label to dismiss or ridicule
Originally a neutral term, since the mid-1960s it has acquired a somewhat derogatory meaning, implying a paranoid tendency to see the influence of some malign covert agency in events. The term is sometimes used to automatically dismiss claims that are deemed ridiculous, misconceived, paranoid, unfounded, outlandish, or irrational.[page needed] A proven conspiracy theory, such as the notion that United States President Richard Nixon and his aides conspired to cover up Watergate, is usually referred to as something else, such as investigative journalism or historical analysis. Assessing the prevalent use of the term to ridicule or dismiss, Professor Rebecca Moore observes, "The word 'conspiracy' works much the same way the word 'cult' does to discredit advocates of a certain view or persuasion. Historians do not use the word 'conspiracy' to describe accurate historical reports. On the contrary, they use it to indicate a lack of veracity and objectivity."
(fair warning: anyone trolling or being stupid on this thread will regret it.)
Above post is my opinion unless it's a quote.