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- #21: Midvinterblot (Midwinter’s sacrifice)
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- A Call To Tradition
- The Frankfurt School: Who They Were And Why They Matter
- HR/Hari/Eli/Helios:The Primal Revelation at the Heart of Civilization
Tag Archives: Communism
You may or may not have heard of the Frankfurt School. Though they may not be as well known as other philosophers or social critics, their influence on the world can not be doubted but is grossly underestimated.
The Frankfurt School was founded in Germany by a group of Jewish intellectuals as the Institute for Social Research in the University of Frankfurt, hence the name. Among their best known members were Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcuse. In order to understand their foundation, one must look to Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci.
Gramsci wrote in his famous prison diaries on the nature of communism and the reasons for it’s failure in generating a mass revolt of the proletariat and destruction of capitalism. Gramsci placed the blame for this failure in the proletariat’s ideology, manifest in culture. Gramsci lamented that people maintained traditional loyalties to ideas such as the family, religion, morality and race. Gramsci was intelligent enough to realise that communism could never win substantial support while people maintained a love for these things – the only way to win people over to communism would be to undermine and destroy their competing loyalties. Marxism would have to switch from a focus on economics to a focus on culture if it was to be successful.
Taking up this idea, the Frankfurt school, who were forced to emigrate to the US due to the rise of Nazism in Germany, attempted to critique and undermine traditional social bonds and loyalties. They fused the psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud with a Neo Marxist view of of society and economics to create a new way of critiquing and understanding culture, hence the common label for their ideas as Cultural Marxism. Their chief weapon came in the form of critical theory, now thought across universities.
Why is this significant? After all, surely a few philosophers writing on culture and the state can’t do much harm. The fact is the Frankfurt school achieved the ultimate success, their ideas have infested the mainstream of culture. What are characteristics of their approach? There is the attempt to pathologise anyone who does not share their communist world view as being mentally ill, or being motivated by an irrational hatred like homophobia. There is also the denouncing of religion as being oppressive and archaic, the support for extreme versions of feminism, the promotion of globalism over nationalism and the equating of nationalism with racism at every opportunity.
Essentially, any of the traditional bonds which traditionally have kept people away from the lure of communism were and are under attack by the Cultural Marxist approach. Nationalism is undermined by it’s association with Nazism and racism. Traditional views on marriage or other social issues are deemed to be motivated by a pathology. Any promotion of Western culture or values is also deemed racist, while one is an Islamophobe if one holds the opinion that the West becoming Islamic, or Islam influencing western culture would be a bad thing.
The above all undermine Western culture and promote an intellectually grey, vapid communist approach to understanding the world. Fundamentally however, the chief way of undermining traditional values and morality is by promoting it’s polar opposite – unabashed materialism. This is now ongoing at an unstoppable rate, people are becoming more and more self centered, dull, shallow and materialistic. They see nothing beyond their most base material desires and consumer goods capable of satisfying them. While it may at first seem absurd to suggest that it is in the interest of communists to have the masses engaging in greedy unabashed consumption, the reality is this consumption is a symptom of what the Marxists really want – a materialistic outlook which ultimately rejects the higher and embraces the promised paradise on Earth of Karl Marx.