“Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left” – Herbert Marcuse, Father of the New Left
President Barack Obama’s recent suggestion that returning to 1967 boundaries is the starting point for negotiations between Israel and Palestinians raises questions. While a strong case can be made for minding our business internationally, betraying allies and naively appeasing enemies appear curious as strategic ploys.
His foreign policy revolves around coddling Third World dictators, snubbing traditional friends and overall subservience to the U.N. Obama seems more about reversing his predecessor than charting any coherent diplomatic course. One also wonders whether our President seeks America’s interests or considers our nation fundamentally good.
The roots of Obama’s “reset” sprouted during the First World War. The lack of a general working class revolt befuddled socialists. According to Marxist eschatology, French workers and their German counterparts should have joined forces to annihilate the bourgeois. Instead, the proletariat shouldered arms for their respective countries to slaughter each other.
To the intelligentsia, smitten with Marxism and other progressive theories, some failing endemic to Western Civilization had prevented the working class from recognizing their class interests. Many Marxist intellectuals came to believe their focus should shift from the economic sphere to a general assault against Western culture.
An institute was established in Frankfurt, Germany to study Marxism’s cultural aspects. It absorbed Antonio Gramsci’s theories suggesting that “cultural hegemony” should surpass class struggle as the preferred pathway to proletariat power. This organization soon became known as the Frankfurt School to obscure its Marxist suppositions.
When Hitler assumed power, the Frankfurt School, which was overwhelmingly Jewish, fled, bringing their theories to America instead of Soviet Russia, which is telling. They were welcomed here by John Dewey, a Fabian socialist hailed as the “Father of Public Education,” and renowned journalist Edward R. Murrow.
After initially taking refuge at Columbia University they branched across America’s education and media establishments. Some, like Horkheimer and Adorno eventually migrated to Hollywood. Like their Fabian counterparts, the Frankfurt School sought not to overthrow capitalism via violent revolution as Marx wished, but to rot society’s foundations.
Leftist intellectuals became termites “boring from within” to undermine America’s free market heritage. They launched a “long march through the institutions” permeating the media, schools and entertainment industries. To unmoor the individual from tradition, morality and self-reliance, they belittled the family, the Church, and America’s constitutional underpinnings.
The Frankfurt School developed Critical Theory, which essentially contrasts the divergence of reality from its ideals. An impossible standard meant to ridicule traditional culture. Derision was their weapon, language and arts their hunting ground and Western Civilization their prey. They incessantly criticized American institutions while pervading spheres of influence and usurping the dissemination of thought.
Progressive theories diffuse through the intelligentsia faster than teeny boppers take to trendy clothes fashions. Few intellectuals willingly forgo the sophistic superiority derived by latching onto ideas not yet widely accessible, or chance squandering the moral preeminence derived from the latest guilt driven philosophical fad. Cultural Marxism spread across the academy like a virus.
This culminated in the rebelliousness of the Sixties. The SDS and other radicals were direct outgrowths of Fabianism. Herbert Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization married Marx with Freud giving credence to decadence and elevating fornication to great significance. His “make love not war” epitomized the Left’s moral compass.
Marcuse’s “liberating tolerance” essentially prescribed that any view or behavior formerly considered anti-social or un-American must be tolerated – maybe even encouraged. However, anything reinforcing tradition, patriotism, biblical morality or capitalism should ultimately be denounced. “Transvaluation,” transformed virtue into sin and sin into virtue.
Authority was seen as untrustworthy. The police and military were blasted as “fascist pigs.” Sex, race and other distinguishing characteristics became but social constructs to be “deconstructed” to liberate “humankind” from western culture’s repressiveness. While most of this was fantastical nonsense, their greatest success was highlighting America’s racial hypocrisy.
Marxists co-opted the moral authority of the Civil Rights movement propelling what later became political correctness to prominence. After the Civil Rights Act passed, equality quickly succumbed to racial favoritism empowered by redistributions of wealth and power through affirmative action and expanding entitlements. Racial issues have provided the pretext for massive influxes of federal intervention.
Marxists picture life through the prism of class identification and believe man’s worldly station remains static. Cultural Marxism broadened the group identification that supposedly defines us beyond class distinctions to include race, sex, religion, sexual proclivities, etc. The class conflicts of orthodox Marxism were supplanted by these other antagonisms.
Groups are labeled victims or villains, oppressed or oppressors. In political correctness, victims include minorities, women, homosexuals, non-Christians, immigrants or anyone spouting grievances – even criminals. The oppressors are whites, men, heterosexuals, Christians and the “rich.” Rights ceased as protections for persons and property shifting instead into claims against others.
Political correctness can accommodate no shades of gray. Moms who stay home “let down the team.” Black conservatives are racially banished as “Uncle Toms.” Cubans, who track more conservative than other Hispanics, are rarely afforded the privileged stature of minority victimhood.
The Left’s obsession with race manifests itself in strange manners. Recent immigrants and wealthy blacks are thought more deserving of quota favoritism and set-asides than poor whites. Criticisms of Obama are dismissed as mere racism yet the Tea Party is smeared for being mostly white even as they powered numerous minority candidates to office.
The Sixties generation absorbed these theories and now controls most of America’s cultural institutions. President Obama exemplifies the academy’s biases and benefited immensely by popular culture’s inundation with political correctness. A self-styled intellectual, Obama claims his greatest education was agitating as an Alinskyite community organizer.
Saul Alinsky was an Antonio Gramsci disciple, the first significant Marxist thinker to explore culture as the pivotal battleground. Alinsky begat Wade Rathke, ACORN’s founder, informed Cloward-Pliven and spawned numerous affiliated radical groups closely associated with the president. Obama allies Jim Wallis and Bill Ayers both emerged from the Fabian SDS.
Obama’s hyper-partisanship extends far beyond historical party differences. He routinely demonizes businesses, castigates domestic “enemies” and takes sides in non-executive matters. Everything this Administration does reeks of “Us” against “Them” conducted through the prism of demographic considerations usually invoking redistributions of wealth or power.
Many think the president’s consistent siding with Islam reveals he is secretly Muslim. If true, this would explain Obama’s hostility to Israel, employing NASA for Muslim “outreach,” his refusal to acknowledge Islam’s role in terrorism and his incoherent response to the Ft. Hood massacre. But Muslims aren’t radically pro-abortion, pro-homosexual and pro-feminist.
Nor can being Muslim explain why the president would side with Mexico over Arizona and other bizarre foreign policies like extolling drilling off Brazil’s shores, but not ours. America, as a Western imperial nation has supposedly inordinately benefited by exploiting resources more deservedly belonging to Third World peoples.
Israel represents a bastion of western civilization in territory cultural Marxists find justly Arab. Israel will forever be the oppressor no matter how many murders terrorists commit. Palestinians will always be the oppressed even though they despise us. Yet Palestinians in Israel retain more rights and enjoy more material prosperity than most Muslims enjoy in their own lands.
The commonality infusing Obama’s policies, both foreign and domestic, isn’t Islam or anti-colonialism as Dinesh D’Souza surmises, but cultural Marxism. It explains his frequent apologies for America abroad, why unions were favored over bondholders and why determining which GM dealerships survived wasn’t predicated on profitability, but the owner’s race or sex.
To cultural Marxists, immigrants, even if illegal, hold moral sway over white citizens therefore amnesty and even handouts are justified. Only whites can be racist so the Black Panthers shouldn’t be prosecuted for voter intimidation. Obama’s nominations, such as Sonia Sotomayor, seem more about Affirmative Action for “wise Latinas” than appointing qualified candidates.
Often political correctness proves entertaining.
Obama reacted with a typical PC reflex in deeming that the policeman who arrested Henry Gates “acted stupidly.” In his static worldview conditioned by cultural Marxism, white policemen are the oppressors and blacks the oppressed. What Marxists miss is that groups are comprised of individuals. We aren’t monolithic blobs defined by society, nor are our stations static.
In America, upward mobility is not only possible, it’s probable. The Gates incident occurred in a town with a black mayor, in a state with a black governor and in a country with a black president. The black professor pulled political strings to dodge justice, not the hapless white police officer. The professor was no victim and the policeman wasn’t the racist.
Cultural Marxism might even be humorous if the stakes weren’t so dire.