Unwrapping the Conspiracy Theory at the Heart of the Alt-Right - 2017-02-23
trope of "cultural Marxism" has been steadily gaining traction among the broad and diverse entity that is the radical right (although, hating diversity, they would baulk at you saying so), where it serves as an umbrella term variously responsible for such un-American and anti-Western ills as atheism, secularism, political correctness, gay rights, sexual liberation, feminism, affirmative action, liberalism, socialism, anarchism and, above all, multiculturalism. The ultimate goal of cultural Marxism, we're led to believe, is to slowly and stealthily dilute and subvert white, Christian Western culture, thereby opening sovereign nations to rule by a one-world corporate government. Whether that's by Jews, lizards or communists isn't always clear.
So the theory goes, "cultural Marxism" was the master plan of a group of émigré Jewish-German academics – widely known today as the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory – who fled Nazi Germany in 1936, decamping to New York. What's certainly true is that, in an attempt to understand why the objective conditions of the European proletariat had failed to trigger widespread revolt, they concluded that religion – that great "opium of the people" – and mass culture served to dampen revolutionary fervour and spread "false consciousness". So, adding a splash of Freud to their Marxism, the likes of Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse and Walter Benjamin trained their eyes on the subtle intertwining of social and psychic/sexual repression, believing that a revolutionary consciousness could be engendered through psychic liberation and more enlightened cultural forms and attitudes.
While these were the staunch views of a handful of left-wing thinkers writing in the middle of the 20th century, it does not follow that they have been the ideological architects of a wholesale takeover of Western culture. Yet those who believe it has already happened end up having to explain how George W Bush and the neocon hawks somehow served a leftist agenda.