Ireland: know your place, you ungrateful wretch!
The bile-filled assault on Irish voters shows just how corrupt and undemocratic is the EU. The article below was written before the result of the Irish vote on the Lisbon treaty (rejection) became known but the points it makes are still very relevant
How can the Irish be so ungrateful? That is the question being asked by EU officials (in private) and by EU supporters (in public) as the Irish go to the polls this Thursday to vote on whether to accept the Lisbon Treaty on the expansion of European Union institutions. The fact that the `No' lobby seems to be gaining ground - in a country that has benefited enormously from EU subsidies! - has led to an orgy of bile-ridden attacks on truculent, thick and thankless Irish voters.
The message is clear: the Irish should know their place in the European set-up and slavishly bow and scrape before their paymasters in Brussels. Anything else would be `extraordinarily ungrateful', according to one commentator (1). Welcome to the `democratic' EU - where most countries are bypassing their electorates and simply ratifying the Lisbon Treaty, and where the one country that is holding a referendum - Ireland - has been subjected to the kind of financial, political and emotional blackmail that would make even Imelda Marcos squirm.
In order for the Lisbon Treaty on EU enlargement to come into effect on 1 January 2009, all 27 member states must ratify it. So far, 15 countries have forced it through their parliaments, and another 11 are in the process of doing so. But Ireland - population: 4.3million - is the only EU member state constitutionally bound to hold a referendum and put the Treaty to the will of the people. EU officials and supporters are sweating and fretting over the possibility that Irish voters - `any clown with a pen', as one writer charmingly referred to them - will torpedo the Treaty (2).
According to recent opinion polls, the `No' lobby is gaining ground - even though Ireland's three main political parties, big newspapers and business world are calling for a `Yes' vote. Apparently, 40 per cent of voters are planning to say `Yes' and 39 per cent `No'; the `No' side has gained six points in the past two weeks, while the `Yes' side has remained steady (3).
European officials and commentators cannot believe that so many Irish voters would dare to be so ungracious to their financiers in the EU. `It seems extraordinary that the Irish could be so apparently ungrateful', thunders the Financial Times, pointing out that the Irish Republic has `reaped greater benefits from its 35 years of EU participation than any other member state'. Ireland has received œ40billion in subsidies from Brussels and yet its electorate might say `No' to Lisbon, probably because `they do not understand the Treaty', sniffs the FT (4). They're ungrateful and stupid.
`Gratitude, it would appear, is in short supply', says another commentator. He argues that, never mind the possibility of a `No' victory on Thursday, even the fact that `the Irish vote might be close is hard to fathom from a historical perspective'; after all, membership of the EU has given Ireland `a chance to diversify its economy'. The Irish should be `thankful, indeed overflowing with appreciation' - instead they seem to be `out of their collective minds' (5). Ireland will be seen as `the truculent and ungrateful child of Europe' if its voters reject Lisbon, says one report (6).
This echoes the attacks on Irish voters when they rejected the EU's Nice Treaty in a referendum in June 2001. Back then, 54 per cent of voters said `No thanks'. `The best pupils of the European class have spat in the soup', spat the French newspaper Liberation in 2001: `The blow is all the more treacherous in that it comes from a country that owes its new wealth to Europe.' (7) `Those ungrateful Irish', said a headline in The Economist, reminding truculent anti-Nice voters that `when Ireland joined the European Economic Community in 1973, the country's income per head was about 60 per cent of the community's average; it is now around 120 per cent' (8).
In 2002, under extreme pressure from the EU, the Irish state found a neat way to get around the inconvenient fact of a `No' vote to the Nice Treaty - it simply held a second referendum (in a shameless act of political Double Jeopardy) and devoted its not-inconsiderable political and media machinery to demanding that voters make the `right decision' this time (9). Pro-Nice posters reminded the ungrateful Irish about everything they had received from the EU. `Thirty billion Euros since 1973', the posters said, while Irish ministers warned ominously that a second rejection of Nice could `return Ireland to poverty' (10). This time, the `Yes' lobby won: in October 2002, 62.89 per cent of voters supported Nice.
The attacks on Irish voters for being `extraordinarily ungrateful' - both for initially rejecting Nice in 2001 and for even thinking about saying `No' to Lisbon this week - reveal a great deal about `democracy' in the EU. The EU's bureaucrats and backers seem dumbfounded that they cannot buy Irish people's support; they find it `hard to fathom' that a people who have received subsidies worth billions of Euros are not falling in line behind their rulers. It is the mark of corrupt, degenerate and anti-democratic elitism to believe that you can buy people's votes. Indeed, in many civilised, democratic countries it is illegal for political parties to offer voters financial reward for their ballots. Yet, Mafioso-style, EU backers are telling the Irish: `You've received your monies - now do as we say.'
The assaults on Irish voters also show what it means to be a `democratic citizen' in the EU: that is, someone who is financially cared for by caring-but-faceless bureaucrats in Brussels, and who should be `overflowing with appreciation' for the EU elite's grace and favour. This is the very opposite of political citizenship; it is a distortion of the traditional relationship between citizens and their governing bodies. In place of free and open debate, in which citizens are treated as adults who can have political views independent of any welfare they might receive from the authorities, we have a situation where those who dare to criticise or complain or say `No' are denounced as `extraordinarily ungrateful' and even `treacherous' (11). This is the kind of relationship a child has with his guardian, or a mentally ill person with his carer - it has nothing whatever to do with democracy.
Indeed, the use of that T-word - treacherous - to describe Irish voters who have rejected EU treaties tells you everything you need to know about the EU elite's view of the European masses. According to the OED, to be treacherous is to `commit treason against a sovereign, lord or master'; it is to be `deceiving, perfidious, false, disloyal, traitorous'. The EU clearly considers itself lord of all Europe, and the people its nodding serfs. That it can be described as `treachery' to make a certain political choice inside the ballot booth shows the extent to which Lisbon, like Nice before it, is an already agreed document that parliaments and the people are merely expected to rubber-stamp. How dare the ungrateful, wretched, deceitful Irish jeopardise the EU elite's already agreed-upon and carefully thought-through plans?
The expectation that the Irish should say `Yes' to Lisbon gives the lie to the idea of equality in the EU. In Brussels and across the pro-EU commentariat it is assumed that poorer countries in particular - Ireland, and also southern states such as Spain and Portugal, and the new Eastern European entries - should behave like `the best pupils of the European class' (12) because they receive generous subsidies from their masters. When the awarding of financial support becomes a key determinant in how states should relate to Brussels, then any notion of sovereign equality goes out the window. Richer states such as Britain, Germany and France can afford a more robust relationship with Brussels, whereas poorer states are told to be grateful, gracious, obedient and unquestioning. In the creaking, oligarchical bureaucracy that is the EU, the citizens of poorer member states are effectively disenfranchised, or certainly are `less equal' than citizens in states that are not so reliant on EU subsidies.
The lesson that many are drawing from Ireland's referendum on Lisbon is that democracy is a bad idea. `Putting the Treaty to such a plebiscite is absurd', says the FT, since many Irish voters `will vote "No" simply because they do not understand the Treaty [and] others want to register a protest against the political establishment that is all on the "Yes" side' (13). Surveying the various groups that make up the `No' lobby in Ireland, Andrew Duff, Liberal Democrat MEP for the East of England, declared: `When there is popular consultation, you get populism, nationalism, xenophobia, all sorts of lies.' (14) Similar insults were made against French and Dutch voters when they rejected the European Constitution in 2005. The masses, it seems, are not to be trusted - they are lying, conniving foreigner-bashers. Far better to leave European decision-making in the hands of an educated and cosmopolitan elite.
The Irish referendum has struck the fear of God into the EU and its supporters - and with good reason. The fact that the `No' vote is gaining ground shows that, even in nations that have for the past 35 years effectively been bribed with subsidies by EU officials, the EU has not been able to win any sense of affinity and loyalty. It is still seen by large sections of the European people as an aloof, distant and authoritarian institution to which we should say `No', `Non', `Nein'; the EU has come to embody people's bigger sense of dislocation from political institutions today. The Irish referendum is exposing the thin veneer of the EU's legitimacy and stripping away its democratic masquerade, leaving it exposed as shrill, undemocratic, unequal and corrupt. Who wouldn't want to say `No' to that?
An Unfairness Doctrine
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously wrote that the best test of truth "is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market..." But today many are turning away from this theory, calling for greater government intervention in media ownership over the perceived lack of fairness in the press.
Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), a vocal critic of the free market for ideas, recently stated, "We really do literally have five or six major corporations in this country that determine for the most part what Americans see, hear and read every day." Unfortunately for the Senator, we really don't. According to Ben Compaine, author of Who Owns the Media?, from 1985 to 1995 the top ten media companies went from raking in 38 percent of media revenue to 41 percent -- not exactly the kind of mass consolidation the pundits would have you fear.
But revenues -- the traditional means for measuring media market diversity -- are not the best way to gauge the diversity of opinions in the American marketplace of ideas. With the advent of the Internet and the new national pastime, blogging, media revenue models are being completely redrawn. Arianna Huffington's aptly named Huffington Post claims to draw in 4.7 million unique users a month (Nielson estimates show about 1.5 million). Fortune has quoted an unnamed source estimating that Huffington can expect her team of less than 50 staffers to haul in $7.5 million this year.
Compare that to the other post -- the Washington Post. The Washington Post Company reported that in 2007 the Post took in a comparatively whopping $496.2 million in advertising revenue. Yet its average daily circulation totaled 649,700, half of Nielson's conservative estimate of Huffington's reach.
Lean, web-based companies -- which have much lower operating costs and use far fewer dead trees to disseminate their ideas -- are left underrepresented in current media market measurement for no other reason than their relative efficiency. If we substituted eyeballs reached for dollars spent the already robust picture of the media market would show even less evidence for concern.
STILL, MANY BELIEVE there is need for regulation because Americans still receive the bulk of their news over the airwaves. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin has said that broadcasters should be required to give both sides of political issues to listeners, while Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has said she plans to look into reviving the "Fairness Doctrine." The doctrine, abandoned in 1985, placed political speech by broadcasters under the scrutiny of the Federal Communications Commission. FCC regulators mandated broadcasters "make reasonable judgments in good faith" on how best to present all sides of controversial issues.
Conservatives on Capitol Hill have banded together to oppose such a revival of the doctrine while pundits and free speech advocates have railed against the reinstatement of rule, citing the 1985 Supreme Court decision that found that the Fairness Doctrine had a "chilling effect" on speech.
While it's true that the Fairness Doctrine did result in many broadcasters shying away from political speech altogether, few have been quick to point out the obvious flaw in Durbin and Feinstein's thinking. Replacing the marketplace of ideas with a board of overseers doesn't do anything to rid the world of bias. It only empowers the bias of the overseers.
Economist James Buchanan clinched the Nobel Prize in 1986 for his keen observation that human beings don't check their self-interested ways at the door when entering the halls of Congress or the offices of any of Washington's many bureaucracies. Instead, commissioners and congressman alike act to advance their position, accrue more power, and expand the mission of their respective offices. This is especially true of the FCC. The commission, created 80 years ago to regulate the fledgling radio industry, now regulates nearly all electronically disseminated media to some degree. But the recent explosion of choice in the media marketplace has left the commission grasping at straw men.
Worse yet, its most recent round of regulations seek to solve its own bad rules with additional layers of rules. Rather than freeing the airwaves from restriction after restriction, and thereby increasing broadcast competition, it seeks to dictate what can be said and who can say it. Instead of opening up the Internet to more service providers, it seeks micromanage the global network. Most recently it has attacked cable providers' ability to make private contracts and now seeks to make termination fees for violating any communication service contract illegal. The commission isn't just seeking to regulate wireless and wired transmissions, but the fundamentals of the marketplace itself.
Were the FCC given the power to police political speech for any lack of fairness, it's safe to assume that violations would be found in droves, because that's the whole point of the agency.
WITH A DEMOCRATICALLY controlled Senate and potential Democratic White House in 2009, current commissioner Michael Copps may soon hold the title of chairman, giving the FCC a 3-2 Democratic majority. This should be pleasant news for Senator Dorgan, whom Copps said has, "Struck a blow for localism and diversity in a media environment crying out for more of both." Copps is right -- in at least one sense. Consumers are crying out for diversity and local content and getting more of both in spite of government regulations.
A Chairman Copps is the last thing the American media market needs. Instead, it needs an Alfred Kahn for the digital age. Kahn dismantled the corrupt and anti-consumer Civil Aeronautics Board, earning him a coveted place in history as the final chairman of an unnecessary agency. Channeling Justice Holmes, Kahn once remarked when speaking about his victories at the CAB that "The key point is that the market decides, not a bunch of know-it-alls in Washington." That's true for airlines and doubly true for free speech.
The Origins of Political Correctness
An Accuracy in Academia Address by Bill Lind
Where does all this stuff that you've heard about this morning - the victim feminism, the gay rights movement, the invented statistics, the rewritten history, the lies, the demands, all the rest of it - where does it come from? For the first time in our history, Americans have to be fearful of what they say, of what they write, and of what they think. They have to be afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as offensive or insensitive, or racist, sexist, or homophobic.
We have seen other countries, particularly in this century, where this has been the case. And we have always regarded them with a mixture of pity, and to be truthful, some amusement, because it has struck us as so strange that people would allow a situation to develop where they would be afraid of what words they used. But we now have this situation in this country. We have it primarily on college campuses, but it is spreading throughout the whole society. Were does it come from? What is it?
We call it "Political Correctness." The name originated as something of a joke, literally in a comic strip, and we tend still to think of it as only half-serious. In fact, it's deadly serious. It is the great disease of our century, the disease that has left tens of millions of people dead in Europe, in Russia, in China, indeed around the world. It is the disease of ideology. PC is not funny. PC is deadly serious.
If we look at it analytically, if we look at it historically, we quickly find out exactly what it is. 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.
First of all, both are totalitarian ideologies. The totalitarian nature of Political Correctness is revealed nowhere more clearly than on college campuses, many of which at this point are small ivy covered North Koreas, where the student or faculty member who dares to cross any of the lines set up by the gender feminist or the homosexual-rights activists, or the local black or Hispanic group, or any of the other sainted "victims" groups that PC revolves around, quickly find themselves in judicial trouble. Within the small legal system of the college, they face formal charges - some star-chamber proceeding - and punishment. That is a little look into the future that Political Correctness intends for the nation as a whole.
Indeed, all ideologies are totalitarian because the essence of an ideology (I would note that conservatism correctly understood is not an ideology) is to take some philosophy and say on the basis of this philosophy certain things must be true - such as the whole of the history of our culture is the history of the oppression of women. Since reality contradicts that, reality must be forbidden. It must become forbidden to acknowledge the reality of our history. People must be forced to live a lie, and since people are naturally reluctant to live a lie, they naturally use their ears and eyes to look out and say, "Wait a minute. This isn't true. I can see it isn't true," the power of the state must be put behind the demand to live a lie. That is why ideology invariably creates a totalitarian state.
Second, the cultural Marxism of Political Correctness, like economic Marxism, has a single factor explanation of history. Economic Marxism says that all of history is determined by ownership of means of production. Cultural Marxism, or Political Correctness, says that all history is determined by power, by which groups defined in terms of race, sex, etc., have power over which other groups. Nothing else matters. All literature, indeed, is about that. Everything in the past is about that one thing.
Third, just as in classical economic Marxism certain groups, i.e. workers and peasants, are a priori good, and other groups, i.e., the bourgeoisie and capital owners, are evil. In the cultural Marxism of Political Correctness certain groups are good - feminist women, (only feminist women, non-feminist women are deemed not to exist) blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals. These groups are determined to be "victims," and therefore automatically good regardless of what any of them do. Similarly, white males are determined automatically to be evil, thereby becoming the equivalent of the bourgeoisie in economic Marxism.
Fourth, both economic and cultural Marxism rely on expropriation. When the classical Marxists, the communists, took over a country like Russia, they expropriated the bourgeoisie, they took away their property. Similarly, when the cultural Marxists take over a university campus, they expropriate through things like quotas for admissions. When a white student with superior qualifications is denied admittance to a college in favor of a black or Hispanic who isn't as well qualified, the white student is expropriated. And indeed, affirmative action, in our whole society today, is a system of expropriation. White owned companies don't get a contract because the contract is reserved for a company owned by, say, Hispanics or women. So expropriation is a principle tool for both forms of Marxism.
And finally, both have a method of analysis that automatically gives the answers they want. For the classical Marxist, it's Marxist economics. For the cultural Marxist, it's deconstruction. Deconstruction essentially takes any text, removes all meaning from it and re-inserts any meaning desired. So we find, for example, that all of Shakespeare is about the suppression of women, or the Bible is really about race and gender. All of these texts simply become grist for the mill, which proves that "all history is about which groups have power over which other groups." So the parallels are very evident between the classical Marxism that we're familiar with in the old Soviet Union and the cultural Marxism that we see today as Political Correctness.
But the parallels are not accidents. The parallels did not come from nothing. The fact of the matter is that Political Correctness has a history, a history that is much longer than many people are aware of outside a small group of academics who have studied this. And the history goes back, as I said, to World War I, as do so many of the pathologies that are today bringing our society, and indeed our culture, down.
Marxist theory said that when the general European war came (as it did come in Europe in 1914), the working class throughout Europe would rise up and overthrow their governments - the bourgeois governments - because the workers had more in common with each other across the national boundaries than they had in common with the bourgeoisie and the ruling class in their own country. Well, 1914 came and it didn't happen. Throughout Europe, workers rallied to their flag and happily marched off to fight each other. The Kaiser shook hands with the leaders of the Marxist Social Democratic Party in Germany and said there are no parties now, there are only Germans. And this happened in every country in Europe. So something was wrong.
Marxists knew by definition it couldn't be the theory. In 1917, they finally got a Marxist coup in Russia and it looked like the theory was working, but it stalled again. It didn't spread and when attempts were made to spread immediately after the war, with the Spartacist uprising in Berlin, with the Bela Kun government in Hungary, with the Munich Soviet, the workers didn't support them.
So the Marxists' had a problem. And two Marxist theorists went to work on it: Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary. Gramsci said the workers will never see their true class interests, as defined by Marxism, until they are freed from Western culture, and particularly from the Christian religion - that they are blinded by culture and religion to their true class interests. Lukacs, who was considered the most brilliant Marxist theorist since Marx himself, said in 1919, "Who will save us from Western Civilization?" He also theorized that the great obstacle to the creation of a Marxist paradise was the culture: Western civilization itself.
Lukacs gets a chance to put his ideas into practice, because when the home grown Bolshevik Bela Kun government is established in Hungary in 1919, he becomes deputy commissar for culture, and the first thing he did was introduce sex education into the Hungarian schools. This ensured that the workers would not support the Bela Kun government, because the Hungarian people looked at this aghast, workers as well as everyone else. But he had already made the connection that today many of us are still surprised by, that we would consider the "latest thing."
In 1923 in Germany, a think-tank is established that takes on the role of translating Marxism from economic into cultural terms, that creates Political Correctness as we know it today, and essentially it has created the basis for it by the end of the 1930s. This comes about because the very wealthy young son of a millionaire German trader by the name of Felix Weil has become a Marxist and has lots of money to spend. He is disturbed by the divisions among the Marxists, so he sponsors something called the First Marxist Work Week, where he brings Lukacs and many of the key German thinkers together for a week, working on the differences of Marxism.
And he says, "What we need is a think-tank." Washington is full of think tanks and we think of them as very modern. In fact they go back quite a ways. He endows an institute, associated with Frankfurt University, established in 1923, that was originally supposed to be known as the Institute for Marxism. But the people behind it decided at the beginning that it was not to their advantage to be openly identified as Marxist. The last thing Political Correctness wants is for people to figure out it's a form of Marxism. So instead they decide to name it the Institute for Social Research.
Weil is very clear about his goals. In 1971, he wrote to Martin Jay the author of a principle book on the Frankfurt School, as the Institute for Social Research soon becomes known informally, and he said, "I wanted the institute to become known, perhaps famous, due to its contributions to Marxism." Well, he was successful. The first director of the Institute, Carl Grunberg, an Austrian economist, concluded his opening address, according to Martin Jay, "by clearly stating his personal allegiance to Marxism as a scientific methodology." Marxism, he said, would be the ruling principle at the Institute, and that never changed.
The initial work at the Institute was rather conventional, but in 1930 it acquired a new director named Max Horkheimer, and Horkheimer's views were very different. He was very much a Marxist renegade. The people who create and form the Frankfurt School are renegade Marxists. They're still very much Marxist in their thinking, but they're effectively run out of the party. Moscow looks at what they are doing and says, "Hey, this isn't us, and we're not going to bless this."
Horkheimer's initial heresy is that he is very interested in Freud, and the key to making the translation of Marxism from economic into cultural terms is essentially that he combined it with Freudism. Again, Martin Jay writes, "If it can be said that in the early years of its history, the Institute concerned itself primarily with an analysis of bourgeois society's socio-economic sub-structure," - and I point out that Jay is very sympathetic to the Frankfurt School, I'm not reading from a critic here - "in the years after 1930 its primary interests lay in its cultural superstructure. Indeed the traditional Marxist formula regarding the relationship between the two was brought into question by Critical Theory."
The stuff we've been hearing about this morning - the radical feminism, the women's studies departments, the gay studies departments, the black studies departments - all these things are branches of Critical Theory. What the Frankfurt School essentially does is draw on both Marx and Freud in the 1930s to create this theory called Critical Theory. The term is ingenious because you're tempted to ask, "What is the theory?" The theory is to criticize. The theory is that the way to bring down Western culture and the capitalist order is not to lay down an alternative. They explicitly refuse to do that. They say it can't be done, that we can't imagine what a free society would look like (their definition of a free society). As long as we're living under repression - the repression of a capitalistic economic order which creates (in their theory) the Freudian condition, the conditions that Freud describes in individuals of repression - we can't even imagine it. What Critical Theory is about is simply criticizing. It calls for the most destructive criticism possible, in every possible way, designed to bring the current order down. And, of course, when we hear from the feminists that the whole of society is just out to get women and so on, that kind of criticism is a derivative of Critical Theory. It is all coming from the 1930s, not the 1960s.
Other key members who join up around this time are Theodore Adorno, and, most importantly, Erich Fromm and Herbert Marcuse. Fromm and Marcuse introduce an element which is central to Political Correctness, and that's the sexual element. And particularly Marcuse, who in his own writings calls for a society of "polymorphous perversity," that is his definition of the future of the world that they want to create. Marcuse in particular by the 1930s is writing some very extreme stuff on the need for sexual liberation, but this runs through the whole Institute. So do most of the themes we see in Political Correctness, again in the early 30s. In Fromm's view, masculinity and femininity were not reflections of `essential' sexual differences, as the Romantics had thought. They were derived instead from differences in life functions, which were in part socially determined." Sex is a construct; sexual differences are a construct.
Another example is the emphasis we now see on environmentalism. "Materialism as far back as Hobbes had led to a manipulative dominating attitude toward nature." That was Horkhemier writing in 1933 in Materialismus und Moral. "The theme of man's domination of nature," according to Jay, " was to become a central concern of the Frankfurt School in subsequent years." "Horkheimer's antagonism to the fetishization of labor, (here's were they're obviously departing from Marxist orthodoxy) expressed another dimension of his materialism, the demand for human, sensual happiness." In one of his most trenchant essays, Egoism and the Movement for Emancipation, written in 1936, Horkeimer "discussed the hostility to personal gratification inherent in bourgeois culture." And he specifically referred to the Marquis de Sade, favorably, for his "protest.against asceticism in the name of a higher morality."
How does all of this stuff flood in here? How does it flood into our universities, and indeed into our lives today? The members of the Frankfurt School are Marxist, they are also, to a man, Jewish. In 1933 the Nazis came to power in Germany, and not surprisingly they shut down the Institute for Social Research. And its members fled. They fled to New York City, and the Institute was reestablished there in 1933 with help from Columbia University. And the members of the Institute, gradually through the 1930s, though many of them remained writing in German, shift their focus from Critical Theory about German society, destructive criticism about every aspect of that society, to Critical Theory directed toward American society. There is another very important transition when the war comes. Some of them go to work for the government, including Herbert Marcuse, who became a key figure in the OSS (the predecessor to the CIA), and some, including Horkheimer and Adorno, move to Hollywood.
These origins of Political Correctness would probably not mean too much to us today except for two subsequent events. The first was the student rebellion in the mid-1960s, which was driven largely by resistance to the draft and the Vietnam War. But the student rebels needed theory of some sort. They couldn't just get out there and say, "Hell no we won't go," they had to have some theoretical explanation behind it. Very few of them were interested in wading through Das Kapital. Classical, economic Marxism is not light, and most of the radicals of the 60s were not deep. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for our country today, and not just in the university, Herbert Marcuse remained in America when the Frankfurt School relocated back to Frankfurt after the war. And whereas Mr. Adorno in Germany is appalled by the student rebellion when it breaks out there - when the student rebels come into Adorno's classroom, he calls the police and has them arrested - Herbert Marcuse, who remained here, saw the 60s student rebellion as the great chance. He saw the opportunity to take the work of the Frankfurt School and make it the theory of the New Left in the United States.
One of Marcuse's books was the key book. It virtually became the bible of the SDS and the student rebels of the 60s. That book was Eros and Civilization. Marcuse argues that under a capitalistic order (he downplays the Marxism very strongly here, it is subtitled, A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud, but the framework is Marxist), repression is the essence of that order and that gives us the person Freud describes - the person with all the hang-ups, the neuroses, because his sexual instincts are repressed. We can envision a future, if we can only destroy this existing oppressive order, in which we liberate eros, we liberate libido, in which we have a world of "polymorphous perversity," in which you can "do you own thing." And by the way, in that world there will no longer be work, only play.
What a wonderful message for the radicals of the mid-60s! They're students, they're baby-boomers, and they've grown up never having to worry about anything except eventually having to get a job. And here is a guy writing in a way they can easily follow. He doesn't require them to read a lot of heavy Marxism and tells them everything they want to hear which is essentially, "Do your own thing," "If it feels good do it," and "You never have to go to work." By the way, Marcuse is also the man who creates the phrase, "Make love, not war." Coming back to the situation people face on campus, Marcuse defines "liberating tolerance" as intolerance for anything coming from the Right and tolerance for anything coming from the Left. Marcuse joined the Frankfurt School, in 1932 (if I remember right). So, all of this goes back to the 1930s.
In conclusion, America today is in the throws of the greatest and direst transformation in its history. We are becoming an ideological state, a country with an official state ideology enforced by the power of the state. In "hate crimes" we now have people serving jail sentences for political thoughts. And the Congress is now moving to expand that category ever further. Affirmative action is part of it. The terror against anyone who dissents from Political Correctness on campus is part of it. It's exactly what we have seen happen in Russia, in Germany, in Italy, in China, and now it's coming here. And we don't recognize it because we call it Political Correctness and laugh it off. My message today is that it's not funny, it's here, it's growing and it will eventually destroy, as it seeks to destroy, everything that we have ever defined as our freedom and our culture.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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