Shattering the Left: A Radical Critique of Critical Theory

Critical theory is the rubric today’s American leftists employ in order to fracture and subvert the United States.  Developed by The Frankfurt School in the 1920s and 1930s, the theory has developed in its practical implementation into a methodology to destroy the ethical bases of capitalism through cultural penetration and transformation.

American socialists experienced stubborn ideological resistance in their early going.  Socialist parties failed to gain headway, not for Eugene Debs‘ and Norman Thomas‘ lack of trying.  Marxists failed in their predictions of the spontaneous collapse of capitalism in advanced economies, and did not anticipate the continuing success of capitalism to contribute to the general increase in the standard of living. Hijacked or forced Marxism, which is Marxist-Leninism and its bloody progeny, and in particular, Stalinism and Maoism, failed to deliver the communist utopia, and gave socialism and communism a bad name due to their wanton violence.

For radicals to succeed in America, what was needed was a makeover for communism.  What was needed was an opaque method of transmitting socialist values without belying their Marxist origins.  What was needed was the translation of economic marxism into cultural marxism.

Inspired by the pioneering work of the grand strategist Antonio Gramsci, the left conducted a “long march” through America’s public institutions, capturing the cultural media, channels of information dissemination, and gateways of upward mobility.  The left’s success can be adjudged by the percentage of artists, lawyers, teachers, and professors who subscribe to left-wing ideology and who unfailingly vote for the Democrat Party.  (The aggregate percentage of Democrat voters in such professions is in the range of 90%-95%.)

The recasting of Marxism into aesthetic terms made it infinitely more difficult for rational analysis to penetrate the left’s grand strategy. Syncretized with the philosophies of Hegel, Kant, and Nietzsche, and the psychology of Freud, neo-marxism tampened within its crucible a diabolical formula to poison American freedom, and turn it against itself.

But the left was still vulnerable.  If its radical conspiracy were to be discovered, the threat may be taken seriously by the American public, and the damage inflicted would not be fatal.  A method of veiling the harmony of interests among the leftists was required, and that came in the guise of Critical Theory.

Critical Theory ostensibly breaks the left’s united cause to destroy capitalism, erode the U.S. Constitution, and seize power, into many seemingly disparate movements, in order to disperse the perception of threat the left poses in the eyes of the public. Particularly, the left harnesses victim groups and directs them toward its enemies to achieve its aim of destroying “hierarchy”; in other words, to bring the U.S. to a state of anarchy and to install socialist tyranny.

Cultural marxism is not the only aspect to the left’s grand strategy, it should be emphasized here.  Economic warfare, such as overregulation, welfare state economics consistent with Cloward-Piven theory, and intentional destruction of the currency, is carried out at the economic “base” level, while the cultural marxists who dominate the “superstructure” give ethical justifications for tactical assaults on capitalism.

Disparate critical theory movements include: feminists, homosexuals, anti-war and peace activists, radical environmentalists, racialists (“anti-racists”), multiculturalists and diversity fetishists, and now, by association, Islamists.

What is important to note is that these groups are by no means complementary, or mutually exclusive.  There are tensions within the particular manifestation of Critical Theory, just as there are tensions between the topos of theory and history in Critical Theory.  Opposition to the left should exploit these contradictions to the fullest and use them to fracture the movement as a whole, which can only happen in the public, cultural sphere.

It is also important to mention that taking on the left in this fashion within academia is pointless, since Critical Theory is an instrumental strategy that is being used by the left to destroy capitalism and the United States as it was founded, and as such, is separate from the positive collectivist theory that animates more educated leftists.  Radicals’  aims are two-fold: destroy, then re-create. (Whether they intend it, or not, their aims lead to tyranny.  See Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, or on a lighter note, this video by cultural critic Andrew Klavan.)

To illustrate what we should have in mind, the following are some examples of tensions with the left’s Critical Theory movements that can be employed to delegitimize and demoralize the left in the public sphere.

Feminists and Islamists (abetted by Multiculturalism and Diversity).  Insist that radical feminists condemn Islamists for their oppressive treatment of women, including female genital mutilation, and stoning for adultery.

Homosexuals and Islamists. Insist that homosexuals condemn Islamists for murdering and imprisoning homosexuals, particularly in Ahmadenijad’s Iran. (Recall that the University of Columbia invited the dictator to speak at its campus.)

Feminists and Racialists (African American rap artists).  Insist that feminists decry African American “rap artists” for their demeaning portrayal of women.

Feminists and Radical Environmentalists.  Insist that feminists condemn “patriarchal” environmentalists like Al Gore for advocating female birth control to supposedly curb “manmade global warming.”  Isn’t it a woman’s right to choose?

Radical Environmentalists and Animal Rights advocates.  Insist that animal rights advocates condemn radical environmentalists for calling for the “culling” of animals in their natural habitats to somehow combat “animal made global warming.”  Or thank PETA for killing so many animals and helping to fight climate change.  (The latter is the satirical line of attack.)

Another potentially fruitful front in the cultural war on the left is to show how the Neomarxist left contradicts the Paleomarxist left.  This is a bit trickier (because of the two-fold program of the left explained above), but one will know an example when one sees it if one knows how to distinguish between the doctrines.  A few examples below:

Radical Environmentalists and Working Class Poor.  Insist that radical environmentalists explain why they want energy rates to skyrocket, why we cannot drill for oil even though we have huge oil, gas, and coal deposits.

Radical Environmentalists and Profit.  Expose how environmentalists are personally profiting from manmade global warming theory, how selling out to “green” corporations is a form of fascism (see connections between cap-and-trade and Goldman Sachs, e.g.), how they are ignoring their own apocalytpic doctrines and flying private planes and riding in limousines when they should be teleconferencing.

Here it should be stressed that the radical left is desperately trying to unite the critical theory movements under the umbrella of radical environmentalism, leading to potentially the richest source for exposing contradictions and hypocrisy on the left, and discrediting the entire enterprise.  Despite overwhelming propaganda, people simply are not buying the hare-brained manmade global warming theory.  (An interesting aside is that critical theorist Max Horkheimer believed critical theory should unite science with values.)

Above listed are but a few ideas.  There are many more lines of attack implied in this counter-strategy, and hopefully schematizing it will help unleash the creativity of opposition to the left.  I will add that this strategy is specifically geared to go after the left head on, and we have the advantage of numbers on our side.  Therefore, a brief explanation of the modes of attack should be explained.

We are dealing with cultural marxists.  Because the culture is the terrain on which the war is being waged, we need to fight the left in the public sphere over what they refer to as “hegemony,” or domination of the culture. (A recent piece arguing that conservatives should stop founding think tanks and start creating culture has the right idea.)

Two key genres, a positive and a negative, are ideal weapons to wield against the leftist opposition.

First, there is a strong craving for heroic narrative.  Whether preserving Marvel Comics superheroes such as Captain America and Superman from anti-Americanism, or creating films with the general idea of Atlas Shrugged, except more concerned with aesthetics and implied ethics than overt political ideology, such as The Pursuit of Happyness, opponents of the left need to create and preserve cultural artifacts and get them out there while we can.

The reason for producing heroic books and films is simple: They strike at the nihilistic core the left has taken from Nietszche and adopted as its own, without subscribing to the philosopher’s remedy.  Individualist and triumphant films are far more inspiring than the exercises in sappy victimology that the left regularly offers up in order to demoralize the American public.

Second, we need satirical books and films to show how absurd the left is.  Perhaps by accident, Forrest Gump shows how Forrest’s friend Jenny winds up destroying her life through her mindless radical activities.  Such illustrations of the left’s mindless and faddish self-destruction can be shown intentionally in books and movies.

Satire and ridicule are the greatest weapons against the leftists, particularly because they are not used to being challenged.  They frequently inhabit insulated worlds where other leftists confirm their ideology to them and give them a false and an easily deprived sense of confidence.  We can shatter this confidence by assaulting the public sphere en masse, particularly where the left resides, and disrupting the easy comfort in their fallacious ideology that they have called home.  They need to feel a dose of the unease they have caused in this country by eliciting a wave of resistance from a galvanized, intelligent, and relentless opposition.

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11 thoughts on “Shattering the Left: A Radical Critique of Critical Theory

  1. The reason the left coalition has held together is because of the portrayal of the common enemy. Envy and greed – on their part. The left vilifies the opposition with lies and half truths and scares the constituent groups into toeing the party line. While you correctly point out many of the dichotomies of the left, the single unify factor is still hard to over come. And that is fear. The left is kept in check through simple fear (which leads to the hatred).

  2. This piece is brilliant, I have been looking for something like this for quite a while. It is about time an intellectual right begins it’s creation and perspectives like this signal it’s birth. The institutionalization of conservative principles have made our base lazy and the left’s nimble and adaptive, but we are building our agility. You’ve found a new follower.

    1. Thanks, Dan. I wish more people would bother to read it, but I fear some of it is over the average reader’s head. That’s no brag, it’s just that people are not familiar enough with the New Left.

      TC, RO

  3. Furthermore, I believe I have identified more tensions within the discrete elements that are apparent, but the control mechanism seems adept at stifling the unproductive release of that tension.

    I have my ideas, but perhaps we should keep them to ourselves. The leave it to the arrogance of the left to release their playbook before the big game.

    1. I don’t think the left takes us seriously enough to really worry about divulging your ideas on lines of attack. By the time any plan got rolling, usually spontaneously and seemingly by chance, it is too late for the left to do much about it, and then it makes mistakes. The way it initially went after the tea party is a case in point. Now the left knows it is in trouble for overplaying the racism card, since Herman Cain has become the tea party favorite. Their strategy is to act like their insane cries of racism at every turn never happened. We conservatives, libertarians, and objectivists should be there to remind them. Repeatedly.

  4. We can certainly hope they won’t take us seriously.

    So perhaps we destroy critical theory by adopting a critical theorist view, much like you descirbe in your piece. After all, to implement the ideological view they have for the world, they have to create the “truths” that form that world, which of course are a product of their own experience just as the truths and norms of the system they aim to destroy. Admittedly, as they are entrenched in all organizations which interact with people (academia, entertainment, etc), not only may they disseminate their message, they may also “prove” the validity of their ideology. This is what I find to be the true obstacle towards using their own tactic against them.

    The critical theorist is only capable of understanding first order effects, ie. identifying trends, truths, and norms. They never get to the second order understanding of why society tended towards that dynamic. That understanding and definition I believe has some merit as well.

    The most subversive effects of the critical theorist, in my opinion, has been to advance policy under the guise of capitalism and democracy in order to undermine it. The central planning of the Federal Reserve violates all free market principles, yet is the hallmark of leftist discontent with the capitalist system. Yet many conservatives blindly adhere to fiat monetary manipulation and Keynsian strategies. We need to shore up understanding amongst our own base before we could ever truly deconstruct the deconstruction.

    I believe any good attempt at social control has a plan for both sides of the argument. Forces of misdirection exists on both sides of the political spectrum, we have to find them.

    1. Brilliant comment! You are spot on in how the left propels a monolithic but leftward shifting definition of “capitalism” and “democracy,” mainly through lack of specificity what those are, and by constantly using them in a “social justice” or otherwise crypto-socialist context.

      Great observation! We need to really think about our theoretical observations and put them into practice. For the blogosphere, we need to boil it down to more simple items on the agenda. But as long as we are thinking theoretically first and foremost, we can continue to pursue this abstract line of thought, and use it to inform the agenda.

      As with any war, we have to think strategically first, and let it inform the tactical. This may seem like hyperbole, but it just plain works to do it this way, especially when the opposition is so organized, coordinated, and has numerous resources.

      I believe our numbers and our individual significance should be our asset. American conservatives (a horrible self-descriptor, by the way) should mount an ant hill attack, meaning we should work on initiatives that barrage specific targets one at a time.

      Education should be first. A letter writing campaign to our colleges by thousands of Americans would be great. It would have the goal of shaming the petty administrators, not the professors and supposed masterminds. It would make them feel a part of a great brainwashing campaign, removing America from its foundation of freedom, particularly in terms of speech and an open forum for ideas. The goal would be to demoralize the staff, the secretaries, and foment dissent on the campuses in general.

      We have to pivot students against the left-wing indoctrinators, who have associated, through the FSM movement at Berkeley, for example, socialism with free speech. It has to be drilled home that “Where there is Socialism, There is No Free Speech!”

      This is just an idea of the top of my head. We conservatives have to coordinate more often and think of how to reach out to institutions with more resources to help us.

      Thanks much for the ideas, RO

  5. What you fail to identify in the tensions you outline within the Left is the (true) power of solidarity, by which I mean the coming together of very disparate groups (friendly-enemies) in response to an ethical demand. For example, anti-war protestors form a coalition based on empathy with Islamicists. For the Left, issues of the injustices of political power – mythic violence – will always triumph over other issues, and that is not to say that genital mutiliation is not a grave injustice, but it is another fight.

    I enjoyed reading your text, it is a well formulated argument.

    1. Thanks, Emma. I was thinking that was somewhat implied with the notion that the issue groups are tacitly united around the issue of socialism (Marxism would be less accurate). What you say does have implications for how the left keeps grievance issues alive in order to rally the troops, so to speak. A good example is the anti-war movement under Bush, which was purely political and contrived. The second the left got “its man” in office, the grievance issue evaporated.

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