Timothy Matthews – Catholic Insight March 2009
Western civilization at the present day is passing through a crisis which is essentially different from anything that has been previously experienced. Other societies in the past have changed their social institutions or their religious beliefs under the influence of external forces or the slow development of internal growth. But none, like our own, has ever consciously faced the prospect of a fundamental alteration of the beliefs and institutions on which the whole fabric of social life rests … Civilization is being uprooted from its foundations in nature and tradition and is being reconstituted in a new organisation which is as artificial and mechanical as a modern factory.
Christopher Dawson. Enquiries into Religion and Culture, p. 259.
Most of Satan’s work in the world he takes care to keep hidden. But two small shafts of light have been thrown onto his work for me just recently. The first, a short article in the Association of Catholic Women’s ACW Review; the second, a remark (which at first surprised me) from a priest in Russia who claimed that we now, in the West, live in a Communist society. These shafts of light help, especially, to explain the onslaught of officialdom which in many countries worldwide has so successfully been removing the rights of parents to be the primary educators and protectors of their children.
The ACW Review examined the corrosive work of the ‘Frankfurt School’ – a group of German-American scholars who developed highly provocative and original perspectives on contemporary society and culture, drawing on Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber. Not that their idea of a ‘cultural revolution’ was particularly new. ‘Until now’, wrote Joseph, Comte de Maistre (1753-1821) who for fifteen years was a Freemason, ‘nations were killed by conquest, that is by invasion: But here an important question arises; can a nation not die on its own soil, without resettlement or invasion, by allowing the flies of decomposition to corrupt to the very core those original and constituent principles which make it what it is.’
What was the Frankfurt School? Well, in the days following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, it was believed that workers’ revolution would sweep into Europe and, eventually, into the United States. But it did not do so. Towards the end of 1922 the Communist International (Comintern) began to consider what were the reasons. On Lenin’s initiative a meeting was organised at the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow.
The aim of the meeting was to clarify the concept of, and give concrete effect to, a Marxist cultural revolution. Amongst those present were Georg Lukacs (a Hungarian aristocrat, son of a banker, who had become a Communist during World War I ; a good Marxist theoretician he developed the idea of ‘Revolution and Eros’ – sexual instinct used as an instrument of destruction) and Willi Munzenberg (whose proposed solution was to ‘organise the intellectuals and use them to make Western civilisation stink. Only then, after they have corrupted all its values and made life impossible, can we impose the dictatorship of the proletariat’) ‘It was’, said Ralph de Toledano (1916-2007) the conservative author and co-founder of the ‘National Review’, a meeting ‘perhaps more harmful to Western civilization than the Bolshevik Revolution itself.’
Lenin died in 1924. By this time, however, Stalin was beginning to look on Munzenberg, Lukacs and like-thinkers as ‘revisionists’. In June 1940, Münzenberg fled to the south of France where, on Stalin’s orders, a NKVD assassination squad caught up with him and hanged him from a tree.
In the summer of 1924, after being attacked for his writings by the 5th Comintern Congress, Lukacs moved to Germany, where he chaired the first meeting of a group of Communist-oriented sociologists, a gathering that was to lead to the foundation of the Frankfurt School.
This ‘School’ (designed to put flesh on their revolutionary programme) was started at the University of Frankfurt in the Institut für Sozialforschung. To begin with school and institute were indistinguishable. In 1923 the Institute was officially established, and funded by Felix Weil (1898-1975). Weil was born in Argentina and at the age of nine was sent to attend school in Germany. He attended the universities in Tübingen and Frankfurt, where he graduated with a doctoral degree in political science. While at these universities he became increasingly interested in socialism and Marxism. According to the intellectual historian Martin Jay, the topic of his dissertation was ‘the practical problems of implementing socialism.’
Carl Grünberg, the Institute’s director from 1923-1929, was an avowed Marxist, although the Institute did not have any official party affiliations. But in 1930 Max Horkheimer assumed control and he believed that Marx’s theory should be the basis of the Institute’s research. When Hitler came to power, the Institut was closed and its members, by various routes, fled to the United States and migrated to major US universities—Columbia, Princeton, Brandeis, and California at Berkeley.
The School included among its members the 1960s guru of the New Left Herbert Marcuse (denounced by Pope Paul VI for his theory of liberation which ‘opens the way for licence cloaked as liberty’), Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, the popular writer Erich Fromm, Leo Lowenthal, and Jurgen Habermas – possibly the School’s most influential representative.
Basically, the Frankfurt School believed that as long as an individual had the belief – or even the hope of belief – that his divine gift of reason could solve the problems facing society, then that society would never reach the state of hopelessness and alienation that they considered necessary to provoke socialist revolution. Their task, therefore, was as swiftly as possible to undermine the Judaeo-Christian legacy. To do this they called for the most negative destructive criticism possible of every sphere of life which would be designed to de-stabilize society and bring down what they saw as the ‘oppressive’ order. Their policies, they hoped, would spread like a virus—‘continuing the work of the Western Marxists by other means’ as one of their members noted.
To further the advance of their ‘quiet’ cultural revolution – but giving us no ideas about their plans for the future – the School recommended (among other things):
1. The creation of racism offences.
2. Continual change to create confusion
3. The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children
4. The undermining of schools’ and teachers’ authority
5. Huge immigration to destroy identity.
6. The promotion of excessive drinking
7. Emptying of churches
8. An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime
9. Dependency on the state or state benefits
10. Control and dumbing down of media
11. Encouraging the breakdown of the family
One of the main ideas of the Frankfurt School was to exploit Freud’s idea of ‘pansexualism’ – the search for pleasure, the exploitation of the differences between the sexes, the overthrowing of traditional relationships between men and women. To further their aims they would:
• attack the authority of the father, deny the specific roles of father and mother, and wrest away from families their rights as primary educators of their children.
• abolish differences in the education of boys and girls
• abolish all forms of male dominance – hence the presence of women in the armed forces
• declare women to be an ‘oppressed class’ and men as ‘oppressors’
Munzenberg summed up the Frankfurt School’s long-term operation thus: ‘We will make the West so corrupt that it stinks.’
The School believed there were two types of revolution: (a) political and (b) cultural. Cultural revolution demolishes from within. ‘Modern forms of subjection are marked by mildness’. They saw it as a long-term project and kept their sights clearly focused on the family, education, media, sex and popular culture.
The School’s ‘Critical Theory’ preached that the ‘authoritarian personality’ is a product of the patriarchal family – an idea directly linked to Engels’ Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State, which promoted matriarchy. Already Karl Marx had written, in the “Communist Manifesto”, about the radical notion of a ‘community of women’ and in The German Ideology of 1845, written disparagingly about the idea of the family as the basic unit of society. This was one of the basic tenets of the ‘Critical Theory’ : the necessity of breaking down the contemporary family. The Institute scholars preached that ‘Even a partial breakdown of parental authority in the family might tend to increase the readiness of a coming generation to accept social change.’
Following Karl Marx, the School stressed how the ‘authoritarian personality’ is a product of the patriarchal family—it was Marx who wrote so disparagingly about the idea of the family being the basic unit of society. All this prepared the way for the warfare against the masculine gender promoted by Marcuse under the guise of ‘women’s liberation’ and by the New Left movement in the 1960s.
They proposed transforming our culture into a female-dominated one. In 1933, Wilhelm Reich, one of their members, wrote in The Mass Psychology of Fascism that matriarchy was the only genuine family type of ‘natural society.’ Eric Fromm was also an active advocate of matriarchal theory. Masculinity and femininity, he claimed, were not reflections of ‘essential’ sexual differences, as the Romantics had thought but were derived instead from differences in life functions, which were in part socially determined.’ His dogma was the precedent for the radical feminist pronouncements that, today, appear in nearly every major newspaper and television programme.
The revolutionaries knew exactly what they wanted to do and how to do it. They have succeeded.
Lord Bertrand Russell joined with the Frankfurt School in their effort at mass social engineering and spilled the beans in his 1951 book, The Impact of Science on Society. He wrote: ‘Physiology and psychology afford fields for scientific technique which still await development.’ The importance of mass psychology ‘has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these the most influential is what is called ‘education. The social psychologists of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. Various results will soon be arrived at. First, that the influence of home is obstructive. Second, that not much can be done unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten. Third, that verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective. Fourth, that the opinion that snow is white must be held to show a morbid taste for eccentricity. But I anticipate. It is for future scientists to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black, and how much less it would cost to make them believe it is dark gray . When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.”
Writing in 1992 in Fidelio Magazine, [The Frankfurt School and Political Correctness] Michael Minnicino observed how the heirs of Marcuse and Adorno now completely dominate the universities, ‘teaching their own students to replace reason with ‘Politically Correct’ ritual exercises. There are very few theoretical books on arts, letters, or language published today in the United States or Europe which do not openly acknowledge their debt to the Frankfurt School. The witchhunt on today’s campuses is merely the implementation of Marcuse’s concept of ‘repressive toleration’-‘tolerance for movements from the left, but intolerance for movements from the right’-enforced by the students of the Frankfurt School’.
Dr. Timothy Leary gave us another glimpse into the mind of the Frankfurt School in his account of the work of the Harvard University Psychedelic Drug Project, ‘Flashback.’ He quoted a conversation that he had with Aldous Huxley: “These brain drugs, mass produced in the laboratories, will bring about vast changes in society. This will happen with or without you or me. All we can do is spread the word. The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible’. Leary then went on: “We had run up against the Judeo-Christian commitment to one God, one religion, one reality, that has cursed Europe for centuries and America since our founding days. Drugs that open the mind to multiple realities inevitably lead to a polytheistic view of the universe. We sensed that the time for a new humanist religion based on intelligence, good-natured pluralism and scientific paganism had arrived.”
One of the directors of the Authoritarian Personality project, R. Nevitt Sanford, played a pivotal role in the usage of psychedelic drugs. In 1965, he wrote in a book issued by the publishing arm of the UK’s Tavistock Institute:‘The nation, seems to be fascinated by our 40,000 or so drug addicts who are seen as alarmingly wayward people who must be curbed at all costs by expensive police activity. Only an uneasy Puritanism could support the practice of focusing on the drug addicts (rather than our 5 million alcoholics) and treating them as a police problem instead of a medical one, while suppressing harmless drugs such as marijuana and peyote along with the dangerous ones.” The leading propagandists of today’s drug lobby base their argument for legalization on the same scientific quackery spelled out all those years ago by Dr. Sanford.
Such propagandists include the multi-billionaire atheist George Soros who chose, as one of his first domestic programs, to fund efforts to challenge the efficacy of America’s $37-billion-a-year war on drugs. The Soros-backed Lindesmith Center serves as a leading voice for Americans who want to decriminalize drug use. ‘Soros is the ‘Daddy Warbucks of drug legalization,’ claimed Joseph Califano Jr. of Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse’ (The Nation, Sep 2, 1999).
Adorno was to become head of a ‘music studies’ unit, where in his Theory of Modern Music he promoted the prospect of unleashing atonal and other popular music as a weapon to destroy society, degenerate forms of music to promote mental illness. He said the US could be brought to its knees by the use of radio and television to promote a culture of pessimism and despair – by the late 1930s he (together with Horkheimer) had migrated to Hollywood.
The expansion of violent video-games also well supported the School’s aims.
In his book The Closing of the American Mind, Alan Bloom observed how Marcuse appealed to university students in the sixties with a combination of Marx and Freud. In Eros and Civilization and One Dimensional Man Marcuse promised that the overcoming of capitalism and its false consciousness will result in a society where the greatest satisfactions are sexual. Rock music touches the same chord in the young. Free sexual expression, anarchism, mining of the irrational unconscious and giving it free rein are what they have in common.’
The modern media – not least Arthur ‘Punch’ Sulzberger Jnr., who took charge of the New York Times in 1992 – drew greatly on the Frankfurt School’s study The Authoritarian Personality. (New York: Harper, 1950). In his book Arrogance, (Warner Books, 1993) former CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg noted of Sulzberger that he ‘still believes in all those old sixties notions about ‘liberation’ and ‘changing the world man’ . . . In fact, the Punch years have been a steady march down PC Boulevard, with a newsroom fiercely dedicated to every brand of diversity except the intellectual kind.’
In 1953 the Institute moved back to the University of Frankfurt. Adorno died in 1955 and Horkheimer in 1973. The Institute of Social Research continued, but what was known as the Frankfurt School did not. The ‘cultural Marxism’ that has since taken hold of our schools and universities – that ‘political correctness’, which has been destroying our family bonds, our religious tradition and our entire culture -sprang from the Frankfurt School.
It was these intellectual Marxists who, later, during the anti-Vietnam demonstrations, coined the phrase, ‘make love, not war’; it was these intellectuals who promoted the dialectic of ‘negative’ criticism; it was these theoreticians who dreamed of a utopia where their rules governed. It was their concept that led to the current fad for the rewriting of history, and to the vogue for ‘deconstruction’. Their mantras: ‘sexual differences are a contract; if it feels good, do it; do your own thing.’
In an address at the US Naval Academy in August 1999, Dr Gerald L. Atkinson, CDR USN (Ret), gave a background briefing on the Frankfurt School, reminding his audience that it was the ‘foot soldiers’ of the Frankfurt School who introduced the ‘sensitivity training’ techniques used in public schools over the past 30 years (and now employed by the US military to educate the troops about ‘sexual harassment’). During ‘sensitivity’ training teachers were told not to teach but to ‘facilitate.’ Classrooms became centres of self-examination where children talked about their own subjective feelings. This technique was designed to convince children they were the sole authority in their own lives.
Atkinson continued: ‘The Authoritarian personality,’ studied by the Frankfurt School in the 1940s and 1950s in America, prepared the way for the subsequent warfare against the masculine gender promoted by Herbert Marcuse and his band of social revolutionaries under the guise of ‘women’s liberation’ and the New Left movement in the 1960s. The evidence that psychological techniques for changing personality is intended to mean emasculation of the American male is provided by Abraham Maslow, founder of Third Force Humanist Psychology and a promoter of the psychotherapeutic classroom, who wrote that, ‘… the next step in personal evolution is a transcendence of both masculinity and femininity to general humanness.’
On April 17th, 1962, Maslow gave a lecture to a group of nuns at Sacred Heart, a Catholic women’s college in Massachusetts. He noted in a diary entry how the talk had been very ‘successful,’ but he found that very fact troubling. ‘They shouldn’t applaud me,’ he wrote, ‘they should attack. If they were fully aware of what I was doing, they would [attack]’ (Journals, p. 157).
In her booklet Sex & Social Engineering (Family Education Trust 1994) Valerie Riches observed how in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were intensive parliamentary campaigns taking place emanating from a number of organisations in the field of birth control (i.e., contraception, abortion, sterilisation). ‘From an analysis of their annual reports, it became apparent that a comparatively small number of people were involved to a surprising degree in an array of pressure groups. This network was not only linked by personnel, but by funds, ideology and sometimes addresses: it was also backed by vested interests and supported by grants in some cases by government departments. At the heart of the network was the Family Planning Association (FPA) with its own collection of offshoots. What we unearthed was a power structure with enormous influence.
‘Deeper investigation revealed that the network, in fact extended further afield, into eugenics, population control, birth control, sexual and family law reforms, sex and health education. Its tentacles reached out to publishing houses, medical, educational and research establishments, women’s organisations and marriage guidance—anywhere where influence could be exerted. It appeared to have great influence over the media, and over permanent officials in relevant government departments, out of all proportion to the numbers involved.
‘During our investigations, a speaker at a Sex Education Symposium in Liverpool outlined tactics of sex education saying: ‘if we do not get into sex education, children will simply follow the mores of their parents’. The fact that sex education was to be the vehicle for peddlers of secular humanism soon became apparent.
‘However, at that time the power of the network and the full implications of its activities were not fully understood. It was thought that the situation was confined to Britain. The international implications had not been grasped.
‘Soon after, a little book was published with the intriguing title The Men Behind Hitler—A German Warning to the World. Its thesis was that the eugenics movement, which had gained popularity early in the twentieth century, had gone underground following the holocaust in Nazi Germany, but was still active and functioning through organizations promoting abortion, euthanasia, sterilization, mental health, etc. The author urged the reader to look at his home country and neighbouring countries, for he would surely find that members and committees of these organizations would cross-check to a remarkable extent.
‘Other books and papers from independent sources later confirmed this situation. . . . A remarkable book was also published in America which documented the activities of the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). It was entitled The SIECUS Circle A Humanist Revolution. SIECUS was set up in 1964 and lost no time in engaging in a programme of social engineering by means of sex education in the schools. Its first executive director was Mary Calderone, who was also closely linked to Planned Parenthood, the American equivalent of the British FPA. According to The SIECUS Circle, Calderone supported sentiments and theories put forward by Rudolph Dreikus, a humanist, such as:
· merging or reversing the sexes or sex roles;
· liberating children from their families;
· abolishing the family as we know it’
In their book Mind Siege, (Thomas Nelson, 2000) Tim LaHaye and David A. Noebel confirmed Riches’s findings of an international network. ‘The leading authorities of Secular Humanism may be pictured as the starting lineup of a baseball team: pitching is John Dewey; catching is Isaac Asimov; first base is Paul Kurtz; second base is Corliss Lamont; third base is Bertrand Russell; shortstop is Julian Huxley; left fielder is Richard Dawkins; center fielder is Margaret Sanger; right fielder is Carl Rogers; manager is ‘Christianity is for losers’ Ted Turner; designated hitter is Mary Calderone; utility players include the hundreds listed in the back of Humanist Manifesto I and II, including Eugenia C. Scott, Alfred Kinsey, Abraham Maslow, Erich Fromm, Rollo May, and Betty Friedan.
‘In the grandstands sit the sponsoring or sustaining organizations, such as the . . . the Frankfurt School; the left wing of the Democratic Party; the Democratic Socialists of America; Harvard University; Yale University; University of Minnesota; University of California (Berkeley); and two thousand other colleges and universities.’
A practical example of how the tidal wave of Maslow-think is engulfing English schools was revealed in an article in the British Nat assoc. of Catholic Families’ (NACF) Catholic Family newspaper (August 2000), where James Caffrey warned about the Citizenship (PSHE) programme which was shortly to be drafted into the National Curriculum. ‘We need to look carefully at the vocabulary used in this new subject’, he wrote, ‘and, more importantly, discover the philosophical basis on which it is founded. The clues to this can be found in the word ‘choice’ which occurs frequently in the Citizenship documentation and the great emphasis placed on pupils’ discussing and ‘clarifying’ their own views, values and choices about any given issue. This is nothing other than the concept known as ‘Values Clarification’ – a concept anathema to Catholicism, or indeed, to Judaism and Islam.
‘This concept was pioneered in California in the 1960’s by psychologists William Coulson, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. It was based on ‘humanistic’ psychology, in which patients were regarded as the sole judge of their actions and moral behaviour. Having pioneered the technique of Values Clarification the psychologists introduced it into schools and other institutions such as convents and seminaries – with disastrous results. Convents emptied, religious lost their vocations and there was wholesale loss of belief in God. Why? Because Catholic institutions are founded on absolute beliefs in, for example, the Creed and the Ten Commandments. Values Clarification supposes a moral relativism in which there is no absolute right or wrong and no dependence on God.
‘This same system is to be introduced to the vulnerable minds of infants, juniors and adolescents in the years 2000+. The underlying philosophy of Values Clarification holds that for teachers to promote virtues such as honesty, justice or chastity constitutes indoctrination of children and ‘violates’ their moral freedom. It is urged that children should be free to choose their own values; the teacher must merely ‘facilitate’ and must avoid all moralising or criticising. As a barrister commented recently on worrying trends in Australian education, ‘The core theme of values clarification is that there are no right or wrong values. Values education does not seek to identify and transmit ‘right’ values, teaching of the Church, especially the papal encyclical Evangelium Vitae.
‘In the absence of clear moral guidance, children naturally make choices based on feelings. Powerful peer pressure, freed from the values which stem from a divine source, ensure that ‘shared values’ sink to the lowest common denominator. References to environmental sustainability lead to a mindset where anti-life arguments for population control are present ed as being both responsible and desirable. Similarly, ‘informed choices’ about health and lifestyles are euphemisms for attitudes antithetical to Christian views on motherhood, fatherhood, the sacrament of marriage and family life. Values Clarification is covert and dangerous. It underpins the entire rationale of Citizenship (PSHE) and is to be introduced by statute into the UK soon. It will give young people secular values and imbue them with the attitude that they alone hold ultimate authority and judgement about their lives. No Catholic school can include this new subject as formulated in the Curriculum 2000 document within its current curriculum provision. Dr. William Coulson recognised the psychological damage Rogers’ technique inflicted on youngsters and rejected it, devoting his life to exposing its dangers.
Should those in authority in Catholic education not do likewise, as ‘Citizenship’ makes its deadly approach’?
If we allow their subversion of values and interests to continue, we will, in future generations, lose all that our ancestors suffered and died for. We are forewarned, says Atkinson. A reading of history (it is all in mainstream historical accounts) tells us that we are about to lose the most precious thing we have—our individual freedoms.
‘What we are at present experiencing,’ writes Philip Trower in a letter to the author, ‘is a blend of two schools of thought; the Frankfurt School and the liberal tradition going back to the 18th century Enlightenment. The Frankfurt School has of course its remote origins in the 18th century Enlightenment. But like Lenin’s Marxism it is a breakaway movement. The immediate aims of both classical liberalism and the Frankfurt School have been in the main the same (vide your eleven points above) but the final end is different. For liberals they lead to ‘improving’ and ‘perfecting’ western culture, for the Frankfurt School they bring about its destruction.
‘Unlike hard-line Marxists, the Frankfurt School do not make any plans for the future. (But) the Frankfurt School seems to be more far-sighted that our classical liberals and secularists. At least they see the moral deviations they promote will in the end make social life impossible or intolerable. But this leaves a big question mark over what a future conducted by them would be like.’
Meanwhile, the Quiet Revolution rolls forward.