It is not the radical left that is destroying the West, but the West as a whole
(The Realist complains at The Inverted World that I misrepresented him when I said in my comment there today that he had written that the threat to the West “emanates” from the Frankfurt School. I agree that was an overstatement and I’ve posted a reply at IW which I hope meets his objections; I’ve also changed the wording of this blog entry to introduce more nuance into my characterization of his view.)
At the website The Inverted World, The Realist has written “The Origin of the Myth: The ‘whites as cancer’ myth is rooted in the Holocaust.” It is an interesting and disturbing discussion of the wacko and poisonous theories of Theodor Adorno of the Frankfurt School, who in his best-known book The Authoritarian Personality equated all Western normality with Fascism and Nazism. However, perhaps because The Realist starts off by saying that the scholars associated with the Frankfurt School were all of Jewish ancestry, the very active comments thread following the article has dealt not with Adorno’s work and influence, but almost exclusively with the question of whether Jews are or are not a problem for the West—and I hardly think that this was The Realist’s intention. Also, apart from the problem of the deflection of the topic onto the Jewish question, I have concern about how important the Frankfurt School really was and is, in light of the actual forces that are threatening the West. I’ve posted two comments about the article today. Below is an expanded version of the second comment.
For the last several decades, and at this very moment, the nations of the West have been actively turning themselves into nonwhite nations. The policies driving this are supported by all the major institutions of Western society. The government of Britain considers any limitation of the number of immigrants as “racist.” Jacques Chirac said that the roots of Europe are “Muslim as much as Christian.” Secretary of State Colin Powell called for a big increase in the U.S. Muslim population, as though Muslims in and of themselves are a benefit to America. The president of the United States constantly invokes the meaninglessness of the U.S.-Mexican border and suggests that the whole world should come to America if they can find a job here. There is no significant opposition to any of this in mainstream politics, except for opposition to illegal immigration in the U.S.
Dimitri K. writes:
It seems that you have gotten it right: it is the West that is destroying the West. Not many people who I know agree with that. For example, the commenters of The Inverted World, are only interested to blame it on someone else (Jews).LA replies:
To be fair to The Inverted World, which came into existence in order to oppose anti-Semitism on the white right, that thread seems to consist of a stand-off between anti-Semites who blame the Jews, and non-anti-Semites who say that this is wrong. My point is that that entire pre-occupation with the Jews, whether anti, neutral, or pro, is a diversion of attention away from the manifest forces of mass immigration that are rapidly dooming us.Paul Nachman writes:
Regarding the culpability of the Frankfurt School for all this, I’ll remind you of Peter Brimelow’s suggestion that things like the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act are Hitler’s revenge on the West. From the preface to Alien Nation, which I’m currently rereading:LA replies:
Yes, and that opening is the best part of Brimelow’s book. Further, as Brimelow’s own account suggests, the response to Hitlerism was not just, as The Realist would have it, that Theodor Adorno concluded that the West as a whole and whites in particular were Nazi-like. The response to Hitlerism was a civilization-wide epiphany that intolerance is the worst thing and must be eliminated. The latter is the operative force in Western suicide, not the former. Yes, the view of whites as Nazi-like fuels the anti-discrimination liberalism and makes it more venomous, but it is not the source of it.Alan Levine writes:
Did not quite agree with your views on Adorno and the Frankfurt School and their influence. First, in my understanding, whatever else they were, these jerks were not inverted racists, though you may have stumbled on some evidence I was not aware of. [LA replies: It is The Realist at The Inverted World who says that, not me.]LA:
This is a topic I’ve been debating for years. My view is that the present insane liberalism is the logical outcome of the older, more moderate-seeming liberalism, not of radical leftsm. But even if I am mistaken and the present insane liberalism is the child of the radical left, it doesn’t matter, because that leftist-born liberalism is now the mainstream orthodoxy of the Western world. Therefore people don’t see it as extreme. They see it as the unquestioned truth, or, rather, they don’t see it at all, since it is the very ambient atmosphere in which they live. Therefore attacking the radical left, which is what standard mainstream conservatives are doing all the time, is not a winning strategy for the West. We could succeed in totally discrediting the leftist idea that whites are the “cancer of history,” and that would not slow by one iota the West’s suicidal course, which is driven and enabled, not by the belief that whites are evil, but by the belief that we must be tolerant and inclusive of everyone and that the diverse society is the only moral and acceptable society.Paul Gottfried writes:
You should read my last three books, all of which stress that The Authoritarian Personality profoundly affected American political thinking. It was essential to the postwar reconstruction of German “civic culture’ and the work was deeply admired by SM Lipset, the sponsors of Commentary, and scads of Cold War liberals. It was not necessarily viewed as the post-Marxist leftist source of moral corruption that I suggest it was in The Strange Death of Marxism. What made The Authoritarian Personality particularly insidious is that it was widely seen as a blueprint for non-totalitarian democracy both here and in Europe; and leaders in government and in universities read the book in that way. The fact that Adorno and Horkheimer (who later backed away from the implications of the work he had co-edited) were at the time Soviet sympathizers did not dampen the enthusiasm of the anti-Stalinist secularist intellectuals who tried to defend the study. Although the Jewish identity of the Frankfurt School may not have been the only factor leading to their anti-Christian, anti-fascist pseudo-science, denying its influence on the formation of Frankfort School ideas is simply silly. Adorno was only half-Jewish and raised as a Catholic but nonetheless paraded his Jewish genes in explaining how he had arrived at his critique of bourgeois, Christian society. It is furthermore is silly to pretend that Jews have not played a DISPROPORTIONATE role in greasing the skids for our moral and social disintegration. To recognize this is to recognize reality. What is more dubious is that Jews have caused this ruin, without the enthusiastic support or at least cowardly acquiescence of the white Christian majority. Although it is correct to note the significant Jewish contribution to the present decadence, it is naive to think that Jews are the only culprits in what you and I deplore.LA replies:
I will admit my ignorance here, my great surprise—and my skepticism. I have not read The Authoritarian Personality, but have often seen discussions of it over the years, and every single discussion I have read treated it as a bad, leftist work that made America seem sick and evil. I never saw a neoconservative or proto-neoconservative praising Adorno, or praising any other Frankfurt School guy. I do not remember seeing in any Cold War liberal or neocon publication the idea that normal American life is a form of neurosis and incipient fascism. And of course neoconservatism came into being in large part in order to validate normal American life.Prof. Gottfried replies:
Christopher Lash’s True and Only Heaven includes a long section detailing the mainstream liberal support for The Authoritarian Personality in the 1950s and 1960s. Lipset, Hook, Daniel Bell, Arthur Schlesinger, Richard Hofstadter and the members of American Jewish Committe, who sponsored Adorno and Commentary magazine, were among the anti-Communist liberals who admired TAP and who thought that it had relevance for our country. Although you and I may be to the right of these celebrants, it would be hard to argue that no anti-Communist had any use for Adorno’s ideas.LA replies:
I will certainly look this up. Hofstadter I’m not surprised at, given his adversarial writings on the “paranoid” qualities of America. As for Schlesinger, I can easily see him thinking that TAP analysis applied to Repubicans, but not to Democrats.SK writes from France:
I keep on reading you sometimes, even if I am at the opposite sensibility of your intellectual mood. It enables me to grasp a way of looking at social issues completely different of my own. It is funny that I recently read Adorno’s Minima Moralia, with, I confess, great pleasure and admiration, and I am not surprised that you do not share my enthusiam. I am writing to you to insist on the fact you are clearly right on the fact one must not overestimate Adorno’s impact on liberalism. For instance, I look at Nussbaum’s Hiding from Humanity and it is clear that every word of this influential philosopher would remain even if Adorno had never existed.Here are two further comments that LA has sent to The Inverted World (the entire exchange between the Realist and me begins at my comment of May 17 12:05 p.m. in this thread.:
… As for the larger issue between the Realist and me whether the core of the West’s suicide is anti-whiteness (his view) or tolerance, non-discrimination, and pro-diversity (my view), he says that Adorno-type anti-whiteness was not prevalent after the war but only became so decades later. Of course I agree. I also agree with the general drift of the Realist’s theme about how the demonization of the white West is transmitted in our schools and much of our culture.LA writes:
Here is a VFR article from January 2003 where I lay out ideas similar to those here. I argue that Paul Weyrich’s attack on “Cultural Marxism” (much like the Realists’s attack on the Frankfurt School) makes us believe that the problem is outside us, in those extreme leftists, when in reality the problem is within us, in our own liberalism.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 17, 2007 02:03 PM | Send