Tag Archives: cultural marxism

The Top Ten Reasons Why Socialism is Wrong

1. Marx’s Labor Theory of Value, adapted from Ricardo, is wrong. Work is not exploitation and profit is not theft. (For more on this subject see Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy.)

2. Historical Materialism begs the question of human agency. It is unexplained how socialists come to have consciousness that is “authentic,” while capitalists have “false consciousness.” Marx’s theory underplays the role of ideas and ethics in economies (i.e. the “superstructure” of the economy that is but a reflection of materialist forces).

3. There is the unresolved question of how classes arose to begin with. Did they arise through the use of coercion to repress lower classes? Did they arise due to inequalities in human characteristics?Did classes arise because of the private ownership of the means of production? If so, then why are there social classes or castes in countries that have cooperative, collective, or tribal social-economic arrangements?

4. Marxism is a self-stultifying ideology that renders life meaningless. Mankind’s desire to achieve is obviously due to human nature, and not materialist forces. It is no coincidence that socialist societies lead to high levels of anomie and alienation, contrary to Marxist claims to the contrary that capitalism causes such social effects. The reason such maladies are prevalent in socialist countries is because social valuation of the individual is diminished to nearly nothing.

5. Marx’s theory of historical materialism and the “inevitable triumph of socialism,” is obviously flawed. Socialism lasting any considerable period of time in a polity has always developed due to Marxist-Leninist or Maoist radicals ushering in bloody putsches or coup d’etats in economically backwards states. This is the opposite of what Marx predicted. Marxism predicted that there would be spontaneous worker’s revolts in advanced capitalist societies around the globe, and not elite-organized socialist “revolutions” in backwards countries like Russia and China. World War I exposed the false notion held by socialists that the war would lead to a worker’s strike and mass defections from the armies due to “workers’ solidarity.”

6. Marx’s claim that the “Iron Law of Wages” would lead inexorably to a decline in standard of living among the proletariat tending towards subsistence living is incorrect. In the most advanced capitalist states, the standard of living increased ever upwards. This is because an economy based on mass production leads to cheaper goods and a competitive labor market buoys demand and wages for skilled labor. The counter-argument that the standard of living increased due to labor unions is obviously false in the U.S.; labor unions in America have always been relatively weak and many times unions claim labor improvements that arose due to market competition. One former union boss who spoke at an Occupy DC rally recently confessed that “progressive labor is a revolutionary communist organization.” Unions are a type of labor cartel that makes profitable businesses increasingly unfeasible.

7. Equality of means has not been achieved in any socialist state of any kind in world history. Every single socialist state has been led by elites with a miserable underclass far underfoot. I defy a socialist to name one counterfactual. The underclass is typically lied to (e.g. offered “Bread, land and peace,” but receiving none of the sort), and the disparity between rich and poor actually increases after the “revolution.” So ironically, socialist policies lead to greater inequality of means, rather than more equality. For more on why socialist systems always lead to oppression, see Michels’ “Iron Law of Oligarchy.”

8. The fraudulent obsession with equality espoused by socialists was perhaps best summed up by Margaret Thatcher, who in a speech to the socialist opposition, demonstrated the absurdity of her opponents’ position. While gesticulating with her fingers to illustrate her concept visually, she showed that “(Socialists) would rather the poor be poorer, provided the rich were less rich.” [See: “Margaret Thatcher on Socialism” on YouTube.]

9. Socialism is only a critique of capitalism and not a self-sufficient economic system. It advises how to redistribute wealth, but not how to create it. Socialists are unable to persuasively answer the “then what?” question of what happens when capitalism is destroyed or it collapses. Apparently, eternal prosperity ensues, but the causal linkage is not adequately explained.

10. Socialism is not consistent with human nature. Human beings are not innately altruists, because as a species, mankind is driven by the desire to procreate, and all that seminal act entails. Societies have succeeded based on hunting, gathering, production, and even war, but redistribution is a static and deteriorating model of economic organization.

The implication of modeling an economic system on socialist redistribution for the contrived ethic of “equality” is no less than the destruction of civilization itself. And this is by design. Marx set out to foment world revolution prior to developing the philosophical system that justified it. As Marx quoted Goethe in the Eighteenth Brumaire, “All that exists deserves to perish.”

The Culture Industry & Pop Subversion

Conservatives tend to ignore pop music and see it as frivolous junk cluttering up the airwaves.  But a closer look at the culture industry reveals it as an insidious piece of the totalitarian puzzle, even more potent than bullets or bombs could be in forcing Americans into collectivism.

Allan Bloom wrote an entire chapter called “Music” in his seminal work The Closing of the American Mind. In the chapter, he rightly states, “Today, a very large proportion of young people between the ages of ten and twenty live for music. It is their passion; they cannot take seriously anything alien to music.”

That was in 1988. Before Brittney Spears, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and other pop icons of the Internet Age were being streamed into the heads of tweens accompanied by the visual flourishes of jiggling, gyrating, lip-syncing songstresses half-assembled out of silicone and entirely plastic.

And this isn’t some Bible-thumping, snake-handling socon grumbling on his back porch about ‘how times have changed’ and ‘youths were just so much more clean-cut and respectful back in the day.’ This is coming from a libertine libertarian of the live-and-let-live variety. I can’t run for public office because of the extra-curricular activities I engaged in during my college years. At least, not as a Republican. Just saying.

So before explaining why and how the music industry is an implemental part of the hard left’s creepy scheme to demoralize America, let’s set the stage by looking at the lyrics of seven of the biggest hits of the last year:

1. “Last Friday Night” (T.G.I.F.) by Katy Perry (Lyrics)

Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a menage a trois
Last Friday night
Yeah I think we broke the law
Always say we’re gonna stop-op

This Friday night
Do it all again
This Friday night
Do it all again

This was banned by the Red Chinese. Can’t say that I blame ‘em in this case. It has nearly 200 million views on YouTube though.

2. “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 Featuring Christina Aguilera (Lyrics)

You wanted control
So we waited
I put on a show
Now I make it
You say I’m a kid
My ego is big
I don’t give a sh*t
And it goes like this

Comes in at a little over 110 million YouTube views.

3. “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj (Lyrics)

And he ill, he real, he might got a deal
He pop bottles and he got the right kind of build
He cold, he dope, he might sell coke
He always in the air, but he never fly coach

He a mutha(bleep)in trip, trip, sailor of the ship, ship
When he make it drip, drip, kiss him in the lip, lip
That’s the kind of dude I was lookin’ for
And yes you’ll get slapped if you’re lookin’ ho

This “classic” has 267,000,000 YouTube views.

4. “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO Featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock (Lyrics)

One more shot for us, another round
Please fill up my cup, don’t mess around
We just wanna see you shake it now
Now you wanna be, you’re naked now

This song has over 465 million views.

5. “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People (Lyrics and Meaning)

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet

The only song on the list I like, even though it is about a kid that snaps and goes on a murder spree.

6. “Give Me Everything” by Pitbull Featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer (Lyrics)

Excuse me but I might drink a little more than I should tonight
And I might take you home with me if I could tonight
And baby I’ma make you feel so good tonight
‘Cause we might not get tomorrow

Almost 250 million YouTube hits.

7. “Tonight, Tonight” by Hot Chelle Rae (Lyrics)

It’s been a really really messed up week
Seven days of torture, seven days of bitter
And my girlfriend went and cheated on me
She’s a California dime but it’s time for me to quit her

La la la, whatever, la la la, it doesn’t matter, la la la, oh well, la la la

Yeah, all of this doesn’t really matter. It’s meaningless, demoralizing, overly sexualized, frivolous, mind-erasing, anti-humanistic drivel. There is nothing individualistically creative or mentally challenging about any of it.

The question is if the sad state of American culture is due to economic forces inherent in capitalism, such as tailoring to the lowest common denominator, or is it part of a leftist drive to debase the culture and to remove moral opposition to socialism?

The easiest way to find out this answer is to look at what influential leftists, who are universally taught in the upper ranks of colleges and universities, have to say about capitalist culture and what they propose to do about it.

One of the most prominent New Left critics of capitalist culture was Theodore Adorno. The Frankfurt School mandarin first coined the phrase “the culture industry,” which he used in the title of some of his manuscripts. In his Culture Industry Reconsidered, he wrote the following:

The culture industry intentionally integrates its consumers from above. To the detriment of both it forces together the spheres of high and low art, separated for thousands of years. The seriousness of high art is destroyed in speculation about its efficacy; the seriousness of the lower perishes with the civilizational constraints imposed on the rebellious resistance inherent within it as long as social control was not yet total. Thus, although the culture industry undeniably speculates on the conscious and unconscious state of the millions towards which it is directed, the masses are not primary, but secondary, they are an object of calculation; an appendage of the machinery. The customer is not king, as the culture industry would have us believe, not its subject but its object.

A modern musicologist comments on Adorno’s observations:

The central culprit for this “regression” was ultimately the culture industry, which sought to commodify the artwork in service of the mass market as “so-called cultural goods”. As a result, the work of art pales as an object of genuine contemplation and circulates in the consumer market, becoming an object sought out for its “exchange value” rather than its ‘deep’ principles. A curious vicious cycle of double-anticipation: the leaders of large entertainment companies anticipate the “tastes” of the “mass market” by reproducing what the “market” has deemed “popular”. Yet, Adorno points out that what is “popular” is “the most familiar” and “is therefore played again and again and made still more familiar”.

This technique of mechanical reproduction is not unique to music, it is also famously and memorably seen in art, with the purposeful critique of industrial civilization inherent in Andy’s Warhols art. The main concept is that the mechanical reproduction of art, in other words, its mass production, “demystifies” the individualistic aspect of artistic expression itself. Repeated imagery or simplified and compressed imagery tailors to the mass tastes; by extension, it influences and “corrupts” them in a not necessarily pejorative sense. The result is the diminishing of the humanistic influences that inform American individualism.

But none of this can be necessarily blamed on the left, which would be akin to shooting the messenger for delivering bad news. The problem arises when one finds evidence that the left actually roots for civilizational dissolution, and has infiltrated and established numerous powerful institutions with the express purpose of destroying the legacy of The Enlightenment, which informs the founding of the United States.  Culturally doing away with The Enlightenment would effectively leave men morally and philosophically helpless against totalitarianism.

One such powerful institution was The Princeton Radio Project, which Adorno took part in. While working with the project, Adorno developed the following critique:

“On the Hit Parade, Adorno found: When a popular song was “plugged” over and over again on American radio, a familiar pattern was recalled. The familiar pattern replaced thinking. With just a few musical notes of a jingle, like the sound of dogfood hitting the bowl, advertisers could produce the desired effect: “Oh, there’s my favorite show, I better stop what I’m doing, and come listen to my show.” Thinking was reduced to recall! Adorno thought the ad jingles and constant “plugging” of a few songs on the Hit Parade “infantilized the listener … with musical stereotypes…”

And what, ironically, was his association with this phenomenon? Adorno thought: “…totalitarian radio was assigned to the task…of providing good entertainment and diversion” and concluded that American radio served the same function as totalitarian radio – to distract listeners from political reality, as he interpreted it.

The Princeton Radio Project eventually became part of The Bureau of Applied Social Research, which Theodore Adorno worked with until leaving the group in the early 1940s. What was “The Bureau” and what did it do?

The Bureau of Applied Social Research (BASR), known as ‘the Bureau’ to those who worked there, played an influential role in early media studies and the development of communication as a discipline. Founded in 1937 as the Office of Radio Research (ORR), the Bureau (renamed in 1944) was a research institute affiliated with Columbia University but dependent for funding on external sources. It was one of several such research institutions formed by Paul F. Lazarsfeld, a Jewish-born Viennese émigré scholar, trained as a mathematician and social psychologist, who became a major figure in the history of the study of communication.

It is very important to note that these projects “studying” mass media influence were funded by very powerful organizations, such as The Rockefeller Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and the Carnegie Institute.  Highly recommended is a briefing on the particular role of Adorno and Lazarsfeld, and their work with The Princeton Radio Project.

The significance of such projects becomes more clear and more disturbing once one probes what these “non-profit” foundations are all about. Norman Dodd of the Reece Commission investigated the workings of such foundations and gave a harrowing and convincing interview that puts forth the proposition that they are institutional transmissions for integrating the United States into a world collectivist society.

The Frankfurt School, which Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer led, was eventually transferred to Columbia University, at the Institute for Social Research.  But other neomarxist theoreticians made their mark. Of these, Gyorgy Lukacs and Antonio Gramsci bear special mention.

Gyorgy Lukacs was The Minister of Culture under the communist regime of Bela Kun in Hungary. Lukacs was the author of History & Class Consciousness, which broke new territory on assaulting capitalist “culture.” One key aspect to his program to destroy capitalism was to target Christianity and family values, which he thought culturally reinforced capitalism.

As tenuous a proposition as this is, he debased Hungarian culture by seeking to actively sexualize the youth in the schools, which elicited a revolt in 1919. The Christian peasants helped to overthrow the Kun government, one of the few times a people has quickly overturned communist rule.

One saw the influence of Lukacs in President Obama’s resigned “Safe Schools Czar” Kevin Jennings, whose sexually illicit record made him an unusual choice to head a government agency dealing with schools – until one understands the purpose of introducing sexually explicit materials in the classroom: to debase the humanist aspects of the culture, and to make children easier to mold into socialists.

Religion is a very powerful barrier to socialism, and thus it must be destroyed, the left reasons. In addition, the irresponsible behavior provoked by youth sexualization makes young people more amenable to both the dehumanizing experience of abortion, and prone to becoming dependent on the social welfare state.

Antonio Gramsci provided the rationale for the left to seize the culture and to wield hegemonic control over it to bring about socialism. Gramsci’s insights on communication, how to conduct cultural warfare through capturing education and the media are so important they warrant special merit for the unfamiliar reader.

In short, the sum of the left’s progress in the schools, colleges, courts, news and entertainment media should be seen particularly from the viewpoint of a Gramscian war on American culture.

An interesting empirical fact reinforcing the powerful effect of “political correctness” in the culture is that nearly all professions dealing with information dissemination or cultural production have had Democrat voting rates of around 90%. Thus, we see the left’s propaganda techniques have had very powerful effect.

*It was recently brought to my attention by a Twitter user of a golden thread between Hollywood and government known as the Motion Picture Association of America or MPAA. Indeed, an examination of the heads of the MPAA lead right to the Chairman Christopher Dodd, best known for his financial corruption and role in the anti-capitalist legislation Dodd-Frank. During the raging debate on the anti-piracy bill SOPA, Chris Dodd even had the audacity to praise the Chinese model of government censorship. That was before threatening politicians who didn’t stay bought.

The Hollywood elite thus have direct ties to the Democrat Party, an incestuous relationship between culture and politics that is in some ways reminiscent of fascist regimes. Although the sum total view of the messaging is not blatantly socialist, it could be characterized as crypto-marxist.

The non-spontaneous but rather pre-planned nature of the left’s assault on the culture is more fully informed by the indispensable testimony of KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov. Bezmenov explains that the campaign of ideological subversion waged by America’s enemies should be thought of in terms of demoralization, destabilization, crisis, and (totalitarian) normalization.

It is not that the KGB and other ideological subverters originated and drove the cultural and intellectual deterioration of America, but they pulled un-American ideas along, nurtured corrosive values, and helped undermine institutions that kept the country strong and great. And according to recent reports, despite the formal demise of the USSR, the FSB is still in business and still carrying out active measures against The West.

The overarching point is that we should look out for elements of pop culture that may seem trivial, but have a compound effect. Much like critical theory, which breaks up the left’s uniform movement towards socialism into various interest groups, neomarxist modes of thought and expression take on many guises and manifestations. Sometimes the medium itself is the message.

What one finds in American popular culture is a gaping void hungering for a moral defense of the nation’s key values: individualism, liberty, and representative government. Real musicians like Gary Eaton, Wilson Getchell, and the band Cake are helping to lead the way on the music scene. And even seemingly marginal acts of cultural opposition as found in the Hollywood film The Dark Knight Rises are crucial to turning the tide against leftism.

American conservatives – you are the counter-culture. Act like it.

Man Against Himself: The Crux of American Decline

America’s stunning decline appears to many to be a sudden reversal of fortune. But this seemingly precipitous implosion is actually the result of a systematically planned demolition job carried out over the last century. And what appears to be an organic process of cultural decay is the fruit of ideological warfare waged by the left over many decades.

If one were to break up the aspects of human life into different spheres — the political, the economic, and the cultural — then we get a clearer view as to our strategy on the New Right to restore liberty and individual protections. A threat to Constitutionally limited government that many are not familiar with is cultural marxism, which will be briefly discussed in this essay.

Our civilization is thoroughly saturated with cultural marxism to the extent that we less conscious and introspective Americans are like fish that do not know they are wet. The moral content of nearly every cultural phenomenon is almost undeniably leftist, and its mode of expression is often designed to frustrate rational thought or defy analysis. This is a deliberate strategem of the left that plays on the obtuse linkages between aesthetics and morality. One aspect of this strategy that I have discussed before may be called “pop subversion.”

The technological advances in mass communications brought about greater empowerment of the individual to communicate with his fellow man. The information revolution stood poised to bring about the insights of The Enlightenment to all mankind, and thus to undermine the ideological bases of state power. But these technological innovations also provided powerful tools to the state, and its facilitators, the collectivists, to manipulate what they refer to as the ‘public sphere.’

One leftist mastermind who recognized the powerful possibilities of the new media was Antonio Gramsci. An Italian communist, Gramsci posited that in order for communism to be brought to the West, the culture would have to be infiltrated by a ‘long march’ through the institutions of information dissemination; first and foremost, the schools and universities,  followed by news media, radio and music entertainment, film, and the courts.

The ideological subversion would be gradual, but would reinforce and complement the neomarxists’ erosion of the capitalist economic system, which they referred to as “the base.” Fundamental to transforming the culture was to lead men to interpret events and politics in the desired manner, so that the recreation of the economic conditions along class warfare lines, using such instruments as the Fabian socialist banking policy of intentional inflation, would lead to the popular support of socialism.

But in order to create, one must first destroy, to paraphrase Nietzsche. The ideological weapons of the left were to be found in the texts of various atheistic or state-worshiping philosophers. Hegel taught the triumph of the State, and the establishment of rule by the god of Reason. Marx taught class warfare, and material determinism of the kind that eviscerates the free will of the individual. Nietzsche laid the foundation for nihilistic moral and cultural relativism by eschewing men to get ‘beyond good and evil.’ Freud called religion the ‘opiate of the masses,’ and Gyorgy Lukacs sought ways to culturally destroy it. Heidegger taught that the essence of humanity was not life, but existence. Dewey prepared the way for the left’s educational agenda by stripping ideology out of discussion in the social sciences to be replaced by pragmatism. Sartre and Camus demoralized men’s creative and aspirational spirit through cultural promulgation that man was in existentialist crisis.  Foucault imprisoned men’s minds by insisting that power relationships are inescapable.  What emerges out of a survey of modern philosophy as offered by our universities is a uniformity of thought hostile to individual freedom. This set of philosophy can be referred to as anti-humanist in content, as it shuns the Christian-based humanism of the Renaissance that led to The Enlightenment.

Complementing the ideological indoctrination in our universities was to be the daily reinforcement of the news media, who falsely portrayed themselves as a consensus spontaneously and objectively reporting current events, before becoming more ideologically combative as they were challenged from below. The daily duplicity of the news media is relatively easy to analyze for the rational man. The medium invites analysis, and those who would do so are predominately the consumers of it. Since the overt leftism of the establishment news media is so noticeable, especially in relief to the alternative reportage of new media, most once-dominant outlets are being rejected. But has declining ratings caused these outlets to revise their editorial policies? On the contrary, many have doubled down and made even more manifest their fairly unpopular leftist ideology.

There is currently no more compelling illustration of the potential power of the information age than the spontaneous order of The Internet. While it is credited by the media as fostering “democratic” revolutions in the Middle East, what is glaring in the laudatory media narratives is the lack of what is necessary for a people to be free under a democratic political system. The lack of an individualistic ethos dooms these revolutions to tumultuous mob warfare and future tyrannies without further enlightenment. But that appears to be the motive of the “news” media.

What is more subsumed in the culture, and precisely because it is so omnipresent, are such cultural engines as music and film. The thumping, mind-numbing music, with the nearly ubiquitous emphasis on emotion over self-control, often even promoting self-destructive, violent behavior, reinforces a nihilistic live-in-the-moment mentality that undermines the civic qualities needed for people to take care of themselves. It is significant that music is taken seriously enough by Plato to devote an extended passage to in his Republic, and New Left guru Theodore Adorno was a music critic whose work influenced radio and mass communications after the 1930s.

Films provide powerful imagery to stoke the imagination of the audience on new potentialities in human relations. Directors such as the Soviet Sergei Eisenstein and the Nazi Leni Riefenstahl were extremely influential in winning over adherents to their respective parties’ political platforms. Today, nearly all those who work in Hollywood vote Democrat, and movies are regularly churned out for mass consumption for no other discernible purpose than to undermine morality and America’s ability to project force abroad. Many kinds of demoralizing films fail to deliver high revenue, as they offend the sensibilities of a lot of Americans, but they are pumped out nonetheless.

What appears on the surface to be purely an economic crisis of spending and debt is the culmination of the moral degradation and demoralization of Americans. Many men no longer have the self-pride and responsibility needed to govern themselves in a free society. Entitlement spending is largely a proxy for how much the citizenry refuses to take care of themselves, and have outsourced self-care to the government. The frightening economic indicators we read are the signs of a people who have ideologically and morally lost their way.

One visible manifestation of the left’s successful subversion of our nation’s ideology and morality, which led us to become one of the freest and most successful nations in the history of the world, can be seen in how present-day America constantly defeats itself.  Those who are successful are condemned as “greedy,” as if their relative success came in an economic and social vacuum; we do not allow ourselves to drill for oil, even as our enemies do so off our coasts; we over-regulate and strangle our own economies, even as the government seeks to tax it more.  Ayn Rand described such a self-sacrificial ethos under the apt rubric “altruism.”

On the deepest philosophical level, the left’s ideology defies existence, refuses to acknowledge that man’s nature is life, opposes the rational thought that brought civilization into being to being with, and destroys the very language that makes the transmission of ideas possible.  Leftist philosophy is thus essentially not only anti-humanistic, but also anti-life and anti-reality. This ideology in its various expressions stands against wealth creation and self-improvement.  It is thus a self-defeating ideology destructive of human happiness, personal excellence, and non-coincidentally, national greatness.

The foundation of human civilization is the individual; as the individual goes, so goes civilization. One cannot have a great civilization comprised of non-productive, irresponsible citizens, who become a burden upon their fellow man. In order to have freedom in society, each should be free to live in a self-reliant manner within the context of civil society and a free economy. He must not be free from reality itself, as prices and wages describe, but from human coercion. Humans cannot be economically free in the absolute sense of being free from work, but rather can only be free from enslavement to other men. In order for a human being to be able to distinguish between the two states, he must be politically free to experience life directly, its risks and rewards, as a guide to leading his own life. In order to rationally engage with reality, he must be ideologically free, that is to say, enlightened.

If the New Left is able to institute its ethos of anti-humanism into our culture without vibrant and principled opposition, clearly exposing the left’s totalitarian agenda, and enunciating the real world alternatives, man will be doomed to another dark age. Only this time it will be intentionally created and reinforced using the mass communications tools that brought the state to ultimate power, and entrenched by technological advances that civilization brought to fruition. The ultimate way to defeat the left is to edify civilization ideologically and morally.