ACORN-hating conservo-screamer Andrew Breitbart apparently just bought on of those “A Very Short Introduction” books about the neo-Marxist theorists known as the Frankfurt School, and he has some news for you. They were Marxists! Oh, and also, a bunch of morons (including Breitbart) are always calling Obama a Socialist! Coincidence? Um, why don’t you try growing up, okay, and recognize that Obama just so happens to be the reincarnation of these other reincarnations of Marx. Why don’t you try that, hippie?
He seems a familiar bicoastal type until he starts explaining his conviction that President Barack Obama’s election was the culmination of a plot, set in place in the nineteen-thirties by émigré members of the Frankfurt School, to take over Hollywood, the media, the academy, and the government, with the aim of imposing socialism. “He’s a Marxist,” Breitbart says of Obama. “His life work, his life experience, his life writings, and now his legislative legacy speak to his ideological point of view.”
“A lot of these guys I was reading about in my American Studies class were German and Italian social scientists from the University of Frankfurt,” he says. “Once you see what their plan was, you realize that it was implemented. It was taking over the cultural institutions. The left is smart enough to understand that the way to change a political system is through its cultural systems. So you look at the conservative movement—working the levers of power, creating think tanks, and trying to get people elected in different places—while the left is taking over Hollywood, the music industry, the churches. They did it through academia; they did it with K-12. You look back at the last forty years, and people didn’t put up a fight.” [emphasis mine.]
As Yglesias rightly notes, this is pure nonsense. The idea that Herbert Marcuse and Theodor Adorno somehow Manchuriated Barack Obama into power, thus completing their total takeover of American society is so truly disconnected from reality that one struggles to find words to express the necessary level of scorn that that position deserves. It is simply unfathomable that any thinking person could study the Frankfurt school and draw the conclusion: These guys wanted to overthrow the government, and they have succeeded in very real ways.
Is Breitback a scholar?
“And I remember moments in class where I thought my head was going to explode, going, What the fuck are these people talking about? I don’t understand what this deconstructive semiotic bullshit is. Who the fuck is Michel Foucault?”
Okay, well, to be fair, I and most of my college friends had that feeling from time to time. But certainly now, as a leading figure on the right, things have changed and Breitbart has become more intellectually curious.
He does not pretend to be an expert in policy, or to be particularly interested in it. “Just because I am paying attention to politics and culture doesn’t mean that I should be talking about the health-care bill, talking about the minutiae,” he told me.
No, no reason to be an expert on subjects you’re spouting off on. We report, you decide, etc.
For comparison, here’s a passage from Herbert Marcuse’s masterpiece One-Dimensional Man:
The society which projects and undertakes the technological transformation of nature alters the base of domination by gradually replacing personal dependence (of the slave on the master, the serf on the lord of the manor, the lord on the donor of the fief, etc.) with dependence on the “objective order of things” (on economic laws, the market, etc.).
In short, a society in which “newer is always better” results in citizens who worship the “objective order of things” (ie, stability), which appears as both natural and rational. Questioning the order of things — whether a better order is possible — renders one a kook, a simpleton. The Market simply Is, and to question the domination money of over humanity is akin to questioning whether we should poop in toilets or on the street. What are you doing, talking about emancipation from material goods!? Don’t you like your new TV? It’s an interesting, depressing, historically-minded thought.
[Democrats] love using black people as symbols of oppression. They love to use them for staged rallies, staged walks and staged protests. It’s why they fought so hard to keep the heavily minority ACORN alive. They were the portable army that would cry racism in front of your place of business until the company paid them off to go away.
Which is also a good point!
This guy, Andrew Breitbart, is on TV all the time, telling people what to think. It’s almost like the seething pessimism so prevalent in neo-Marxist thought might have been warranted.