Blue Water Healthy Living

The Frankfort School and the History of Political Correctness

By Dennis Grimski

Exposing the Marxists Roots of the

American Left  (Article #7)

Article Focus: The Frankfort School and the History of Political Correctness

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“America is passing through a crisis which is essentially different from anything that it has 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. America is being uprooted from its foundations in nature and tradition, and is being reconstituted into a new organization which is as artificial and mechanical as a modern factory.”    ~Christopher Dawson. Enquiries into Religion and Culture, p. 259.


I am writing a series for Blue Water Healthy Living on: “Exposing the Marxist Roots of the America Left.”  This article is #7 in my series.  In my last three articles I explored a movement in America called Progressivism; a movement that changed both our politics and our nation.  Although the Progressive Era by and large took place from 1880-1920, its tentacles transformed America’s culture and institutions, and it is still dramatically impacting our lives through modern liberalism.  

With this article (and the next several I plan to write), I want to begin to take you into a more frightening and nefarious movement.  In specific, I want us to examine the corrosive work of the ‘Frankfurt School’ – a group of German-American scholars who developed highly provocative perspectives on contemporary society and culture, drawing on Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud and Weber.  Their movement was designed to destroy Western Civilization.  Unfortunately, they chose America as their prime target.  Not that their idea of a ‘cultural revolution’ was particularly new, but their tactics were implacable and executed with targeted precision.

”Until now, 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.”  — Joseph, Comte de Maistre (1753-1821)

If you look at Maistre’s quote, and examine the information I have presented in my first six articles in this series, then you must see an America in transformation; and, for many, an America in cultural decline. It appears we are decomposing from within, as our country and its great institutions are under continual attack.  Our society has been under rapid change over the past 50 years, and many people don’t see many of these changes as positive.  Most American’s today are not comfortable with our rapid transformation from our traditional culture.  It feels like we’re leaving our traditional heritage and roots behind.  We see our country in a state of moral and institutional decline.  Recent polls shows over 75% of Americans’ no longer trust our government officials, our federal bureaucracy, and the media that should be holding our government accountable.

A thoughtful person should ask himself (or herself) whether or not all this ‘change’ from America’s traditional culture is simply a random set of events played out by a random set of players, all independent of each other — all disconnected from any central premise or guidance?  It is entirely possible that chance is at work here and all of these ‘threads’ of American culture are the random workings of the human intellect (the pursuit of what is possible, and what is appropriate) in a free, democratic society.

But suppose you were to learn that nearly all of the observations made in this series of articles are completely consistent with a ‘grand design’ — that is a concept, a way of thinking, and a process for bringing about America’s destruction.   And suppose one could identify a small core group of people who designed just such a concept and thought through the process of infusing it into our culture.   Wouldn’t you be interested in at least learning about such a core group?   Wouldn’t you want to know who they were, what they thought, and how they conjured up a process for bringing their thoughts into action?  For Americans with even a smidgeon of curiosity, the answer should be a resounding yes!

If such a core group could be found, then it would still depend on your personal ‘worldview’ as to its significance.   If you believe in the ‘blind watchmaker,’ that is, all cosmic and social events are random and guided only by the ‘laws of evolution,’  in the sense of competing with other random events for survival in a ‘stochastic’ world, you may choose to believe that such a core group was meaningless — it may have existed but so what?   It may have been only one of an uncountable number of such ‘groups’ in the world’s history. And you may believe that any particular group’s ‘window of opportunity’ to influence future generations was passed by and did little to influence the course of America’s history.

If you believe, instead, that nature has a ‘design,’ and that there are certain “natural laws,” and that all events can be connected, and we humans can make sense out of many of them if we will only ‘connect all of the dots,’ then you may believe that this small core group has great influence, even today, in American Culture.  If this is your worldview, you may (but not necessarily) even believe in a ‘conspiracy’ and ‘conspirators’ which and who aim to alter our culture on a vast scale.

It is clear, however, that irrespective of one’s ‘worldview,’ it is informative to at least know of such a core group (if it, indeed, existed), what it believed, what it set out to accomplish, and what methods it followed to take action on its beliefs.

It is my contention that just such a core group did, indeed, exist.  That is, history identifies a small group of German intellectuals who devised concepts, processes, and action plans which conform very closely to what Americans presently observe every day in our culture.  Observations, such as the level of civil unrest between people who consider themselves marginalized vs. whom they consider the status quo; the level of incivility between people who differ on political opinion;  or the darkness of today’s movies, TV, music and art, for example, can all be directly traced to the work of this core group of intellectuals. They were members of the Frankfurt School, formed in Germany in 1923. They were the forebears of what some proclaim as ‘Cultural Marxism,’ a radical social movement that has transformed American culture.  Today, this movement is more commonly known as ‘political correctness.’

What is “Cultural Marxism?”   Why should it even be considered when the world’s vast experiment with the economic theory of Karl Marx has recently gone down to defeat with the disintegration of Soviet communism?    Didn’t America win the Cold War against the spread of communism?    The answer is a resounding ‘yes, BUT.   We won the 55-year Cold War but, while winning it abroad, we have failed to understand that an intellectual elite has subtly but systematically and surely converted the economic theory of Marx to a culture in our American society.    And they did it while we were busy winning the Cold War abroad.  They introduced “Cultural Marxism” into the mainstream of American life over a period of thirty years (1930-1960s), while our attention was diverted elsewhere.  This Marxist culture was then distilled and crystallized in America over the next 50 years (1970s-2010s), playing out in our government, school system, universities, mainstream media, and in Hollywood.

The vehicle for activating their belief system was the idealistic Baby-Boomer generation, those young middle-class and well-to-do college students who became the vanguard of America’s counter-culture revolution of the mid-1960s — Those draft-dodging, pot-smoking, hippies who demonstrated against the Vietnam War, and who fomented the destructive (to women) ‘women’s liberation’ movement.   Many of these Boomer’s are now indoctrinated Socialists, a system of government they learned from their educational schooling — and they are now in power as they have come to middle-age and control every public institution in our nation.   But that is getting ahead of the story.

The cauldron for implementing this “witches’ brew” were the elites of the Boomer generation.  But they were only the ‘foot soldiers’ for these Frankfurt School gurus.  The counter-culture revolution of the 1960s was set in motion and guided intellectually by the ‘Cultural Marxists’ of the Frankfurt School — Herbert Marcuse, Eric Fromm, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Wilhelm Reich, and others.    Its influence is now felt in nearly every institution in the United States.   The elite Boomers, throwbacks to the dangerous idealist generation of the mid-1800s, are the ‘agents of change,’ for those who have introduced ‘Cultural Marxism’ into American life.

Cultural Marxism” is an ideology with deep roots.  It did not begin, however, with the counter-culture revolution in the mid-1960s.  Its roots go back at least to the 1910s and the writings of the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci.  These roots were then adopted by the intellectuals of the Frankfort School (1930s), and brought to America with a plan to destroy our country from within.

By this time you must be wondering: “Who are these intellectual gurus?  What is the Frankfurt School?  What is its history?  How did it develop?   And how did this German school dramatically impact American society?” The answer to these questions is what this paper and subsequent articles in this series will explore.

The Roots of America’s Destruction

Americans for the first time in our history are no longer free to say what we think.   If we say something that may be deemed offensive, insensitive, or worse, hate speech, we may be in serious trouble.  We will be accused of violating the holy commandment of the 1990s, commonly known as “political correctness,” and we will be charged by the “PC Police” as being racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, or some other negative term by the far left.

Conservatives, more than ever, are under constant attack from the radical left.  For example, just consider the incident this past week involving Sarah Sanders, President Trump’s Press Secretary, where she was removed from a restaurant (Red Hen) with her family and friends just because she is a conservative.  America has become more divisive today than ever, and the ‘flames of divisiveness’ are continuing being stoked by our politicians, special interest groups, and our media.

Yet, is “political correctness” a new phenomenon?  It is my intent to show you it has been in the making for more than nine decades.  And it seems that deteriorating, and ultimately destroying a society is exactly what political correctness strives for.

Just what is political correctness?  As I am about to show you, political correctness is nothing more than a Marxist ideology.  It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms.  It is an effort not going back to the 1960s, but to World War I.

Political Correctness History

Marxist theory predicted that if war came to Europe, the working class in every European country would rise in revolt.  But that theory proved wrong!  When World War I began, the workers loyalty to their country proved stronger than their class consciousness.  Instead, they put on the uniform of their country – whether Austrian, French, German, Russian or British—and marched off by the millions to fight each other.  For more than five years, Europeans murdered each other in mass.  Marxist dialectical prophesy had proven false.  In 1917, a Marxist revolution did occur in Russia.  But it failed to spread to Western Europe, again contradicting orthodox Marxist theory.

However, just because Marxist prophesy did not materialize, and just because Russia was now murdering its citizens by the tens of millions, didn’t mean Marxists intellectuals were going to give up on their idea of a worldwide revolution.

At the end of World War I, Marxists theorists had to confront the question: “What had gone wrong?”   That is where Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary came in.  Both believed they had the answer.  Both Gramsci and Lukacs believed that Western culture had blinded the working class to its true Marxists class interests.  In essence, before a true Marxist revolution could take place, Western culture had to be destroyed.

Gramsci was an Italian socialist, who saw the tearing down of Western society and its culture as the necessary precursor to global Marxism.  Gramsci believed that Marxism didn’t win because ‘men were weak’; and ‘men were weak because they were bi-products of a capitalistic society.’  In 1916 Gramsci wrote:

“Man is above all, mind consciousness. That is, he is a product of history, not of nature, or natural laws.  There is no other way of explaining why socialism has not come into existence already.” 

Gramsci believed that the new world order of socialism could not take place without the total annihilation of “old values” and the replacing of historic values with “new values” that were more perverse and destructive to society.  In this regard, Gramsci put forth his theory of the “slow march through cultural institutions” (i.e. institutions like universities, seminaries, religion, newspapers, magazines, radio, film, and other forms of media, or what is now known as TV).

Gramsci believed good Marxists must be patient if it was going to destroy Western society.  He noted that Western culture could not be made to crumble overnight.  Gramsci believed Marxist theorists should begin to think about changing a country’s culture over decades not years.  Gramsci believed the best way to accomplish this was by changing the mind of the youth in one generation to impact the thinking process of youths in future generations, as the former indoctrinated youth emerged into positions of power, such as teachers, professors, and business and government leaders.

To accomplish generational change, Gramsci especially believed Marxists should strive to be inserted into government bureaucratic jobs, especially jobs where they could rewrite “school curricula” that was to be used in public schools.  In this regard, Gramsci stated:

Within the school system, you can begin to rewrite key components of curricula such as history, economics, social studies, and introduce new concepts like sociology and psychology.  Curricula that demonized a country’s historic values, and inserted Marxist values in their place were critical to destroying a country’s culture.” 

Gramsci stated through revising school curriculum a Marxist could change a country’s history to make it more imperialistic and evil; change its economic thinking from capitalism as being evil to socialism being good for the working class; change its reading literature from historic and classic novels to books written by Marxist authors.  He also believed it  was important to introduce concepts like ‘values clarification’ into the classroom in lieu of traditional class instruction.  Students needed to learn that ‘values’ are situational and flexible, and are not based upon the absolutes and moral compass of Christianity.   As such, Gramsci believed it was critical to attack the Judeo-Christian institution of religion in order to tear apart a culture. He believed Western religion must be removed from the public square, especially from public schools and government.

Sidebar:  Look at America today. Due to the erroneous euphemism of “Separation of Church of State,” religion has but almost been removed from the public square.  Moreover, with the emergence of the Department of Education in the 1970s, a Department staffed by very progressive and liberal personnel, our public school curriculum has been totally reconfigured.  Students are now taught that America has been historically imperialistic and evil; that capitalism is greedy and keeps minority groups marginalized; socialism is a benevolent and good system of government; and total healthcare and college tuition are “rights” guaranteed under the Constitution.

Lukacs built on Gramsci, and decided that Marxist dialectical materialism was not a good tool for predicting the future.  Instead, it was a tool for destroying society and western culture itself.  Lukacs wrote,

Simply destroying the status quo, including the destruction of a country’s historical institutions, beliefs and institutions, especially the society’s reliance on Judeo-Christianity would bring about Marxism.”

Lukacs identified that any political movement capable of bringing Socialism to the West would have to be, in his words, “demonic“; it would have to “possess the religious power which is capable of filling the entire soul; a power that characterized primitive Christianity.” However, Lukacs suggested, such a “messianic” political movement could only succeed when the individual believes that his or her actions are determined by “not a personal destiny, but the destiny of the community” in a world “that has been abandoned by God.”  Socialism worked in Russia because that nation was dominated by a peculiar Gnostic form of Christianity typified by the writings of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. “The model for the new man is Alyosha Karamazov,” said Lukacs, referring to the Dostoyevsky character who willingly gave over his personal identity to a holy man, and thus ceased to be “unique, pure, and therefore abstract.”

This abandonment of the soul’s uniqueness also solves the problem of “the diabolic forces lurking in all violence” which must be unleashed in order to create a revolution. In this context, Lukacs cited the Grand Inquisitor section of Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, noting that the Inquisitor who is interrogating Jesus, has resolved the issue of good and evil:

“Once man has understood his alienation from God, then any act in the service of the ‘destiny of the community’ is justified; such an act can be ‘neither crime nor madness’.  For crime and madness are objectifications of transcendental homelessness.”

For Lukacs, what differentiated the West from Russia, was its strong belief in Judeo-Christianity.  Because of religion, the Western culture emphasized the uniqueness and sacredness of the individual which Lukacs abjured.  For Marxist revolution to succeed in the West, the “sanctity of the individual” and “individual rights” had to be replaced by “collective thinking: and “group rights.”

At its core, the dominant Western ideology maintained that the individual, through the exercise of his or her reason, could discern the Divine Will of God in an unmediated relationship. What was worse, from Lukacs’ standpoint: this reasonable relationship necessarily implied that the individual could and should change the physical universe in pursuit of the Good; that Man should have dominion over Nature, as stated in the Biblical injunction in Genesis. The problem was, that as long as the individual had the belief—or even the hope of the belief—that his or her divine spark of reason could solve the problems facing society, then that society would never reach the state of hopelessness and alienation which Lukacs recognized as the necessary prerequisite for socialist revolution.  Therefore, for Lukacs, Christianity had to be demonized, and made into nothing more than a silly superstition that only simple people followed, and replaced with an all purposeful and powerful government that people looked too instead.

Lukacs beliefs were so influential that in 1919 he actually became Deputy Commissar of Cultural Development in Hungary.  Through his government office, he developed a sex education curriculum and had it inserted into the public school system.  Lukacs taught children about “free love” and the “rejection of morality.”  Lukacs also had schools distribute “condoms” without parental permission to promote sexual activity.   In his role, Lukacs tried to live out his ideology of societal destruction.    The curriculum instructed children not to obey their parent’s old fashioned values, but instead they could have sex with anyone, at anytime, and anywhere.   Fortunately, the people of Hungary were not nuts.  Hungary was a very Catholic nation, and the people immediately dumped him once they saw his perverse and destructive ideas at work.  This left Lukacs unemployed.  But his employment was not long lasting.

Felix Weil in Germany was very much influenced by Lukacs and his societal change effort in Hungary.  Weil also believed that a true Marxist revolution would not take place, because the bottom line, people did not like socialism over capitalism.  Therefore, capitalism had to be destroyed for a Marxist revolution to occur. Unlike the college students of today who live off their parent’s income or rich politicians who live off taxpayer funds while preaching the downfall of the capitalist system, Weir was rich, but his money was not self-earned.  Weil used his money inherited from his grandfather’s grain business to fund the Institute for Social Research (I.S.R.).  The Institute for Social Research was founded in 1923 as an adjunct to the Frankfurt University, located in Frankfurt Germany, and became known as the Frankfort School.

Sidebar: The Institute for Social Research was nothing more than the precursor to John Podesta’s progressive “Center of American Progress,” funded by George Soros in the United States.  The Center for American Progress was modeled after the I.S.R.

The Frankfort School was the first Marxist-oriented research center affiliated with a major German university. The term “Frankfurt School” arose informally to describe the thinkers affiliated with the Frankfurt: Institute for Social Research.

To staff this new institute, Weil brought in Lukacs along with an emerging Marxist intellectual — Max Horkheimer.  Lukacs didn’t last long, but Horkheimer did.  At the Frankfurt School, Horkheimer coined two terms that would embody the whole philosophy of his fellow travelers mission to destroy a society’s culture and to replace it with the Marxist dialectic.  Horkheimer called his concepts:”Cultural Marxism” and “Critical Theory.”

For Horkheimer, “Cultural Marxism” (changing a society’s culture with Marxist beliefs); and “Critical Theory,” (criticizing everything in a society, everywhere, and at all times) were critical to destroying a society and readying it for socialism.

When you think of Cultural Marxism as defined by Horkheimer, it was nothing but “political correctness” as we know it today.  Many Americans are familiar with political correctness, yet you may not be familiar with its origins in cultural Marxist theory. While the classic Marxist might argue that capitalism and the class structure it created must be overthrown because it is oppressive to workers, Horkheimer introduced the concept of “Cultural Marxism.”  Under this term, Horkheimer argued,

“It is not economics that creates oppression but rather the nuclear family, traditional institutions, traditional morality and concepts of race, gender and sexual identity. These are the chains of tyranny which must be broken by revolution.”

Modern woman, are you unhappy in your marriage? Are the responsibilities of motherhood and the burdens of work getting you down? Male Patriarchy!  Black man, do you feel hard done by? Does it seem like the deck is always stacked against you and you can’t get a break? Racism!  Gay man, are you tired of the sneers and microaggressions of straight men? They’re afraid that they’re gay too. That’s why they hate you!

These are the narratives which are paraded endlessly in our current government and education systems, and it all started with Horkheimer.  These beliefs are not natural or accidental. They have been constructed by intellectuals and academics who have had a radical agenda since the 1930s to transform Western civilization.

Believers in these doctrines today call themselves liberals or progressives. This is fabrication designed to deceive everyday Americans about their revolutionary real agenda. They are not liberals.  They are not progressives.  They are Marxists.

Cultural Marxism is the Marxist dialectic fused with Freudian theory and applied to identity politics and culture.  Like all forms of Marxism, it is based upon categorizing people into abstract groups and then creating a narrative of historical oppression between them. The strategy of Marxists is always to cultivate a victimized group and then convince its members that solidarity is required against the oppressors. This creates divisiveness, resentment and hatred and is how Marxist ideologies fulfil their revolutionary objectives.

Sidebar:  Look at America today.  Political Correctness (PC) has taken solid root.  Conservatives are continually accused of being racist, sexist, homophobic, or white male dominated. Recently, conservatives are even accused as being Nazi’s (ironically, a far-left Socialist group); and all conservatives are full of hatred.  Under PC, radical or marginalized groups (e.g. Black Lives Matter, Women’s March, Illegal Aliens, etc.) are pitted against police, law enforcement, and the status quo of society.  Divisiveness between Conservatives and Liberals is at an all time high, and has become extremely confrontational.  In light of these examples, would you say the Cultural Marxist concept of “political correctness” is doing its job of dividing and destroying this country?  If yes, remember, that is exactly what PC is intended to do….PC is intended to rip apart and divide a nation at its core!

For Horkheimer, the second key component to societal destruction is “Critical Theory.”  Per Horkheimer, Critical Theory has no positive elements.  Its whole purpose is to destroy a society by “promoting a dialogue of constant ‘negative criticism’ in all spheres of society.   All advocates of “critical theory’ need to be taught to point out the rational contradictions in a society’s belief system. Critical Theory is a process to tear down the social fabric of society by using the school system, especially the social sciences: sociology, psychology, economics, political science, and law of that society to criticize the country’s culture, historical heritage and traditional institutions.

Using Gramsci’s beliefs, Horkheimer believed the best way to operationalize ‘critical theory’ was through a country’s school system by indoctrinating its youth.  He believed you could take advantage of normal youth “rebelliousness” to get them to attack their parents, and all things of value in their society.

For Horkheimer, critical theory was an infinite and on-going criticism of the status quo.  It was designed to be targeted at youth and young adults, by having them learn that it was appropriate and necessary to attack all of society’s rules and norms.

Sidebar:  Critical Theory was the exact belief system I was taught at Western Michigan University in the late 1960s, and at the University of Michigan in the 1970s by my radical (communist-oriented) professors.  Unfortunately, Critical Theory was taught not just at WMU and UM, but at most liberal arts colleges in the 1960s and 1970s.  I can personally attest that most college students in these years were indoctrinated in Marxist thinking.  For me, it wasn’t until the Reagan years (1980s) that I began to seriously question these radical and erroneous beliefs, and see Progressivism and Socialism for the failed systems they were.  Unfortunately, far too many of today’s youth have yet to see the nefariousness of these movements and are willingly propagating these beliefs in America today.  Slowly, Socialism is gaining root in America.

Per Horkheimer, the whole idea behind Critical Theory was to make society unworkable, and to make everything meaningless.  As he stated,

“Critical Theory does not create, it only destroys. Above all, Critical Theory has no accomplishments to show for itself. When it is no longer effective, or if it becomes subject to criticism, you just change the theory, but you never change your continual efforts to criticize everything in your targeted society.”

When Horkheimer took over the Frankfurt School in 1930, he filled it with fellow devotees of Critical Theory, like: Theodor W. Adorno; Herbert Marcuse; Walter Benjamin; Erich Fromm; Friedrich Pollock; Otto Kirchheimer; Leo Löwenthal; Franz Leopold Neumann; Henryk Grossman and many others.  All these Marxist revolutionaries bought into Horkheimer’s concepts of Cultural Marxism and Critical Theory as the “means” to destroy any targeted society.  They then expanded these two concepts into their works and areas of expertise.

The Frankfurt School ‘revolutionaries’ dreamed of a utopia where their rules governed.  Their Critical Theory contained a strongly imaginative, even utopian strain, which transcends the limits of reality.   Its tenets would never be subject to experimental evidence.  The pure logic of their thoughts would be incontrovertible.   As a precursor to today’s ‘postmodernism’ in the intellectual academic community, Horkheimer stated:

“…it recognized that disinterested scientific research was impossible in a society in which men were themselves not yet autonomous…the researcher was always part of the social object he was attempting to study.”   

It is this concept which led to the current fetish for the rewriting of American history, and the vogue for our universities’ Law, English Literature, and Humanities disciplines –deconstruction.

The Frankfurt school also began the blending of psychology (Freud) with economic theory (Marxism) for the first time.  Under the leadership of Erich Fromm, these intellectuals studied the ‘authoritarian personality’ which became synonymous with the male, the patriarchal head of the American family.  These revolutionaries believed the “white male” in particular must become the principle target to destabilize a society.  If you destroy or remove the “male” from the family, you destroy the family unit itself.   These revolutionaries wanted people to be dependent upon the government for their needs, and not the family support system.

Sidebar:  As an example, look at the Black Family in America,  and its historical impact under the public welfare system implemented by the ‘Great Society’ under President Johnson.  In 1962, only 14% of black families were single parent.  However, in 2017, 72% of families are single parent (almost 3:4 families).  The government rules for family subsidization, welfare, food stamps, etc. have but almost destroyed the black family unit in America.  Today, the vast majority of black children are being raised without a dad.  All these programs are built on the concept of “socialism” by making families dependent upon government (freebies) instead of being self-sufficient and supported by the family unit.  Furthermore, during the past 50 years look at how the white male has come under attack by the far left.  TV shows continually show dad as bumbling and incompetent; and women’s marches are continually attacking our society as being “white male dominated.”  In short, would you say the Frankfurt School theory of negatively impacting the “authoritarian personality” is having an effect, and is one of several critical components that are destroying America today?

Each of the intellectuals at the Frankfurt School agreed with the key concepts that each component of society must be continually criticized; all social institutions leveled; and all historical societal constructs decimated.  Marcuse summed up their approach well:

One can rightfully speak of a cultural revolution since the protest is directed toward the whole    of society and its cultural establishment, including the morality of the existing society.  What we must undertake is a diffuse disintegration of the entire societal system.”

Under these Marxists theorists the new mantra of Marxists would become:  “change the western culture and then the workers would unite.”   This group of Marxists decided that they could bring the collectivist society to a nation through culture, as well as by introducing certain pseudo-values and concepts that would, for example, break down the family and societal institutions.  For example, if the family unit is no longer self-sustaining and no longer valued in the society, then its individual members, who formerly could turn to the family for support in times of need, would now be cut loose.  They would be without a place to go; hence they would be forced to turn to the government and its bureaucracy. This was the “long march” these theorists envisioned, i.e. it was what they called a gleichschaltung.  It was their belief that Cultural Marxist leaders would develop their own twisted and distorted language (i.e. we see such terms today: multiculturalism, political correctness, social justice, xenophobic, ethnocentric, phallocentric and other liberal terms have been introduced as commonplace in our language today).  This new language could then be used to manipulate and confuse citizens of the country so that they no longer can distinguish truth from falsehood because all their trusted institutions would become under constant attack (i.e. after all they were racist, ethnocentric or phallocentric institutions).  The result, citizens would be reduced to such a state of confusion and impotence, and it would have to rely on the government and its propaganda media to tell them the truth.  Such a tactic would also make it easier for a dictatorial socialistic government to control the hearts and minds of its citizens.

The Frankfurt School was originally formed to take down the European civilization and its capitalistic system, and, in particular, Germany.  All these beliefs could have drifted into oblivion as had with so many previous Marxist theorists, if it wasn’t for one major historical event  … the rise of Adolph Hitler.

With the rise of Hitler these Marxists intellectuals had to flee Germany.  Most were of Jewish-German descent (Horkheimer, Fromm, Marcuse, Adorno, Kirchheimer, Grossman and others), and it was no longer safe for them in Germany.   So just about the march through the cultural institutions was about to begin, an anti-Marxist and anti-Semitic Adolf Hitler ascended to power.  And shortly before the WW II began, the Nazis closed the Institute for Social Research in 1933.

Thus, the leaders of the Frankfurt School packed up its ideology and themselves and fled to country that they believed would be accepting of their theories.  They assessed their best country to impact would be America, where they settled down mainly at major liberal arts Universities, such as Columbia, Harvard, Brandies, Yale, University of Chicago, and several others.  It was at these liberal Universities, and amongst the American progressive elites (Hollywood, government, business) where they were met with open arms.  At the time of their arrival, Progressivism  had taken root, and several leading Americans were communist, but the latter had never taken root.

And so began their story of transforming America.  Instead of targeting Germany and Western Europe for destruction, they now targeted America as their targeted country.  For them, America had to be annihilated and western capitalism destroyed.

As I close, let me restate that it was the goal of these Marxist idealists to construct a modern utopia by ‘turning Western civilization’ upside down.  Such an effort would lead to a revolution within their targeted country, and “socialism” would be installed in its place.   This new world utopia would be a product of their imagination, a product not susceptible to criticism on the basis of the examination of evidence.  This ‘revolution’ would be accomplished by fomenting a very quiet, subtle and slowly spreading ‘Cultural Marxism’ via a “long march through the cultural institutions.”  They would apply to America’s culture the principles of Karl Marx bolstered by the modern psychological tools of Sigmund Freud, coupled with the concepts of critical theory and political correctness they had formulated at the Frankfurt School.   They also were in agreement with Gramsci’s believes, that such change would take decades not years to achieve … but in the end, they believed they would succeed.

Thus, ‘Cultural Marxism’ became a marriage of Marx and Freud aimed at producing a ‘quiet’ revolution in the United States of America that would take decades to achieve.  This ‘quiet’ revolution would take root in America over the next 30 years, then watered and nurtured over the subsequent 50 years … all while America slept!

If you can fast forward, you can see their key concepts at play in America today.  In America, our college universities are fraught with professors who, at minimum, are very liberal (progressive), but, in reality, far too many are communist at their core.  By the 1960s, many students who attended Universities between 1930s-1960s were trained under the tutelage of these Frankfurt School professors, or by professors, books, presentations and articles written by these Frankfurt School intellectuals.  Thus, when Baby Boomers began to attend college in the 1960s and 1970s, they were greeted by professors who studied under these revolutionaries – either directly or indirectly. As such, the rebellious Baby-Boomers were ripe for Marxist thought being peddled by their trusted professors.

But I am getting ahead of myself.  In my next article, I hope to explore how these Frankfurt School intellectuals took root in America, and how they intentionally and systematically spread their gospel of deceit, corruption and annihilation of our American society.

        Next Article Focus:  The Frankfurt School intellectuals transitioning to America and how they systematically, intentionally, and negatively influenced our society and culture.

Select Reading List:  Frankfurt School Theorists

This reading list includes work by figures directly involved with the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt Germany, specifically Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcuse, as well as those associated with the Institute, and those with whom they engaged in critical dialogues, such as Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, and Georg Lukacs.

The Frankfurt School represented a fertile encounter of Marxism, philosophy, psychoanalysis and critical sociology, which has continued to influence the practice of cultural Marxism, criticism, and ideology.  Their theories are still taught today by most liberal arts colleges.  When I was in college in the late 1960s, several of these authors were required reading by my liberal history, political science, sociology and/or psychology professors.  In short, by the 1960s, the indoctrination of young impressionable students on the advantages of Socialism was in full swing.  Many of these books include theories of: the nature and etiology of National Socialism, critiques of authoritarianism, critiques of rationality, techniques on how to influence the mass culture, and techniques on the shaping of culture … should you want to learn more on what these men thought and believed.


Adorno, Theodor W.
— Aesthetic Theory. Trans. Robert Hullot-Kentor. Theory and History of Literature, v. 88. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
— “Commitment.” The Essential Frankfurt School Reader. Ed. Andrew Arato & Dike Gebhardt. New York: Continuum, 1982. 300-318.
— “Culture Industry Reconsidered,” trans. Anson G. Rabinbach. New German Critique, 6 (1975), 12-19.
— “Freudian Theory and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda.” The Essential Frankfurt School Reader. Ed. Andrew Arato & Eike Gebhardt. New York: Continuum, 1982. 118-127.
— Negative Dialectics. Translated by E.B. Ashton. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973.
— Notes to Literature, V I-II. Translated by Shierry Weber Nicholsen. Ed. Rolf Tiedemann. New York: Columbia. University Press, 1991-1992.
— Prisms. Translated by Samuel Weber and Shierry Weber. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983.

Adorno, Theodor W. and Max Horkheimer.
— Dialectic of Enlightenment. Translated by John Cumming. New York: Continuum, 1982.

Benjamin, Walter.
— “The Author as Producer.” Trans. Edmund Jephcott. Ed. Peter Demetz. Reflections. New York: Schocken Books, 1978. 220-238.
— Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism. Trans. Harry Zohn and Ouintin Hoare. London: New Left Books, 1973.
— “Franz Kafka: On the Tenth Anniversary of His Death.” Trans. Harry Zohn. Illuminations. Ed. Hannah Arendt. New York: Schocken, 1968. 111-140.
— “The Image of Proust.” Translated by Harry Zolm. Illuminations. Ed. Hannah Arendt. New York: Schocken, 1968. 201-216.
— “Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century.” Translated by Edmund Jephcott. Reflections. Ed. Peter Demetz. New York: Schocken Books, 1978. 146-162.
— “Surrealism.” Trans. Edmund Jephcott. Reflections. Ed. Peter Demetz. New York: Schocken Books, 1978. 177-192.
— “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” Trans. Harry Zohn. Illuminations. Ed. Hanah Arendt. New York: Schocken, I 968. 253-264.
— Understanding Brecht. Trans. Anna Bostock. Introd. Stanley Mitchell. London: New Left Books, 1973.
— “What is Epic Theater?” Trans. Harry Zohn. Illuminations. Ed. Hannah Arendt. New York: Schocken, 1968.
— “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” trans. Harry Zolm. Illuminations. Ed. Hannah Arendt. New York: Schocken, 1968. 217-252.
— Zur Kritik der Gewalt und andere Aufsätze. Mit einem Nachwort versehen von Herbert Marcuse. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1965.


Horkheimer, Max.
— “Art and Mass Culture.” Critical Theory: Selected Essays. Translated by Matthew J. O’Connell and others. New York: Continuum. 1992.
— “The Authoritarian State.” The Essential Frankfurt School Reader. Ed. Andrew Arato & Eike Gebhardt. New York: Continuum, 1982. 95-117.
— “Authority and the Family.” Critical Theory: Selected Essays. Translated by Matthew J. O’Connell and others. New York: Continuum, 1992. 47-128.
— “The End of Reason,” The Essential Frankfurt School Reader. Ed. Andrew Arato & Eike Gebhardt. New York: Continuum, 1982. 26-48.

Kracauer, Siegried.
— From Caligari to Hitler, a Psychological History of the German Film. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1947.
— The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays. Trans. & ed. by Thomas Y. Levin. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995.

Lukacs, Georg.
—”Franz Kafka or Thomas Mann?” Realism in Our Time. Trans. John and Necke Mander. New York, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1964. 47-92.
— “Grösse und Verfall des Expressionismus.” Marxismus und Literatur, V. 2. Ed. by Fritz Raddatz. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1969.
— History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics. Trans. Rodney Livingstone. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971.
— “The Ideology of Modernism.” Realism in Our Time. Trans. John and Necke Mander. New York, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1964. 17-46.
— “On Bertolt Brecht.” New Left Review, 110 (July-August 1978).
— “Realism in the Balance.” Trans. Rodney Livingstone. Aesthetics and Politics. London: Verso, 1994. 28-59.

Marcuse, Herbert.
— “Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud,” by Herbert Marcuse. Published by Beacon Press, 1955.   In this classic work, Herbert Marcuse takes as his starting point Freud’s statement that civilization is based on the permanent subjugation of the human instincts, his reconstruction of the prehistory of mankind – to an interpretation of the basic trends of western civilization, stressing the philosophical and sociological implications.


  • “Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory” by Herbert Marcuse. Published 1940.
  • “Counterrevolution and Revolt,” by Herbert Marcuse and Mary Anne Gross. Published 1971.
  • “Some Social Implications of Modern Technology.” The Essential Frankfurt School Reader. Ed. Andrew Arato & Eike Gebhardt. New York: Continuum, 1982.
  • “A Note on Dialectic.” The Essential Frankfurt School Reader. Ed. Andrew Arato & Eike Gebhardt. New York: Continuum, 1982.


— Aesthetics and Politics. Ed. Perry Anderson et. al. Trans. Ronald Tayler. London: Verso, 1994.

— Buck-Morss. Susan. The Origin of Negative Dialectics: Theodor W Adorno, Walter Benjamin and the Frankfurt Institute. New York: Macmillan, 1977.

— Die Expressionismus Debatte: Materialen zur eine Marxistische Realismus Konzeption. Ed. Hans-Jurgen Schmitt. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp-Verlag, 1973.

— Jameson, Fredric. Marxism and Form: Twentieth-Century Dialectical Theories of Literature. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1971.

— Jay, Martin. The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute for Social Research. Boston: Little, Brown, 1973.

— Lunn, Eugene. Marxism & Modernism: An Historical Study of Lukacs, Brecht, Benjamin and Adorno. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1982.

— Wiggershaus, Rolf. The Frankfurt School: Its History, Theories, and Political Significance. Trans. Michael Robertson. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1994.

— Wolin, Peter. Walter Benjamin, an Aesthetic of Redemption. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.


Michael Minnicino (1992). The New Dark Age: The Frankfurt School and ‘Political Correctness’. FIDELIO Magazine.

Held, David (1980). Introduction to critical theory: Horkheimer to Habermas. University of California Press.

Wiatr, Jerzy J. (Fall 1970). Translated by Mins, Henry F. “Herbert Marcuse: Philosopher of a Lost Radicalism” (PDF). Science & Society.

Finlayson, James Gordon (2005). Habermas a very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

“Frankfurt School”. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Cited from Encyclopedia Britannica Online:

David Fiorazo (2012). “10”, ERADICATE: Blotting Out God in America. Life Sentence Publishing, ISBN 978-1-62245-026-8. “Frankfurt School … the primary goal of the Frankfurt School was to translate Marxism from economic terms into cultural terms. It would provide the ideas on which to base a new political theory of Cultural Revolution.”

James Jaeger. Original Intent: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Destroying the American Dream 16min:50sec. James Jaeger Film.

Gabriele Kuby (2015). The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom. Angelico Press, 61–4.

Frank da Cruz (April 1998). Columbia University 1968: Personal recollections of the 1968 student uprising at Columbia University.. Retrieved on 5 Jan 2017. “Throughout the mid-to-late 60s there was all sorts of political activity on campus – teach-ins on Pentagon economics, Sundial rallies against the war, demonstrations against class rank reporting, confrontations with military recruiters, etc. It was an era of bullhorns. …”

Kompridis, Nikolas. (2006). Critique and Disclosure: Critical Theory between Past and Future, MIT Press

Corradetti, Claudio (2011). “The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory”, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Originally published: 21 October 2011).

“The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory”, Marxist Internet Archive (Retrieved 12 September 2009)

“The Origins of Critical Theory: An interview with Leo Lowenthal” by Helmut Dubiel


Dennis is a 40+ year resident of the Blue Water area. He is a retired Executive Officer for two regional healthcare organizations; and was the CEO for his own successful Management Consulting firm. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from Western Michigan University; a Masters Degree in Professional Counseling from WMU; and a Specialist Degree in Psychology/Behavior Modification from the UM. Dennis is a Christ-follower, husband, father, grandfather, and loves golf, board games, and discussing politics and religion. He is a leader in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF); disciples several men; and has been an Elder, children’s bible teacher, Sunday school teacher, Life Group leader, and Men’s ministry leader in his church.

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Jake rabin July 16, 2018 at 8:41 am

I note the quotes you present of these diverse thinkers are fake, made up and of course lack citations. Doesn’t it make more sense to see US culture as reflecting the powerful trillion-dollar impact of corporate advertising and its push for a culture of mindless consumption and individualism, than some obscure group of 1930s German academics? I mean, you do live in the US and know that Marxism has never had an impact here, right?

Everett r Owens September 17, 2020 at 4:55 am

Well written and should be required reading.


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