The Frankfurt School (Frankfurter Schule) is a school of social theory and critical philosophy associated with the Institute for Social Research, at Goethe University Frankfurt. Founded in the Weimar Republic (1918–33), during the European interwar period (1918–39), the Frankfurt School comprised intellectuals, academics, and political dissidents who were ill-fitted to the contemporary socio-economic systems (capitalist, fascist, communist) of that time. The Frankfurt theoreticians proposed that social theory was inadequate for explaining the turbulent factionalism and reactionary politics of capitalist societies in the 20th century. Critical of capitalism and Marxism–Leninism as philosophically inflexible systems, the School's critical theory research indicated alternative paths to realising the social development of a nation.
Although loosely affiliated as intellectuals, the Frankfurt School theoreticians spoke from the perspective of a common paradigm (open-ended, self-critical approach) based upon Marxist and Hegelian premises of idealist philosophy. To fill the omissions of 19th-century classical Marxism, which could not address 20th-century social problems, they sought answers in the philosophies of antipositivist sociology, psychoanalysis, existentialism, etc. The School’s sociologic works derived from syntheses of the thematically pertinent works of Immanuel Kant, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, and Georg Lukács.
Like Karl Marx, the Frankfurt School concerned themselves with the conditions (political, economic, societal) that allow for social change, by way of rational social institutions. The emphasis upon the critical component of social theory derived from surpassing the ideological limitations of positivism, materialism, and determinism, by returning to the critical philosophy of Kant, and his successors in German idealism — principally the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel, which emphasised dialectic and contradiction as intellectual properties inherent to human reality.
Since the 1960s, the critical-theory work of the Frankfurt School has been guided by the work of Jürgen Habermas in the fields of communicative rationality, linguistic intersubjectivity, and “the philosophical discourse of modernity”. Nonetheless, the critical theorists Raymond Geuss and Nikolas Kompridis have opposed Habermas’s propositions, claiming he has undermined the original social-change purposes of critical theory, problems such as: What should reason mean?, the analysis and expansion of the conditions necessary to realise social emancipation; and critiques of contemporary capitalism.
- 1 History
- 2 Works
- 3 Criticism
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
Institute for Social Research
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The term Frankfurt School informally describes the works of scholarship and the intellectuals who were the Institute for Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung), an adjunct organization at Goethe University Frankfurt, founded in 1923, by Carl Grünberg, a Marxist professor of law at the University of Vienna. As such, the Frankfurt School was the first Marxist research center at a German university, and originated through the largesse of the wealthy student Felix Weil (1898–1975).
At university, Weil’s doctoral thesis dealt with the practical problems of implementing socialism. In 1922, he organized the First Marxist Workweek (Erste Marxistische Arbeitswoche) in effort to synthesize different trends of Marxism into a coherent, practical philosophy; the symposium included Georg Lukács, Karl Korsch, Karl August Wittfogel, and Friedrich Pollock. The success of the First Marxist Workweek prompted Weil to pursue the formal establishment of a permanent institute for social research, and negotiated with the Ministry of Education for a university professor to be director of the Institute for Social Research, thereby formally ensuring that the Frankfurt School would be a university institution.
Korsch and Lukács participated in the Arbeitswoche, which included study of Marxism and Philosophy (1923), by Karl Korsch, but their communist-party membership precluded active participation in the Frankfurt School; yet Korsch participated in the School's publishing venture. Moreover, the political correctness by which the Communists compelled Lukács to repudiate his book History and Class Consciousness (1923) indicated that political, ideological, and intellectual independence from the communist party was a necessary work condition for realising the production of knowledge.
The philosophical tradition of the Frankfurt School — the multi-disciplinary integration of the social sciences — is associated with the philosopher Max Horkheimer, who became director in 1930, and recruited intellectuals such as Theodor W. Adorno (philosopher, sociologist, musicologist), Erich Fromm (psychoanalyst), and Herbert Marcuse (philosopher).
Germany before WWII
In the Weimar Republic (1918–33), the continual, political turmoils of the interwar years (1918–39) much affected the development of the Frankfurt School philosophy of critical theory. The scholars were especially influenced by the Communist’s failed German Revolution of 1918–19 (which Marx predicted) and by the rise of Nazism (1933–45), a German form of fascism. To explain such reactionary politics, Frankfurt scholars applied critical selections of Marxist philosophy to interpret, illuminate, and explain the origins and causes of reactionary socio-economics in 20th-century Europe (a type of political economy unknown to Marx in the 19th century). The School’s further intellectual development derived from the publication, in the 1930s, of the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 (1932) and The German Ideology (1932), in which Karl Marx showed logical continuity with Hegelianism, as the basis of Marxist philosophy.
As the anti-intellectual threat of Nazism increased to political violence, the founders decided to move the Institute for Social Research out of Nazi Germany (1933–45). Soon after Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933, the Institute first moved from Frankfurt to Geneva, and then to New York City, in 1935, where the Frankfurt School joined Columbia University. In the event, the School’s journal, the Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung (“Magazine of Social Research”) was renamed “Studies in Philosophy and Social Science”. Thence began the period of the School’s important work in Marxist critical theory; the scholarship and the investigational method gained acceptance among the academy, in the U.S and in Britain. By the 1950s, the paths of scholarship led Horkheimer, Adorno, and Pollock to return to West Germany, whilst Marcuse, Löwenthal, and Kirchheimer remained in the U.S. In 1953, the Frankfurt School was formally re-established in Frankfurt, West Germany.
Theorists and influences
The intellectuals, academics, and political dissidents who were the Frankfurt School, Max Horkheimer and Teodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Leo Löwenthal, and Friedrich Pollock, were ill-fitted to the capitalist, Fascist, and Communist political systems in power before the Second World War (1939–45) began in Europe, yet they shared a paradigm for critical investigation — an open-ended, self-critical approach to the subject under study.
Beginning in the post–War period, their critical-theory scholarship produced new knowledge in the social sciences, and provoked ideological divisions among of the inner-circle of the School. Jürgen Habermas was the first scholar to diverge from Horkheimer’s research program, presented in Traditional and Critical Theory (1937), from that divergence emerged the second generation of Frankfurt School theoreticians.
- Early scholars of the Frankfurt School were
- Max Horkheimer
- Theodor W. Adorno
- Herbert Marcuse
- Friedrich Pollock
- Erich Fromm
- Otto Kirchheimer
- Leo Löwenthal
- Franz Leopold Neumann
- Henryk Grossman
- Intellectuals associated with the School include
- Siegfried Kracauer
- Alfred Sohn-Rethel
- Walter Benjamin
- Jürgen Habermas
- Claus Offe
- Axel Honneth
- Oskar Negt
- Alfred Schmidt
- Albrecht Wellmer
The critical theories of the Frankfurt School developed under the intellectual influences of:
|Historical context||Transition from small-scale capitalism to state monopoly capitalism and imperialism; socialist labor reform movement; emergence of the welfare state; the Russian Revolution (1917); the rise of Communism; the neotechnic period; emergence of mass-communications media and mass culture, Modern art; and the rise of Nazism.|
|Max Weber||Comparative historical analysis of Western rationalism; analyses of bureaucratic domination; articulation of hermeneutics in the social sciences.|
|Freudo-Marxism||Critique of psychological repression in the reality principle of civilization and daily-life neurosis; discovery of the unconscious mind and the Oedipus complex; analyses of the psychological bases of authoritarianism.|
|Antipositivism||Critique of positivism as philosophy and scientific method, as ideology and conformity; resumption of dialectics; critique of logical positivism and pragmatism.|
|Aesthetic modernism||Critique of reification; of the culture industry.|
|Marxist philosophy||Critique of Marx's theory of alienation; historical materialism; the rate of exploitation of labor in each mode of production; systems analysis of the capitalist extraction of surplus labor; and crisis theory.|
|Popular culture studies||Critique of mass popular culture as the status quo; critique of Western culture as domination; dialectical differentiation of emancipatory and repressive aspects of élite culture; Kierkegaard's critique of the present age, Nietzsche's transvaluation, and Schiller's aesthetic education.|
The works of the Frankfurt School are understood in the context of the intellectual and practical objectives of critical theory. In Traditional and Critical Theory (1937), Max Horkheimer defined critical theory as social critique meant to effect sociologic change and realize intellectual emancipation, by way of enlightenment that is not dogmatic in its assumptions. The purpose of critical theory is to analyze the true significance of the ruling understandings (the dominant ideology) generated in bourgeois society, by showing that the dominant ideology misrepresents how human relations occur in the real world, and how such misrepresentations function to justify and legitimate the domination of people by capitalism. In the praxis of cultural hegemony, the dominant ideology is a ruling-class narrative story, which explains that what is occurring in society is the norm. Nonetheless, the story told through the ruling understandings conceals as much as it reveals about society, hence, the task of the Frankfurt School was sociological analysis and interpretation of the areas of social-relation that Marx did not discuss in the 19th century — especially in the superstructure of a capitalist society.
Horkheimer opposed critical theory to traditional theory, in which the word theory is applied in the positivistic sense of scientism, of a purely observational mode that finds and establishes scientific law (generalizations) about the real world. That the social sciences differ from the natural sciences inasmuch as scientific generalizations are not readily derived from experience, because the researcher’s understanding of a social experience always is shaped by the ideas in the mind of the researcher. What the researcher does not understand is that he or she is in an historical context, wherein ideologies shape human thought, thus, the results for the theory being tested would conform to the ideas of the researcher, rather than conform to the facts of the experience proper; in “Traditional and Critical Theory”, Horkheimer said:
|“||The facts, which our senses present to us, are socially performed in two ways: through the historical character of the object perceived, and through the historical character of the perceiving organ. Both are not simply natural; they are shaped by human activity, and yet the individual perceives himself as receptive and passive in the act of perception.||”|
For Horkheimer, the methods of investigation applicable to the social sciences cannot imitate the scientific method applicable to the natural sciences. In that vein, the theoretical approaches of positivism and pragmatism, of neo-Kantianism and phenomenology failed to surpass the ideological constraints that restricted their application to social science, because of the inherent logico–mathematic prejudice that separates theory from actual life, i.e. such methods of investigation seek a logic that is always true, and independent of and without consideration for continuing human activity in the field under study. That the appropriate response to such a dilemma was the development of a critical theory of Marxism.
Because the problem was epistemological, Horkheimer said that “we should reconsider not merely the scientist, but the knowing individual, in general.” Unlike Orthodox Marxism, which applies a template to critique and to action, critical theory is self-critical, with no claim to the universality of absolute truth. As such, critical theory does not grant primacy to matter (materialism) or to consciousness (idealism), because each epistemology distorts the reality under study, to the benefit of a small group. In practice, critical theory is outside the philosophical strictures of traditional theory; however, as a way of thinking and of recovering humanity’s self-knowledge, critical theory draws investigational resources and methods from Marxism.
Critique of ideology
Critical investigation must be directed at the totality of a society in its historical specificity (how society became configured at a given time) in order to understand its social reality, by applying a method of investigation derived from the inter-disciplinary integration of the social sciences, such as geography, economics, and sociology, history and political science, anthropology and psychology. Although critical theory must always be self-critical, Horkheimer said that a theory is critical only if it explains the subject. Hence, by combining practical and normative ways of thinking, critical theory can “explain what is wrong with current social reality, identify actors to change it, and provide clear norms for criticism, and practical goals for the future.” Whereas the purpose of traditional theory is the description, explanation, and justification of reality, the purpose of critical theory is to describe, explain, and change reality, because the goal of critical theory is “the emancipation of human beings from the circumstances that enslave them.”
Dialectic of Enlightenment and Minima Moralia
The second phase of Frankfurt School critical-theory derives from two Marxist critiques of Western civilization: (i) the Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer; and (ii) Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life (1951), by Adorno. The Dialectic of Enlightenment, applies the epic poem Odyssey as the investigational paradigm to demonstrate that the human domination of Nature characterizes the instrumental rationality of the West; in their analyses, Horkheimer and Adorno anticipated late-twentieth-century environmentalism. In Minima Moralia, Adorno identified Western rationalism as technological effort to subordinate and dominate Nature to humanity:
|“||. . . since the overwhelming objectivity of historical movement, in its present phase, consists, so far, only in the dissolution of the subject, without yet giving rise to a new [subject], individual experience necessarily bases itself on the old subject, now historically condemned, which is still for-itself, but no longer in-itself. The subject still feels sure of its autonomy, but the nullity demonstrated to subjects by the concentration camp is already overtaking the form of subjectivity, itself.||”|
Consequently, when objective reality is the basis for ideology, critical analyses of the dialectical contradictions preserve the facts of the matter, because the “truth or untruth [of a theory] is not inherent in the method, itself, but in its intention in the historical process”, because “the only philosophy which can be responsibly practiced in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves, from the standpoint of redemption.” Adorno’s contemporary existential perspective progresses from the philosophic optimism of 19th-century orthodox Marxism: “besides the demand thus placed on thought, the question of the reality or unreality of redemption, itself, hardly matters.”
From Horkheimer and Adorno’s ambivalence about the source of social domination arose the philosophic pessimism of the second-phase Frankfurt School about the possibility of human freedom and emancipation. Uncertainty about the domination-source arose from the historical circumstances (the Zeitgeist) of Germany’s interwar years (1918–39), during which Nazism, state capitalism, and mass culture arose as forms of social domination, which 19th-century Marxist sociology could not explain. Such sources of social domination became noticeable when the state eliminated the socially-destabilizing tension between the relations of production and the material productive forces of society (the primary contradiction in capitalism) with a planned economy and public ownership of the means of production .
Nikolas Kompridis criticized the second-phase Frankfurt School as being at an impasse, which:
|“||According to the now-canonical view of its history, Frankfurt School critical theory began in the 1930s, as a fairly confident interdisciplinary and materialist research program, the general aim of which was to connect normative social criticism to the emancipatory potential latent in concrete historical processes. Only a decade or so later, however, having revisited the premises of their philosophy of history, Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment steered the whole enterprise, provocatively and self-consciously, into a sceptical cul-de-sac. As a result they got stuck in the irresolvable dilemmas of the ‘philosophy of the subject’, and the original program was shrunk to a negativistic practice of critique that eschewed the very normative ideals on which it implicitly depended.||”|
In the event, the Frankfurt School arrived at the cul-de-sac of scepticism with much “help from the once-unspeakable and unprecedented barbarity of European fascism”, but escaped through the progressive work of Jürgen Habermas on the intersubjective bases of communicative rationality.
Philosophy of music
In The Philosophy of Modern Music (1949), Teodor Adorno criticizes modern music as integral to the ideology of advanced capitalism, which represents the music as a false consciousness that contributes to social domination.[page needed] That radical art and music can preserve aesthetic truth by capturing the reality of human suffering: “What radical music perceives is the un-transfigured suffering of Man. . . . The seismographic registration of traumatic shock becomes, at the same time, the technical, structural law of music. It forbids continuity and development. Musical language is polarized according to its extremes; towards gestures of shock, resembling bodily convulsions on the one hand, and on the other [hand] towards a crystalline stand-still of a human being whom anxiety causes to freeze in her tracks . . . Modern music sees absolute oblivion as its goal. It is the surviving message of despair from the shipwrecked.”
In particular, Adorno dislike jazz and popular music, viewing those genres as part of the culture industry that sustains capitalism by rendering it aesthetically pleasing and agreeable. Moreover, in The Uses of Pessimism and the Danger of False Hope (2010), the philosopher Roger Scruton dismissed Adorno as a Marxist intellectual who produced “reams of turgid nonsense devoted to showing that the American people are just as alienated as Marxism requires them to be, and that their cheerful life-affirming music is a ‘fetishized’ commodity, expressive of their deep spiritual enslavement to the capitalist machine.”
Left-wing critics of the Frankfurt School said the critical theory is a form of bourgeois idealism unrelated to political praxis, and isolated from the reality of a revolutionary movement. In the Theory of the Novel, Georg Lukács summarised the criticism: “A considerable part of the leading German intelligentsia, including Adorno, have taken up residence in the Grand Hotel Abyss, which I described in connection with my critique of Schopenhauer as ‘a beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort, on the edge of an abyss, of nothingness, of absurdity. And the daily contemplation of the abyss between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered’.”
Likewise, in The Myth of the Framework, the philosopher Karl Popper said that the Frankfurt School did not fulfil the Marxist promise of a better future: “Marx’s own condemnation of our society makes sense. For Marx’s theory contains the promise of a better future. But the theory becomes vacuous and irresponsible if this promise is withdrawn, as it is by Adorno and Horkheimer.”
Between the past and the future
Nikolas Kompridis’s criticism of Habermas’s approach to critical theory called for a break with the proceduralist ethics of communicative rationality: “For all its theoretical ingenuity and practical implications, Habermas’s reformulation of critical theory is beset by persistent problems of its own. . . . In my view, the depth of these problems indicates just how wrong was Habermas’s expectation that the paradigm change, to linguistic intersubjectivity, would render [as] objectless the dilemmas of the philosophy of the subject. Habermas accused Hegel of creating a conception of reason so “overwhelming” that it solved too well the problem of modernity’s [need for] self-reassurance. It seems, however, that Habermas has repeated, rather than avoided, Hegel’s mistake, creating a theoretical paradigm so comprehensive, that, in one stroke, it also solves too well the dilemmas of the philosophy of the subject and the problem of modernity’s self-reassurance.
That the change of paradigm to linguistic intersubjectivity caused a great change in the self-understanding of the critical-theory method of investigation. That the priority given to questions of justice and normative order in society remodeled critical theory in the image of liberal theories of justice, which are challenged by contemporary variants of liberal theories of justice that preserve continuity with the past formulation of critical theory, yet inadvertently initiated its premature dissolution.
To prevent that premature dissolution, Kompridis said that critical theory must become a “possibility-disclosing” enterprise, by incorporating Heidegger’s insights into world disclosure, and by drawing from the sources of normativity, which were blocked from critical theory, by the change of investigational paradigm. Calling for what the philosopher Charles Taylor named as a “new department” of reason, with a possibility-disclosing role of reflective disclosure, that critical theory must return to German romanticism to imagine socio-political alternatives to the existing social and political conditions, “if it is to have a future worthy of its past.”
Christopher Phelps, historian Christopher Lasch criticized the Frankfurt School's initial tendencies towards "automatically" rejecting opposing political criticisms on psychiatric grounds: “The Authoritarian Personality  had a tremendous influence on Hofstadter and other liberal intellectuals, because it showed them how to conduct political criticism in psychiatric categories, to make those categories bear the weight of political criticism. This procedure excused them from the difficult work of judgment and argumentation. Instead of arguing with opponents, they simply dismissed them on psychiatric grounds.
Economy and mass media
During the 1980s, anti-authoritarian socialists in the United Kingdom and New Zealand criticised the rigid and determinist view of popular culture deployed within the Frankfurt School theories of capitalist culture, which seemed to preclude any prefigurative role for social critique within such work. They argued that EC Comics often did contain such cultural critiques. Recent criticism of the Frankfurt School by the libertarian Cato Institute focused on the claim that culture has grown more sophisticated and diverse as a consequence of free markets and the availability of niche cultural text for niche audiences.
- Infiltration and subversion of the West
In the ideology of right-wing politics, the term Cultural Marxism identifies a conspiracy theory that portrays the critical-theory scholarship of the Frankfurt School as part of a continuing left-wing effort to destroy and replace Western culture. In the field of Cultural studies, the term Cultural Marxism identifies an anti-capitalist critique of cultural practices motivated only by the profit motive.
Proponents of conspiracy-theory Cultural Marxism claim that the existence of liberal social-ideologies — such as feminism, anti-white racism, and sexualization — are real-world negative consequences of critical-theory, despite such unresolved social problems dating from the 1920s. The conspiracy-theory usage of the term originated in the essay “New Dark Age: Frankfurt School and ‘Political Correctness’ ” (1992), in which Michael Minnicino said that the Frankfurt School promoted Modernism in the arts, as a form of Cultural pessimism, and shaped the Counterculture of the 1960s (e.g The Beatles) in likeness to the Wandervogel (wandering bird) youth culture of the Ascona commune in the 19th century, in order to subvert the value system of Western civilization. Minnicino’s essay was published by the Schiller Institute, a branch organization of the LaRouche movement that promoted conspiracy-theory Cultural Marxism.
- Mass-controlled society
Frankfurt-School discourse about Cultural Marxism considers The Culture Industry (the industrialized, mass-production of culture) as acting negatively upon the psychology of society. That the consumption of mass culture reifies people from critical readers, listeners, viewers into consumers disabled from perceiving authentic human values. In Britain, Richard Hoggart, a theorist of The Birmingham School, developed a British Cultural Marxism, of working-class sensibility, which opposed cultural massification — a generic British culture — and the drift away from the local, British sub-cultures, as social engineering in service to commercialization, the establishment of which was enabled by the sensational reportage of tabloid newspapers, unrealistic, aspirational advertising, and the situational values of American movies.
- Culture war
In the late 1990s, the term Cultural Marxism remained an academic usage, until paleoconservative politicians, fighting the continual Culture War that features in U.S. politics, used the term Cultural Marxism to claim that the Frankfurt School intellectuals who objected to the massification of culture as mass-control, were conspiring to establish their mass-control of Western culture, by attacking the traditional value system of the West with the liberal value-systems of the 1960s counter culture and of multiculturalism, of progressive politics and political correctness. The conspiracy-theory version of Cultural Marxism is associated with religious paleoconservatives, such as William S. Lind, Pat Buchanan, and Paul Weyrich, and is contemporary ideological usage among alt-right politicians, white nationalist political groups, and the neo-reactionary Dark Enlightenment political movement.
In 1998, Weyrich first published his conception of Cultural Marxism in “Letter to Conservatives”, a speech to the Conservative Leadership Conference of the Civitas Institute; and later repeated his usage and conception in the “Culture War Letter”. In What is Cultural Marxism?, William S. Lind presents Weyrich’s conception of Cultural Marxism, which identified the presence of homosexuals featured in commercial television as proof of Cultural Marxist control of the mass communication medium of television; and claimed that Herbert Marcuse considered a coalition of “blacks, students, feminist women, and homosexuals” as the vanguard of cultural revolution in the West. In that vein, Lind published Victoria: A Novel of 4th Generation Warfare (1995) which extrapolates societal apocalypse caused by cultural Marxism. Moreover, Lind and Weyrich advocate fighting Cultural Marxism with “a vibrant cultural conservatism” composed of “retro-culture”, resumption of the railroad as public transport, and an agrarian culture of self-reliance modeled after the Amish.[excessive citations]
In 1999, Lind presented the documentary “Political Correctness: The Frankfurt School”, from which content was re-published online in the YouTube movie Cultural Marxism: The Corruption of America, by James Jaeger. The intellectual historian Martin Jay said that the phenomenon of multi-media-replication of Weyrich's misconception of Cultural Marxism derived from Lind's original documentary, which “spawned a number of condensed, textual versions, which were reproduced on a number of radical right-wing sites. These, in turn, led to a welter of new videos, now available on YouTube, which feature an odd cast of pseudo-experts regurgitating exactly the same line. The message is numbingly simplistic: All the ills of modern American culture, from feminism, affirmative action, sexual liberation, and gay rights to the decay of traditional education, and even environmentalism, are ultimately attributable to the insidious influence of the members of the Institute for Social Research, who came to America in the 1930s.”
In Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement (2001), Weyrich and Eric Heubeck advocated directly “taking over [the] political structures”. Likewise, Heidi Beirich said that political conservatives use conspiracy-theory Cultural Marxism to demonize ideological bêtes noires of the right wing, such as "feminists, homosexuals, secular humanists, multiculturalist, sex educators, environmentalist, immigrants, and black nationalists." Moreover, from the study of extreme right-wing movements, Chip Berlet reported that Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory was readily accepted among the Tea Party movement of 2009, with articles in the American Thinker and WorldNetDaily, highlighted by some Tea Party websites.
- Disguised racism
In the report “Ally of Christian Right Heavyweight Paul Weyrich Addresses Holocaust Denial Conference”, the Southern Poverty Law Center said that, in 2002, William S. Lind spoke of Cultural Marxism to a conference of Holocaust deniers. Lind said that every member of The Frankfurt School was “to a man, Jewish”, yet said that he did not question the occurrence of the Holocaust, and admitted that he was present at the holocaust-denier conference officially representing the Free Congress Foundation "to work with a wide variety of groups, on an issue-by-issue basis".
In 2011, in Norway, the right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik included the term Cultural Marxism to his manifesto, 2083: A European Declaration of Independence; the manifesto and a copy of Political Correctness: A Short History of an Ideology (from The Free Congress Foundation ) were e-mailed to 1,003 people, some 90 minutes before Breivik committed the 2011 Norway attacks. To support his nationalist racism, Breivik quoted the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory of William S. Lind.
In July 2017, the US National Security Advisor, H. R. McMaster, removed Richard Higgins from the U.S. National Security Council, because he wrote a seven-page memorandum that purported to describe an active plot to destroy the presidency of Donald Trump. The anti-Trump conspirators that Higgins identified were the cultural Marxists and the Islamists, globalist politicians, bankers, the news media, and politicians from the Republican and Democratic parties.
- The appearance of propriety
In “Cultural Marxism and the Radical Right”, the political philosopher Jérôme Jamin said that, “Next to the global dimension of the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory, there is its innovative and original dimension, which lets its authors avoid racist discourses, and pretend to be defenders of democracy”. Prof. Matthew Feldman traced the concept and term Cultural Marxism as derived from the Cultural Bolshevism concept and term that were common usage in Germany, before the First World War (1914–18) — locating it as part of the degeneration theory that greatly facilitated Hitler's rise to power.
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- Held, David (1980), p. 15.
- Habermas, Jürgen. (1987). The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. MIT Press.
- Kompridis, Nikolas. (2006). Critique and Disclosure: Critical Theory between Past and Future, MIT Press
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- Held, David (1980), p. 38.
- Finlayson, James Gordon (2005), Habermas: A Very Short Introduction, p. 4
- Kuhn, Rick Henryk Grossman and the Recovery of Marxism Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007
- Geuss, Raymond. The Idea of a Critical Theory: Habermas and the Frankfurt school. Cambridge University Press, 1981. p. 58.
- Carr, Adrian (2000). "Critical theory and the Management of Change in Organizations", Journal of Organizational Change Management, pp. 13, 3, 208–220.
- Martin Jay. The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research 1923–1950. London: Heinemann, 1973, p. 21.
- Horkheimer, Max (1976). "Traditional and critical theory". In: Connerton, P (Eds), Critical Sociology: Selected Readings, Penguin, Harmondsworth, p. 213
- Rasmussen, D. “Critical Theory and Philosophy”, The Handbook of Critical Theory, Blackwell, Oxford, 1996. p .18.
- Horkheimer, Max (1976), p. 221.
- Bohman, J. “Critical Theory and Democracy”, The Handbook of Critical Theory, Blackwell, Oxford, 1996. p. 190.
- Horkheimer, Max (1976), pp. 219, 224.
- Adorno, Theodor W. Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life (1951), pp. 15–16.
- Adorno, Theodor W. (2006), p. 247.
- Adorno, T. W., Horkheimer, M. Dialectic of Enlightenment. Trans. Edmund Jephcott. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1944. p. 242.
- "Critical Theory was initially developed, in Horkheimer’s circle, to think through political disappointments at the absence of revolution in the West, the development of Stalinism in Soviet Russia, and the victory of fascism in Germany. [Critical theory] was supposed to explain mistaken Marxist prognoses, but without breaking Marxist intentions" — Jürgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures (1987) p. 116.
See also: Dubiel, Helmut. Theory and Politics: Studies in the Development of Critical Theory (1985) p. 00.
- “Gone are the objective laws of the market, which ruled in the actions of the entrepreneurs, and tended toward catastrophe. Instead, the conscious decision of the managing directors executes as results (which are more obligatory than the blindest price-mechanisms) the old law of value, and hence the destiny of capitalism.” — Horkheimer, Max and Adorno, T. W. Dialectic of Enlightenment, (1944) p. 38.
- Kompridis, Nikolas. (2006), p. 256
- Adorno, Theodor W. The Philosophy of Modern Music (1949), pp. 41–42.
- Scruton, Roger. The Uses of Pessimism: and the Danger of False Hope, Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 89.
- Lukács, Georg. (1971). The Theory of the Novel. MIT Press, p. 22.
- Karl R. Popper: Addendum 1974: The Frankfurt School. in: The Myth of the Framework. London New York 1994, p. 80
- Habermas, Jürgen, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, MIT Press, 1987. p. 301.
- Habermas, Jürgen (1987), p. 42
- Kompridis, Nikolas. (2006), pp. 23–24
- Kompridis, Nikolas. (2006), p. 25
- Taylor, Charles. Philosophical Arguments pp. 12, 15.
- Kompridis, Nikolas. (2006), p. xi
- Blake, Casey and Phelps, Christopher. “History as Social Criticism: Conversations with Christopher Lasch” – Journal of American History 80, no.4, March 1994, pp.1310–32
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