As painful holidays with your family probably show, conservatives are all about hyper-vigilance of anything Karl Marx related. Obama is a Marxist, Anderson Cooper is a pinko commie, and the progressive agenda wants to replace our god-fearing democracy with a Stalinist dictatorship.
Of course, that’s all bullshit. As anyone who has read any book from any Marxist, post-Marxist or anti-state revolutionary, Obama is pretty far up on the revolutionary shit list.
Yet it has come to my attention that a trend has emerged among hardcore conservatives, neo-Nazis, nationalists, and white-supremacist.
They know a whole lot about critical theorists.
It all started when this hilarious flow chart caught my eye on Facebook. According to Think Progress, the image originates from ACT! for America, and anti-Islamic conservative organization.
As you see, the image ties Karl Marx through a lot of associative fallacies to the modern Democratic party.
What is more interesting is level of detail in the images. Whoever made this is well versed with Frankfurt School alumn Herbert Marcuse and his contribution to Cultural Marxism. They know of Betty Friedan’s contribution to feminism, and they know about black liberation theology.
Of course it’s still all bullshit. To conflate Betty Freidan’s style of feminism with every other kind of feminism is ridiculous. And to call a George Soros a communist elides the fact that every radical thinker (including Zizek) detests this sort of “charitable capitalism.”
But more examples began to surface. Earlier I reported that the message board of neo-Nazi site Stormfront had a discussion about how useful Foucault was in their movement. The members, for some reason, all knew who Foucault was, they knew of his homosexuality and some of them knew about his ideas on panopticism.
Then I began getting Google Alerts for the Frankfurt School. Nine times out of ten, they were about the shadowy influence of the Frankfurt School in society. I came across a documentary on YouTube entitled Death of the West: Frankfurt School, Cultural Marxism, Political Correctness, and a host of amateur blogs detailing the history of the Frankfurt School.
To top it off, The Guardian recently published an article The Frankfurt School: Why Did Anders Breivik Fear Them? The power and influence that bygone critical theorists is what every revolutionary dreams of.
When Anders Breivik launched his murderous attack in Norway in July 2011, he left behind a rambling manifesto which attacked not only what he saw as Europe’s Islamicisation but also its undermining by the cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt school.
It reminded me of a section of The Reification of Desire: Toward a Queer Marxism by Kevin Floyd. In it, Floyd points out the bizarre situation wherein Cold War era politicians labeled homosexuals as a threat to the stability of the society. Of course, from the other end of the political sprectrum, Herbert Marcuse argued the very same thing.
Politically driven universalizations of homosexuality, from Marcuse and from the U.S. Senate, in this respect held in common the view that homosexuality represented a direct threat to state power.
As we watch Glenn Beck argue that the homosexual agenda is out to destroy America, liberals are repulsed by his ignorance and homophobia. But every queer theorists is sitting at home saying “Yes, of course.”
So why do conservatives know so much about critical theory? It seems like the idea that the left re-emerges on the right might have some credence. We’ve seen the bizarre convergences of anarchists with libertarians, and how Foucauldian critiques of power can be appropriated by white supremacy groups. It’s only surprising that people conservative conspiracy theorists are reading Herbert Marcuse in their spare time.