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Liberation Theology

Under the Command of a Corpse – Part 2

Olavo de Carvalho explains why Liberation Theology is alive and well in Latin America.

II.

Read Part I here.

If the child and even its name came ready-made from the KGB, that does not mean that its adoptive parents, Gutierrez, Boff, and Betto have no merit whatsoever in spreading it throughout the world. On the contrary, they played a crucial part in the victories won by liberation theology and in the mystery of its survival.

The three of them, but mainly the two Brazilians, have always acted on two different levels at once. On the one hand, they produced artificial theological arguments for the consumption of the clergy, the intellectuals, and the Roman Curia. On the other hand, they spread sermons and popular speeches and intensely devoted themselves to the creation of a network of activists which would become well-known as “basic ecclesial communities”[i] and would make up the seed of the Workers’ Party, which has been governing Brazil since 2002.

In his book And the Church Became People (E a Igreja se Fez Povo)[ii], Boff confesses that the whole thing was a “bold plan,” hatched according to the strategy of the slow and subtle “war of position” advocated by the founder of the Italian Communist Party, Antonio Gramsci. The strategy consisted in gradually infiltrating all the decisive positions in seminaries and lay universities, in religious orders, in the Catholic media, and in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, without making much noise, until the time was ripe for the great revolution to come into view.

John Paul I, soon after the 1978 conclave that elected him pope, had a meeting with twenty Latin American cardinals, and he became astonished at the fact that most of them overtly supported liberation theology. On that occasion, they informed him that there were more than 100 thousand “basic ecclesial communities” spreading out revolutionary propaganda in Latin America. Until then John Paul I had known liberation theology as a theoretical speculation only. He was far from thinking that it could have been transformed into a political force of such dimensions.

In 1984, when Cardinal Ratzinger began to dismantle liberation theology’s theoretical arguments, four years had already passed since those “basic ecclesial communities” were transfigured into a mass political party, the Brazilian Workers’ Party, whose members and activists definitively do not know anything about any theological speculation, but can swear that Jesus Christ was a socialist because that is what the party leaders tell them to believe.

In other words, liberation theology’s feigned theological argumentation had already done its job of being food for debate and undermining the Church’s authority, and was functionally replaced by overt preaching of socialism, where the apparently scholarly effort to bring Christianity and Marxism together yielded the right of way to the peddling of cheap clichés and slogans in which the mass of activists neither looked for nor could find any rational argumentation, but only those symbols that expressed and reinforced their sense of belonging to a group and their fighting spirit.

The success of this second enterprise was proportional to the failure of the trio in the field of theology. In the United States or in Europe, an opinion-maker who aspires to be a political leader may not survive his own discredit, but in Latin America, and especially in Brazil, the mass of activists is leagues away from any intellectual concern and will continue to find their leader credible as long as he is backed up by his party and has enough political support.

And in the case of Boff and Betto, they received nothing less than formidable support. When the guerrillas which the Latin American Organization for Solidarity (OLAS, founded in 1966 by Fidel Castro) had spread throughout the subcontinent failed miserably, left-wing activists took refuge in non-military leftist organizations, which were putting into practice Antonio Gramsci’s ideas about “cultural revolution” and “war of position.” Gramsci’s strategy made use of massive infiltration of communist agents in all institutions of civil society, especially in the educational system and the media, to spread punctual, isolated, non-labelled, communist proposals so as to produce, little by little, an overall effect which could not be identified as communist propaganda, but through which the Party, or similar organization, could end up mentally controlling society with “the omnipresent and invisible power of a divine commandment, of a categorical imperative” (sic).[iii]

No other instrument could better serve that purpose than the “basic ecclesial communities,” where communist proposals could be sold with the Christianity label. In Brazil, the overwhelming growth of those organizations resulted, in 1980, in the foundation of the Workers’ Party, which initially presented itself as an innocent pro-labor union movement of the Christian left, and which only gradually revealed its strong ties with the Cuban government and various guerilla and drug-trafficking organizations.  The greatest leader of the Party, President Luís Inácio “Lula”da Silva, has always acknowledged Boff and Betto as the masterminds of both his organization and of himself.

Born in the bosom of the Latin American communism by means of the “basic ecclesial communities,” the Party would not take long to return the favor by establishing, in 1990, an organization under the anodyne denomination of Foro de São Paulo (São Paulo Forum) whose purpose was to unify the many leftists currents in Latin America and become the strategic headquarters for the communist movement in the subcontinent.

According to Frei Betto’s own testimony, the decision of founding the São Paulo Forum was made in a meeting between Lula, Fidel Castro, and Frei Betto himself, in Havana. For seventeen years the São Paulo Forum had grown in secret, having a membership of nearly 200 organizations, and mixing together legally established political parties, kidnapping groups as the Chilean MIR, and drug-trafficking gangs as the FARC— which denied having anything to do with drug trafficking, but traded, every year, 200 tons of Colombian cocaine for weapons that Brazilian drug-dealer Fernandinho Beira-Mar smuggled from Lebanon.

When Lula was elected president of Brazil in 2002, the São Paulo Forum had already become the largest and most powerful political organization that had ever been at work in the whole Latin American territory. Its very existence, however, was totally unknown to the Brazilian people and cynically denied when a researcher would blow the whistle about it.

The general concealment of the São Paulo Forum, an operation to which the entire Brazilian mainstream media contributed for seventeen years with exemplary obstinacy, is one of the most curious and depressing episodes of the history of the press in the world. From that episode one can have an idea of the power that the pool of left-wing parties associated with the Workers’ Party exerts over the entire class of opinion-makers in Brazil. But the curtain of obsequious silence extended far beyond Brazilian national borders: in 2001 during a panel discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., two “experts in Latin America,” Kenneth Maxwell and Luiz Felipe de Alencastro, openly denied the existence of the São Paulo Forum.

For many years, based upon extensive documentation gathered by Brazilian attorney José Carlos Graça Wagner, I denounced the São Paulo Forum’s activities. But I was the only columnist of a major Brazilian newspaper to do it, and all kinds of pressure and threats were made against me to prevent me from doing so. I even published online all the minutes of the Forum’s general assemblies since its foundation, but even in face of such irrefutable proofs the slavish self-censorship of the Brazilian journalistic class did not yield even an inch in its obstinacy in denying the facts.

The media blockade reached its peak of intensity when, in 2005, Mr Lula, already President of Brazil, made a detailed confession about the existence and the activities of the São Paulo Forum. His speech was published on the Presidency of the Republic’s official website, but even so, the mainstream media in full force insisted on pretending that they did not know anything about it.

Finally, in 2007, the Workers’ Party itself, feeling that the cloak of protective secrecy was no longer necessary, came to trumpet the feats of the São Paulo Forum to the four corners of the earth, as they had always been obvious, banal, and well-known. Only then the newspapers allowed themselves to speak about it.

Why could the secret be revealed at that point? Because, in Brazil, all the ideological opposition had already been eliminated, and what remained as “politics” was only electoral vying for offices and denunciation of corruption scandals coming from within the left itself; whereas, on a subcontinental scale, twelve countries were already ruled by parties that belonged to the São Paulo Forum. The “basic ecclesial communities” had risen to power. At that point who would be concerned with theological debates or ethereal objections made twenty years earlier by a cardinal who took the literal sense of the writings of liberation theologians in a serious manner, but barely scratched the political surface of the problem?

The Workers’ Party, throughout its twelve years in power, managed to expel all the conservative opposition from the political scene while it shared the political arena with some of its more radical allies and a soft center-left opposition, governing the country by means of bribery, murder of inconvenient people, and systematic appropriation of funds of state companies to finance the growth of the Party. The rise of kleptocracy culminated in the Petrobrás case, where the siphoning of funds from state companies reached the level of billions of dollars, becoming, according to the international media, the largest case of business corruption of all times. This succession of scandals brought about some discomfort within the left itself and also constant complaining in the media, which led the Workers’ Party’s intelligentsia to rally in full force to defend their party.  Mr Betto and Mr Boff have been busy with this kind of activity for more than a decade, and theology, in their business, is only an occasional supplier of figures of speech which they design to adorn the Party’s propaganda. Liberation theology, at last, embraced its true calling

 

To be continued.

Translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

 


[i] The mass of activists, as distinguished from their leadership, is called, in communist technical language, “base.” Not by coincidence liberation theology uses that word to name its “basic ecclesial communities.” The flock had to become “base” so that the shepherds could become political commissars.

[ii] Boff, Leonardo. E a Igreja se Fez Povo. Eclesiogênese: A Igreja que Nasce do Povo (São Paulo: Círculo do Livro, 1988.),  especially chapters XII and XIII.

[iii] Olavo de Carvalho, A Nova Era e a Revolução Cultural: Fritjof Capra & Antonio Gramsci, 4th ed. (Campinas: Vide Editorial, 2014).

 

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities. The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Pope rebukes Bolivia's President Evo Morales for gift of crucifix mounted on hammer and sickle

Under the Command of a Corpse – Part 1

Olavo de Carvalho explains why Liberation Theology is alive and well in Latin America.

I.

Why are still there people who subscribe to liberation theology? Apparently no reasonable person should do that. From a theological standpoint the doctrine that Peruvian Gustavo Gutierrez and Brazilians Leonardo Boff and Frei Betto have spread throughout the world was already demolished by then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger[i] in 1984, two years after being condemned by Pope John Paul II[ii]. In 1994 theologian Edward Lynch stated that liberation theology had already been reduced to a mere intellectual curiosity[iii]. In 1996 the Spanish historian Ricardo de la Cierva, whom nobody would deem to be uneducated on these matters, considered it to be dead and buried[iv].

And yet the fact is that, more than a decade and a half after its death, liberation theology is practically official doctrine in twelve countries in Latin America. What happened? That is the question that I propose to examine in this essay.

In order to answer it properly we need to examine the problem from three different angles:

(1) Is liberation theology a Catholic theology influenced by Marxist ideas, or is it only a communist ruse camouflaged with Catholic language?

(2) What is the relation between liberation theology as theoretical discourse and as an activist political organization?

(3) Once those two questions are answered, then we will be able to grasp liberation theology as a precise phenomenon and describe the particular forma mentis of their theoreticians by means of a stylistic analysis of their writings.

The first question is given remarkably uniform answers by both Professor Lynch and Cardinal Ratzinger, as well as by innumerable other Catholic authors (for example, Hubert Lepargneur’s  Liberation Theology: An Assessment[v], and Sobral Pinto’s Liberation Theology: Marxist Materialism in Spiritualist Theology[vi]): based on the premise that liberation theology presents itself as a Catholic theology, they proceed to examine it in that light, praising its possible humanitarian and justice-making intentions, but concluding that liberation theology is, in essence, incompatible with the Church’s traditional doctrine and is therefore heretical in the strict sense of the word. They also add to that assessment a denunciation of some of its internal contradictions and a criticism of its social agenda founded upon utterly discredited Marxist economics.

From this they move on to decreeing its death, asserting that (the following words are Professor Lynch’s),

Twenty-five years later, however, liberation theology has been reduced to an intellectual curiosity. While still attractive to many North American and European scholars, it has failed in what the liberationists always said was their main mission, the complete renovation of Latin American Catholicism. [vii]

All ideological revolutionary discourse can be understood according to at least three levels of meaning, all of which first need to be distinguished through analysis and then hierarchically rearranged when one of them reveals itself to be the most decisive factor in concrete political situations, subordinating the others.

The first level is a descriptive one: the ideological revolutionary discourse presents a diagnosis or explanation of reality, or an interpretation of a previous theory. On this level, the revolutionary discourse can be judged by its veracity, correspondence, or faithfulness to facts, to the current state of available knowledge, or to the doctrine it is interpreting. When the discourse presents a defined proposal for action, it can be judged by the viability or convenience of the action to be taken.

The second level is that of ideological self-definition, where the theoretician or doctrinarian expresses the symbols in which the revolutionary group recognizes itself and by which it can distinguish insiders and outsiders, friends and foes. On this level the ideological revolutionary discourse can be judged by its psychological efficacy or correspondence with its audience’s expectations and longings.

The third level is that of strategic disinformation, providing false clues designed to throw its enemies off course and ward off any attempt that can be made to block the revolutionary proposal for action, or neutralize any other effects the discourse aims to produce.

On its first level, the revolutionary discourse ideally addresses an impartial audience, whose support it intends to win over by means of persuasion. On the second level, it addresses its actual or potential supporters, with the aim of reinforcing their loyalty to the group and obtaining from them their maximum possible collaboration. On the third, it addresses its enemy, the target of the operation.

Practically all the criticisms that Catholic intellectuals leveled at liberation theology have been confined to the examination of its first level of meaning.  From an intellectual standpoint, they completely discredited it, demonstrated its heretical character, and pointed out those old flaws that make any proposal for a socialist remodeling of society destructive and inviable.

If the masterminds behind liberation theology were Catholics sincerely devoted to “renewing Latin American Catholicism,” even if through the use of means contaminated with Marxist ideology, those devastating criticisms would have been enough to completely deactivate their theology. Once those critical analyses left the field of intellectual debate to become the Church’s official teaching, with the 1984 study by Cardinal Ratzinger, liberation theology could be regarded, from a theoretical point of view, as extinct and intellectually overcome.

Now read this testimony given by General Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking KGB official who has ever defected to the West, and you will begin to understand why the intellectual and theological discredit of the liberation theology was not enough to put an end to it. In 1959, as the head of the Romanian intelligence station in West Germany, General Pacepa heard from Nikita Khrushchev himself the following words, “We’ll use Cuba as springboard to launch a KGB-devised religion into Latin America.”[viii]

And his testimony goes on like this,

Khrushchev called the new KGB-invented religion Liberation Theology. His penchant for “liberation” was inherited by the KGB, which later created the Palestine Liberation Organization, the National Liberation Army of Columbia (FARC), and the National Liberation Army of Bolivia. Romania was a Latin country, and Khrushchev wanted our “Latin view” about his new religious “liberation” war. He also wanted us to send a few priests who were cooptees or deep cover officers to Latin America, to see how “we” could make his new Liberation Theology palatable to that part of the world. Khrushchev got our best effort.

Launching a new religion was a historic event, and the KGB had thoroughly prepared for it. At that very moment, the KGB was building a new international religious organization in Prague called the Christian Peace Conference (CPC), whose task would be to spread Liberation Theology within Latin America. . . .

In 1968, the KGB-created CPC was able to maneuver a group of leftist South American bishops into holding a Conference of Latin American Bishops at Medellin, Colombia. The Conference’s official task was to ameliorate poverty. Its undeclared goal was to recognize a new religious movement encouraging the poor to rebel against the “institutionalized violence of poverty,” and to recommend it to the World Council of Churches for official approval. The Medellin Conference did both. It also swallowed the KGB-born name “Liberation Theology.”

That is, in its essentials, the idea of liberation theology came ready-made from Moscow three years before Peruvian Jesuit Gustavo Gutierrez, with his book Teología de la Liberación[ix], presented himself as its original creator, something which probably happened with the approval by its true creators, who were not interested at all in a public acknowledgment of paternity. The legal guardians of the child, Leonardo Boff and Frei Betto (Carlos Alberto Libânio Christo) would come onto the scene even later, not before 1977. Until today popular information sources, as for example Wikipedia, repeat like trained parrots that Fr. Gutierrez was indeed the father of liberation theology and that Mr Boff and Mr Betto were his most outstanding continuators.

 

Read Part II here.

Translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

 

 

[i]  Cardinal Ratzinger, Joseph. Liberation Theology. Christendom-awake.org,  http://www.christendomawake.org/ pages/ratzinger/liberationtheol.htm, (accessed February 2, 2015).

[ii]  Quentin L. Quade, ed., The Pope and Revolution: John Paul II Confronts Liberation Theology (Washington, D.C.: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1982).

[iii]  Lynch, Edward A., “The retreat of Liberation Theology,” EWTN.com, https://www.ewtn.com/ library/ISSUES/LIBERATE.TXT (accessed February 2, 2015)

[iv] Cierva, Ricardo de la. La Hoz y la Cruz. Auge y Caída del Marxismo y la Teología de la Liberación (Toledo: Fénix, 1996).

[v] Lepargneur, Hubert. Teologia da Libertação. Uma Avaliação (São Paulo: Convívio, 1979). The Brazilian translation of the work was used.

[vi] Pinto, Sobral. Teologia da Libertação. O Materialismo Marxista na Teologia Espiritualista (Rio: Lidador, 1984). The Portuguese original was used.

[vii] Lynch, loc. cit.

[viii] Pacepa, Ion Mihai,“Kremlin’s religious Crusade,” Frontpage Magazine, June 30, 2009, http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=35388 (accessed February 2, 2015).

[ix] Gutierrez, Gustavo. Teología de la Liberación(Lima: Centro de Estudios y Publicaciones, 1971).

 

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities. The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Brazilians demonstrate against the Workers' Party President Dilma Rousseff

Anti-Marxist Revolution in Brazil?

In recent weeks and months, we have been flooded with news about the Syriza “miracle,” about how the Greek leftists will manage to pull the country out of the state of decay in which it languishes. The Greek Finance Minister was placed high on all pedestals of European and universal glory, as if he were John Maynard Keynes and Hegel himself combined into one. Propagandistic nonsense has reached its utmost peak. Too little or even nothing at all is said, however, about how the house of cards built by revolutionary Dilma Rousseff – a former combatant in the urban guerrilla organizations – is coming down. Mature and responsible, the country’s civil society is not the prisoner of leftist myths. It refuses to go on a wild goose chase, as it happens in so many other places.

Millions of people are out demonstrating, asking for president Dilma Rousseff’s resignation. The endemic corruption of the leftist regime is being denounced by the masses that have taken to the streets, but largely ignored by the media elites, which are connected to those neo-Bolshevik channels financially supported by the Putin autocracy and its friends. The Sao Paulo Forum with its radical exhortations continues its maneuvers of hypnotizing the public opinion. Lies abound, but are starting to not be believed anymore. Protesters are being slandered as “American agents”, “spies”, “fascists” etc. Yet, less people than ever buy into these slanders.

The protests are being organized by a grassroots initiative with an openly liberal (non-leftist) orientation – the Free Brazil Movement (MBL). Signatures are being gathered for Dilma Rousseff’s dismissal. It turns out that philosopher Olavo de Carvalho’s anti-totalitarian ideas have taken root in Brazil. Olavo, a remarkable social thinker execrated by the Left, knows a great deal about Marxism and revolutionary utopianism in general, at any rate a far greater deal than Dilma and her followers. He is familiar with the famous 11th thesis on Feuerbach: “Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the point is to change it.” The world is changing in Brazil.

The hyper-corrupt bureaucracy of the Workers’ Party, so outrageously obvious during the World Cup in 2014, is coming face to face with a resurgent civil society. What is being foreshadowed, it seems, is a peaceful, non-violent revolution. Marxist revolutions are explosions of violence. But not the anti-totalitarian ones. It is now clear that millions of Brazilians feel the need to expose twaddle, nonsense, irresponsible foolishness, cynical demagoguery masquerading as a springboard for collective bliss.

Dilma and her crowd may not be Marxists in a traditional, strictly ideological sense, they accept and even profit from some liberal economic principles, but, when all is said and done, they still share, subliminally, the Marxist anti-capitalist and “anti-imperialist” revolutionary delusions, expectations, and fever. Therefore, their enduring affinities with the continental far left, including Hugo Chavez’s heir, Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

The protests are directed against the acute institutional, social, economic, and moral crisis that has dramatically worsened over these past few months. I do not know if a revolution to the full extent of the term has begun crystallizing as of right now, but this is certainly a revolutionary situation as defined by Lenin himself: “Those at the top cannot govern by using the old methods, those at the bottom, the great masses, beyond social divisions, no longer accept them.”

A fool’s tongue is long enough to cut his own throat: in this case, a Marxist one turned upside down! The great historian Robert Conquest’s dream is gradually coming to life–a united front against radical fallacies. It is high time these chimeras were exposed for what they really are: myths, legends, delusions, fantasies of salvation, ideological fairytales with pernicious effects.

 

Vladimir Tismaneanu is IAI’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Western Civilization and the History of Ideas.

This article was originally published on FrontPageMag.

This essay was translated from Romanian into English by Monica Got.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Group Photo of Frankfurt School

The Intellectual Roots of the American Left’s Emerging Totalitarianism

A recent incident in Wallingford, Connecticut, not far from where I grew up, caused VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow to comment: “Cultural Marxist totalitarianism is coming to an America near you.” A complaint was lodged with the local police that “hate” merchandise— Nazi and Confederate memorabilia—was being publicly exhibited and sold at a popular flea market. Following a police investigation, an Anti-Defamation League official named Joshua Sayles expressed the view that “It’s unfortunate that under the law people have the right to sell these things; but it doesn’t mean they should sell these things. It’s not a crime but I would call it hate…”[Wallingford police look into complaint about Nazi, Confederate items sold at flea market, by Mary Ellen Godin, Record-Journal, July 10, 2015].

Chillingly, the assistant regional director of the Connecticut ADL thus unmistakably indicated he was deeply disturbed that a “right” to deal in what he considered “hate” was still allowed. Presumably, in a more sensitive world, no one would be allowed to exhibit or sell either Nazi or Confederate memorabilia. Needless to say, no moral distinction was made between Nazi Germany and the Confederate States of America. They both stood, or so the ADL official implied, for pure “hate.”

Peter properly suggests if such hate-inspectors get their way, we will be living in a condition of almost Stalinist oppression. We might not be shipped off to gulags(yet), but the control of speech and thought that these professional sensitizers would impose would be reminiscent of the worst examples of Leftist tyranny. I say “Leftist” intentionally—because rightist or non-leftist regimes have never tried to control their subjects’ minds as systematically as the Left.

Even Adolf Hitler’ s Nazi regime largely lost interest in mind reconstruction. It closed up universities as an unnecessary expense by the early 1940s, left the economy in private hands except for those businesses it expropriated, and tolerated a surprisingly wide range of intellectual dissenters. Of course, this had nothing to do with being nice. It was simply that the Nazis, aggressive thugs as they were, had no interest in the worldwide indoctrination program dreamed of by the universalist, conversionary and egalitarian zealots of the true Left.

In contrast to the Nazis, the Left has regularly used every means at its disposal to reconstruct the human personality in accordance with its world vision. Perhaps even more significantly, for the last seventy years the Left has imagined itself as a brave force of resistance against a supposedly implacable but entirely fictitious and shape-shifting enemy— the great evil of “fascism.” As I document in my forthcoming book, Fascism: Career of a Concept, the Left’s eternal enemy of “fascism” is variously depicted as racism, Christian fanaticism, European nationalism, or even opposition to Israeli foreign policy.

Curiously, the post-war Italian fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano was fervently pro-Israel as well as pro-NATO. But Jewish “antifascists” can’t be bothered by such details.

The popular concept of fascism also identifies all forms of the European-wide fascist movement with Hitler, who was actually influenced far more by Stalinist totalitarianism than Mussolini’s ramshackle, not particularly repressive government. “Fascist” is arbitrarily equated with both Nazi genocide a nd anything the cultural Left disapproves of at the moment.

This propagandistic sleight of hand is so blatant that, unless one grasps the current political landscape, it is almost impossible to understand how it works every single time. We are looking here at interlocking political, corporate, and cultural elites when we search for who maintains the system. And there is a unifying doctrine, which for want of a better and more up-to-date name we shall have to call “Cultural Marxism.”

Cultural Marxism‘s central teachings go back genealogically to the Institute for Social Research in interwar Germany. Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer and their radical Leftist colleagues attempted to fuse Marxist economics and Freudian psychology into a critique of bourgeois society. The synthesized result had less to do with serious Marxism than with attacking “repressive” and “patriarchal” family life and offering utopian alternatives.

A major aspect of this emerging self-described “Critical Theory,” particularly after the rise of Nazism and the transfer of the Frankfurt School to the US, was describing and combatting “fascism.” This mission became integral to Critical Theory, together with a continuing crusade against anti-Semitism, which, by a certain internal logic, always accompanied the supposed fascist threat. Since the Frankfurt school theorists were mostly Jewish leftists, these facile associations suited them and their followers rather well.

However, in their interpretation, the ominous fascist threat lurked where you least expected it. Middle-class, churchgoing goyim, even those who professed to like Jews and supported women’s rights and labor unions, could not be trusted. Those who did not resolutely break from the existing order slipped easily into such evils as “latent anti-Semitism” and “pseudo-democracy.”

The_Authoritarian_Personality_(first_edition)[1] These psychic and social dangers were described by Horkheimer, Adorno, and others in their massive anthology The Authoritarian Personality, commissioned by the American Jewish Committee after the Second World War and published in 1950, as part of a much larger “Studies in Prejudice” project. [American Jewish Committee News, March 15, 1950.] While in the US, Adorno also created the F-Scale (F for “Fascist”) in social psychology testing, supposed to determine someone’s degree of propensity to subscribe to the hated ideology.

It’s important to remember Critical Theory isn’t a weapon of revolution. It’s a weapon of repression. And it was quickly and thoroughly Americanized. It’s ridiculous to treat it as an exotic import: it took root in American society and culture almost immediately after it was introduced.

Critical Theorists not only found a congenial home in the US, but some were even sent back to “reeducate” the Germans, who had been supposedly corrupted by their “authoritarian” families and “pseudo-democratic” experiences.

Although the Critical Theorists were mostly soft on the Communists, Cold War liberals like Seymour Martin Lipset and other contributors to Commentarystressed the usability of the Frankfurt School’s form of analysis for investigating all enemies of “liberal democracy,” including the Soviets.

The Soviet enemy, in this analysis, were defenders of patriarchal repression and “authoritarian personalities” that stood in the way of democratic progress.

Lipset was also concerned about “working class authoritarianism,” a focus very much present in the work of Adorno and Horkheimer [Political Man, by Seymour Martin Lipset, by Andrew Hacker, Commentary, June 1, 2015]. Communists, fascists and all the benighted simpletons toiling in factories potentially opposed American pluralism. Since we were engaged in a struggle to preserve our democratic, pluralist identity, we also had to be sure that young Americans were instilled with the proper attitudes about tolerance and equality.

One can find in the call for war against “un-American” prejudice beginning in the 1950s the tendency toward Leftist totalitarianism. One major change since then: the number and variety of supposed victims of “prejudice” continue to grow, together with the repressive measures that must be taken to intimidate possible dissenters.

There has also been a collapse in effective opposition to the Leftist Social Justice Warriors. Recent events in the South indicate even many descendants of Confederate soldiers are unwilling to defend their ancestral heritage against hysterical detractors.

The cultural Left, and no other political force, can put gigantic, screaming crowds into the streets in any American city on the spur of the moment. The official Right, by contrast, stays home watching Fox News.

In the absence of real opposition, the cultural-social Left is free to bully and lie as much as it wants. Media-empowered anti-anti-Semites, like ADL officials, freely equate the Confederacy with the perpetrators of the Holocaust, treating both as violent haters and sources of hate for later generations.

Our bogus Conservative Establishment happily rallies to Leftist social positions. No one on the Left sounds as unhinged as “conservative” journalists like Max Boot [Furling the Confederate flag is just the start, Commentary, June 22, 2015]. Or for that matter, Jeff Jacoby [The Confederate flag is anti-American, Boston Globe,July 9, 2015]. Republican congressmen and governors have been at least as zealous as their supposedly more Leftist opposition in calling for the obliteration of Confederate symbols and names.

One also discovers from the Beltway Right press that homosexual rights, including homosexual marriage, is a basic Western value and that European leaders like Victor Orban and Vladimir Putin don’t really belong to the West because they don’t welcome gay activists into the political and educational process [The Authentic Right vs. The Neocons, by Ilana Mercer, WND, December 21, 2007].

Even the relatively isolated, belated complaints of Donald Trump about the crime caused by Third World immigration have elicited frenzied attacks on bigotry from such GOP stalwarts as Linda Chavez and Jeb Bush [Trumped Up, Townhall, July 10, 2015]. Chavez, we might note, has taken valuable time out from bashing the Confederate Battle Flag to deal with the anti-immigration bigots on the right [Linda Chavez: No defending the indefensible, Daily Local News, June 28, 2015].

The Cultural Marxist threat isn’t an epidemic coming from outside: It is raging among our make-believe conservatives, who now often sound as radical as the Frankfurt School.

The critical difference, or so I’ve been told, is that our politicians are usually not self-described socialists, whereas the Critical Theorists were. But even that distinction may no longer be important. Our government and that of other Western countries has grown enormously and now interferes in our social and commercial life far more than it did eighty years ago. Moreover, the major thrust of Cultural Marxism has never been toward the nationalization of productive forces and other classical socialist schemes. It has always been cultural—toward the smashing of bourgeois values, Christian families, gender roles, and what was viewed as a repressive political culture. Government control of the economy was merely an instrument for moving toward the social-cultural goal that the Frankfurt School set for us.

And the social goals of Cultural Marxism are portrayed as the only alternative to a dark night of “fascism” that the ADL, the SPLC, and other like organizations are ostensibly protecting us from.

Yet the specter is never banished. The “Far Right” threat always remains. And as an ever greater number of people find themselves marginalized as “haters,” the actual tyranny taking shape in America could indeed be something even worse than the fevered “fascist” nightmares of the Left’s imagination.

Paul_GottfriedDr. Paul Gottfried is IAI’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Western Civilization and the History of Ideas.

This article was oiginally published at Vdare.com on July 21, 2015.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Feminazis

A Brief History of Male Chauvinism

Olavo de Carvalho takes on the anti-male prejudice that offends the intellect and twists history.

 

Women have always been exploited by men. That is a truth that nobody doubts. From the solemn lecture halls in Oxford to popular TV shows, from Collège de France to pop music groups, the world reaffirms that certainty, maybe the most unquestionable truth that has ever crossed the human mind—that is, if it ever actually crossed it, for it might have come straight out of wombs into academic books.

Not desiring to go against such an august unanimity, I here intend to list a few facts that may reinforce, in the hearts of believers of all existing and yet-to-be-invented sexes, their hatred against heterosexual adult males, those execrable creatures that no one who was unlucky enough to be born as a male wants to be when he grows up.

Our narrative begins at the dawn of time, at some imprecise moment between the Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnons. It was in those dark ages that the exploitation of women started. Living in caves, the human communities were constantly ravaged by the attacks of wild beasts. Males, taking advantage of their prerogatives as members of the ruling class, hurried to secure for themselves the safest and most comfortable of places of the social order: they remained inside the caves—what rascals!—preparing food for their babies, while the poor females, armed only with clubs, went outside to fight lions and bears.

When the hunting and gathering economy was replaced by agriculture and cattle-raising, men took advantage of women again, always assigning them the hardest jobs, such as moving rocks and blocks of stone, taming wild horses, and cutting furrows on the ground with a plough, while they, those lazy pants, stayed home painting pottery and weaving. That is revolting.

When the great empires of antiquity dissolved, yielding their places to a bedlam of warring fiefdoms, feudal lords quickly formed their private armies, exclusively made up of women, while men took refuge in castles and remained there enjoying the good life, delighting in the reading of the poems that warrior women wrote, in between battles, to praise their manly charms.

When someone had the extravagant idea of spreading Christianity throughout the world, which required sending missionaries to all corners of the Earth, where they ran the risk of being impaled by heathens, stabbed by highway robbers, or butchered by an audience bored with their preaching, the heavy burden of that mission was laid upon women, while men Machiavellianly stayed home and made novenas before their family altars.

The poor women were victims of the same kind of exploitation on the occasion of the Crusades, where, clad in heavy armors, they crossed deserts to be run through by the swords of the moors (female moors, of course, since the partisans of Mohammed were no less sexists than we). And what about the great voyages of discovery!? Seeking gold and diamonds to adorn idle males, brave female seafarers crossed the seven seas and fought against ferocious indigenous male warriors whose only advances towards them were, alas, of a military nature.

Finally, when the modern state instituted military conscription for the first time in history, government armies were made up of women, and beheading at the guillotine was the punishment for those who insisted on resisting or dodging the draft. All of that, of course, so that men could stay home reading The Princesse de Clèves.

In short, for millennia women have been dying in the battle field, moving blocks of stone, erecting buildings, fighting wild beasts, crossing deserts, seas, and jungle, making all sorts of sacrifice for us, idle males, to whom no challenge remains other than that of getting their hands dirty in soiled diapers.

In exchange for the sacrifice of their lives, women, our heroic defenders, have not demanded from us anything except the right to raise their voices at home, make a few cigarette burn marks on tablecloths, and, occasionally, leave a pair of socks in the TV room for us to pick up.

 

Translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.