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Useful Intellectuals: Framing Marx for the Next Generation

The first in a series examining the cultural impact of intellectuals' Marx fetish.

by
Susan L.M. Goldberg

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November 6, 2013 - 10:00 am
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MarxHipster

In a recent Tablet Magazine article, Michelle Goldberg wrote of a revived interest in Marx among the newest generation of intellectuals: “For those too young to remember the Cold War but old enough to be trapped by the Great Recession, Marxism holds new appeal.” Goldberg’s thesis revels in progressive shibboleths about evil, greedy capitalists and ”privileged young people” disappointed that their leftist president couldn’t even score them a job. The interesting angle she brings to the discussion highlights the discussions regarding Marxism in intellectual circles. This is not a new relationship by far; Marxism has been the plaything of the intellectual elite since its inception, lending much-needed credit to an otherwise incredible notion that morphed into the guiding force behind the 20th century’s most murderous regimes.

What Goldberg chronicles, “Meanwhile, the end of the Cold War has freed people—especially those too young to remember it—to revisit Marxist ideas without worrying that they’re justifying existing repressive regimes,” isn’t anything the Economist didn’t observe of Western Marxist thinkers back in 2002:

“People in the West, their judgment not impaired by having lived in the system Marx inspired, mostly came to a more dispassionate view. Marx had been misunderstood, they tended to feel. The communism of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was a perversion of his thought. What happened in those benighted lands would have appalled Marx as much as it appalls us. It has no bearing on the validity of his ideas.”

Only the intelligentsia would have the cojones to rewrite history to suit their own needs. These Marxists learned well from their master.

In the Journal of the History of Ideas, Shlomo Avineri concisely details Marx’s definition and position of intellectuals within the otherwise proletarian revolution:

“It is the task of the revolutionary intellectuals to furnish critical and analytical faculties, understanding of the historical process, comprehension of the actual economic and social conditions, so as to have a better chance of timing the ultimate coup de grace correctly with precision and finality.”

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All Comments   (9)
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I enjoyed this one Susan, as usual!
I thought you might be interested to hear what this radical marxist feminist has to say about social justice (and Mother Theresa):

http://vimeo.com/8896410
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Horrifyingly it seems that the circle is completing itself. As a student in the late 1950s and for 12 more years I battled it out with economic marxism, indeed, in the early 1960s I came upon William F. Buckley and his gang of ex-marxists. What a group that was!!! However, in the last years of my studies and upon entry into the teaching world, another brand of marxism took hold and conquered America (and Germany and France too as the '68 student movement shows). This brand of marxism stemms from the Frankfurt School of Social Research, both in Germany and in America at Colombia Uni. Prof. William Land has produced a marvelous 23 minute iinternet video introduction entitled "The History of Political Correctness (Complete) - YouTube". The Frankfurt Schoolers, e.g., Reich, Fromm and partciularly Marcuse, substituted the libido (or just plain sex) as the oppressed nature of man the economic thesis of traditional marxism in order to call for sexual liberation. Personally, I more than suffered under said ideology of "pansexualism" (opposing it in its form of "Political Correctness" could be dangerous and, for me, enough to induce me to leave America for Europe.) The revolutionary power of claiming sexual repression as the enemy and the utopian claims that sexually unrepressed humans will bring out an utopian revolution has been the "marxism" most encountered by me. Being retired and away from universities have removed me from the scene. The reintroduction of the purely economic moment of marxism surprises me and affronts me. I had thought that such theoretical childishness had lost its attraction. But apparently not in the light of what Susan Goldberg has described. And so the circle closes itself.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I heard about those things, as well as the damage was done. At the risk of sounding tasteless in my remarks, the Frankfurt School of Social Research should have stayed in Nazi Germany and "reaped what they sowed" if you know what I mean, as at least then, the ideas they pushed would have most likely died with them. I also heard of a person named "Red" who was part of the May 1968 movement.

Honestly, it looks like the only way to truly get rid of Marxism is to locate every single one of his works and burn them into charcoal, and then throw that into a superpowered furnace just for good measure. Even then, we'll also have to get rid of a lot of philosopher's works, especially Rousseau, who was directly responsible for Karl Marx's Marxism.

On the topic of May 1968, one of the briefing files for a game called Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker had two of the characters, Naked Snake/Big Boss (the main character) and Cecile Cosima Caminandes discussing the events of May 1968:

"[SNAKE]

You seem like a very... how do I put this... uninhibited woman.

[CÉCILE]

You think so? I am no different from other Parisian women. Not since May 1968.

[SNAKE]

May 1968... The general strike that almost brought down the president?

[CÉCILE]

Right. But it was more than just a strike. It started with the student movement at Strasbourg University in '66. They did not want anything from the country, but instead sought reform at the school. That helped ignite a fire in the hearts of scores of dissatisfied young people, and the movement spread all over France. It was more than just opposition to Vietnam and the de Gaulle administration - people also called for free love and the breaking away from other old values. Looking back, I'm not sure what the main goal really was. But whatever the case, it was more of a young people's movement than a strike or a protest.

[SNAKE]

So... It was like the hippies or something?

[CÉCILE]

In some ways, perhaps. But we weren't blinded by mysticism, nor did we seek a return to nature.

[SNAKE]

I see. So while they wanted to retreat to their closed communes...

[CÉCILE]

We tried to change the world. And in doing so we learned that when everyone comes together, it can be done.

[SNAKE]

You had a lot more success. In America hippies have just become a social problem, while I hear Japan's student movements crashed and burned.

[CÉCILE]

I wonder what was different.

[SNAKE]

Good question. I'd like to know myself."

Basically, she mentioned the free love thing in there, and what disturbs me is that she implies in the beginning and middle of that tape that every single female French (or at least Parisian) woman became sultry as a result of that event, possibly up to the present day. From the way you were talking in that post, you seemed to infer that you had experience with the '68 movements in France and Germany, so I was wondering whether or not Cecile's implication was actually true or a massive over-exaggeration. Not being French myself (not to mention born in 1990, about 22 years, maybe 23, after that event), I obviously cannot verify it from experience (and yes, I know you aren't technically French yourself, but you are German, having lived most of your life there, which is geographically close to France, and the 1968 thing occurred in both countries). I asked two French women via email (one of whom, a game designer/PR person, was also the namesake of the aforementioned character in the tape (not Snake, the other one)) whether this was accurate (I'm autistic, so the way my mind works, if someone says something along the lines of "I'm no different than any other [insert group here], that implies that literally 100% (non-rounded) of that group behaved exactly that way, not to mention that didn't sound like a typical hyperbole phrase at all even without my being autistic, and I've heard and used my fair share of hyperbole myself.), and I've yet to get a response one way or another.

And either way, this sort of thing is terrible in either case, completely against what God wanted. And honestly, pansexual and sexual liberation is definitely a Marxist trait. Heck, the Matrix Trilogy even had that rave scene in Reloaded that strongly implied that humanity is different from the machines specifically because of irrational love and hope (which honestly made them more like animals).

BTW, Goldberg, you might want to note the College students chanting "Karl Marx" after the 2012 presidential elections in celebration of Obama's victory in your next articles (whether the immediate next one or just a future entry into this series, I don't care as long as you mention it).
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The vast majority of the leading figures of the Fr. School were Jews. With Hitler's ascendency they had to leave Germany or they would have been killed. What amazes me is that Colombia Uni. seemingly welcomed with superopened arms and the US made an unfolding of influence possible. After the war, some did return to Germany and had nefarious effects up to today. The Student revolts of the late 1960s were certainly influenced. I cannot begin to tell the tale of moral corruption in Germany. But I can sum it up re pansexualism: The more sex Germans have (and do try hard--give them credit), the less childern, indeed, so few that the not so "Herrenrasse" is in the process of dying out. David Goldman gives DNA Germans less than 200 years before extinction sets in. The triumph of "liberated" libido does have its costs, namely cultural existence.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, I know that the Frankfurt School members were Jewish (though obviously in terms of ethnicity only, not in terms of religion, as God would have most likely would not have approved of their teachings at all), and to be frank, the fact they actually spread Marxism proves they were traitors to God, regardless of whether they believed in Jesus or not, and thus, my apologies for being extremely cold and unmoving towards their plight at that time, but they really should have just stayed in Germany so they'd get their just desserts, killed by the very thing they promoted. That most certainly would have been a fitting fate, and I personally don't like that kind of fate to befall onto anyone, but its still a fitting fate nonetheless. Then again, had Saul Alinsky never entered the picture, I won't be surprised if they ended up becoming extremely obscure and ridiculed for their insane teachings (Breitbart most certainly believed that).

And two centuries? Then we really need to get working in undoing the Frankfurt School's work, even if it means forcing people to convert to Christianity and/or Judaism, as long as it at least ensures that they are saved from extinction, and the rest of humanity as well, especially Christianity.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hitler made no distinction between believing Jews and atheist Jews, between Jews living their religious tradition and Jews totally secularized and integrated into German society. Hitler had a racist view of Jews and an identification system (however weird it was, it was deadly). Every Jew, as the Brown Shirts shouted, before beating one up, is a "SauJud'", i.e., a "Pig Jew", ready for the slaughter house. I cannot blame the Fr. Schoolers for leaving Germany. However, there were non-Jews that attended the Fr. School such as the great Protestant theologian Paul Tillich. Socialism was in the air (and the Nazies were socialists quite modern, presaging modern state capitalism). Simply put, Germans of different persuasions and belief found something in marxism, alas!
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Honestly, the Frankfurt School is extremely lucky that I wasn't born the time they existed, as otherwise, if we ever met, I would personally make sure they are all dead and their own works completely destroyed specifically because of their supporting Socialism and Communism, long before even Karl Marx founded the two (you know what I mean by that: French Revolution and Rousseau). Those groups massacred many of my fellow Christians and even our Jewish brethren, so I have absolutely no sympathy for the Frankfurt School, even if they were persecuted by the Nazis, as it served them right for effectively creating Nazi Germany in the first place. They should have stayed behind and dealt with the mess they effectively created. Not to mention they still worked to try to destroy America and ensure a socialist state despite our saving their butts from the Nazis, a very poor way to repay saviors if you ask me.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
What's next, a new Nazi fetish. Both are morally bankrupt ideologies.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
And both ultimately derived from Rousseau (yes, even Marx, the father of Communism, did not come up with his ideology entirely by himself or even with the aid of Engels alone), that psychopath who was responsible via his treatsies for the French Revolution and all its horrors.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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