These renegade Marxists, exiled from Germany after the victory of Hitler, wanted to find out why so many German workers voted for their class enemies in the form of the Nazis. (It should pointed out most workers continued to vote for the Social Democrats or the Communists. But as Trotsky pointed out, their failure to form a United Front, made Hitler’s victory possible.) This was also literally life & death for the Frankfurt School folks since many were Jewish and not all were able to get their families out.
Now ruling ideas of any society are the ideas of the ruling class; that’s a Marxist truism. These are drummed into people’s heads from day one.
The British libertarian socialist group, Solidarity, expressed it this way:
Propaganda and policemen, prisons and schools, traditional values and traditional morality all serve to reinforce the power of the few and to convince or coerce the many into acceptance of a brutal, degrading and irrational system.
The Frankfurt people would agree with this. But they went further. Why do some people–a lot of people, in fact–crave ‘discipline’, in fact, desire a wholly authoritarian political regime? The Frankfurt people–along with outsiders like Wilhelm Reich–located this perverse desire in sexual disfunction. They came up with innovative ideas in education. They can be right or full of shit, but that is pretty much the extent of their influence. Since the publication of Adorno’s THE AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY, their influence has been in rapid decline.
Yet if you read Pat Buchanan’s best-selling book, THE DEATH OF THE WEST, you’d think the Frankfurt School was the dominant thought in the world. Buchanan writes of a concoction called ‘cultural Marxism.’ That’s an oxymoron; without the working class there is no Marxism.
The critical theory of the Frankfurt School is a form of bourgeois idealism that has no relation to political practice and is totally isolated from any ongoing revolutionary movement. These ivory tower professors present a romantic, elitist critique of mass culture with a contrived neo-Marxist guise. They, themselves, have become parasites and a scourge on the back of the working class.
Back to Vitter: There is an authoritarian trend embedded in what passes for American conservatism. Can it be traced to Sexual disfunction? Ask Vitter.