About the Frankfurt School
Dr. Gerald L. Atkinson CDR USN (Ret.)
Copyright August 1999

Who in America today is at work destroying our traditions, our family bonds, our religious beginnings, our reinforcing institutions, indeed, our entire culture?  What is it that is changing our American civilization?


The Frankfurt School is a major key to the moral decline in America that has been all but forgotten.

One of its members, Herbert Marcuse, became synonymous with the sexual revolution, the most powerful tool, which broke down the personal moral code of millions of Americans, leaving them without an anchor.

This was far more devastating than any political policy pursued since that time. In fact, without the cultural relativism that these activists spawned, neither abortion nor 'gay' marriage would be an issue today.

Ultimately, the fight has been spiritual, but few precious noticed.

And now the churches have bought into it.

We are a long way from home, without a compass.

Don Hank




 Suppose you were to learn that nearly all of the observations made in this series of essays are completely consistent with a 'design' -- that is a concept, a way of thinking, and a process for bringing it about.  And suppose one could identify a small core group of people who designed just such a concept and thought through the process of infusing it into a culture.  Wouldn't you be interested in at least learning about such a core group?  Wouldn't you want to know who they were, what they thought, and how they conjured up a process for bringing their thoughts into action?  For Americans with even a smidgeon of curiosity, the answer should be a resounding yes!

       Just such a core group did, indeed, exist.  History identifies a small group of German intellectuals who devised concepts, processes, and action plans which conform very closely to what Americans presently observe every day in their culture.  Observations, such as those made in this series of essays, can be directly traced to the work of this core group of intellectuals.  They were members of the Frankfurt School, formed in Germany in 1923.  They were the forebears of what some proclaim as 'cultural Marxism,' a radical social movement that has transformed American culture.  It is more commonly known today as 'political correctness.'

       'Cultural Marxism' and 'critical theory' are concepts developed by a group of German intellectuals, who, in 1923, founded the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University.  The Institute, modeled after the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow, became known as the Frankfurt School [1].  In 1933, when the Nazis came to power in Germany, the members of the Frankfurt School fled to the United States.  While here, they migrated to major U.S. universities (Columbia, Princeton, Brandeis, and California at Berkeley).  These intellectual Marxists included Herbert Marcuse, who coined the phrase, 'make love, not war,' during the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations.


The Frankfurt School is a major key to the moral decline in America that has been all but forgotten.

One of its members, Herbert Marcuse, became synonymous with the sexual revolution, the most powerful tool, which broke down the personal moral code of millions of Americans, leaving them without an anchor.

This was far more devastating than any political policy pursued since that time. In fact, without the cultural relativism that these activists spawned, neither abortion nor 'gay' marriage would be an issue today.

Ultimately, the fight has been spiritual, but few precious noticed.

And now the churches have bought into it.

We are a long way from home, without a compass.

Don Hank



By Gary Starr For The Neville Awards
Posted 2/5/07

Social justice…political correctness…multiculturalism…militant feminism…campus speech codes…affirmative action(racial quotas)…"tolerance and diversity"…sensitivity training...assisted suicide…selectively applied "hate crime" laws…the morphing of the narrowly drawn sexual harassment laws into the ambiguous "hostile work environment" laws… the perversion of the once-noble Civil Rights Movement into a Victim Business…special interest politics, undocumented workers (illegal immigrants)...the 'cloning of the American mind' in our public K-12 schools and universities...the 'feminization' of our politics, our military, our traditional religious establishments...communist propaganda masquerading as academia -- ethnic studies, womens studies, hispanic studies, black studies, peace studies

Black is white and white is black…the Orwellian "newspeak" nightmare scenario come to life.

In a scant sixty years we have gone from the can-do Greatest Generation, tempered by economic depression and tested by war, to a self-loathing white-guilt-ridden can't-get-it-done culture that infects today's college campuses, mainstream media, and, most depressing, many of our elected representatives.

The roots of this phenomenon can be traced to a little known movement transplanted from 1930's Germany to the United States called the Frankfurt School. The principle advocates were Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer and Walter Benjamin.

The Frankfurt School was a disparate collection of dissident Marxists, highly critical of capitalism. They were influenced by the failure of post WWI working-class revolutions in Europe, and by the rise of Nazism in an economically, technologically, and culturally advanced Germany. Over the second half of the 20th Century the critique of capitalism has turned into a critique of Western civilization as a whole. Horkheimer's and Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944) has come to dominate the social thought of recent years. Consider these nuggets of Critical Theory claptrap from Adorno:

Adorno's words,

"For 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 one, 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." -- Minima Moralia-"Reflections from Damaged Life".

Adorno, a trained musician, wrote The Philosophy of Modern Music, in which he takes on beauty itself. Beauty, in his mind, was part of the ideology of the advanced capitalist society and the false consciousness that contributes to economic and social repression. Avant-garde art and music preserve the truth by framing and capturing the reality of human suffering.

Adorno's words,

"What radical music perceives is the untransfigured 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 extreme; towards gestures of shock resembling bodily convulsions on the one hand, and on the other towards a crystalline standstill 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." --The Philosophy of Modern Music

Whew!! Obviously Adorno has some issues. Maybe his mother ignored him, or his music didn't get published. Whatever the reason we currently are paying the price for his self-loathing. Ironically many of the Frankfurt School transplants were of Jewish heritage. They found a safe haven from Nazism in the United States, taught at the university level and made a good living doing it. They repaid the favor by teaching about the evils of capitalism and helped found a New Left movement that includes groups like Code Pink, MoveOn.org and International Answer. These groups are openly anti-Israel and anti-semitic.

The following history of the Frankfurt School is excerpted from Daniel Flynn's book "Why The Left Hates America"

Even as traditonal Communism expanded its dominion and gained starry-eyed converts outside its borders, a competing brand of Marxism emerged. Shifting Marx's focus on economics to the culture, it replaced the worker as Marx's victim of choice with homosexuals, women, and ethnic minorities. Its method mixed Marx with Freud. The result was something alternatively called Critical Theory, Cultural Marxism, or the Frankfurt School. Communists fumed over Critical Theory's loose reading of Marx. With the establishment of the Soviet Union in 1917 and the subsequent spread of so-called workers' states around the world, doctrinaire Marxists questioned the need for this heretical strain of Marxism. Within a generation of the October Revolution, however, the allure of socialism was on the wane. No one, save true believers, claimed that the economic condition-even for workers-was preferable in Communist nations than in free-market ones. By substituting racism, sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and a host of other "isms" and alleged pathologies for the traditional Marxist bogey of capitalism, Critical Theory ensured that Marxism would thrive long after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

The Frankfurt School's greatest success in influencing the mainstream came via its postwar Studies in Prejudice series, of which the lengthy Authoritarian Personality was the most important Volume. Characterizing America as a Nazi Germany waiting to happen it's introduction declares, "the present writers believe that it is up to the people to decide whether or not this country goes fascist." Later the reader is ominously warned, "we are living in potentially fascist times." To deflect America from its fascist course, the authors suggested a number of left-wing solutions-abandon capitalism, give children a say in democratic families, discourage patriotism, and push God and religion out of its central role in the lives of many. 

Herbert Marcuse came to the United States with his cohorts when Hitler came to power in Germany. Unlike most of his associates, he remained in America after the war. Teaching at such campuses as Columbia, Brandeis, and the University of California-San Diego gave Marcuse an ideal perch from which to oversee the burgeoning counterculture.

Intrigued? Are you connecting the dots? To find out more read the entire text from Flynn's book. (And then come back here!!)

In spite of the collapse of the Soviet Union the cultural Marxists have been extremely successful since the end of the Second World War in embedding their "critical theory" into our daily lives. It has seeped into the collective conciousness like a virus becoming mainstream thought until all are infected without realizing it.

The most obvious example has been the infiltration of the '60's radical leftists into the leadership of our college campuses and high schools, both at the academic and administrative levels, and the mainstream media, again at the management and professional levels.

When ex-communist-turned-conservative David Horowitz worked at the communist publication Ramparts (a "Frankfurt School for Dummies" publication in Berkeley, CA) in the 1960's two of his cohorts were Robert Scheer and Tod Gitlin. Over the years, as Scheer grew older, he shed his radical skin and adopted the attire of the establishment. Horowitz asked him about his change of image and Scheer said it was his intention to join the establishment and "bore from within." Scheer became an opinion columnist at the L.A. Times. During this period the paper also hired leftist Michael Kinsley as the editor. The result was the normally liberal Times veered sharply to the left. Circulation plummetted. The LA Times was acquired by the Chicago Tribune…Scheer and Kinsley were fired but the damage was done.

The LA Times remains much more leftist than it was in the 1980's and 90's and circulation never recovered. Tod Gitlin took a post at The Columbia School of Journalism which has become a breeding ground for left wing thought and causes. The pattern has been repeated over and over again in academia and the media. In spite of loss of viewership, the three main networks are losing viewers, and the NY Times, Washington Post and LA Times and countless other publications are hemmoraging circulation. But they remain "in the tank" for the left, desparate to get the "message" out at all costs.

So what is the inevitable result? Consider this short list of New Left hypocrisy and double standards:
  • A Muslim student runs down a group of people with his car at Duke U., a Bosnian Muslim refugee shoots and kills citizens in a Utah shopping mall, a Muslim shooter kills five women at a Jewish Cultural center. The fact that all of the perpetrators are Muslim is swept under the rug and the press or the police cannot find a connection with terrorism.
  • In spite of the hundreds of post 9/11 attacks against Western interests by Muslim terrorists the mainstream press refuses to identify the enemy as Islamic Fascists for fear of "offending" the Muslim "fifth column" community in the U.S.
  • The mayor of Los Angeles says he wants solve the gang problem but won't say that 25% of the prison population in Los Angeles are illegal immigrants that belong to gangs because it "doesn't advance the discussion."
  • Barak Obama calls the loss of 3000 Americans in Iraq a "waste". He apologizes and the press gives him a pass … it's a one day story. Trent Lott is still apologizing for his Strom Thurmond moment five years after the fact.
  • Edwards hires two far-left bloggers that insult Christianity. He doesn't fire them until it becomes a potential embarrassment for him. The press quickly drops the story.
  • A politically incorrect comment in the workplace lands you in tolerance/diversity/sensitivity training, what used to be called Communist Indoctrination, re-education or brainwashing in the Old Soviet Union.
  • November 16, 2007 -- House Democrats and 17 House Republicans pass a non-binding resolution rebuking the President's troop surge in Iraq. What these traitors don't have the guts to do is openly de-fund the war. The press is ecstatic.
  • In its endless quest to appear sensitive and achieve the ultimate cosmetic diversity while echewing diversity of thought, the Democratic Party has radical imam Husham Al-Husainy, of the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center, a Shi'ite mosque in Dearborn, Michigan give the invocation at the DNC winter meeting 2007. The mainstream press doesn't report it.
  • President of Harvard Lawrence Summers is ultimately forced out of his job for daring to suggest that there may be differences between men and women that result in fewer women going into the sciences.
  • American universities have been hijacked by burn-out 60's radicals like Ward Churchill who disseminate communist propaganda masquarading as academia -- ethnic studies, womens studies, hispanic studies, black studies, peace studies.
  • Bush announces that military intelligence shows Iran is supplying bombs to kill Americans in Iraq and Democrats react by accusing Bush of provoking Iran.
  • Nine black youths attack and beat three white girls on their way to a Halloween party in 2006 in Long Beach. The incident barely causes a ripple in the mainstream press and media. Though the black youths are charged with a hate crime they receive only probation and counseling. Imagine if the scenario were reversed.We would have wall-to-wall coverage in the media and Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters and the New Black Panthers would have camped out at the Courthouse.
  • Three white Duke University Lacrosse players are accused of raping a black stripper at a frat party. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the New Black Panthers are calling for the students' heads on a plate before the all of the facts are known. Ultimately the case falls apart and the over-zealous liberal prosecutor may face criminal charges. No one in the media apologizes to the Duke Lacrosse players for convicting them prior to any trial.
  • Charles Rust-Tierney, past president of the Virginia branch of the ACLU and a former public defender in the District, was arrested and charged with possessing child pornography. Mr. Rust-Tierney was identified in court documents as having coached various youth sport teams in and around Arlington County. While Virginia ACLU President he led the effort to block internet filters for the Loudon Co. VA public library computers. The mainstream press virtually ignores the story because it goes against the leftist agenda. The press couldn't get enough of the Ted Haggard and Mark Foley scandals...but these offenders were Republicans.
  • Global Warming has become the new religion of the New Left. Dare to disagree and you are branded a "Climate Change Denier" (as in Holocaust Denier).
  • Two students have sex in an Indianapolis classroom in Dec. 2006, while the teacher is in the room. The incident is covered up by the School District and the media until the case is blown open by Fox's Bill O'Reilly in Mar. 2007. The students are suspended, but the teacher, the school principle and the School Board still have their jobs. Outreageous.
  • The New Left, La Raza and MEChA mischaracterizes illegal immigrants as undocumented workers, migrants, displaced persons and any other NewSpeak euphemism to obfuscate the real immigration problem, and calls anyone who disagrees with them racists in an effort to shut down debate.
The list is endless.

Great civilizations are not destroyed from the outside in one gigantic cataclysm. They die the death of a thousand cuts from within. The late Stanley Kubrick, in his classic film Dr. Strangelove depicts an insane General Jack T. Ripper ranting about "loss of essence" and the sapping of his "precious bodily fluids" by a Communist conspiracy. Of course, we laughed at the over-the-top paranoid character. And yet, AND YET, as in all great satire, there is a kernel of truth. Kubrick unwittingly pointed the way. Political correctness, multiculturalism and the resulting cultural self-loathing it breeds are sapping our ability to name, resist and defeat the Islamo-fascists we are currently at war with. The inability to deal honestly with rampant Islamic immigration has put Europe and Canada in a state of cultural collapse…America is teetering on the brink because it can't openly address the illegal immigration and the open border issue without the multicultural thought police crying racism and ethnic profiling. Workers can't tell a joke or hang a picture in a cubicle that may offend without running the risk of creating a "hostile work environment". Professional "victims" recognize a payday when they see it. The company will settle rather than go through lengthy and costly litigations.

The legacy of the Frankfurt School, political correctness and multiculturalism, will destroy this country unless we recapture our spirit. We must be willing to confront the leftist thought police who cry intolerance and racism at every perceived slight. It's an uphill battle because the schools and the media set the agenda. They have a big stage and the roots have grown very deep. But they don't have a monopoly anymore. They know that and it drives them crazy. Alternatives like Fox News, talk radio and the blogosphere offer the hope that a different message can break through the New Left's Critical Theory "matrix".

What can you do do to battle this ongoing degradation of our country? Here's a "starter list"
  • Boycott the mainstream media, specifically the daily newspapers and the network news broadcasts. Circulation and viewership are already on the decline...demographics will help as the target audience is mainly in the their 60's and 70's...but we can cause critical mass to be reached by hastening the process.
  • The alumni of our universities should pull their financial support until these institutions cease to be socialist indoctrination centers. The most obvious targets should be the Ivy League schools (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Dartmouth) the large mid-western schools (Michigan, Wisconsin, Notre Dame) and the West Coast stalwarts (UCLA, Stanford, USC).
  • Encourage your children not to major in the "soft studies" such as ethnic studies, womens studies, hispanic studies, black studies, peace studies, social studies, history (as currently disseminated). These are the havens of the burnout sixties radicals posing as professors.
  • Encourage movements to end tenure at the high school and university levels. This is nothing more than affirmative action for leftists. Retaining one's credentials as a teacher should be based on merit only.


By Gary Starr For The Neville Awards
Posted 2/5/07


By promoting the dialectic of 'negative' criticism, that is, pointing out the rational contradictions in a society's belief system, the Frankfurt School 'revolutionaries' dreamed of a utopia where their rules governed [2].  "Their Critical Theory had to contain a strongly imaginative, even utopian strain, which transcends the limits of reality."  Its tenets would never be subject to experimental evidence.  The pure logic of their thoughts would be incontrovertible.  As a precursor to today's 'postmodernism' in the intellectual academic community, [3] "...it recognized that disinterested scientific research was impossible in a society in which men were themselves not yet autonomous...the researcher was always part of the social object he was attempting to study."  This, of course, is the concept which led to the current fetish for the rewriting of history, and the vogue for our universities' law, English literature, and humanities disciplines -- deconstruction.

       Critical theory rejected the ideal of Western Civilization in the age of modern science, that is, the verification or falsifying [4] of theory by experimental evidence.  Only the superior mind was able to fashion the 'truths' from observation of the evidence.  There would be no need to test these hypotheses against everyday experience.

       The Frankfurt school studied the 'authoritarian personality' which became synonymous with the male, the patriarchal head of the American family.  A modern utopia would be constructed by these idealistic intellectuals by 'turning Western civilization' upside down.  This utopia would be a product of their imagination, a product not susceptible to criticism on the basis of the examination of evidence.  This 'revolution' would be accomplished by fomenting a very quiet, subtle and slowly spreading 'cultural Marxism' which would apply to culture the principles of Karl Marx bolstered by the modern psychological tools of Sigmund Freud.  Thus, 'cultural Marxism' became a marriage of Marx and Freud aimed at producing a 'quiet' revolution in the United States of America.  This 'quiet' revolution has occurred in America over the past 30 years.  While America slept!

       What is 'cultural Marxism?'  Why should it even be considered when the world's vast experiment with the economic theory of Karl Marx has recently gone down to defeat with the disintegration of Soviet communism?  Didn't America win the Cold War against the spread of communism?  The answer is a resounding 'yes, BUT.  We won the 55-year Cold War but, while winning it abroad, we have failed to understand that an intellectual elite has subtly but systematically and surely converted the economic theory of Marx to culture in American society.  And they did it while we were busy winning the Cold War abroad.  They introduced 'cultural Marxism' into the mainstream of American life over a period of thirty years, while our attention was diverted elsewhere.

       The vehicle for this introduction was the idealistic Boomer elite, those young middle-class and well-to-do college students who became the vanguard of America's counter-culture revolution of the mid-1960s -- those draft-dodging, pot-smoking, hippies who demonstrated against the Vietnam War and who fomented the destructive (to women) 'women's liberation' movement.  These New Totalitarians [5] are now in power as they have come to middle-age and control every public institution in our nation.  But that is getting ahead of the story.

       The cauldron for implementing this witches brew were the elites of the Boomer generation.  They are the current 'foot soldiers' of the original Frankfurt School gurus.  The counter-culture revolution of the 1960s was set in motion and guided intellectually by the 'cultural Marxists' of the Frankfurt School -- Herbert Marcuse, Eric Fromm, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Wilhelm Reich, and others [6,7].  Its influence is now felt in nearly every institution in the United States.  The elite Boomers, throwbacks to the dangerous idealist Transcendental generation of the mid-1800s, are the 'agents of change,' who have introduced 'cultural Marxism' into American life.

       William S. Lind relates [8] that 'cultural Marxism' is an ideology with deep roots.  It did not begin with the counter-culture revolution in the mid-1960s.  Its roots go back at least to the 1920s and the writings of the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci [9].  These roots, over time, spread to the writings of Herbert Marcuse.

       Herbert Marcuse was one of the most prominent Frankfurt School promoters of Critical Theory's social revolution among college and university students in the 1960s.  It is instructive to review what he has written on the subject:
              "One can rightfully speak of a cultural revolution, since the protest is directed toward the whole cultural establishment, including the morality of existing society

... there is one thing we can say with complete assurance.  The  traditional idea of revolution and the traditional strategy of  revolution have ended.  These ideas are old-fashioned

... what we must undertake is a type of diffuse and dispersed disintegration of the system."

This sentiment was first expressed by the early 20th century Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci.

       Gramsci, a young communist who died in one of Mussolini's prisons in 1937 at the age of 46, conjured up the notion of a 'quiet' revolution that could be diffused throughout a culture -- over a period of time -- to destroy it from within.  He was the first to suggest that the application of psychology to break the traditions, beliefs, morals, and will of a people could be accomplished quietly and without the possibility of resistance.  He deduced that "The civilized world had been thoroughly saturated with Christianity for 2,000 years..." and a culture based on this religion could only be captured from within.

       Gramsci insisted that alliances with non-Communist leftist groups would be essential to Communist victory.  In our time, these would include radical feminist groups, extremist environmental organizations, so-called civil rights movements, anti-police associations, internationalist-minded groups, liberal church denominations, and others.  Working together, these groups could create a united front working for the destructive transformation of the old Judeo-Christian culture of the West.

       By winning 'cultural hegemony,' Gramsci pointed out that they could control the deepest wellsprings of human thought -- through the medium of mass psychology.  Indeed, men could be made to 'love their servitude.'  In terms of the gospel of the Frankfurt School, resistance to 'cultural Marxism' could be completely negated by placing the resister in a psychic 'iron cage.'  The tools of mass psychology could be applied to produce this result.

       The essential nature of Antonio Gramsci's revolutionary strategy is reflected in a 1990s book [10] by the American Boomer author, Charles A. Reich, 'The Greening of America.'  "There is a revolution coming.  It will not be like revolutions of the past.  It will originate with the individual and the culture, and it will change the political structure as its final act.  It will not require violence to succeed, and it cannot be successfully resisted by violence.  This is the revolution of the New Generation."  Of course this New Generation would be Reich's elite Boomer generation.  And the mantra for these New Age 'foot soldiers' of the Frankfurt School prophets, would be 'have the courage to change [11].'

       The Frankfurt School theorized that the 'authoritarian personality' is a product of the patriarchal family.  This idea is in turn directly connected to Frederich Engels' 'The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State,' which promotes matriarchy. Furthermore, it was Karl Marx who wrote about the radical notion of a 'community of women' in the Communist manifesto. And it was Karl Marx who wrote disparagingly about the idea that the family was the basic unit of society in 'The German Ideology' of 1845.

       'The Authoritarian personality,' studied by the Frankfurt School in the 1940s and 1950s in America, prepared the way for the subsequent warfare against the masculine gender promoted by Herbert Marcuse and his band of social revolutionaries under the guise of 'women's liberation' and the New Left movement in the 1960s.  The evidence that psychological techniques for changing personality is intended to mean emasculation of the American male is provided by Abraham Maslow, founder of Third Force Humanist Psychology and a promoter of the psychotherapeutic classroom, who wrote that, '...the next step in personal evolution is a transcendence of both masculinity and femininity to general humanness.'  The Marxist revolutionaries knew exactly what they wanted to do and how to do it.  They have succeeded in accomplishing much of their agenda.

       But how can we claim the 'causes' of the breakdown of our schools, our universities, indeed, the very fiber of our culture were a product of a tiny group of intellectuals who immigrated from Germany in 1933?  Given all of the special-interest groups involved in these activities, how can we trace these 'causes' to the Frankfurt school?  Look at some of the evidence.

       As an example, postmodern reconstruction of the history of Western Civilization (now prevalent in our universities) has its roots in the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School.  This rewriting of history by the postmodern scholars in America has only recently come under attack.  Keith Windschuttle, in his book, 'Killing of History,' has severely criticized the rush to 'relativism' by historiographers.  What is truly astonishing, however, is that 'relativism' has largely supplanted the pursuit of truth as a goal in historical study [12].  George G. Iggers' recently published book, 'Historiography in the Twentieth Century: From Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge,' reminds us of the now famous line by Hayden White, a postmodernist, "Historical narratives...are verbal fictions, the contents of which are more invented than found."  He quotes other postmodernists, mostly non- historians, who [13] "...reinforce the proposition that truth and reality are primarily authoritarian weapons of our times."  We now recognize the source of this postmodern assault -- the cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt School who became experts in criticizing the 'authoritarian personality' in American culture.