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Wealth & Poverty Review Crushing the Barbarians Inside the Gates

Original at The American Thinker

More and more Americans in denial are being forced to face the reality that their country is on verge of being lost, with the barbarians not only inside the gates, but driving policy for the rest of us.  When Democrat mayor after mayor bends to the demands of Black Lives Matter (BLM) to defund their police in the aftermath of violent protests, property destruction, and looting, locals freak out knowing that bad actors will be emboldened and violence will escalate. BLM doesn’t even try to hide that its leaders are Marxists and that it has effectively become a paramilitary wing of the Democrat Party.  BLM has received millions of dollars through the Act Blue online fundraising interface, the same portal used by the Democrat Party.

So how is it that almost every week there are dozens of black-on-black murders in American cities with little or no media attention, but the death of one black man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white cop in Minneapolis causes half a million people to protest in nearly 550 cities in nearly every state within 48 hours? According to the data science firm, Civis Analytics, between 15 and 25 million people in the United States participated in protests associated with BLM in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. How is such a phenomenon possible?

It is the result of an America that has been demoralized from poisonous seeds planted for decades starting 50 and 60-plus years ago by cultural Marxists, whose main roots trace back to the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University in Germany.  When Hitler came to power in 1933, the key leaders and members of the “Frankfurt School,” such as Herbert Marcuse, Eric Fromm, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkeimer, and Wilhelm Reich, fled to the United States, where they worked themselves into professorships and influence at various elite universities such as Berkeley, Columbia, and Princeton.

While the Frankfurt School was neo-Marxist, it was more interested in breaking down civilization through attitudinal and cultural change than in redistributing wealth. They incorporated Marxist class theory into sociology and psychology and assimilated Freud’s theories on sexuality. Thus, Marx’s dialectical theory of perpetual conflict was joined to Freud’s neurotic ideas, creating a sort of Freudian-Marxism. Their stated goal was a total transformation of society by smashing traditional norms such as monogamous relations and the traditional family — accomplished by legitimizing unhinged sexual permissiveness with no cultural or religious restraint.

Herbert Marcuse and others from the Frankfurt School were all well read in the cultural Marxist theories of Italian Communist Party member Antonio Gramsci, the most important Marxist theoretician of the 20th century, who authored the Prison Notebooks.  For them, the takedown of America would be best facilitated through cultural transformation by way of gradual demoralization of the population and subversion of the system through infiltration rather than through confrontation and revolutionary militancy. According to Marcuse, “the long march through the institutions” meant, “working against the established institutions while working in them.”

So the answer to the aforementioned question as to how the death of one black man because of one white cop could turn America upside down is that the demoralization of America through cultural Marxism had already been accomplished.  Since the 1960s two generations have been conditioned psychologically and culturally in neo-Marxist themes of class, gender and race conflict, white guilt, white supremacy, the devaluation of human life, and the alleged immoral basis of the founding of the United States. These themes have been subliminally promoted in K-12 public schools and universities, the media and Hollywood for the last forty-odd years. So when the COVID-19 shutdown hit, heightening unrest and adding to the numbers who could take to the streets because of the explosion of people out of work and forced into unnatural “sheltering.in place,” it was the perfect storm.   

The second reason that America’s survival is at greater risk today than it was in prior tumultuous times like the 1960s is that there are far more leftists in local, city, state, and national government than ever before. Starting in the 70s and 80s more than half a dozen training programs and think tanks were established to help radicals succeed in community organizing and in local and state politics — the most notable being the Conference on Alternative State and Local Policies (CASLP), a spinoff from the then Marxist Institute for Policy Studies located in Washington, D.C. CASLP provided instruction and model legislation to help leftists get elected and govern as city council members, commissioners, and mayors. 

Barack Obama was trained in community organizing at the Industrial Areas Foundation that was founded by Saul Alinsky in Chicago. Hillary Rodham (who later married Bill Clinton) was also quite taken with Alinsky, having interviewed him twice during the course of writing her senior thesis on Alinsky methods at Wellesley College in 1969.

The offspring of the 1960s generation — the so-called Generation X and the Millennial age groups have been so repeatedly exposed to cultural Marxism and false historic narratives that many are alienated from the U.S. and brainwashed beyond moral relativism into thinking that they can create their own truth and reality. For them, socialism sounds and feels appealing, and the facts about socialism resulting in misery, repression, poverty, and death in every country in which it has been adopted are just an alternate reality that can be dismissed. They call this state of mind being “woke” — which provides an ultimate virtue signaling status.  But for most, being woke has come about not by reason and critical thought but by a combination of being coddled, brainwashed and living in an echo chamber that has bred intolerance and moral arrogance — a powerful combination upon which Satan himself could hardly improve.  

Violence and destruction of property are also part of wokeness, especially if and when they can be spun into defunding  the police — a phenomena now embraced to a greater or lesser degree in Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles. And this being an election year, Democrat mayors are apparently willing to sacrifice their cities to violence and destruction while some governors are willing sacrifice their state’s small business constituents to economic shutdown and bankruptcy in order to achieve the political end of defeating Donald Trump.   

None of this makes sense to the vast majority of Americans with common sense and the normalcy bias that prompts them to think of the present and future being connected to the past. The barbarians are not only inside the gates, but they are being enabled by woke Democrats who now run the cities and states.

The survival of the American republic requires not only a reasonably informed electorate, but also one that appreciates the relative merit of the nation’s heritage. What obliterates the woke narrative is the simple truth that the constitutional American republic with its rights and obligations under law, the free market economy together with common sense and traditional values have driven more creativity and prosperity than any other system in human history. 

President Trump appreciates that heritage and wants to build on it. Joe Biden and the Democrat Party have embraced the woke agenda and the social media cancel culture, and have accepted the visible toppling and removal of America’s historic statues and monuments and the expungement of virtue from its history in order to remake and transform the nation.  The choice in the November elections could not be more clear-cut and the consequences more profound.

What everyone needs to remember is that people who want to tear down America and who were comfortable with the perpetration of the highest crime against America of orchestrating a coup to abrogate the peoples’ vote will surely exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to engage in lesser crimes of myriad election fraud schemes to defeat Trump. To overcome that, patriots need to double and triple their efforts to mobilize a landslide voter turnout of like-minded people.

Scott S. Powell

Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth, Poverty, and Morality
Scott Powell has enjoyed a career split between theory and practice with over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and rainmaker in several industries. He joins the Discovery Institute after having been a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution for six years and serving as a managing partner at a consulting firm, RemingtonRand. His research and writing has resulted in over 250 published articles on economics, business and regulation. Scott Powell graduated from the University of Chicago with honors (B.A. and M.A.) and received his Ph.D. in political and economic theory from Boston University in 1987, writing his dissertation on the determinants of entrepreneurial activity and economic growth.