Thursday, September 15, 2016

PCG Promoting Paranoid Communist Conspiracy Theory

PCG's resident McCarthyite is back. PCG has just released another issue of their recruitment magazine. This time he is going to talk about some sinister Communist plot to get rid of the family. (Andrew Müller, Nationalizing the Family, October 2016.)

Let's see what he has to say.
In a world free of income inequality, the family is not the basic building block of society. Instead, the societal functions that the family traditionally provided are “nationalized” in the hands of the state. 
If this world of income equality seems distant or far-fetched now, the more you read about it, the more familiar it will feel.
Müller then discusses a book by Friedrich Engels in which he speculated about the origins of the family unit. Since Engels happened to be an Atheist of a Marxist persuasion his ideas were very different from what PCG's 1% would say. Does Müller expect everyone to think the same as himself?
Engels’s analysis concluded that “the first condition for the liberation of the wife is to bring the whole female sex back into public industry, and that this in turn demands the abolition of the monogamous family as the economic unit of society.” Since children in such a society would be cared for by the state, all relationships between a man and a woman would be based exclusively upon “individual sex love.” 
Does this mean that this PCG writer objects to men and women getting into intimate relationships based on their individual feelings?
Engels taught that abolishing the scourge of private property would lead to the withering away of the oppressive traditional family structure. His disciples said that “free love” and “sexual emancipation” were virtues to be encouraged to usher in a world where the monogamous family is no longer the “economic unit of society.”
Müller seems unaware of the highly theoretical nature of these kinds of speculations. He seems to think Engels' writings constituted a part of some sinister conspiracy to subvert society.
The vision Engels taught of a utopian society caught on. It spread perhaps more than any other ideology of his day. Three decades after his death in 1895, his theories on economics and the family had spread across Asia and Eastern Europe. Russia abolished private property rights in 1917 and forced as many women as possible out of the home and into the factories and other professions. Beginning in 1918, the government launched a nationwide sexual revolution by decriminalizing homosexuality, legalizing no-fault divorce and recognizing unmarried cohabitation as the juridical equal of registered marriage. 
Actually the Bolshevik regime abolished various Tsarist morality laws and neglected to make laws concerning homosexuals afterward. But this decriminalization of homosexuality only applied to what became the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. This measure did not apply elsewhere in the Soviet Union and some of the Soviet Socialist Republics actually banned homosexuality. But these facts that complicate Müller's fear mongering are consigned to oblivion in this slanted article. His readers deserve better,
Engels’s utopian vision was becoming reality. In 1920, Russia became the first country in the world to provide free abortions upon request. Government bureaucrats were replacing the unpaid labor of women in the home with a society of communal dining halls, day-care centers and public laundries. 
The Russian family began to wither away as planned. But a problem arose. Millions of children of the millions of “sexually emancipated” men and women were abandoned. Faced with an economic crisis, the Russian government backtracked on implementing the vision of equality.
So Russia became more conservative about sexual affairs. The speculations of Engels were relegated as something to occur in the distant future.
People living in the Western world saw these catastrophes in Russia, China and elsewhere, and accepted them as proof that the grand utopian ideal of total income equality was an ideological failure.
But he needs people to remain scared. Noting that Russia and China in many are actually quite conservative is problematic for this article. So he presents another boogeyman, namely Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Communist who was prominent in the 1920s and 1930s.
In the West, Gramsci argued, you had to wither the family first, and then you could take over the government. Gramsci argued that the culture underpinning Western civilization had to be fundamentally transformed before the working class could capture the power of the state. Instead of waging a violent coup d’état against the government, Gramsci advocated a strategy of infiltrating Western culture. He called this plan to establish cultural hegemony through infiltration and subversion, the “Passive Revolution.” 
According to the Prison Notebooks, a coup d’état that occurred before the “fortresses and earthworks” of civil society had been subverted would quickly be overthrown by counterrevolutionaries. Get control of the government, and the people will just reject it and elect another one like they had before. The only way to permanently defeat such counterrevolutionaries was to establish a “counterculture.”
Gramsci has long been used by certain sections of the political right to scare monger about Communists and the left in general. I remember encountering talk like this about Gramsci back in 2007. Müller is merely imitating other right wing ideologues. It is absurd to insinuate that the counterculture is the result of some sinister conspiracy masterminded by Gramsci. That is sheer paranoia.

Müller then brings in another boogeyman to scare his readers, namely Wilhelm Reich.
One famous student of Freud was psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, often dubbed the “father of the sexual revolution.” In his 1936 book titled The Sexual Revolution, Reich argued that sexual emancipation would lead to “psychological unburdening” and positive economic change.
The first draft of The Sexual Revolution reported on the societal changes Reich observed on a trip to Russia in 1929. The dismantling of the Russian family structure deeply impressed Reich. He saw it as a huge step toward economic equality. Reich warned that re-criminalizing homosexuality or re-criminalizing abortion or any other attempts to backtrack on the societal changes he observed would ultimately lead to “the demise of the revolution.”
What Müller fails to note that Reich published a book in 1933 entitled The Mass Psychology of Fascism which was so critical of the Soviet Union as well that he was kicked out of the German Communist Party. This aspect of Reich's life and how it suggests that Reich publicly spoke out against the authoritarianism in the Soviet Union at that time is ignored by Müller.
Like Engels and Gramsci, Reich believed the family as a building block of society had to be abolished. He believed monogamous marriages trapped people in an exclusive relationship as a price for financial security. Therefore liberation from Judeo-Christian morality would liberate people from economic reliance on the family unit. As Donald De Marco and Ben Wiker wrote in Architects of the Culture of Death, “Reich saw the family, with its inevitable patriarchal authority, as the chief source of repression. Therefore, the family had to be dismantled.”
Architects of the Culture of Death is a 2004 book published by Ignatius Press, a Catholic publishing firm. PCG has a long history of demonizing the Catholic Church. How ironic it is that one of their writers nevertheless uses a book by a Catholic publishing house in this article.

Müller scare mongers about Reich being a Communist. And indeed for a time Reich was a member of the German Communist Party. Until 1933. That detail is omitted in this article.
In January 1964, Time magazine declared, “Dr. Wilhelm Reich may have been a prophet.”
One wonders how he learned of this quote. Maybe he should have cited the source.

Other aspects of Reich's life are also omitted in Müller's article. He never discusses Reich's later descent into promoting eccentric pseudo-science and how it led into legal issues with the Food and Drug Administration that led to his going to jail. He died shortly before serving his term. Not mentioning these things allow Müller to present Reich as a boogeyman instead of being an ordinary man with strengths and weaknesses like anyone else.
The most influential philosopher of the New Left movement was Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse was an educator from the Institute for Social Research at Goethe University. His most famous work, Eros and Civilization, repackaged many principles Reich outlined in The Sexual Revolution. The main argument presented in both works was that Judeo-Christian repression of a person’s natural sexual instinct enslaved him to a patriarchal family structure, psychologically inhibiting acceptance of economic liberation.
There is a name for the idea Müller is presenting here: cultural Marxism conspiracy theory. I first came upon this theory back in 2007. Marcuse has long been used by right wing ideologues to discredit the various social changes that has occurred since the 1960s. Let us note where this idea that the Frankfurt School somehow engineered the changes of the sixties emerged.
However, since the 1990s the term "Cultural Marxism" has been misappropriated by the paleoconservative movement as part of an ongoing Culture War where it refers to a conspiracy theory in which The Frankfurt School are seen as having engineered the downfall of western society using multiculturalism, progressive politics and political correctness as their methods. This conspiracy theory version of the term is associated with American religious paleoconservatives such as William S. Lind, Pat Buchanan, and Paul Weyrich but also holds currency among alt-right/white nationalist groups and the neo-reactionary movement. 
Weyrich first aired his conception of Cultural Marxism in a 1998 speech to the Civitas Institute's Conservative Leadership Conference, later repeating this usage in his widely syndicated Culture War Letter. At Weyrich's request William S. Lind wrote a short history of his conception of Cultural Marxism for The Free Congress Foundation; in it Lind identifies the presence of homosexuals on television as proof of Cultural Marxist control over the mass media and claims that Herbert Marcuse considered a coalition of "blacks, students, feminist women and homosexuals" as a vanguard of cultural revolution. (Wikipedia.)
This seems to be the source of Müller's fixation on Marcuse. Once again Müller is merely imitating other right wing ideologues. It seems clear that Müller is being influenced by sources such as these. It is quite likely he got this theory from another source but this seems to be the source for this theory. This suggests that this fixation on the Frankfurt School by a section of the political right only began in the 1990s. This is what Müller and the editors of PCG's recruitment magazine present to their readers.

There is also another troubling problem with the Frankfurt School conspiracy theory. Thankfully Müller avoids this problem. This conspiracy theory has been used to vilify Jews. I must strongly emphasize that thankfully this problem does not apply to Müller's article. But there is a history of this Frankfurt School conspiracy theory being used to vilify Jews.
Right-wing ideologues, racists and other extremists have jazzed up political correctness and repackaged it — in its most virulent form, as an anti-Semitic theory that identifies Jews in general and several Jewish intellectuals in particular as nefarious, communistic destroyers. ... In a nutshell, the theory posits that a tiny group of Jewish philosophers who fled Germany in the 1930s and set up shop at Columbia University in New York City devised an unorthodox form of "Marxism" that took aim at American society's culture, rather than its economic system. 
The theory holds that these self-interested Jews — the so-called "Frankfurt School" of philosophers — planned to try to convince mainstream Americans that white ethnic pride is bad, that sexual liberation is good, and that supposedly traditional American values — Christianity, "family values," and so on — are reactionary and bigoted. With their core values thus subverted, the theory goes, Americans would be quick to sign on to the ideas of the far left. (Bill Berkowitz, 'Cultural Marxism' Catching On, Southern Poverty Law Center, August 15, 2003.)
But why fixate on such an obscure academic school of thought? Well, it turns out that the Frankfurt School's obscurity actually makes it attractive as a target for paranoid scapegoating.
Like Jews in general, the Frankfurt School makes a convenient antagonist — one that is basically seen as antithetical to all things American. The school, says social psychology professor Richard Lichtman of the Berkeley-based Wright Institute, is "a convenient target that very few people really know anything about. 
"By grounding their critique in Marxism and using the Frankfurt School, [cultural conservatives] make it seem like it's quite foreign to anything American. It takes on a mysterious cast and translates as an incomprehensible, anti-American, foreign movement that is only interested in undermining the U.S.," he said. "The idea being transmitted is that we are being infected from the outside." (Bill Berkowitz, 'Cultural Marxism' Catching On, Southern Poverty Law CenterAugust 15, 2003.)
Of course not everyone who promotes this Frankfurt School conspiracy theory is anti-Semitic.
Not everyone who uses the cultural Marxism construct sees Jews in general at the center of the plot. (Bill Berkowitz, 'Cultural Marxism' Catching On, Southern Poverty Law CenterAugust 15, 2003.)
Thankfully this is also true with Müller's article. Most emphatically Müller's article is not anti-Semitic. But it is necessary to note how some have used this Frankfurt School conspiracy theory has been used to promote anti-Semitism already.

Let us now return to Müller's article.
Journalist and editor Ralph de Toledano dubbed Eros and Civilization “the Bible of the New Left movement.”
And where did Müller find this quote?
In short, the activists of the New Left, like Gramsci, believed Engels had put the cart before the horse. Engels had argued that the abolition of private property would lead to the withering away of the family. Reich, Marcuse and the activists of the New Left said it was the other way round. The withering away of the family would cause society to abolish private property as individuals became more reliant on the state for economic security.
What is Müller saying? Is he insinuating that New Left, Marcuse and Reich were part of some sinister conspiracy to abolish private property and the family? If so it is a ridiculous insinuation. Even if they speculated in theory about what such a society would be like it is most absurd to try and blame them for the social changes that have happened since the 1960s. This is a frightfully crude attempt at red baiting and hurling McCarthyite slurs.
One of the primary cultural institutions targeted by the New Left was the Democratic Party in the United States. During the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the New Left’s Students for a Democratic Society rioted against pro-Vietnam War candidate Hubert Humphrey. Such civil unrest succeeded in pushing the Democratic Party further left, leading to the nomination of presidential candidate George McGovern in 1972. ...
The Democratic Party now had its original wing, the labor caucus, and a new wing: the New Left counterculture caucus. The divide between these two wings weakened the party during the election of 1972, and it became more closely associated with the hippie-style protests and Maoist slogans of the New Left. The “silent majority” of Americans became uncomfortable and moved into action, electing the previously unpopular Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon.
Another reason why McGovern got to be the candidate was that the Nixon campaign had sabotaged the campaign of his rival in the primaries, Senator Edmund Muskie, who a candidate widely perceived as being more likely to unseat Nixon. The Nixon campaign produced a certain letter which was fraudulently attributed in such a manner as to discredit Senator Muskie.
Marx and Engels published their vision in a manuscript known as The Communist Manifesto. Antonio Gramsci and Wilhelm Reich were both members of the Communist International. Herbert Marcuse was a self-avowed Marxist. Saul Alinsky was deeply influenced by the ideological goals of both Marx and Engels; his disdain for the traditional biblical family may be ascertained in one of the individuals he dedicated his book to: Lucifer. President Obama and Hillary Clinton prefer the term “progressive” (a term popularized in Gramsci’s writings) to describe their political ideology. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders preferred the phrase “democratic socialist.” 
At the end of the day, the label these individuals use does not matter. What matters is the vision they share: The social welfare functions that are traditionally performed by the family should be performed instead by a state agency.
Reich was kicked out of the German Communist Party in 1933. Blaming Marcuse for the sexual revolution is absurd and is part of the Frankfurt School conspiracy theory. Slurring the word "progressive" as being from Gramsci is crude red baiting and McCarthyite scare mongering. There are so many things wrong with this article.

Müller also brings up Saul Alinsky. Again he has often been cited by figures within the right so once again Müller is merely imitating other right wing authors that he choose to imitate.

Müller seems to imply that women doing paid work is not ideal.
The popularization of pornography and premarital sex during the sexual revolution led to the undermining of the matrimonial bond uniting families together, leading to a wave of abortions and divorces. As women left the home in droves to join the workforce, children were left behind in local day-care centers. As these children reached adulthood, many of them gave up on the idea of marriage and family. They were discouraged by their parents’ example and well aware that sex outside of marriage was now socially acceptable.
Müller also seems to object to the federal government trying to provide for American citizens.
The U.S. government now spends 49 percent of its annual budget on mandatory government entitlement programs. Politicians can talk about the financial dangers of out-of-control welfare spending, but the fact is that a huge chunk of the population uses these programs. Why? In many cases it is because of the dissolution of family. The cultural revolution is well underway!
He once again seeks to incite irrational fears of Communist subversion by referring to recent social changes as a "cultural revolution." How absurd and grotesque.

He seems to think that a government looking after its people is a bad thing.
The uncomfortable truth is that Reich, father of the sexual revolution, was right: If you destroy the family as the basic economic unit of society, you create a culture where people are far likelier to accept state supremacy.
Inconsistently Müller writes for an organization which insists that the entire world will soon be united under the millennial rule of Jesus Christ. What is going on here? Why the inconsistency?

Here is one possible answer. If the American people were able to trust governmental institutions more then they might think that there was no need to join an authoritarian group like PCG. If the government will protect and help the people then why go to PCG for protection?
At the time Mr. Armstrong wrote these words, there wasn’t yet any sensational dent in the number of marriages taking place. Yet today, after 60-plus years of Gramsci-style “passive revolution,” the traditional family is already halfway down the path toward extinction. What remains when the family unit is completely destroyed?
What garbage. What a joke. This is laughable. Is he even serious?

How could the divorce rate increase to 100%? It will not.

And yet no doubt many within PCG will take his words quite seriously. These words do not deserve such consideration.
Without strong families to educate children and care for those who can’t care for themselves, people are turn to the state for security. History shows that when the state seizes womb-to-tomb responsibility over people’s lives, dictators like Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, Josip Tito or Fidel Castro always end up gaining control.
These words are a vile attempt to slur the American left as though they were like Communist dictators. What vile nonsense! This is simply McCarthyism revived. The spirit of McCarthyism is alive and well in the offices of PCG Headquarters. No good can come from this.

But it is intriguing that Müller chose to condemn Tito. During the Kosovo War of 1998-9 Gerald Flurry chose to condemn the Yugoslav Wars as "evidence" that Germany was on the verge of emerging as a military superpower fated to conquer the United States. He wrote a booklet on this topic entitled The Rising Beast (later renamed Germany's Conquest of the Balkans) which tended to present Communist Yugoslavia in a fairly benign way in order to demonize Germany.
Unhinged Communist philosophers like Engels and Marcuse would have had no effect on modern society if the people knew and clung to God’s law. The problems in America and Britain today are a direct result of the sin of the people. No political candidate is going to “make America great again,” no matter what people think. It is going to take national repentance to bring people back to God and restore this world’s broken family structure.
It is absurd to blame the recent social changes on some Communist philosophers. This is crude, McCarthyite scapegoating.

Strange. The highlighted sentence seems familiar.
America’s problems are a direct result of AMERICA’S SINS. No political candidate is going to “make America great again,” no matter what people think! I would like to see it happen, but it isn’t going to happen in this age. Everyone will come to recognize that truth before much longer! GOD will make America great again in the World Tomorrow. He is going to solve our problems—in spite of our rebellion. He will SAVE America—and the world—at Jesus Christ’s return, which will occur immediately after all these crises climax. (Gerald Flurry, America's Real Enemy, August 2016.)
Did Müller get Gerald Flurry's permission to use that line. And even if he did it is still plagiarism since readers will have the mistaken impression that he wrote that line when he did not.

Müller ends his article with these words.
A strong family built on the biblical model—with a faithfully married, family-focused father and mother intent on fulfilling their respective roles—is an ideal any clear-thinking person should treasure. Only after people learn this vital lesson will God be able to finally teach all nations the way to true peace, joy and prosperity!
But these idealized people will not know history well if they trust this article.

Of course another problem with this article is that such paranoia serves to distract people from learning about the real problems that occurred in the various Communist countries. Paranoid fears about the American left being somehow like the Communists of Lenin and Stalin's time is incorrect, paranoid and unhelpful.

And so we see that PCG has allowed to be printed a very flawed, paranoid article that shamefully continues the ways of McCarthyism. The spirit of McCarthyism is alive and well in PCG Headquarters. No good can come from this.

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