In discussing the notorious Frankfurt School in my Salvo feature ‘The Illusionist’, I pointed out that the genius of this movement was its ability to convert the newfound confidence that post-war Americans had in their country into a force for sabotaging society. The strategy involved a clever redefining of fascism as an extreme right-wing heresy. According to this narrative, Nazism had been the outgrowth of a society entrenched in capitalism. ("Whoever is not prepared to talk about capitalism should also remain silent about fascism," commented sociologist Max Horkheimer.) Cultures that attached strong importance to family, religion, patriotism, and private ownership were declared virtual seedbeds of fascism.
What I didn’t have time to point out in the article is that the apex of the pseudo-scientific sociology of the Frankfurt School was Theodor Adorno’s book The Authoritarian Personality, written in 1950, after his move from Columbia to Berkeley. The book reported and evaluated a study of American society in which various individuals were polled using a questionnaire. Their answers indicated how well they scored on “the F-Scale.” F, of course, stood for fascism.
The purpose of the study was to identify and analyze the profile of the “Potential fascist character.” However, as Daniel Flynn pointed out in his discussion of the study in Intellectual Morons, “what the authors took to be signs of fascism were merely indications of conservatism.” Sometimes the participants were simply asked whether they agreed or disagreed with certain statements. One statement was, “Now that a new world organization is set up, America must be sure that she loses none of her independence and complete power as a separate nation.” Those who answered that they agreed with this scored a point on the F-scale.
The study purportedly identified fascism as a specific psychological personality type, one that was deeply embedded in the authority structures of the patriarchal family and sustained by the conditions of the free market. Interestingly, the survey omitted to study any actual fascist characters.
What Adorno “discovered” was that America was virtually on the brink of lapsing into Fascism. Strong Christian families were among the telltale signs of a society on the verge of succumbing to the fascist impulse. According to the Frankfurt narrative, daughters obey their fathers only because their unresolved hatred of them has been converted into an attraction. This primes the culture for later falling under the spell of leaders like Mussolini and Hitler. The dynamic at work was articulated by the Frankfurt psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, who suggested that “Familial imperialism is ideologically reproduced in national imperialism.” Max Horkheimer suggested similarly: “When the child respects in his father’s strength a moral relationship and thus learns to love what his reason recognizes to be a fact, he is experiencing his first training for the bourgeois authority relationship.”
What resulted from this labyrinth of truth-twisting was simple: being conservative is anti-American, having strong families is anti-American, being strongly committed to the free market is anti-American, being Patriotic is anti-American. You get the picture.
It would be nice to say that these polemics were limited to post-war 20th century America. Alas no. As our current President has been pursuing totalitarian policies (as I pointed out in my articles ‘Totalitarian Creep’ and ‘Criminalizing the Criticism of Islam’) his administration has simultaneously been portraying those who favour liberties and free market principles as being enemies of America. It is no longer fashionable to accuse conservatives of fascism (although it still happens, as Jonah Goldberg shown in his book Liberal Fascism), but what government has been doing is accusing conservatives of being potential terrorists.
Indeed, according to a 2012 report from the Department of Homeland Security (which can be read online here), loving America, being opposed to a one world government, harboring a deep love of individual liberty, are even being anti-abortion are just some of the signs of the potential terrorist. Here’s what the American Dream website says about the report in their article, ‘New DHS Report: If You Love "Individual Liberty" Or If You "Believe In Conspiracy Theories" You Are A Potential Terrorist’:
Do you love America? Are you against a one world economy and a one world government? Do you deeply love individual liberty? Do you believe in conspiracy theories? If you answered any of those questions affirmatively, then you are a potential terrorist according to a brand new Department of Homeland Security report that was just released in January 2012. The report is entitled "Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970 to 2008", and it was produced by the "National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism" for the Department of Homeland Security. …The report shamelessly attempts to portray red-blooded Americans that love liberty and that love their country as the enemy. Once upon a time, deeply patriotic Americans were considered to be the backbone of America, but today they are considered to be potential terrorists.Further Reading
And this report is yet another example of how the definition of "terrorism" has changed. A decade ago, the entire focus of the "war on terror" was on radical Muslims and we were told that we had to send our boys and girls to the other side of the world to defeat them.
Well, in this new report there is barely any mention of Islam at all. Instead, the report identifies patriots, conspiracy theorists, evangelical Christians, anti-abortion activists, survivalists and those that are against globalism as the real threats.
The focus of the "war on terror" has fundamentally shifted. The "enemy" is now those that love freedom and those that love America.
According to the new DHS report, the following are some of the beliefs and ideologies of American terrorists....
-"fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)"
-"suspicious of centralized federal authority"
-"reverent of individual liberty"
-"believe in conspiracy theories"
-"a belief that one’s personal and/or national “way of life” is under attack"
-"those who seek to politicize religion"
-"supported political movements for autonomy"
All of the above are direct quotes from the report.
Do any of those beliefs apply to you?
Does your own government now believe that you are a potential terrorist?…
Our founding fathers were fiercely nationalistic, suspicious of centralized authority and were reverent of individual liberty. So according to the Department of Homeland Security, they would very clearly fit the definition of potential terrorists.
- New DHS Report: If You Love "Individual Liberty" Or If You "Believe In Conspiracy Theories" You Are A Potential Terrorist
- ‘Totalitarian Creep’
- ‘Criminalizing the Criticism of Islam’
- The Illusionist How Herbert Marcuse Convinced a Generation that Censorship Is Tolerance and Other Politically Correct Tricks