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Sandwichman — Deep Structures of the Cultural Marxism Myth

Summary:
Jeet Heer has posted a timely and excellent essay at New Republic titled "Trump's Racism and the Cultural Marxism Myth." In his essay, Heer recounts much of the background to the Higgins memo that I have documented here, here and here. Heer credits William S. Lind as the major popularizer of the myth, as have I in my blog posts. What I'm posting here extends the analysis and reveals significant background about personnel and timelines to the story.... There is a subtext to this that one needs to know and many American that were born later than 1980 and most non-Americans probably don't know much about it. A key element of the history is the influence of Herbert Marcuse on the countercultural revolution of the Sixties and Seventies that carried dynamcially by the antiwar movement against

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Jeet Heer has posted a timely and excellent essay at New Republic titled "Trump's Racism and the Cultural Marxism Myth." In his essay, Heer recounts much of the background to the Higgins memo that I have documented here, here and here. Heer credits William S. Lind as the major popularizer of the myth, as have I in my blog posts. What I'm posting here extends the analysis and reveals significant background about personnel and timelines to the story....
There is a subtext to this that one needs to know and many American that were born later than 1980 and most non-Americans probably don't know much about it. A key element of the history is the influence of Herbert Marcuse on the countercultural revolution of the Sixties and Seventies that carried dynamcially by the antiwar movement against the Vietnam War. The participants in this were characterized by the opposition as "dirty fucking hippies" (acronym DFHs).

I am only too well aware this since I was one of the DFHs. After I left active duty in the US Naval Reserve as an officer serving in the Western Pacific (yes, I am therefore a Vietnam vet) I joined the antiwar movement based on what I had learned from my experience, as did John Kerry and other Vietnam vets. We were the butt of a great deal of vituperation from people that did not serve and sought deferments to keep from serving.

The DFHs became the enemy along with totalitarian communism. The right characterized the DFHs as at least pink if not red, indicating an overlap between antiwar Americans and the commies. Jane Fonda was the poster child. We adopted the term "DFH" proudly for ourselves to counter the insult, but actually called ourselves "freaks" since our task as countercultural revolutionaries was to freak out the squares. We dressed and acted accordingly, as in "sex, drugs and rock and roll." Good times.

When the US lost the Vietnam War by withdrawing rather ignomineously, the narrative on the right was that the antiwar left had "stabbed America in the back." This was reminiscent of Hitler and the Nazis scapegoating "the Jews" for stabbing Germany in the back, purported resulting Germany's loss in WWI. I don't want to overemphasize this parallel, but it is there, and it should not be ignored, especially in light of present politics.

Since that time, US politics has been characterized by the attempt of the more extreme right to characterize the left as a whole in this light in its narrative. This is the origin of the term "cultural Marxism."

At last we have a doctrine, a vanguard organization, and a timeline. But most importantly, courtesy of the Larouche cult, we now have a suitably unitary devil-function. The "basic Nazi trick," as Kenneth Burke labeled "the 'curative' unification by a fictitious devil-function, gradually made convincing by the sloganizing repetitiousness of standard advertising technique." Helpfully, in a 1988 address to the Heritage Foundation,William F. Campbell explained why conservatives need such a devil-function: 
But as first and second generation conservatives have always known, and had to live with as an unpleasant skeleton in the family closet, there is sharp tension, if not contradiction, between the traditionalist and the libertarian wings of the conservative movement. They have been held together primarily because of their common enemies, modern egalitarianism and totalitarian collectivism, which they both abhor.
In 1988, when Campbell made those remarks, the Soviet Union still existed and could serve the primary role of common enemy, symbolizing the alien totalitarian destiny of domestic egalitarianism. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a new enemy had to be conjured. The Higgins memo is testament to the contortions that must be endured to conjure that devil.
BTW, I was sitting that the center of the left at the time as a grad student in philosophy. I can say from experience that Herbert Marcuse's influence on the antiwar movement and DFHs was marginal. So most of the cultural Marxism myth based on his supposed influence is simply nonsense. This may have been true, to some degree at least, in the youth movements in France and Germany at the time. But Americans are not much interested in philosophy and tend to be action-oriented. They don't need elaborate justifications for action.

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Deep Structures of the Cultural Marxism Myth
Sandwichman

Mike Norman
Mike Norman is an economist and veteran trader whose career has spanned over 30 years on Wall Street. He is a former member and trader on the CME, NYMEX, COMEX and NYFE and he managed money for one of the largest hedge funds and ran a prop trading desk for Credit Suisse.

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