How far-right conspiracy theories about “cultural Marxism” fueled the Pittsburgh massacre
The bizarre, conspiratorial worldview of Trumpism made this happen — and its roots run deep in the paranoid right
As I reported here in July 2016, that's part of the supposed “Bannonite” package, which was actually put together by paleoconservative strategist William Lind. Researcher Bruce Wilson described it to me as “rebuilding infrastructure, protective tariffs, securing borders and stopping immigration, neutralizing designated internal enemies and isolationism.”
It also includes a bizarre anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about the sinister force of “cultural Marxism.” This is focused on the 20th-century post-Marxist philosophers and social theorists known as the Frankfurt School, nearly all of whom were of Jewish descent, as Lind told a gathering of Holocaust deniers in 2002. In the paranoid imagination, the Frankfurt School is an elaborate scam, in which those who seemingly benefit by not being repeatedly demeaned for who they are — women, people of color, members of non-Christian faiths, non-LGBT people and so on — are merely pawns in the political correctness game. If they think being treated with dignity as human beings is a good thing, they are sorely mistaken. They’re being enslaved to a totalitarian ideology:The parallels between cultural Marxism and classical, economic Marxism are evident. Cultural Marxism, or Political Correctness, shares with classical Marxism the vision of a “classless society” i.e., a society not merely of equal opportunity, but equal condition. Since that vision contradicts human nature – because people are different, they end up unequal, regardless of the starting point – society will not accord with it unless forced. So, under both variants of Marxism, it is forced.
Of course the oppression Lind sees is merely a reflection of his own benighted, unexamined ideology. Treating everyone with basic human dignity contradicts psychopathy, not healthy human nature. Second, the conspiracy is pure illusion, and the things he abhors have much wider, deeper and complicated roots. Secular government and religious pluralism flow from our Constitution, and centuries of intensely European struggles leading up to it. What we now call "multiculturalism" owes more to anthropologists like Franz Boas, Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict; thousands of overseas missionaries from the 19th century onward; America’s multiethnic, multiracial history; and the competition for Third World allies, first during World War II and then during the Cold War. Anti-racist and anti-sexist policies have earlier antecedents, but were put on the political map by way of the faith-inspired mass movements that profoundly shaped 19th-century America. In short, Lind’s conspiratorial view of cultural history is ludicrous.
“In many ways, Lind’s 'cultural Marxism' tracks the famous anti-Jewish hoax 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion',” Wilson told me in a recent interview. “Like the 'Protocols,' Lind’s cultural Marxism idea purports to expose a secret Jewish plan for world domination. The interesting thing is that Lind’s alleged conspiracy has a real counterpart on the American religious right -- and Lind is part of it.”
Lind has far-reaching white nationalist ties dating back decades, according to former intelligence analyst James Scaminaci. These connections include the militia movement, Holocaust deniers, John Tanton's Federation Against Immigration Reform and the border-vigilante “Minuteman” project.
Scaminaci has researched Lind’s writings and activities intensively, including a detailed study of Lind’s military strategy work involving “fourth-generation warfare” (more on this below) and how, in Scaminaci's words, "the Christian Right is, in fact, waging a ... campaign against the federal government, and our secular, pluralist society.” It's exactly the same kind of asymmetrical, existential culture war that Lind blames on the Jewish intellectuals of the Frankfurt School.
In fact, Lind’s conception of making America great again ultimately involves its violent destruction, a chilling “utopian” vision about which he has long fantasized. Just 11 days after the Oklahoma City bombing, the Washington Post published an op-ed article by Lind that began this way:The triumph of the Recovery was marked most clearly by the burning of the Episcopal bishop of Maine … .
The Post entitled his article “Understanding Oklahoma,” but Lind called this work of speculative fiction “Militant Musings: From Nightmare 1995 to My Utopian 2050." And what a utopia it was, in which "the nations that cover the territory of the former United States are starting to get things working again.”
There was some trouble getting there, of course. “The first Civil War was, on the whole, a gentlemanly affair; the second one wasn't,” Lind wrote. But living in an ethnically cleansed New England enclave (which has been combined with some former Canadian provinces), Lind’s narrator seems content. A second Confederacy has been established in the South, although the status of black people is not discussed. Japan now controls Oregon and Washington; Puerto Rico has annexed New York City. The Southwest has apparently been carved up between whites and Latinos: “The Reconquista drove the Anglos out of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California," Lind writes, while "the Anglos drove the Hispanics out of what was left of the American West.” Talk about making America great again!
But the real kicker here is Lind’s broader promotion of the “cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory, in which he projects his own fervent desire to fragment and destroy America onto a shadowy Jewish cabal. It’s not Lind and his fellow white supremacists who seek America’s destruction in a race war — it’s those politically correct Jews who started it! This is one of two key elements in Lind’s playbook for Trumpism.
The second element provides a defense for telling such over-the-top lies: Lind’s aforementioned theory of “fourth-generation warfare,” which returns war to its premodern roots, blurring or erasing virtually all distinctions — between civilians and combatants, between war and politics, between truth and lies and just about any other lines it has to blur in order to gain its objectives.
Not only does this justify equating immigrants or refugees with armed invaders, it justifies all lying in general. Propaganda, disinformation, “fake news,” etc., are all standard 4GW weaponry, which allows actors like Lind, Trump and their allies to lie indiscriminately, protected by the assumption that everyone else is just as dishonest as they are. Thus the notion of 4GW actually contains at its very core the exact same nihilistic relativism that Lind blames on the Frankfurt School.
Lind introduced the idea of fourth-generation warfare in a pair of papers he co-authored years ago in the Marine Corps Gazette: “The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation” in 1989 and “Fourth Generation Warfare: Another Look” in 1994. The latter, let us note, was published just a few months before his Washington Post “Utopia” op-ed.
Scaminaci describes Lind as “the Christian right’s foremost military strategist," saying he had "framed 4GW in America as a war over the legitimacy of the federal government, pitting ‘politically correct. cultural-Jewish Marxists’ who hated our Judeo-Christian culture against traditional Christians. ... Both Lind and his boss, the late Paul Weyrich, made clear that their list of enemies — which is largely shared by the Tea Party movement, the Patriot militia, and the broad alt-right — would include immigrants, refugees, African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, feminists, gays, liberals, secularists and scientists." Furthermore, Scaminaci told me, "Lind specifically framed one aspect of this war in relation to immigration from the Southern Hemisphere.”
Simply put, Lind developed and promoted the “cultural Marxism” myth as a framework for rationalizing the white nationalists’ enemies list, while separating it at least a little from the legacy of Nazism and related ideologies. Immigrants top that list today, just as Muslims did after 9/11. But Jews remain forever at the center — even when Lind incoherently frames his imagined conspiracy as an attack on “our Judeo-Christian culture.” As noted above, Lind's vision of 4GW eliminates a host of previous distinctions, including those between civilians and combatants, and between immigrants who are fleeing violence and invaders who are spreading it.
Read more: https://www.salon.com/2018/11/04/how-fa ... -massacre/