Ernst Jünger and the Myth of Cultural Marxism

I DO not subscribe to the Right-wing belief in so-called ‘Cultural Marxism’ and have written several refutations of this erroneous and simplistic notion in the past. In fact some of you may be interested to learn that Ernst Jünger (1895-1998) knew this to be true as early as 1932. Not in the sense that he was dealing with that precise term, but certainly as a result of his belief that capitalism was responsible for either adopting or implementing policies which are ordinarily associated with the Left.

Writing in his famous essay, The Worker: Dominion and Form, Jünger explains that the bourgeois state has a feminine disposition and that it reveals its true face

when society seeks not to distance itself from contradictions, but to absorb them. Wherever it encounters a demand that can be seen as decisive, its cleverest ruse is to declare it as an expression of its concept of freedom, thus legitimizing it before the forum of its constitution: that is, rendering it harmless.

There is, for example, an awful lot of misunderstanding about the role of the Frankfurt School, a phenomenon which actually modified and even departed from important Marxist principles in an attempt to render them ineffectual in the decades that followed the Weimar Republic. What may seem like ‘Cultural Marxism’, therefore, is actually a way for the capitalist ruling class to take credit for the introduction of new socio-political initiatives, be they homosexual marriage or intolerance towards the free discussion of immigration or even specific episodes in history.

As Jünger went on to explain, such methods are

the last refuge of stupidity, insolence, and hopeless ineptitude, playing con-tricks by dressing itself up in the ethos of radicalism.

I must take issue with Jünger’s use of the terms ‘stupidity’ and ‘ineptitude’, however, because up to now this strategy has been incredibly effective and, in many ways, accounts for the slow demise of the Left since the late-1980s. Politicians are not stupid, even if they appear that way, and are pursuing a clandestine agenda.

The fact the Left is now experiencing something of a mini-revival in the face of a vastly exaggerated fascist threat, particularly in America, is something that will be dealt with in a similar manner to that which Jünger has described. One shudders to think what Orwellian measures will be taken in order to provide its supporters with the illusion that their principles have been adopted by the political mainstream and that it is safe to retire to the welcoming confines of the armchair.

Rest assured, one thing which will never undergo significant change is the capitalist economy.

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