"Sex pol" ideology: the influence of the Freudian-Marxian synthesis on politics and society.
This coterie of exiles operated in a manner similar to that of their ideological counterparts in American anthropology centered on Franz Boas, who was, like them, ensconced at Columbia University. (1)
The Frankfurt School began as the Institute for Social Research in 1923, founded by members of the German Communist party at Frankfurt University. (2) Influenced by Antonio Gramsci, the theoretician of the Italian Communist party, they concluded that a radical subversion of the cultural mores and institutions of a society must precede a Communist state. (3)
Max Horkheimer, who became the institute's director in 1930 (4), adopted the Gramscian analysis and strategy that a subtle revolution must be made through the penetration and transformation of the cultural traditions and institutions of Western Civilisation. (5) At that time, music critic Theodor Adorno and psychologists Erich Fromm and Wilhelm Reich joined the Frankfurt School (6). However, in 1933 this largely Jewish group was exiled from Germany with the rise of Hitler. They left en masse for the USA. With them came the future guru of the New Left, Herbert Marcuse, then a graduate student. They were assisted by Columbia University to re-establish the Frankfurt School as the Institute of Social Research in New York City (7).
One of the primary theories emerging from the Frankfurt School was "Critical Theory," which consists of the deconstruction of traditional Western attitudes towards religion, family, morality, and nationalism. (8) One of the most influential publications from the Frankfurt School is Adorno's The Authoritarian Personality, which indicts the "patriarchal family" as the seedbed of "fascism," because of the inherent authoritarianism of the father-figure. Hence, the West's fascist-authoritarian traits are considered to be culturally inherited. (9) The same view was expressed by Wilhelm Reich, Fromm and the other stalwarts of the Frankfurt School.
The Authoritarian Personality sought to formulate a theory about family that defines healthy and unhealthy familial relationships on the basis of the degree of submission to a father figure. Authoritarian family relationships were thereby judged to breed fascism and prejudice. Thus, according to the conclusions of Else Frenkel-Brunswick's surveys, prejudiced individuals were likely to be so according to the level of "dominance and submission in contradistinction to equalitarian policies" within a family. (10) This dominance includes "fearful subservience" and impulse suppression by parents towards children, said to be characteristic of a "highly conventional" parental outlook. Repressed hostility towards parents externalises through exaggerated idealization, which manifests itself again in conformist attitudes towards authority and social institutions. (11)
The logical conclusion is that individual and societal health can only be achieved--and indeed prejudice and "fascism" eliminated or prevented--by reorientation away from traditional norms such as parental authority.
The hypothesis upon which The Authoritarian Personality was based is that an individual's politics is a reflection of deep-seated personality traits, and the primary concern of Adorno et. al. was to establish what personality traits made up the "potentially fascistic individual." (12) These personality traits are developed from the earliest stages within "a setting of family life," which is itself "profoundly influenced by economic and social factors." Therefore, "broad changes" of social conditions will affect the types of personalities within a society. (13)
Frenkel-Brunswick arrives at the question of sexual attitudes in Chapter XI of her book, the studies and surveys having established in the preceding chapters of The Authoritarian Personality the pathological nature of prejudice shaped via the authoritarian structure of the family. These chapters present case studies based on the scales of "Projective Questioning" analysis devised by Brunswick. (14) The methodology was to devise tests that could be statistically analyzed in regard to social backgrounds, and how these correlated to the "potential fascism" by means of "surveying opinions, attitudes, and values." (15) In order to "generalize" patterns of prejudice to arrive at a predictive method, it was necessary to examine both individual and group surveys. Adorno explained: "Individuals were studied by means of interviews and special clinical techniques for revealing underlying wishes, fears, and defenses; groups were studied by means of questionnaires." (16)
Survey questions included:
6. It is only natural and right that women be restricted in certain ways in which men have more freedom.
23. He is, indeed, contemptible who does not feel an undying love, gratitude, and respect for his parents.
24. Today everything is unstable; we should be prepared for a period of constant change, conflict, and upheaval.
46. The sexual orgies of the old Greeks and Romans are nursery school stuff compared to some of the goings-on in this country today, even in circles where people might least expect it.
66. Books and movies ought not to deal so much with the sordid and seamy side of life; they ought to concentrate on themes that are entertaining or uplifting.
73. Nowadays when so many different kinds of people move around so much and mix together so freely, a person has to be especially careful to protect himself against infection and disease.
75. Sex crimes, such as rape and attacks on children, deserve more than mere imprisonment; such criminals ought to be publicly whipped. (17)
A high score on questions such as: "23. He is, indeed, contemptible who does not feel an undying love, gratitude, and respect for his parents," indicates the individual has the trait of "authoritarian submission." (18) A positive response is likewise said to be indicative of "authoritarian aggression." (19)
In the sexual analyses of the Adorno team, the "restricted type of prejudiced person manifests, in the main, explicit anti-id moralism...." "Unprejudiced individuals," on the other hand, have "integrated" sex better into their social relations. The least prejudiced tend to be "less repressed" and "manifest more acceptance of the id." (20)
Males who place priority on morality among women and scorn premarital sexual relations "lack integration of sex and affection." (21) This is said to be based not on respect for woman, but on the contrary on an "ambivalent underlying disrespect" and "resentment against the opposite sex." (22) Expressions by male subjects about women, such as "sweet, kind and generous" and "wholesome" are deemed to signify "authoritarian personalities" seeking to place women in a submissive role. (23)
As for the authoritarian woman, the "unrealistic search for a great romantic love" is seen as the yearning to "restore a successful early relation with a parent based on nurturance and succorance." The healthy personality is one with a "liberal" (sic) attitude in a relationship. (24)
In summary, Frenkel-Brunswick finds that, as in relationships with parents, relationships with the opposite sex for the pathological authoritarian type are based on "a lack of real object relationship." This is often a manifestation of disappointment with "their first-love relations, those with their parents." In attitudes towards both parents and the opposite sex, there is an ambivalent "surface admiration, combined with underlying resentment." This manifests in gender "stereotypes." (25)
In terms of outlook on social morality, as expected, the authoritarian type scores high on "moralistic condemnation." (26) This is often buttressed with a religious outlook. (27)
Emphasis on gender differentiation and self-identity is said to derive from "threatening parental figures." (28)
By now a generalized picture should have emerged: that in the view of these authors "conventional morality", "conformity," traditional attitudes towards the sexes and relationships, etc., are all signs of deep pathological traits that go to make up the "authoritarian personality," the "fascistic" type. All of this is said to generally stem from parental relations, and particularly patriarchy.
The question of political ideologies was addressed in Chapter V by Daniel J Levinson. (29) Since the extreme of Left epitomized by Communism and the Right epitomized by fascism were regarded by the researchers as not having reached a significant level of support in the USA, they instead focused on "liberalism" and "conservatism" (30) as the foundations from which the former extreme polarities might arise in times of crisis, as they had elsewhere. However it is clear that the categories also included the extremes, such as those "liberals" who favor not just "mild reforms" but "complete overthrow of the status quo." (31) The aim then was to establish a scholarly method upon which to predict what personality types would be susceptible to Communism and fascism, with the implication being that societal changes would have to be made in order to prevent the significant emergence of certain ideologies.
Not surprisingly, those of "liberal" persuasion, or the "Left" in the US sense, are considered to be low scorers on the personality tests and surveys for determining the "authoritarian personality"; therefore, liberals, including socialists, are possessed of psychological health in contrast to conservatives. However, the definitions of "Left" and "Right" ideologies or "liberalism" and "conservatism" are reliant on those provided by the authors, and since most or all themselves come from Left-wing persuasions one might question their objectivity and scholarly detachment. The ideological definitions once made are then neatly fitted into the survey data to show predictable results as to personality types.
In Chapter XVII Adorno returns to the Levinson survey data on political and economic attitudes, intervening chapters having provided the necessary data to show that those with "conservative" views, including traditional moral values, are afflicted with the "authoritarian personality" which arises from dysfunctional parent-child relations and the patriarchal family; in comparison to the healthy and individuated "liberal" or "socialist." The primary objective of the study is to determine a "potentially fascist character," (32) as a means of preventing the widespread emergence of such sociopathology. The emergence of this personality is reinforced by "our general cultural climate," the implication being that in order to reach optimal social health, society itself must be changed. Hence the problem of the possibility of a mass "antidemocratic movement" arising is one of psychological "diagnosis." (33) The intentions of the study are made unequivocal:
The importance of this diagnosis, if it should be corroborated sufficiently by our data, is self-evident, its most immediate implication being that the fight against such a general potential cannot be carried through only educationally on a purely psychological level, but that it requires at the same time decisive changes of that cultural climate which makes for the overall pattern. (34)
Adorno is at lengths to emphasize that the focus needs to be on the "supra-individual social forces operating in our society." (35)
The necessary conclusions are drawn by Maria Hertz Levinson (Chapter XXII) when stating that if adherence to ideologies is related to personality, then one would expect "ideology to be related to various kinds of mental disturbance." (36) Here, of the numerous "variables," the one found to be the most unambiguous in the survey of mental patients was that "high scores" for "authoritarian personality" or "potential fascist" were related to unhappy childhood and family relationships. There was also found to be a strong relationship with ethnocentrism. The results are considered to agree in general with the study as a whole, that "low scorers" for "potential fascism" were able to acknowledge parental issues freely, whereas "highs scorers", the "potential fascists," rationalized such relationships and idealized their families. (37)
In concluding the study as a whole, M. H. Levinson stated that the "highs scorers" for "potential fascism" "have rigid, constricted personalities," "stereotyped, conventionalised thinking," and an extreme reaction against whatever "reminded them of their own repressed impulses." (38)"Their range of experience, emotionally and intellectually, is narrow." (39)
It is as if they can experience only the one conventionally correct attitude or emotion in any given situation. Everything else is suppressed or denied, or if another impulse breaks through, it is experienced as something which is completely incompatible with the conception of the self, and which suddenly overwhelms the ego. In part, this high degree of ego-alienness probably derives from the fact that the impulses emerging from repression are so primitive and, especially in the women, so very hostile. (40)
Repression is the primary basis for the psychopathology of the "authoritarian personality type," manifesting ideologically. Levinson explains this in relation to such men in terms of their relation to women, and what might be seen as a Freudo-Marxian explanation for the honouring of all traditional concepts of womanhood and motherhood as deriving from repressed anxieties:
High scorers--particularly men--also seem to have strong but repressed passive-dependent desires, but these appear to be differently organized in the personality than is the case with the low scorers. Whereas in the low scorers these tendencies are expressed directly in interpersonal relationships, in the desire to be loved and in the fear of being rejected in a very personalized way, the high-scoring men's passivity and dependency probably is mainly a reaction to their extreme castration anxiety. The high-scoring men often seek protection from this anxiety in a motherly woman, but without having a very differentiated relationship to this woman as a person. (41)
One could envisage, for instance, such a Freudo-Marxian analysis of the Western Medieval concept of Knightly chivalry as being nothing other than a symptom of "extreme castration anxiety." All manifestations of Western High Culture might be analysed the same way, denigrating whatever traditional vestiges remain in cotemporary society, diagnosed as vestigial repression that requires exorcising from the social organism. Hence, the need for social engineering, and for politicized analysts, sociologists, social anthropologists and psychologists to provide the necessary social panacea to cure societal ills. That such scenarios have long taken place on the basis of such "expert opinion" can be seen with the influence that Adorno, et. al., have had on the social sciences, in tandem with ideological kin in other areas such as those around the Boasian school of social anthropology, (42) the influence of Gunnar Myrdal's study on American race relations, (43) the Kinsey studies (which will be considered below) on sexual mores, and so forth.
What Adorno, et. al., call "conservative" and "traditional" outlooks on gender roles seems reducible in these terms: "The interpersonal relationships of high scorers [i.e. "potential fascists] appeared to be much weaker, less personal, more conventional, and more often expressed in terms of dominance-submission." (44)
A difference in outlook between "conservative" and "liberal" mental patients is ascribed to differences in types of dysfunction, the liberal dysfunction seemingly being of a preferable type since it does not result in a "fascist" disposition:
Our results indicate, however, that the way a person thinks is always conditioned, to a greater or lesser degree, by emotional dispositions. The capacity for rational functioning, in which needs and affects play a positive rather than a negative (distorting, inhibiting) role, is part of what we and others have called a strong ego. While ego strength seems higher, on the average, in the low than in the high scorers, it must be emphasized that irrationality has been found to some degree in both; however, it is qualitatively different in the two groups and impels the individuals in antipodal directions. (45)
In conclusion, Levinson states that the repressed individual will find outlets in ethnocentrism and other forms of personality disorder:
In the high scorers, extensive repressions and countercathexes (46) have hindered the ego's development. The ego remains rather primitive, undifferentiated, and completely isolated from a large portion of the deeper layers. When the unresolved unconscious conflicts become intensified and come closer to consciousness, the ego, totally unprepared, feels overwhelmed and shocked. This may lead merely to strong anxieties with or without somatic symptoms. In more extreme form, however, it may lead to depersonalization, withdrawal from reality, denial, projections, and other psychotic manifestations. Given a sufficiently supporting environment, highly ethnocentric individuals achieve a sense of "comfort" and "adjustment"; but they frequently lack the productiveness, the capacity for love, and, in times of stress, the grip on reality, which are more characteristic of the anti-authoritarian individuals. (47)
Behind the charts and data, the conclusions drawn by Adorno, et. al., have an apparent political application, and are intended to do so. The authors of The Authoritarian Personality state that the aim is to "fight" "potential fascism," the diagnostic warning signs of which are "conservative" and "traditional" attitudes towards gender and familial relations. These attitudes are manifested politically also in one's attitude towards issues such as defense, and what respondents thought of Roosevelt's "New Deal," for example. It is not sufficient, however, that such dysfunctional individuals be treated through re-education. It is society and culture that need changing towards what is called "liberalism" in the American context, and what the European refugees such as Adorno would call socialism and even Marxism.
Psychiatry thus becomes a social control mechanism and a means of social engineering. It also provides an arguably "scholarly" foundation for denigrating any conservative opposition to reformist or even revolutionary agendas as having some type of personality disorder or psychopathology. The most excessive example of the use of psychiatry as a political weapon has been in the USSR.
Despite the Marxist and social democratic sympathies of the Frankfurt School, Stalin's Russia was generally not the type of regime that they had wished for in fulfilling a socialist utopia. Nor did Stalin accord Freudo-Marxists such as Reich recognition. Much else about Stalin's Russia rejected outright classic Marxism in the realms of family and sexual relations, reversing the original Bolshevik legislation regarding abortion, homosexuality, honouring motherhood and the family, etc., as can be see from the laments of Trotsky. (48) Nonetheless, psychiatry was used in Stalin's USSR and it would be disingenuous for Adorno, et. al., to have castigated the USSR for this, when the recommendations of the Frankfurt School and its fellow-travellers for the democratic West amount to the same thing. The World Psychiatric Association and the British Royal College of Psychiatrists were among the professional bodies that condemned the USSR for the use of psychiatry as a means of political repression.
In 1971 the psychiatric reports of six dissidents were smuggled out of the USSR, convincing Western psychiatrists of the "gross abuse of professional practise in the USSR." The practise began in the late 1930s when "political patients" (sic) were being committed to a psychiatric hospital in Kazan. The scenario into the 1970s was that a dissident would be arrested for "anti-Soviet activities," examined by a psychiatric commission, usually from the Serbsky Institute for Forensic Psychiatry in Moscow, "and found to be insane and not responsible." This eliminated the need for a trial and defense and the dissenter would be confined to a prison mental hospital for his "recovery." (49)
Yet how is this Soviet use of psychiatry as a political weapon and control mechanism any different theoretically from the recommendations of Adorno, et. al, for the West? If the theories are implanted, the practice would be the same, including the committing of "political patients." The practical difference was that of institutional options for enforcement and the need for more subtlety in the Western democracies. Professors Bloch and Reddaway wrote:
The authorities' goal is to ensure future conformism and compliance. In addition, to label the ideas of a dissenter as a manifestation of madness is an easy and convenient way of discrediting the group he represents. How could any normal person agree with such nonsense when even the dissenter himself, after a little medical assistance, sees that he had propagated pure fantasy?
Bloch and Reddaway explain that in 1950 at a meeting of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Professor Andrei Snezhnevsky founded a new school of psychiatry in which schizophrenia came to be the diagnosis most commonly applied to dissenters, as well as "paranoid personality disorder." Dissent was, therefore, according to Bloch and Reddaway, viewed as a "symptom of severe mental illness." (50)
Snezhnevsky's "new school of psychiatry" in the USSR, calling for labelling and "treating" dissidents for "mental illness," was a crude counterpart to that of the Frankfurt School, et. al. In the case of the West, the best-known subject of politicized psychiatry would be Ezra Pound. (51) One wonders: will surveys ever be used to analyse data on whether severe personality disorder exists among those afflicted with ethnocentrism from ethnic groups other than those of Caucasoid origin, such as Afro-Americans, Jews, Amerindians and supporters of "La Raza"? To ask this is to point out the ideological selectivity exhibited by the analysis.
Further work might also be undertaken on the personality traits and familial background of leftists who could be regarded as "potential Communists." There is some background regarding the personality traits of social revolutionaries, including Communists, in Lothrop Stoddard's The Revolt Against Civilization. (52) Chapter VI, "The Rebellion of the UnderMan," is particularly interesting regarding the personality types of revolutionaries. Stoddard observed that most of the Bolshevik leaders during the revolutionary upheaval appeared to be '"tainted geniuses," paranoiacs, unbalanced fanatics, unscrupulous adventurers, clever criminals, etc., who always come to the front in times of social dissolution--which, indeed, gives them their sole opportunity for success." (53) Stoddard quotes Lenin in a speech before the Third Soviet Conference: "Among one hundred so-called Bolsheviki there is one real Bolshevik, with thirty-nine criminals and sixty fools." (54) Stoddard continues:
It would be extremely instructive if the Bolshevik leaders could all be psychoanalyzed. Certainly, many of their acts suggest peculiar mental states. The atrocities perpetrated by some of the Bolshevik commissars, for example, are so revolting that they seem explicable only by mental aberrations like homicidal mania or the sexual perversion known as sadism. One such scientific examination of a group of Bolshevik leaders has been made. At the time of the Red terror in Kiev, in the summer of 1919, the medical professors of Kiev University were spared on account of their terrorist masters. Three of these men were competent alienists, who were able to diagnose the Bolshevik leaders mentally in the course of their professional duties. Now their diagnosis was that nearly all the Bolshevik leaders were degenerates, of more or less unsound mind. Furthermore, most of them were alcoholics, a majority were syphilitic, many were drug fiends. Such were the "dictators" who for months terrorized a great city of more than 600,000 inhabitants, and butchered many leading citizens, including scholars of international reputation. (55)
A more contemporary case study might be made of the personality traits and childhood familial relations of Jim Jones, a "leftist" and "potential Communist." Again, the selectivity suggests that it might have been political disingenuousness rather than scholarly objectivity that was the foundation for the studies and conclusions of Adorno, et. al, in identifying anything and everything of a conservative or traditionalist sentiment as stemming from familial and sexual dysfunction, manifesting in its ultimate form in "fascism."
Wilhelm Reich, Father of American "Sexology"
American sexology has similar origins and development to that of American social anthropology, (56) and has become just as influential in shaping policies and attitudes, providing apparently "scholarly" impetus for feminism, abortion liberalization, homosexual law reform, and the reshaping of attitudes towards the authority of parents. The family is at the center of all these issues.
From the Frankfurt School with its synthesis of psychoanalytical theories on sexual repression with Marxian economics emerged Erich Fromm, Herbert Marcuse and Wilhelm Reich, propagating the theory that "sexual repression" is a product of capitalist society and that "sexual liberation" would precede a social revolution. This "sexual revolution" would require the destruction of traditional concepts of family, parenthood and child rearing.
As we will see, this Freudian-Marxian synthesis was to provide the basis of the New Left youth "revolt" during the 1960s and 1970s, much of which has entered the mainstream in terms of overturning traditional beliefs on the family and sexuality.
Erich Fromm wrote Escape From Freedom (57), regarded as the founding document of "political psychology". The concept of "freedom," according to Fromm, was that "individualized man" would be freed from his so-called "primary ties" of identity such as family, yet in achieving individuality would also find his belonging in the world and in humanity. Fromm writes, for example:
There is only one possible, productive solution for the relationship of individualized man with the world: his active solidarity with all men and his spontaneous activity, love and work, which unite him again with the world, not by primary ties but as a free and independent individual.... (58)
Herbert Marcuse, a major influence within the American New Left, contended that instinct should not be repressed, and that such repression is inherent in Western Civilisation. (59) It was Marcuse who answered the question of who will make the revolution: in place of the workers, there would be a new cultural underclass of revolutionaries drawn from youth, women, ethnics, and homosexuals--whatever elements could be disaffected and alienated from Western Civilisation. This is what became the New Left and what has metamorphosed into other movements, such as feminism. The Encyclopaedia of World Biography states of Marcuse:
His application of the theories of Sigmund Freud to the character of contemporary society and politics was the subject of much research, scholarly and otherwise. He was considered by some to be a philosopher of the sexual revolution. (60)
In 1934 Marcuse had emigrated to the USA and joined the Institute of Social Research set up by the emigres of the Frankfurt School in New York City. (61)
Professor Martin Duberman, a leading Left-wing academic theorist and activist for the "gay" movement, states: "The philosopher Herbert Marcuse predicted that the new "sexual liberation movements" would become a powerful force, THE agency for producing significant social transformation." (62)
Marcuse biographer Douglas Kellner writes:
During the 1960s, Marcuse achieved world renown as "the guru of the New Left" ... his work was often discussed in the mass media. A charismatic teacher, Marcuse's students began to gain influential academic positions and to promote his ideas, making him a major force in US intellectual life. After working for the US Government for almost ten years Marcuse returned to university life. He received a Rockefeller Foundation grant to study Soviet Marxism, lecturing on the topic at Columbia University during 1952-53, and Harvard from 1954-55. (63)
In 1964 Marcuse published his One-Dimensional Man. Kellner continues: "In contrast to orthodox Marxism, Marcuse championed non-integrated forces like minorities, outsiders and radical intelligentsia, attempting to nourish oppositional thought through promoting radical thinking and opposition...." (64)
The active solicitation of disaffected minorities and individuals who feel alienated from the mainstream recalls Stoddard's thesis of the "revolt of the underman." (65) The doctrines formulated by Reich, Marcuse, Fromm, et. al, provide the rationalization of psychopathological traits behind an entire school of social psychology. Conversely, those who resist the psychopathological causes and symptoms of revolution are themselves said to be suffering from psychological disorders. (In psychoanalytical terminology, could this not therefore said to be "projection" on the part of left-leaning psychology?)
Marcuse's Eros & Civilisation became the manifesto of the 1960s counterculture and New Left. Marcuse became a cult figure among the youth of the 1960s, and in 1968 when students rioted in Paris their banners proclaimed "Marx, Mao and Marcuse". Marcuse advocated the Gramscian strategy of "working against the established institutions while working in them." (66) As an aside, while we mention the Paris youth revolt of 1968, which spread to the "proletariat" in a wildcat general strike despite the opposition of the French Communist Party, it is relevant here to consider that the revolt originated with the puerile demand by students at Paris University at Nanterre under the direction of Daniel Cohn-Bendit (now a Green MP in the European Parliament) that male students be permitted entry to the female students' dormitory. Hence adolescent hormones were the catalyst for a revolt that almost brought down President de Gaulle.
Among Marcuse's students were Abbie Hoffman, the radical anarchist New Left leader; and Angela Davis, the Afro-American Communist Party militant who is professor in the History of Consciousness program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Marcuse helped spawn many academics who continue to teach at Universities throughout the world, in particular in the USA and Germany. (67)
Adorno, Marcuse, Fromm, and the other primary propagandists for the Freudian-Marxist synthesis were following in the footsteps of Wilhelm Reich, father of what he called "sex pol," which was within the milieu of Communism in Weimar Germany.
Reich's doctrines would become widely familiar as part of the New Left of the 1960s, and indeed become more widespread via humanistic psychology, and the so-called "human potential" movement. The following is a succinct expression of Reich's doctrine:
Suppression of the natural sexuality in the child, particularly of its genital sexuality, makes the child apprehensive, shy, obedient, afraid of authority, good and adjusted in the authoritarian sense; it paralyzes the rebellious forces because any rebellion is laden with anxiety; it produces, by inhibiting sexual curiosity and sexual thinking in the child, a general inhibition of thinking and of critical faculties. In brief, the goal of sexual suppression is that of producing an individual who is adjusted to the authoritarian order and who will submit to it in spite of all misery and degradation. At first the child has to submit to the structure of the authoritarian miniature state, the family; this makes it capable of later subordination to the general authoritarian system. The formation of the authoritarian structure takes place through the anchoring of sexual inhibition and anxiety. (68)
The preliminary theories of Reich on "sex economics" in The Mass Psychology of Fascism clearly formed the basis of the later studies and conclusions of Adorno, et. al., in The Authoritarian Personality. The hypothesis and conclusions are the same, albeit Adorno, et. al., sought to prove the theory with empirical data. Reich considered Marxian economic reductionism too "vulgar," while he said his theory of "sex-economics is a method of research which developed over many years through the application of functionalism to human sex life and which has arrived at a series of new findings." (69) It was Freud who had added to the insights of Marx with the discovery that man is "governed by psychological processes which are unconscious." (70) It is the sexual factor that is the critical element:
The second great discovery was that even the small child develops a lively sexuality, that, in other words, sexuality and procreation are not the same thing, and sexual and genital are not synonymous. The analysis of the psychological processes showed, furthermore, that sexuality, or, rather, its energy, the libido, which derives from bodily sources, is the central motor of psychic life. Biological factors and social conditions converge in psychic life. (71) The third great discovery was the fact that infantile sexuality--which includes the most essential part of the child-parent relationship, the "Oedipus complex"--is usually repressed because of fear of punishment for sexual thoughts and actions (basically, "castration anxiety"). As a result, infantile sexuality becomes excluded from activity and disappears from conscious memory. The repression of infantile sexuality removes it from conscious control. This does not, however, deprive it of its strength; on the contrary, it intensifies it and thus enables it to manifest itself in various psychic disturbances. As this repression of infantile sexuality is the rule in "civilized man," Freud could rightly state that all humanity was his patient. (72) The fourth important discovery was that human morality, far from being of supernatural origin, results from the suppressive measures of early infantile education, particularly those directed against sexuality. The original conflict between infantile desires and parental prohibitions lives on as an internal conflict between instinct and morals. The moral forces in the adult, which are themselves unconscious, act against the recognition of the laws of sexuality and of unconscious psychic life; they support sexual repression ("sex resistance') and explain the resistance of the world to the discovery of infantile sexuality. (73)
Hence, sexology takes on a revolutionary political rationale, with "all humanity" as the patient to be liberated from the repression of parents, tradition and civilization.
Reich strikes at the family as the core, fundamental institution of authoritarian structures, and specifically "patriarchal marriage and patriarchal family." (74) From this springs repressive forms of religion and their church institutions, providing the sociological reason for the exploitation of work. (75) Hence the whole exploitive system of capitalism rests upon sexual repression in the patriarchal family; Reich substituting sexual reductionism for Marx's economic reductionism.
From the revolutionary viewpoint, "Sexual inhibition alters the structure of the economically suppressed individual in such a manner that he thinks, feels and acts against his own material interests." (76)
The family therefore stands as the "central reactionary germ cell" of the authoritarian state: 'Since authoritarian society reproduces itself in the structure of the mass individual by means of the authoritarian family, it follows that political reaction must defend the authoritarian family as the basis "of the state, of culture and of civilization." (77)
Where Bolshevism fell short in Russia was its failure to complete the sexual revolution, Reich's dictum being: "No freedom program has any chance of success without an alteration of human sexual structure." (78)
When comparing the revolutionary rhetoric of Reich with the conclusions reached by Adorno, et. al, it seems apparent that the post-war Frankfurt coterie was continuing the analysis Reich was applying to Fascism from 1933 to the post-war situation when they began their studies for The Authoritarian Personality in 1945. The ideology is the same.
"Sex Pol" in Germany
Reich's associate and biographer Myron Sharaf states, "Reich also anticipated many recent social developments." (79) Reich was more than a theorist, however, and sought to create a revolutionary organization to propagate his views within Marxism.
During the late 1 920s, Reich began what he called a "sex-pol" (80) movement in Vienna. The aim, as seen from the above extracts of The Mass Psychology of Fascism, was to use sexual issues "within the framework of the larger revolutionary movement." Towards this aim, Reich, then in Germany and a member of the Communist Party, prompted the formation of a Communist front, the German Association for Proletarian Sex-Politics (GAPSP), of which he was a director. (81) The programme Reich presented to GAPSP included views that are now accepted in society as mainstream, including: free distribution of contraceptives, "massive propaganda for birth control," "abolition of laws against abortion," "provisions for free abortions at public clinics," "abolition of any legal distinctions between the married and the unmarried," "freedom of divorce," training of teachers and social workers as advocates of sex education, and "treatment rather than punishment for sexual offenses." (82)
However, Reich's "sex pol" caused alarm within the Communist Party. This came to a head in 1 932 when Reich addressed a youth conference in Dresden that issued a resolution "strongly endorsing adolescent sexuality within the framework of the revolutionary movement." (83) The Communist Party leaders disowned the resolution, stating that it would drag politics "down to the level of the gutter." Reich was accused by the party leaders of wanting to make "fornication organizations out of our associations." (84) Although Reich had a great deal of support within the party, the leadership prevailed against him in 1933.
By 1945, writing the "Preface" to the third edition of his The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Reich pointed out that although the book was written at a time when he was working with Communists and other Marxists and liberals, and utilized the terminology of Marxism for his "sex-economics" theory as being the most suited for the time; he now considered Marxism as passe; albeit not rejecting Marxism per se but advocating what might be called a post-Marxist position. The sexual struggle had surpassed the class struggle, and psychoanalysis had become the post-Marxian revolutionary doctrine. (85) By that time too, Reich had been decisively rejected by the Stalinists and the USSR had repudiated the original Bolshevik measures in regard to the family and sexuality that Reich had lauded. Reich laments that the "sex-economic publications" were prohibited from entering the USSR. The post-Marxism that was now seen by Reich as championing the necessary synthesis for the present was called "work democracy" in Scandinavia, which retained "the best and still valid sociological findings of Marxism." (86)
Jay Martin in a semi-official history of the Frankfurt Institute, writes: "Even a partial breakdown of parental authority in the family might tend to increase the readiness of a coming generation to accept social change." (87)
Alfred Kinsey's Sexology
There does not appear to be a direct relationship between the sexologist Alfred Kinsey and the Frankfurt Institute or the New School for Social Research. Indeed, Kinsey's present-day interpreters regret that Kinsey did not provide a political focus for his studies, as did Adorno, Fromm, Reich, et. al. However, like The Authoritarian Personality, Kinsey's survey into sexual attitudes has provided empirical data for revolutionary agendas, and Kinsey's exponents are avid in applying Kinsey politically. The doctrine of the Kinseyan sexologists appears to be precisely that of the "sex pol" of Reich, and the subsequent doctrines of Fromm, Marcuse and Adorno.
Kinsey began his studies in sex in 1938 at Indiana University. Of 18,000 individual case studies in sexual behaviour, Kinsey personally interviewed 7,983 subjects. By 1941 Kinsey's research was being funded by the Rockefeller Foundation through the National Research Council. In 1946 the Rockefeller Foundation granted $14,000 for Kinsey's research library. The Kinsey Institute was founded in 1947. Rockefeller Foundation funding continued until 1954. According to a statement filed with the Reece Congressional Committee investigating the tax-exempt foundations, the Rockefeller Foundation granted $414,000 to Kinsey over the period 1941-49.
The Rockefeller Foundation provides a common link between Kinsey and the Frankfurt Institute/New School. The basis of the New School for Social Research is the Graduate Faculty on Political and Social Science founded in 1933 as the "University in Exile" to accommodate the large number of socialist intellectuals who were fleeing or being expelled from Hitler's Germany; (88) mostly those from the Frankfurt Institute such as Adorno, Marcuse and Fromm. The University in Exile was funded by "enlightened philanthropists like Hiram Halle (89) and the Rockefeller Foundation." (90)
The New School was the initial destination for employment for the exiles and refugees whom the Rockefeller Foundation's Emergency Program for European Scholars brought to the USA. The Foundation selected the scholars in consultation with the US State Department. (91)
In regard to Kinsey's survey, it is interesting to note that the Reece Congressional Committee was formed originally with the specific aim of investigating the funding for Kinsey. Rep. Reece stated: "The Congress has been asked to investigate the financial backers of the institute that turned out the Kinsey sex report last August." (92) The Kinsey Institute states that "The Rockefeller Foundation's Board of Directors, under pressure from Reece's committee, withdrew financial support for Dr. Kinsey's research." (93)
After the Reece Committee was wound up, funding for Kinsey resumed. The Institute states:
President Wells then approached the Trustees of Indiana University to ask for continued support of the Institute for Sex Research, which they granted. Since then the Institute has received funding from various private and public sources, including the National Institutes of Health (NIMH, NICHD, NIDA), Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Eli Lilly & Co., and Indiana University. (94) The Rockefeller Foundation continues to fund the Kinsey Institute, and a myriad of fellowships and research centers have arisen with Foundation funding for the purpose. The Sexuality Research Assessment Project of the Social Science Research Council was funded by The Ford Foundation (95), Gund Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation, according to a statement by the Kinsey Institute. (96) The Sexuality Research Fellowship Program started in 1996 under the National Sexuality Resource Center is funded by the Ford Foundation for the purposes of awarding grants to researchers in the field. (97) In 1948 and 1953 Kinsey's seminal studies, Sexual Behaviour in the Male, and Sexual Behaviour in the Female, respectively, were published. The Kinsey studies were formative in the move to normalise homosexuality, and to liberalize abortion. The common links between Kinseyan sexology and the "sex pol" of the Frankfurt Institute are indirect but interesting; namely: that both were and continue to be well funded from similar sources; and that both arrive at the same conclusions and same political outlook Dr John Bancroft, Director of the Kinsey Institute, has objected to the manner by which the "religious Right" has portrayed Kinsey as subversive and revolutionary. He has also expressed concern at the way the "religious Right" (sic), which he states (ironically) is "well funded," has campaigned to discredit Kinsey and the Institute. Yet in the same lecture commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Kinsey Institute, Dr Bancroft made some significant revelations as to the continuing funding of the Institute's programs and expressed views on the impact of Kinsey that are overtly "revolutionary." (98) Bancroft, while regretting that Kinsey did not provide a clear indication of the political applications of his research, was himself forthcoming, setting out a sexual dialectic as the basis of dissent against traditional society and morality, which is reminiscent of the ideology of Reich, Fromm, Adorno, Marcuse, et. al.: As the prevailing sexual morality, by definition, demands conformity, so sexual non-conformity becomes a vehicle for dissent. And as human societies have become more complex, so have mechanisms of social dissent played a crucial role, often through a socially disturbing dialectic process, in the evolution of each society. Socio-Cultural Constraints on Sexuality ... (99)
Bancroft traced the rise of feminism--from the 1960s milieu of the New Left, which was so significantly influenced by Marcuse and Fromm, into the 1980s and to the present--back to this sexual dialectic, seeing in particular encouraging developments in Catholic societies where the sexual dialectic is making progress in swaying women away from tradition and towards demands for abortion. Bancroft sees the destruction of the traditional family and gender bonds, which he calls "patriarchal society" as the single most important factor in the evolution of human society:
Such changes were clearly instrumental in the impressive revival of feminist movements from the 1960s on, and in the 1980s onward, we see political consciousness spreading beyond educated, middle class women to women in general. For example, the revolt among traditionally faithful women in Roman Catholic countries against unpopular doctrines such as the restrictions on divorce and abortion. This growing demand by women to improve their rights and to have control over their reproductive lives is now strong worldwide, but still with a fair way to go. The entrenched power structures of patriarchies will not respond readily. Yet I would venture to suggest that no single factor is more important for the further development and improvement of human society than the fundamental issue of establishing the proper relationship between men and women. (100)
Bancroft acclaimed the rise of the so-called 'youth sub-culture" beginning in the 1960s, again reflecting a sexual dialectic that turned revolutionary, disrupted the bond of parent and child, and destroyed the traditional authority and respect of parents, from which emerged a type of "generational struggle" that replaced the previous 'class struggle" that had been the basis of the Old Left. From this youth alienation emerged the New Left based on drugs, sex and music. Bancroft lauds this as "social liberation," yet he also describes it as creating a "youth culture" that had--and continues to have--a "major commercial impact." Bancroft noted the international character of this commercial youth culture as crossing traditional cultural barriers. It can be quite readily seen that this revolutionary sexual dialectic created youth as a new consuming class, as well as forming another front for the assault upon tradition. Perhaps this offers an explanation as to why the Foundations and certain other associations of transnational business have been interested in patronizing such revolutionary agendas. Bancroft further stated:
... And if we see many of these changes as reflecting a crisis in the relations between the sexes, even more dramatic and revolutionary was the rise of a powerful youth culture, reflecting a profound change in the relations between the generations. We have youth as a self-conscious group, stretching from puberty to the middle twenties, with puberty itself being several years earlier than had been the case in earlier generations. In the 1960s, the political impact of this youth culture was a force to be reckoned with. This new autonomy of youth as a separate social stratum reverberated with the golden years of capitalism, and the increasing earning potential of many young people, to produce a youth culture with major commercial impact. Music and fashion were perhaps its most commercial manifestations. And the autonomy of this youth culture, and its distancing from the conventions of adulthood, was all the more dramatic because of the international nature of this movement. The music, the dress, the political ideals crossed long established cultural and language barriers with extraordinary ease, aided by the miracles of modern information technology, themselves very much the domain of the young. The personal liberation of the young from the constraints of their elders became mobilized into social liberation. And inevitably, the most obvious vehicles for liberation were sex and drugs. The rejection of conventional constraints as part of this youth culture became expressed in an openness to the pursuit of sexual pleasure which probably had no parallel, at least in recent history. The historian, Eric Hobsbawm, has described this cultural revolution as "the triumph of the individual over society." (101)
In relation to this new youth culture of sex, drugs and music, one is reminded of Huxley's Brave New World where servitude is accepted in blissful ignorance. (102) In many ways, Huxley is more prescient than Orwell; and his Brave New World is centred largely on control mechanisms which are doctrinally very similar to the sexology and "sex pol" of the neo-Kinseyans, and Reich, Fromm and Marcuse, et. al. Huxley could discern the emergence of a Freudian-Marxian synthesis that would be a useful means of social control.
In Brave New World, Huxley writes of the attitude towards family induced by what he calls the "World Controllers":
Our Freud has been the first to reveal the appalling dangers of family life. The world was full of fathers--was therefore full of misery; full of mothers--therefore of every kind of perversion from sadism to chastity, full of brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts--full of madness and suicide. (103) A "Controller" states: "Mother, monogamy, romance. High spurts the fountain; fierce and foamy the wild jet. The urge has but a single outlet. My love, my baby. No wonder those poor pre-moderns were mad and wicked and miserable.' (104) This expresses precisely the doctrine of "sex pol." Bancroft continued: There will be no simple solution; but in searching for solutions we need to understand better the impact of these huge social changes before we can hope to influence their consequences. And maybe the key will lie in this shift from the family and community to the individual. How can we instil the sense of responsibility about sexual behaviour in the individual, which was previously defined and reinforced by the family and community? This, I believe, is particularly germane to our approach to the sexuality of the adolescent. (105)
Although Reich's "sex pol" could easily be dismissed as a fringe of Marxism in post-Versailles Germany that didn't even garner the support of the Communist party, and was rejected by the USSR, the doctrine entered the USA and the mainstream of academe much like Boasian social anthropology. Reich's theories were given empirical backing by the seminal studies of Adorno, et. al., in the immediate post-World War II period. Like Boasian anthropology, the defeat of Nazism and Fascism provided an impetus for a liberal or Leftist reaction against anything that could be labelled "Right," which is what the Frankfurt coterie did to maximum effect. The same conclusions and politicization emerged from Kinsey's sexology. Both movements, "sex pol" or "sex economics" and Kinseyan "sexology," merged doctrinally; and both have received similar financial patronage. The cumulative result has been a significant shift in traditional attitudes towards the family, parental authority, gender, child-rearing, adolescence and sexuality. The movements have also provided a formidable arsenal against those who try to defend traditional and conservative morals and structures. The onus is now on those who were once considered to represent "normality." They are now widely considered "abnormal." They are seen as not expressing so much political and moral opinions as being afflicted with personality disorders and as being the victims of parental repression. Traditional values are consequently put on the defensive.
K.R. Bolton *
Academy of Social and Political Research, Athens
* The author may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) Gary Bullert, "Franz Boas as Citizen-Scientist: Gramscian-Marxist Influence on American Anthropology," The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, Vol. 34, No. 2, Summer 2009, 208-243.
(2) Patrick J Buchanan, The Death of the West (New York: Saint Martin's Press, 2002), 7896.
(3) Ibid., p. 77.
(4) Ibid., 78.
(5) Ibid., 78-79.
(6) Ibid., . 79.
(7) Ibid., 94.
(8) Ibid., 80.
(9) T W Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel J Levinson and R Nevitt Sanford, The Authoritarian Personality (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1950).
(10) Else Frenkel-Brunswick, "Parents and Childhood as seen through the interviews," Adorno, Vol. 1, Chap. 10, ibid., 385.
(11) Ibid., 386.
(12) Ibid., 1.
(13) Ibid., 6.
(14) Max Horkheimer, ibid., "Preface," xi.
(15) Adorno, et al, op. cit., 11-12.
(16) Ibid., 12.
(17) Ibid., 226-227; "The F Scale, Form 78."
(18) Ibid., 231.
(19) Ibid., 232.
(20) Ibid., 395.
(21) Ibid., 398.
(22) Ibid., 399.
(23) Ibid., 400.
(24) Ibid., 401.
(25) Ibid., 404.
(26) Ibid., 406.
(27) Ibid., 408.
(28) Ibid., 428.
(29) Daniel J Levinson, ibid., 153-206.
(30) Ibid., 152.
(31) Ibid., 154.
(32) Adorno, ibid., 655.
(33) Ibid., 655.
(36) Maria Hertz Levinson, ibid., chapter XXII, "Psychological ill-health in relation to potential Fascism: a study of psychiatric clinic patients," 891.
(37) Ibid., 939.
(38) Ibid., 965.
(39) Ibid., 966.
(41) Ibid., 967.
(42) Gary Bullert, op.cit.
(43) Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (New York: Harper and Row, 1944).
(44) Maria Hertz Levinson, opacity., 967.
(45) Ibid., 968.
(46) The libidic energy invested in maintaining a repressed complex.
(47) Maria Hertz Levinson, ibid., 970.
(48) Leon Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed (New York: Doubleday, Doran and Company, 1937) In particular Chapter VII: "Family, Youth and Culture."
(49) Sidney Bloch and Peter Reddaway, "Your disease is dissent," New Scientist, July 21, 1977, 149.
(50) Ibid., 150
(51) E Fuller Torrey, The Roots of Treason: Ezra Pound and the Secrets of St Elizabeth's (London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1984). Pound was committed to St. Elizabeth's asylum as an alternative to putting him on trial for treason. Such a trial would have drawn widespread attention to his views. He remained undiagnosed.
(52) Lothrop Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization (London: Chapman and Hall, 1922).
(53) Ibid., 176.
(54) Ibid., 177.
(56) Gary Bullert, op.cit.
(57) Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom (New York: Rinehart & Co., 1941).
(58) Ibid., 36.
(59) Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilisation (Boston: Beacon, 1955).
(60) Encyclopaedia of World Biography on Herbert Marcuse: http://www.bookrags.com/biography/herbert-marcuse/ (Accessed on January 15, 2010).
(62) Martin Duberman, Left Out: The Politics of Exclusion--Essays 1964-99, (New York: Basic Books, 1999), p. 347.
(63) Douglas Kellner, "Marcuse, Herbert", The American National Bibliography, http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:5_KUmmTtH7QJ:www.uta.edu/ english/dab/illuminati ons/kell12.html (Accessed on January 15, 2010).
(65) Lothrop Stoddard, op. cit.
(66) Herbert Marcuse, Counterrevolution and Revolt (Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 1972), 55.
(67) For a list of academics who studied under Marcuse, see: "Scholars and Activists who were influenced by Herbert Marcuse", compiled by Harold Marcuse: http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:zBRBEm8hL0oJ:www.marcuse.org/ herbert/scholaractivists.htm (Accessed on January 15, 2010).
(68) Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, English ed. (New York: Orgone Institute Press, 1946), 25.
(69) Ibid., 20.
(70) Ibid., 21.
(72) Ibid., 22.
(74) Ibid., 24.
(76) Ibid., 26.
(77) Ibid., 88.
(78) Ibid., 213.
(79) Myran Sharaf, Fury On Earth--A Biography of Wilhelm Reich (London: Andre Deutsch, 1983), 4.
(80) Sharaf, ibid., 129-144.
(81) Ibid., 162.
(82) Ibid., pp. 162-163.
(83) Ibid., p. 169.
(85) Wilhelm Reich, 1945, preface, op.cit., xvi.
(86) Ibid., xx.
(87) Martin Jay, The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the New School for Social Research (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), 135.
(88) New School for Social Research, "About Us": http://www.newschool.edu/nssr/subpage.aspx?id=9122 (Accessed on January 16, 2010).
(89) Hiram Halle was an owner of Gulf Oil, one of the "Seven Sisters" world oil companies, which merged with David Rockefeller's Standard Oil (Chevron) in 1984.
(90) New School, "History": http://www.newschool.edu/nssr/subpage.aspx?id=9064 (Accessed 16 January 2010).
(91) "(3) Emergency Program for European Scholars, 1940-1945", Rockefeller Foundation Archives: http://22.214.171.124/search?q=cache:tXK4eQ5oXbAJ:www.rockarch.org/ collections/rf/refugee.php (Accessed on January 16, 2010).
(92) "What really happened to funding for sex research?", The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, http://126.96.36.199/search?q=cache:DDb_DNVADAJ:www.kinseyinstitute.org/ about/Movie-facts.html (Accessed on January 17, 2010).
(95) " From 1996 to 2005, the Ford Foundation supported the Sexuality Research Fellowship Program." Ford Foundation: www.fordfound.org/pdfs/grants/RFP_SRHR.pdf (accessed on January 17, 2010).
(96) The Kinsey Institute: http://188.8.131.52/ search?q=cache:pk7iw9arflAJ: www.kinseyinstitute.org/resources/sexrealn.html (Accessed on January 17, 2010).
(97) SSRC Sexuality Research Fellowship Program: http://184.108.40.206/search? q=cache:oOtSW1bHTLYJ:nsrc.sfsu.edu/press_release/ssrc_sexuality_research_ fellowship_program_ (Accessed on January 17, 2010).
(98) John Bancroft M.D., Director, Kinsey Institute, "Fiftieth anniversary lecture on the Kinsey Institute Today", The Kinsey Institute Today. Description: "A lecture on the occasion of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Kinsey Institute, given Friday, October 24, 1997, at the Indiana University Fine Arts Auditorium, in conjunction with the opening of the Institute's 50th Anniversary Exhibition, 'The Art of Desire: Erotic Treasures from the Kinsey Institute'." http:/www.kinseyinstitute.org/about/ib-50lecture.html (Accessed on January 17, 2010).
(99) Ibid., "Social Changes."
(102) Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, (London: Chatto & Windus), 1969.
(103) Ibid., p. 52.
(104) Ibid., 53-54.
(105) Bancroft, op.cit., "Search for Solutions to Sexuality-Related Problems in Society Today."
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|Publication:||The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2010|
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