Marxism, the Frankfurt School, and the Leftist Takeover of the College Campus
How did socialism become mainstream? Look no farther than modern-day socialism's roots: Marxism. When one observes the modern political scene occupied by the likes of Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, one observes nothing but modern-day Marxism. When one observes the modern-day college campus, one observes nothing but the Marxist-leftist indoctrination of America's youth.
When Marxism is considered, it is often viewed through an economic lens. Karl Marx's ideas of historical materialism, the exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie, and class-based division are staples of American collegiate academia. Any second-year university student, no matter his degree path, has already been taught from the enlightened minds of Marx and Engels. However, what if these ideas of Marxism go much deeper than mere economics? What if Marxist philosophy has extended to every facet of the American college campus?
To some, this idea might seem preposterous and a manufactured right-wing conspiracy. To any politically moderate or conservative student, it's a living reality.
While socialist and Marxist-influenced ideas have spread throughout the corridors of America and thus led to the election of such prominent democratic socialists as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, many Americans don't realize how deep an impact Marxist ideas have made culturally — namely, on college campuses.
The Frankfurt School was a movement of far-left European philosophers who sought (among many other things) to apply the ideas of Marx in a social context. What developed from this school was Critical Theory, which is ultimately a re-envisioning of the way the world is seen. The Frankfurt School rejected objective truth and the historical records of humanity and objected to any form of objective knowledge. According to Claudio Corradetti of the University of Rome, this can be said of the Frankfurt School: "on the basis of Habermasian [a Frankfurt School philosophy] premises, indeed, there can be no objective knowledge[.] ... Since knowledge is strictly embedded in serving human interests, it follows that it cannot be considered value-neutral and objectively independent." With this statement comes the basis of the identity politics–centered culture. There is no longer objectivity in the sciences or arts, and everything becomes an element of interpretation. Knowledge, according to Marxist thought, can be manipulated to serve a purpose, and that is what the left is actively doing. While this idea that objective knowledge is no longer accepted might seem like nonsense, these ideas are prominent in far-ranging academic subjects from the arts to the sciences. In turn, these ideas are captivating campuses and infecting students everywhere.
Throughout Western history, society has been rooted in the principles of objective truth. The great philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, and Locke all believed in some form of objective truth that guided society and established principles to be followed.
Much of the modern Western world is based on the ideas produced by Judeo-Christian thought. Judeo-Christian thought is based deeply in objective truth and objective reality. However, objective truth or reality of any kind is no longer the fad. One has to look no farther than Boston University to find courses with titles such as "Dismantling White Privilege, Power, and Supremacy." Any course that attempts to induce guilt for one's ethnicity is undeniably subjective in nature. Consider the debates on sex, sexuality, and human physiology. There is arguably mainstream societal acceptance that there are more than two "genders" and that sex and sexuality are in no way linked. Furthermore, if one even questions the eligibility of male athletes in female-only sports, he will often be labeled a bigot, or at the very least old-fashioned. No empirical research is needed to realize that much of American history is now scrutinized rather than honored. American military involvement is commonly preached as oppression rather than liberation. Everything from the nuclear family to supporting ICE is under scrutiny. There is a systematic dismantling of American values that were once accepted as objectively good and now maligned as evil. When objective truth and reality no longer exist, the Left can rewrite the rules to society — and it has.
Where do all of these ideas come from? Primarily college campuses. The Frankfurt School's rejection of objective truth has led to the creation of leftist ideologies that demonize all forms of conservatism while praising intersectionality. Once an idea is preached into impressionable minds, reiterated throughout the echo chambers of social media, and proselytized to the masses, these ideas became mainstays of mainstream culture. If objectivity continues to be rejected on college campuses and throughout much of our society, it will be a lonely world for conservatives and free-thinkers. There's no telling where the promulgators of Marxism and the Frankfurt School will go from here.
Andrew Cunningham is a published author and a sophomore at the University of Illinois, Springfield majoring in political science.