"Sex Pol" Ideology: The Influence of the Freudian-Marxian Synthesis on Politics and Society

By Bolton, K. R. | The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, Fall 2010 | Go to article overview

"Sex Pol" Ideology: The Influence of the Freudian-Marxian Synthesis on Politics and Society


Bolton, K. R., The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies


Many of the cultural and social mores and resultant political policies that are today accepted as mainstream, or comparatively so, and have been lauded as "progressive," can be traced to specific political agendas of extreme orientation. Cultural Marxism for example has had, like its counterpart in anthropology, its highly organized coteries; and as in anthropology, fundamentally Marxist perceptions are today regarded as liberal and scholarly. While the USSR had no need for subtleties, the same fundamental doctrines were presented in the West under other guises. This article examines some of the origins and the development of today's moral relativity as part of a deliberate strategy to eliminate traditional morality in the interests of political agendas that have among their origins the so-called "sex pol" ("sexual politics") ideology of a coterie of German Communists who found the academic openings in the USA which were denied to them even among fellow Communists in Germany and Stalin's Russia.

Key Words: Authoritarian Personality; Frankfurt School; Theodore Adorno; Wilhelm Reich; Alfred Kinsey; sexology; Sex pol; Herbert Marcuse; Freud, Marxism.

One of the primary institutions for the propagation of what might be broadly termed social revolutionary doctrines has been the Frankfurt Institute of Critical Theory (Frankfurt School) that synthesized Freudian sexual psychoanalysis with Marxism. The importance of the Frankfurt School was magnified by the fact that most of its faculty were transplanted to the USA as refugees from Hitlerism, where they were assured influential positions in academia by their wealthy American sponsors.

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 19304, 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 School6. 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 City7.

Pathologizing Morality

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 fatherfigure. 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. …

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