The middle class is not an income bracket. It is a group of people who share values that strengthen the individual. Their strength makes the middle class the most difficult class to rule.
Displacing the middle class has been the trend of recent history. Globalism concentrates wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people, which starves out the mid-tier of society. Particularly since the end of WWII , Western elites have focused on breaking the mid-tier’s ability to resist their own disenfranchisement.
In his Republic Plato recognized the power of middle class principles. Family loyalty, community participation, self reliance and prizing education are all things that help the individual resist the will of the State. Plato knew that a class of virtuous citizens needed these qualities in order to prevent the state from slipping into tyranny.
Plato also noted that would-be tyrants attack virtuous citizens in specific ways: they bring in foreign helpers to undermine the cultural homogeneity of the state; they set up slave militias to use against their citizenry; and they start propaganda campaigns specifically designed to wipe out middle-class values. When these attacks are successful the tyrant sets up a government which Plato called “The Tyranny of Slaves.”
“The Tyranny of Slaves” can only come about if enough people adopt slavish values — thereby allowing themselves to be manipulated by the despot. Slaves don’t take personal responsibility, they wait to be handed what they “deserve.” They don’t respect elders, are insolent, intemperate and extravagant. What’s worse, they don’t value reason and logic; they are only moved by emotion-based sophistical arguments. Slaves need a tyrant to rule them. They are people who seek instant gratification, do not consider consequences and are prone to senseless violence. They are mankind debased.
When he wrote the Republic, Plato was describing recent history and what he had seen happen in Athens during his lifetime.
But the pattern has been repeated many times since. Rome’s power was built on its army, which was made up of many landholding farmers. Wealth came after military success; land ownership was concentrated; and the new landlords replaced Roman farmers with a polyglot of slaves. Since that event the empire had to rely on Northern European conquests for soldiers and the City became the international cesspool that Juvenal describes in The Satires.
A similar thing happened with England’s yeomanry. Brooks Adams describes their displacement during the sixteenth century in his book The Law of Civilization and Decay.
But the bad guys don’t always win. An inspiring example of the middle class resisting tyranny is the struggle of the Germanic farmers with Arminius against Publius Quinctilius Varus in the Teutoberg Forrest. When Arminius tried to impose his own dictatorship, the farmers broke him too.
Since Plato’s writing, other philosophers have built on his observations. Plato naively thought that he could get rid of internecine conflict by extending the family relationship across an entire class — in other words, communal property and no nuclear family. Aristotle realized that only ownership made people care for things: traditional families were crucial to the well being of the middle class. In Politics,Aristotle suggested that abolishing private property would be ideal for the slave class, because the resultant discord would make them easier to control.
Plato’s and Aristotle’s work became especially relevant during The Enlightenment. Philosophers turned their thoughts towards how to reconstruct society.
The Marquis de Sade, a vicious French revolutionary, noticed that when people are bombarded with sex and stripped of family relations, they are distracted and isolated; this makes them totally at the mercy of the State. He recommended plenty of smut in the theater in order to convert the French into “revolutionary citizens.” See his Philosophy in the Bedroom.
Gustave le Bon, a French philosopher writing in the 1890s, saw that when groups of people are very diverse they have few feelings of responsibility towards each other and are more easy to manipulate. (See The Crowd.) The American Conservative’s Steve Sailer noticed this too in his January 2007 articleFragmented Future.
1940s intellectuals inherited a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of society — and how to manipulate them. They started out as Marxists but became disillusioned with Marxism because the lower middle class in Germany in the end opted for National Socialism instead of communism. The response of these intellectuals was to develop theories based on psychoanalysis in which the middle class and any sense of social cohesion were pathologized. From their point of view, the problem was the family itself.
At the center of this onslaught on the middle class was a group of refugee Jewish intellectuals from a communist think-tank in Frankfurt called the “Institute for Social Research.” They are now commonly known as “The Frankfurt School.” The most prominent members of the institute were Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse.
A perfect example of Frankfurt School thinking was Herbert Marcuse‘s use of Plato’s idea of “The Tyranny of Slaves.” Plato saw the “Tyranny of Slaves” as the ultimate treachery and akin to patricide: a tyrant uses slaves to oppress his own people — the people who gave the tyrant birth.
Marcuse turns the idea of “The Tyranny of Slaves” on its head. According to Marcuse (following Freud), Western Culture was founded by a band of sons who wanted to sleep with their mother and killed their oppressive father (patricide). In guilt, the sons reestablished the tyranny of the father and the result was European Man. Marcuse speculated that Western tyranny will be broken through a cathartic event: minorities and women would rebel, crushing Western Culture and ushering in a fuzzy utopia that is liberated from logic and reason. This utopia will be led by Frankfurt intellectuals. Marcuse calls this catharsis the “return of the repressed.”
The Frankfurters attacked middle class values from every angle. They attacked the foundations of the Western educational system: reason became a symptom of “oppression,” what was “logical” was whatever supported the Frankfurter’s politics. Science was only useful if it could be twisted into propaganda. The Classics became unfashionable.
In reality, the Frankfurters were agitating for an education system that would dumb down the populace and make them less able to identify their own interests.
The Frankfurters adopted de Sade’s social destabilization techniques. Sexual perversion became “freedom”. Loving your race, family and culture became “authoritarian”— unless of course you were non-white. Mentally healthy people were those who rejected their family and looked with eager eyes toward the “return of the repressed.”
In reality, the Frankfurters were promoting diversity because it disrupts community — just as Le Bon had observed. Diversity is strength for oligarchical elites, it is not strength for subjugated people. Cultural and ethnic diversity undermine community and open societies up for tyranny.
After the Frankfurt revolution society would supposedly be freed from private property and the State would provide for everyone’s needs. Being “reified” citizens we would be happy rutting with egalitarian abandon and living our atomistic lives. Ulysses: nil, Lotus-Eaters: one.
The Frankfurters knew full well that distracted and isolated people are weak and the perfect material for the slave class. Single mothers, abandoned children, institutionalized men and the neglected elderly are all dependent on the State and will do as they are told — if they want their benefits.
The Frankfurt school was well connected to the government, particularly the US occupation administration in Germany after World War II. The resources of theOffice of Strategic Services and its successor, the CIA, were used to broadcast the Frankfurter’s morally weakening message across the globe.
In 1949 John McCloy (the American High Commissioner for Germany and CIA heavyweight) arranged a special posting for Max Horkheimer at Frankfurt University. Horkheimer had written that an outpost in Frankfurt would be necessary to monitor the effects of American ‘anti-prejudice’ programs on Germans. In 1950 McCloy funds supported the reestablishment of the Institute for Social Research, directed by Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno.
Many Frankfurt intellectuals found a home away from home in the American university system. After serving with the OSS/CIA they returned to the “Ivory Tower” and were given plush jobs. Herbert Marcuse went to Columbia University, Harvard, Brandeis and the University of California at San Diego; Leo Lowenthal(Office of War Information section chief) went to the University of California, Berkeley — from where their protégés continue to assert, repeat and spread the Frankfurt School contagion.
Frankfurters were given jobs analyzing television and radio content to make sure it had the right messages. Their suggestions in art and music were promoted at Allied-funded cultural events in Europe like the “Congress for Cultural Freedom” — the main organization of the anti-Stalinist left. The Congress was organized in 1950 by Michael Josselson with help from Melvin Lasky andNicolas Nabokov. Sidney Hook and other New York Intellectuals were central figures. The Rockefeller-funded Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) was closely linked to the Congress. MoMA was a private conduit for promoting socialist-inspired art that the 1950s US Congress would not support.
The Frankfurt School and the New York Intellectuals developed a common front with non-Jewish elites in the Cold War struggle to attain the intellectual high ground against Stalinism. But it was an alliance made with the devil, because, asKevin MacDonald has shown, the ideology promoted by the non-communist left came to be institutionalized as the ideology of Western suicide. The New York Intellectuals and the Frankfurt School—both movements dominated by strongly identified Jews — developed a widely disseminated theory, based on psychoanalysis (itself a Jewish intellectual movement), in which concern for ethnic displacement and the rise of minority power were indications of psychopathology. White people with no allegiance to their family, their country or their race were seen as the epitome of psychological health.
The Frankfurters and the New York Intellectuals had a great respect for Western Classical Literature. (This was typical of other Jewish-dominated anti-nationalist intellectual movements described by Yuri Slezkine.) Shakespeare and the other Western classics would survive the revolution of the non-communist left, but the rest of Western culture would have to go, as would the predominant racial group — White Europeans. They had read Plato and Aristotle very carefully, and for the most part accepted these writers’ conclusions. The Frankfurters were also familiar with De Sade and Le Bon — and recognized their relevance to Plato. From a synthesis of these ideas sprung a system for attacking the middle class.
It will not be lost on the reader that the time period in question was also the beginning of the “Civil Rights” movement; the “Sexual Revolution”; and massive third-world immigration to the West. What has been the effect of these things on our society? Are we as a people more or less able to defend our own interests and hold our government accountable? Plato would answer “less.”
Elizabeth Whitcombe (email her) is a graduate of MIT in Economics with a concentration in International Economics. She is a financial analyst and free-lance writer living in New York City.