Power, Politics, and the New Proletariat - Race Extortion in the Age of Cultural Marxism

By Michael W. Masters
Volume 20, Number 3 (Spring 2010)
Issue theme: "The Southern Poverty Law Center - A Special Report"

[W]e have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.
— Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Holmes

America, and much of the West with it, is changing in fundamental ways—socially, culturally, politically, and demographically. This change is sometimes attributed to high levels of Third World immigration combined with failure of immigrants to assimilate to Western culture. There is some accuracy in this assessment, but it does not tell the whole story. The more serious danger is that the West is profoundly divided within itself, rendering it susceptible to confusion, disruption, and loss of will. On the one hand, traditional conservative Western mores and values continue to exist—beliefs rooted in historical as well as cultural and religious underpinnings. Whether consciously realized or not, these values owe much to the foundational but inchoate instinct that the West is a unique community worthy of enduring existence as a distinct society. Undermining that view is the illusion that the entire world, the West with it, is a single universal society—a view springing partly from an idealism that dissolves all particularities and partly from an altruism that admits no limits to its reach. This latter view renders the West susceptible to the repressive collectivist impulse first codified by Karl Marx and now morphed into the insidious artifice of political correctness.

Like its parent, political correctness is an ideology of revolution. The adherents of both exploit cleavages within a community to subvert and sow discontent. As with its idealistic fellow traveler, universalism, Marxism dangles a seductive vision of an allegedly perfect world before the masses. Unlike universalism there is a not-so-noble goal that is carefully hidden from view: power. The French Revolution presaged Marx’s methods and consequences. But, full realization awaited creation of the theoretical framework Marx authored, upon which altar tens of millions were sacrificed in the Soviet Union, China and elsewhere in the twentieth century. Having failed to incite comparable violence in the West, Marxists turned to a less overt approach first pioneered by the Frankfurt School in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. That approach was to undermine the historic culture of the West through unrelenting attacks on the very foundations of Western society, a strategy called critical theory. This assault continues today under the name of political correctness but is more accurately described as cultural Marxism.

To consummate that which could not be achieved by violence, as had been accomplished in overthrowing Czarist Russia, cultural Marxists set out to create a new proletariat embracing more than just worker and peasant classes as its power base. Cultural Marxism’s big tent encompasses not only the politics of economic envy but also division of men from women, indoctrination of children, debasement of Christianity, normalization of sexual promiscuity as well as homosexuality, and many other departures from traditional Western values. Included within the new proletariat were population groups not of the West. Non-believers in the new Marxism, particularly those skeptical of expansion of kinship and community to encompass all of mankind, were demonized ruthlessly. Thus did the golem of “racism” come to be a cornerstone of cultural Marxism.

‘Racism’ as Bogeyman


Blood is thicker than water.
— Josiah Tattnall, Commander, U.S. East India Squadron, 1858-1860

No word in the English language is more feared than racism. To be called a racist acts as an instant neurotoxin, evoking immediate psychological terror followed by panicked, incoherent denials. No self-degradation is too extreme if it deflects the accuser. Politicians grovel shamelessly at the feet of the NAACP, the SPLC, the ADL, the media, and any number of left-leaning organizations and race-baiting public figures—the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world. People bleat piteously about their non-white acquaintances and do-gooder save-the-Third World activities. Corporations accused of racist practices find themselves victimized by multimillion dollar lawsuits which prove nearly impossible to win in court. Even victory cannot replace business lost if the public can be convinced that a company did not abase itself abjectly enough.

And yet the word exudes a certain slithery, eel-like quality. Reciprocity is the first casualty. In an example of doublespeak that George Orwell might admire for its audacity, blacks make the absurdly sophistic claim that only whites can be racists—blacks and other non-whites don’t have “power.” As a political weapon, race reigns supreme. A former president of the United States has suggested that criticism of the radical policies of the first African-descended president is the product of racism. The fact that many believe said policies to be incompatible with the nation America’s Founders envisioned is conveniently ignored. In fact, citing the opinions of the Founders is likely to evoke a further barrage of vituperation.

Racial Hypocrisy

Race exploiters spout patently nonsensical absurdities about race with impunity. Newsweek magazine proclaimed in a cover story that white babies are racist by six months of age—a failing that must be mercilessly expunged. Yet non-white children are to be exalted in their racial identity. Leonard Jeffries, a professor of “Black Studies” at City College of New York, infamously claimed that white people are “ice people” who are violent and cruel whereas Africans are “sun people” who are compassionate and peaceful—all attributable to the melanin that protects their skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays! Not only does Mr. Jeffries know nothing about physiology or the Rwanda genocide, but apparently he has never bothered to consult the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, which show that blacks are far more likely per capita to be arrested for violent crimes than whites—or other racial groups as well.

A black woman can accuse white men of gang rape and the justice system moves at warp speed to destroy the lives of the accused—but when the accusations turn out to be false the black woman isn’t even charged with a crime. [1] A lone white child is beaten senseless by a black mob and no one in authority will state the obvious—race was the motive. Piling deception on top of absurdity, Hispanics are sometimes counted as white in crime statistics even though many have Amerindian or African ancestry.

Simultaneously, we are told by left-leaning social “scientists”—but not, significantly, by geneticists—that races do not exist!

Nobel laureate James Watson was crucified in the press and fired from his long-time position at New York’s Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for voicing the simple truism that sub-Saharan African economic prospects are dim because of the regrettable but demonstrable fact that the people of that region have shown themselves to be less capable cognitively on average than other peoples and are therefore less likely to achieve economic success. When overt racism cannot be ferreted out the anonymous evil of institutional racism leaps to the rescue, neatly exculpating blacks for lack of achievement. Which explains nothing—after all, there are those pesky Jews and Northeast Asians (Japanese, Chinese, etc.), who test even higher for cognitive ability than people of European descent despite the fact that they too claim to have faced discrimination.

Non-white public figures openly embrace identity politics with impunity, as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor demonstrated with her “wise Latina” bias. From the highest office in the land, “hope” and “change” equate to “wealth redistribution.” “Social justice” is merely a demand for jobs and favoritism based on color rather than qualifications. Yet, authentic non-white support of traditional views on merit and probity is largely ignored by the media.

Meanwhile, any white politician who hints that other races should play by the rules of fairness they demand from whites is viciously attacked. Tom Tancredo, a staunch immigration restrictionist, was shouted down by a leftist mob simply for asking that U.S. immigration laws be observed. He was defamed in Congress by odious innuendo regarding the KKK. One instance of a black man being dragged behind a truck by white law breakers a few years ago led to an orgy of national media flagellation and demands for draconian “hate crime” laws. Yet, race-motivated crimes against whites pass without notice—discarded down the Orwellian oubliette of banished thoughts. This view was proclaimed as administration policy by black U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who publicly declared that hate crime laws do not protect white men.

Finding a Balance

Racism, we are told, is everywhere. But, is it? Those who claim that racism is all-pervasive all the time remind one of the boy who cried “wolf” too often. Like the stopped clock that is correct twice a day but is useless for telling time, that which never admits variation no matter the circumstance conveys no relevant information. Glaring inconsistencies in usage of the word lead one to question what it really means, why it exists, and who benefits from its use.

These issues dictate a fundamental reassessment of our understanding of the assumptions, often deliberately unstated, that underlie the concept of racism. It is certainly true that people have endured acts of violence and loss of freedom because of their race—and that such conduct is to be unequivocally condemned. But this meaning falls woefully short of encompassing the employment of the word in modern political conflict. Far from serving as an impartial measure of moral conduct, its primary purpose is to deliver social, political ,and economic power to those who use it and to deny to or usurp power from those against whom it is used. In that regard it is little different than accusing a medieval European of atheism—the effect, and often the intent, can be social, political, and economic ruin.

Its use is selectively anti-Western rather than invariant—and thus hypocritical at best and morally reprehensible at worst. It has become a form of passive aggression, paralyzing those who do not see the intrinsic hostility. By allowing those antagonistic to the West to define the word—and by not challenging the contradictions inherent in its use—its targets have conceded the debate before it is begun. Once retreat begins one is inevitably backed over the cliff—from which there is no return. Given the deceptive nature of the word as a political weapon, it is vital to differentiate between actions that are legitimately immoral because they deprive others of “the enjoyment of life and liberty” and “the means of acquiring and possessing property” [2] as opposed to uses that descend to intimidation in service of political and cultural hegemony.

At the same time, political dialog must also recognize the legitimate interests of humans ( all people, those of European descent included) as members of distinct groups—if for no other reason than that humanity has always been thus divided by birth and habit.

Having stated the above premise, the following must also be observed. Human diversity, racially, ethnically, culturally, and religiously, is a fact of the world we live in—a product of history, evolution, and choice. That diversity is the birthright of every individual on earth. To attempt its destruction by subjugation or, worse, violence, is unquestionably evil. But, so too is the act of luring the entirety of humanity into one all-enveloping mise-en-scène through false moral premises. Diversity, on behalf of which the most draconian abridgments of civil liberties and freedom of association and choice are attempted by the ideological left, is at risk from that same left. Allowed to have its way the left would gather the entire world into a single homogenized collective under its domination—resulting in a world utterly devoid of diversity.

Perhaps more importantly, the West must see that there is a balance point, a middle ground between the chimera of racially motivated oppression—about which anti-racists shriek incessantly—and the culture-destroying acid bath of one-worldism they advocate to replace it. There is room to accord dignity and respect to all peoples without surrendering self-interest or natural affinities. Everyone has the right not only to exist but to continue if they wish in the condition with which nature and their own abilities and inclinations have endowed them—so long as in doing so they do not deprive others of that same right. No one has the right to play god with the future of humanity—even if the effort is cloaked in the unctuous but deceitful siren call of care for all mankind.

Reality as Thought Crime

[T]he biological equality of human races and ethnic groups is not inevitable: In fact, it’s about as likely as a fistful of silver dollars all landing on edge when dropped. There are important, well-understood examples of human biological inequality: Some populations can (on average) deal far more effectively with certain situations than others.
The 10,000 Year Explosion,, Cochran and Harpending

One of the curious things about the word racism is that most people only have a vague idea about what it really means. In fact, this contributes substantially to its effectiveness. Because accusations of racism are so feared, people tend to err on the side of doing everything possible to avoid the accusation. But, what exactly does the word signify? Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary provides three definitions. They are:

  1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
  2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
  3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Let us examine each.

The first definition equates racism with a belief that differences in human achievement are (at least partially) attributable to traits that are expressed differentially by race. It carefully avoids denying that any racial differences exist since they palpably do—skin color being the most visible. Instead, since racism is taken to be not only morally repugnant but also an erroneous view of the world, the definition leaves the impression (without explicitly stating so) that any differences are insignificant and must have nothing to do with achievement. Certainly some differences are of little consequence socially, culturally, or economically—skin color among them. Others are significant to medical researchers—for instance, disorders that exhibit higher frequencies in specific racial and ethnic groups. But, are there differences that contribute to accomplishment? Awareness of scientific realities has been so clouded by leftist obscurantism that many people undoubtedly believe that ability-related variations are non-existent. And yet such differences do exist, as has been demonstrated repeatedly via intelligence testing.

To the question of differences is added (“usually”) the condition that belief in difference gives the “superior” race the right to rule over others. A willingness to benefit one’s own race at the expense of others has undoubtedly motivated many cultures throughout history; subjugation by force is a recurring theme in earlier times across many races, ethnic groups, cultures, and religions. However, it is certainly not true in the West today. In fact, the West has not only voluntarily relinquished colonial administrations all over the world but has also poured untold billions of aid into former colonies as well as other struggling Third World nations.

One can, of course, still find ethnic and national groups held in thrall in other parts of the world. What effectively amounts to slavery is still practiced on a small scale in isolated Third World locales—but most assuredly not by Westerners.

The rhetorical sleight-of-hand here is the appending of right-to-rule-over language to the initial difference-in-achievement clause. The West uniformly accepts subjugation by race as immoral. But, concatenating the two interpretations allows the first part of the definition, the belief that differences exist and that they contribute to achievement, to also be branded as morally wrong—all accomplished by imputation and association rather than direct assertion. Given the fact that the word is well understood to be condemnatory, combining these two clauses delivers a strong implicit message that not only is a belief in differences in achievement by race false but such a belief must inevitably escalate to some ill-defined race-based horror.

Furthermore, any difference in real-world achievement becomes instant prima facie evidence of festering racism. Once this definition is accepted, with its socially created negative connotation, all subsequent attempts to mitigate the power of the word are doomed to failure—precisely because real racial differences do exist on average at the population group level, and some of them have very important economic and social implications.

Do Differences Exist?

Many studies have demonstrated differences in the median level of cognitive ability across different human groupings, races included—although scientists often resort to extreme rhetorical contortions to avoid acknowledging that fact in print. As Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending write in The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution,

It is true that many dismiss the idea that intelligence is measurable, is influenced by genes, or can vary from group to group. These criticisms and dismissals, interestingly, hardly ever come from scientists working in the area of cognitive testing and its outcomes: There is little or no controversy within the field. IQ tests work—they predict academic achievement and other life outcomes, and IQ scores are highly heritable.

Cochran and Harpending make the key point: accomplishment is highly correlated with intelligence and intelligence correlates with ancestry. There is not space here to review the body of research that spells out the reality of IQ differences, but the evidence is wide and deep. As a result of longstanding convention the average IQ of European-descended peoples has been placed somewhat arbitrarily at 100. Other races, ethnic groups, and cultures differ, sometimes widely. Some Sub-Saharan African groups average substantially below 80, helping to explain the sad state of African economies. Blacks in America average about 85, due largely to a substantial degree of intermixing. Various Amerindian and Southeast Asian groups average in the vicinity of 90. (These numbers are, of course, very rough averages and approximations, and all groups have individuals who test higher as well as those who test lower.)

The inhabitants of some Northeast Asian countries, on the other hand, average higher than Europeans, around 105. This likely helps explain why nations such as Japan, China, and South Korea became economic powerhouses in the latter half of the twentieth century. The fact that Asian cultures often favor hard work, family ties, reverence for tradition, and low criminality may well be additional factors. Nature vs. nurture is a false dichotomy; both are contributory. Ashkenazi (European-descended) Jews have the highest IQ test results of all groups, averaging in the vicinity of 115. As a result, they are overrepresented in virtually every field of human endeavor that rewards cognitive ability, including business, law, politics, art, literature, science, and many other fields—as well as in their historic role as moneylenders and financiers. Verbal scores are even higher, conferring a veritable genius for communication and persuasion.

Across many races and ethnicities, studies establish a strong correlation between IQ and economic success, both at the personal level and for entire nations, as Professor Richard Lynn of the University of Ulster and Tatu Vanhalen of the University of Helsinki review in IQ and the Wealth of Nations. To repeat, one must also keep in mind the fact that, like many natural phenomena, intelligence is distributed among populations according to the classic bell curve. Thus all groups have members of higher and lower ability than the group average. Groups with lower average IQ scores contain some members with higher IQs than some members of groups with higher average IQ scores and vice versa.

More Than Skin Deep

Nor is IQ the only characteristic for which racial differences exist. Medical researchers have long known that disease-causing genetic defects occur with differing frequencies in different populations. Jews, for instance, are more prone to Tay-Sachs disease. People from some (but not all) parts of Africa and the Middle East are more prone to prostate cancer and sickle cell anemia. People of European descent have, on average, an advantageously greater tolerance for lactose but also a higher susceptibility to cystic fibrosis—an estimated 1 in 29 white Americans possesses the recessive allele that leads to cystic fibrosis.

In athletics, differences in ability are so obvious that they are impossible to ignore. Sub-Saharan African-descended athletes excel at sports involving running and jumping—football and basketball among them. The rosters of some sports teams are so heavily populated by blacks that exceptions are conspicuous. The world’s best sprinters are largely African-descended as are many of the world’s top marathoners. Dominance in sprint events is consistent with the fact that some African-descended populations average more fast-twitch muscle fiber than other racial groups, a genetic gift that propels favored athletes higher, farther, and faster than their less-endowed counterparts. On the other hand, black swimmers may be at a disadvantage compared to others due to, on average, higher bone density and lower body fat. If this impacts buoyancy, more work may be required to propel a black swimmer through the water, resulting in less success than that of white and Asian swimmers. In gymnastics, the Beijing Olympics showcased a growing East Asian proficiency that may be the result of natural ability as well as training.

Perhaps the most appropriate closing point is a reminder: the fact that a person has or does not have genius level intelligence or can or cannot run the hundred meter dash in less than 10 seconds does not determine their moral stature or intrinsic worth—only the “content of their character” can do that.

Family Affair

A number of researchers contend that differences do not stop at intelligence or athletic ability or disease susceptibility. They assert that average differences exist in personality, temperament, and even reproductive strategy because of differences in origins—possibly traceable to climatic differences. Furthermore, W. D. Hamilton proposed that the choice of those to whom one exhibits altruistic behavior is influenced by the degree of kinship one has with them. By a process called kin selection, some creatures behave so as to favor the reproductive success of their relatives, even at a cost to their own survival. At the human level, this leads not only to favoring of one’s own kin group but also in many cases to more harmonious relations within societies of like people.

Professor Philippe Rushton of the University of Western Ontario has written that people give “preferential treatment to genetically similar others” and may be expected to exhibit less altruism to people and groups for whom the genetic relationship is more distant. As a result, “ethnic conflict and rivalry” constitutes “one of the great themes of historical and contemporary society.” Since this kinship-related duality is almost certainly evolutionary in origin, it is a fundamental part of human nature. Thus, imputing a definition of racism that encompasses a belief in human differences has the effect of demonizing something that is inescapably inherent in each of us. One’s ethnic group, and to a lesser extent, one’s race, is the collection of one’s distant cousins. Regard for one’s own kin is normal, natural, and healthy. Contrary to the claims of cultural Marxists, this does not mean that one must inevitably wish harm to others any more than a mother wishes harm to children that are not her own. It simply means that everyone has a natural affinity for their own relations.

This is perhaps the most pernicious aspect of the word racism. Once people are deprived of their natural regard for familial connections, they have no defense against the depredations of cultural Marxism. More generally, any definition that is false, or that is based on a false premise, must fundamentally distort dialogue. Once one accepts a false definition, especially a definition with such strong socially and morally laden negative connotations, debate is inevitably shunted into a cul-de-sac from which there is no escape. The genius of this approach is that it is self-policing. Once the false definition is established, people voluntarily live the lie—and eventually no longer remember that it is a lie but rather come to believe the lie to be the truth.

Hating the ‘Haters’

We omit extended discussion of the second meaning of racism, i.e., “a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination,” since it is derivative from the first. What is appropriate for individuals should, at least in theory, be appropriate for governments as well. However, the third meaning, “hatred or intolerance of other races,” merits discussion. Surely unreasoning pathological hatred can lead to destructive behaviors. But like the word racism, “hate” has become an all-purpose swear word in the service of cultural Marxists—so long as the hater is white, of course. If the hater is something else, some attempt is made to excuse it as a morally acceptable expression of rage for centuries of putative oppression by whites—even though the supposedly oppressed are long since deceased. These inconsistencies are a direct violation of reciprocity and a sure indicator of non-objectivity. Thus while the word has a valid meaning in the context of a broad spectrum of human behaviors, accusation of hate in the context of race, like racism itself, has become a weapon of mass destruction for cultural Marxists.

Throughout the West it is accepted that deprivation of civil liberties or violence for reasons other than self-defense is a moral evil. Left unconsidered is a whole range of questions relating to when negative reactions are appropriate. “Hate” has been laden with imputations that are too emotional to permit its use as a vehicle for dialogue. We must instead reason from terms that more clearly reflect the reactions of normal, well-adjusted people. In countering the excesses of cultural Marxists, let us replace “hate” with “disapproval” or “negative thoughts” and restart the conversation.

Are negative thoughts and feelings never to be allowed, no matter the provocation? Surely in certain circumstances they are not only rational and morally permissible but indeed necessary for cultural preservation or even physical survival. Is one not allowed to dislike the criminal who breaks into one’s home intending to commit violence against one’s family? What about an invading army whose soldiers are killing one’s friends, neighbors, and relatives while looting and burning everything in their path? Is not one morally justified in having negative thoughts about the invaders and in countering their actions—with force if necessary?

More to the point, how should one feel about those of a different culture who steal into one’s homeland in violation of its immigration laws and who then displace native-born citizens from their livelihood by taking jobs for lower wages? (One may ask similar questions about affirmative action.) How should one feel if the interlopers refuse to learn the hosts’ language and assimilate to their culture, call the natives they displace ugly names in order to silence opposition, and subscribe to different political, cultural, social, and moral norms and values? What should one think about the possibility that the interlopers might become the majority and then use their political power to deny the displaced former majority rights that they as newcomers demanded from those they displaced? How should members of the displaced group react if they see themselves diminished to a point where they cannot sustain themselves as a distinct group—submerged politically, economically, and culturally?

These possibilities are valid causes for concern, not manifestations of maladjustment. That the concerns are natural and normal was amply illustrated in Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone, wherein the author documented the increased alienation, distrust, and withdrawal (loss of what he called “social capital”) that accompanies racial and cultural diversity. Bill Bishop captured the natural response to this alienation in The Big Sort, in which he used a half century of presidential election results to show that Americans are clustering themselves politically, socially, demographically, and geographically around viewpoints with which they resonate.

The only people surprised by Putnam’s and Bishop’s findings are those taken in by cultural Marxism’s self-serving propaganda.

To the degree that expression of unreasoned pathological behavior leads to denial of life, freedom, or civil liberty, words such as racism and hate have valid negative meanings. But, their utility to cultural Marxists goes beyond objective moral value judgment—their utility is their ready adaptation to the task of creating political hegemony. What cultural Marxists are trying to accomplish by labeling valid cultural and demographic concerns as the product of hatred is to demonize the natural affinity that all people have for those with whom they share bonds of kinship, culture, language, history, viewpoint, and values. In so doing, they accrue power to themselves and their new proletariat and silence discussion of and opposition to their agenda. Such words serve admirably as prods with which to herd the morally squeamish into psychological captivity, wherefrom they forfeit without struggle their right of self-preservation.

Sun-Tzu would marvel at such a strategy.

War by Other Means

War is nothing more than the continuation of politics by other means.
— Carl von Clausewitz, On War
All warfare is based on deception.
—Sun Tzu, The Art of War

It is important to understand that the term racism is but one of a complex and interlocking set of weapons employed in a covert war against Western civilization. The employment of these weapons is in large measure a conscious strategy crafted in the early twentieth century by Marxist intellectuals, especially the creators of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany. The Frankfurt School, as it came to be known, adopted this approach as a means of undermining the West spiritually and culturally after the failure of the Bolsheviks to spread violent communist revolution to Western Europe following their initial success in Russia. The resulting clash of cultures has been called a Kulturkampf or culture war, adapting the term used by German parliament member Rudolf Virchow to describe Bismarck’s sanctions against the Catholic Church in the late 1800’s.

It must also be understood that certain inherent qualities in the psyche of Western peoples render the West vulnerable to the cancer of cultural Marxism. Sadly, those traits include attributes that most of Christendom would idealize as the noblest attributes of the West: a heightened sense of moral probity, an insistence on fair play even at the cost of one’s own disadvantage, wide-ranging and self-sacrificing altruism, and bottomless sympathy for and willingness to yield blood and treasure to benefit those perceived as downtrodden. Accompanying these traits, and often rendering them liabilities rather than virtues, is a tendency to overlay a moral veneer onto issues that involve fundamental questions of self-interest and even self-preservation—a factor that enables a too-ready inculcation of false guilt.

The Rhetoric of Race

One may learn much from analyzing how things came to be. This is especially the case with the word racism, which appears to have entered the language in the 1930s. Antecedents probably go back to the early twentieth century. As European overseas colonies became more difficult to maintain in the face of awakening nationalist movements, it began to seem likely to some that emerging Third World consciousness and rising populations might eventually impinge on the West in disruptive ways. For some, the notion of Europeans and their dispersed cousins as a separate polity—with a distinct and unique history and culture and a living space worth preserving—took shape. Adherents of this view were sometimes called “racialists,” the first use of which appears to have occurred prior to 1910 . Examples included early immigration restrictionists such as Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard.

A few decades ago the Oxford English Dictionary attributed the first English reference to the word racism to a 1936 book, The Coming American Fascism, by one Lawrence Dennis, an American diplomat who flirted with fascism as an alternative to faltering capitalism during the Great Depression. The second reference was to a book titled Racism, published in Germany and written by a German socialist named Magnus Hirschfeld. Hirschfeld’s book, written in German, was translated into English by Eden and Cedar Paul and re-published in 1938. However, since Hirschfeld’s German original was authored in 1933, his use predates that of Dennis.

A medical researcher by training as well as educated in philosophy, Hirschfeld was both a homosexual and a self-described “sex researcher.” Derided by critics as the “Einstein of Sex,” he espoused a theory that there was a third “intermediate sex.” Still regarded as a pioneer by some, his book credits also include: Homosexuality of Men and Women, The Transvestites, Men and Women: The World Journey of a Sexologist, and The Sexual History of the World War. As a member of Germany’s League for the Protection of Mothers, he was also an early advocate for women. Hirschfeld died in France, having fled Germany after the Nazis attacked his Institute for Sexual Research and burned many of his books. The word racism is also known to have been used in France in 1935, as racisme, perhaps attributable to Hirschfeld’s presence.

Trotsky Speaks

However, neither Hirschfeld nor Dennis nor some unidentified Frenchman can claim first publication. We will likely never know who first used the term verbally, but the first printed instance for which attribution is presently known came from the pen of the penultimate figure of the Bolshevik Revolution, Ukrainian-born Lev Bronstein—whom the world knows as Leon Trotsky. Among the inner circle of the October Revolution, Trotsky was the founder and first commander of the Red Army. Always a radical even among Bolsheviks, he vociferously advocated spread of communism beyond the borders of the Soviet Union by what he termed “permanent revolution.” Lenin proved to be more devious, preferring to seduce the West in the aftermath of World War I in order to enlist Western financial and technical aid as a means of modernizing a Soviet Union devastated by war, revolution, and social and political upheaval.

Lenin’s successor, Josef Stalin, followed a not dissimilar path, instituting “socialism in one country” as a means of creating an areligious, deracinated, and culturally neutered “new Soviet man” who would exemplify Soviet communism. (“Uncle Joe” murdered tens of millions who, he suspected, harbored reservations about their own metamorphosis.) In the struggle for power, Trotsky eventually became odd man out, fleeing to exile in Mexico where he was assassinated in 1940 on orders from Stalin. While in exile, Trotsky remained a prolific writer and Marxist theorist. One of his works was History of the Russian Revolution, published in 1930 and translated into English in 1932 by Max Eastman. It is here that we find the first currently documented use of the word racist.

It is vital to understand the historical context in which the word appears. The Bolsheviks, as well as many other Marxist factions, had long sought to overthrow the Czar, the Russian aristocracy, and the Orthodox Christian Church in order to impose a socialist state in Russia. They opposed, as do leftists today, any organic cultural loyalties that stood as a barrier to Marxist ideology. Within this context, there existed an intellectual movement in late nineteenth-century Russia which advocated that the Russian nation should advance economically, culturally, and socially based on the values and institutions of its native Slavic culture rather than those of Western Europe. The Orthodox Church formed a strong component of this cultural identity.

Needless to say, Marxists despised Slavophiles precisely because the latter favored their own intrinsic culture as national foundation, a culture deeply rooted in the history of the Motherland and the psyche of the Russian people. Within that context, it is worth reproducing an extended quote from Chapter One of Trotsky’s History, a passage that simultaneously attacks Orthodox Church, aristocracy, and Slavic affinity for their own culture. It might be suspected from the familiar, almost casual way in which Trotsky uses the word that “racist” had already appeared in informal dialogue amongst the inner circle of Marxist intellectuals and theoreticians.

The clergy, following after the nobility, played no small rôle in the formation of the tzarist autocracy, but nevertheless a servile rôle. The church never rose in Russia to that commanding height which it attained in the Catholic West; it was satisfied with the rôle of spiritual servant of the autocracy, and counted this a recompense for its humility. The bishops and metropolitans enjoyed authority merely as deputies of the temporal power. The patriarchs were changed along with the tzars. In the Petersburg period the dependence of the church upon the state became still more servile. Two hundred thousand priests and monks were in all essentials a part of the bureaucracy, a sort of police of the gospel. In return for this the monopoly of the orthodox clergy in matters of faith, land and income was defended by a more regular kind of police.

Slavophilism, the messianism of backwardness, has based its philosophy upon the assumption that the Russian people and their church are democratic through and through, whereas official Russia is a German bureaucracy imposed upon them by Peter the Great. Marx remarked upon this theme: “In the same way the Teutonic jackasses blamed the despotism of Frederick the Second upon the French, as though backward slaves were not always in need of civilised slaves to train them.” This brief comment completely finishes off not only the old philosophy of the Slavophiles, but also the latest revelations of the “Racists.”

To Trotsky, Slavs who believed in the suitability of their own cultural and religious roots as illumination for their unique path through history—and who coincidentally stood athwart the path of the permanent Marxist revolution—were to be regarded as little more than “backward slaves.” More to the point, racism is conjoined in the same sentence. The parallel with current attacks on Western culture is remarkable. Such attacks, present in the West since the inception of the Frankfurt School (about which more will be said), are directed toward a similar goal, namely destruction of the historic culture of the West and imposition of a society grounded in Marxist ideology.

The lesson is that the word did not describe some terrible universally accepted moral evil—the claim made by its practitioners. Instead, it was part of a vicious smear attack on the historic and organic culture of a distinct people who were targeted for subjugation by Marxist revolutionaries. The true evil—then and now—lies with those who use the word as a weapon of psychological warfare, not with those who maintain a natural, uplifting loyalty to the culture of their birth.

Kulturkampf Comes to the West

The appalling thing in the French Revolution is not the tumult but the design. Through all the fire and smoke we perceive the evidence of calculating organisation. The managers remain studiously concealed and masked; but there is no doubt about their presence from the first.
— John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton

It is beyond the scope of this essay to trace the evolution of collectivist thought from an idealistic yearning for a better world and a legitimate concern with improving the lot of disenfranchised lower classes in Europe at the dawn of the Enlightenment to today’s corrupt politics of envy—and the latter’s fusion with the American early twentieth century progressive movement, with its managerial state obsession. Suffice it to say that much of the early evolution of democratic ideals and equality before the law—what we today recognize as classical liberalism—arose from a legitimate need to reform feudal societies and the self-absorbed aristocracies that succeeded them as fiefdoms consolidated into nation-states and monarchies.

The French Revolution provided a stark contrast to the positive political and social dynamic of classical liberalism, transmogrifying it from an ideal that benefited the whole of a polity derived from a common history—bringing democratic processes to the great majority—into a weapon for the destruction of one power structure and the imposition of another far more oppressive. Not only was the aristocracy of France decapitated—literally—but for the first time in a major Western nation, carefully disguised self-anointed elites stoked and then harnessed the rage of the mob to propel itself to political power through an orgy of bloodletting. However unwittingly, Robespierre’s French Revolution may be viewed as exemplar for Lenin and the Bolsheviks’ overthrow of Russia’s aristocracy and seizure of power.

The next eminence grise appeared in the person of Karl Marx, who published The Communist Manifesto in 1848. A key Marxist concept was the organization of workers and peasants—the proletariat—into a political battering ram with which to assault the traditional Western political and social order. For Marx’s successors the proletariat became an instrument by which power might be achieved. And, it was a highly effective one because of the numbers it mustered and the gap between their condition and that of the decaying aristocracies of many Western nations—a divide that bred festering envy, the mother’s milk of Marxism. The Manifesto’s appearance coincided with abortive attempts at communist revolution in Germany and France. [3] But the seeds of revolution failed to take root in nineteenth century Europe. That outcome awaited World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution.

Marxism by Other Means

The appalling conditions in wartime Russia, which not only suffered devastating losses at the hands of the German Army but which also had endured centuries of Czarist neglect and oppression, finally pushed Russia into the arms of Marxism. The overthrow of Czar Nicholas II in February 1917 paved the way for the Bolshevik bloodbath that followed the October Revolution. But except for a brief post-war reign of terror in Bela Kun’s Hungary, the West remained resistant to communist revolution—even with Europe in ruins in the wake of World War I. The tradition of political liberty that came to maturity during the Enlightenment—with its emphasis on reason, freedom, and democratic principles—as well as the moral stability of the Christian Church immunized the West from the worst excesses of collectivist ideology.

The dilemma facing Marxists was how could the West be overthrown? The answer came from an obscure Italian communist of Albanian descent named Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci gravitated to socialism, and later to communism, early in life. At 22 he joined the Italian Socialist Party and subsequently became a founding member of the Communist Party of Italy in 1921. An ardent communist activist and propagandist, Gramsci was imprisoned in 1926 by Mussolini’s Fascist government. In retrospect, his incarceration proved to be a disaster for the West, for during his 8 years in prison Gramsci churned out thousands of pages of revolutionary historiography and political philippic, his Prison Notebooks, in the process becoming one of the most influential Marxist theorists of the twentieth century.

His key insight was the realization that the integrity of the West was maintained through a process he called cultural hegemony, based on centuries of cultural, religious, and political evolution. The only way to break the West to the yoke of Marxism was to subvert and eventually destroy its organic democratic and largely Christian culture and replace it with something more susceptible to socialist domination. To this end, Gramsci asserted that the acolytes of Marx must make a “long march through the culture” and through the institutions of power in the West, de-Christianizing and undermining traditional Western values as they went. Implicit in this was the idea that a new proletariat of the culturally disaffected was needed—a role that came to be filled by radically feminist women, people of non-traditional sexual orientations, and racial minorities as well as long-time Marxist class warfare recruits.

The goal, Gramcsi asserted, was not a repeat of the bloody 1917 October Revolution but rather a covert conquest of the West through co-option of its culture. The long march must suffocate every Western institution, tradition, and value: church, education, media, literature, the arts, history, government, finance, industry, even science—or at least the interpretation of science’s meaning as it applied to relationships among people in societies. Everything was to be undermined and co-opted: families, traditional values, the roles of men and women, sexual mores, influence of religion in public life—anything that contributed to the cultural strength and integrity of the West.

Frankfurt School

At about the same time Gramsci was formulating a new communist theory in Italy, German Marxists created their own institution of cultural insurrection in the Weimar Republic. Founded and populated by subversives such as Georg Lukacs, Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, and Max Horkheimer, the Institute for Social Research, aka the Frankfurt School, was founded to mutate the DNA of Marxism’s class warfare infection into a virulent immunovirus directed toward cultural conquest. Lukacs had already given this approach a test drive as Deputy Commissar for Culture in Bela Kun’s bloody post- World War I communist Hungary, forcing sex education and the doctrine of free love into schools as well as launching an all-out attack on Hungary’s Christian churches.

That which Gramsci had theorized and Lukacs had trial-run in Hungary, the Frankfurt School honed into a full-scale blueprint for rotting the West from within. Max Horkheimer developed one of the Frankfurt School’s most potent rhetorical weapons. Calling it critical theory, Horkheimer advocated unceasing criticism of everything that gave cultural strength to the West. Spanning the gamut of social sciences, including history, politics, capitalism, economics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, art, literature, and more, the goal was to demonize any and all values and traditions that gave the West its permanence and staying power.

Theodor Adorno advanced the theory of the authoritarian personality to explain Western culture. Christianity, capitalism, and traditional families and moral values were an evil imposed by authoritarian personalities, overriding the putatively “natural” (i.e., Marxist) character of the majority, denying it the will to break free of Western imperialism. The result was a Western culture and a Christian Church that were paternalistic, dogmatic, exploitative, closed-minded, oppressive of women, intolerant of racial minorities, homophobic, and more. Once the value of the term became evident, racism became a signature Western sin.

With the rise of Hitler, many Frankfurt School theorists fled to the West, landing positions at Ivy League schools and other centers of progressivism. Adorno brought a revivified Institute of Social Studies to Columbia University, subsequently moving to the University of California. Horkheimer received U.S .citizenship and moved to California but later returned briefly to Germany, thereafter becoming a lecturer at the University of Chicago. Marcuse became a U.S. citizen and worked in the U.S. intelligence services during World War II. After the war he taught at Columbia, Harvard, Brandeis and the University of California, San Diego. The most explicitly radical of the Frankfurt School escapees, Marcuse, whose Eros and Civilization fused Marx and Freud, never stopped identifying himself as a Marxist.

The influence of these revolutionaries continues to this day in American intellectual circles.

Fascism was soon added to the West’s evils, despite the fact that the West fought a protracted war costing tens of millions of lives to stop the spread of that same ideology—an ideology that is, coincidentally, fundamentally socialist. In fact, the current policies of the more left-leaning American political party, the Democrats, increasingly echoes the tactics, rhetoric, and maneuverings of fascism (minus Brown Shirt violence and the overt racial identity component) rather more than does the marginally more conservative Republican Party—a point that Jonah Goldberg details at length in his best seller, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.

Bleak Future?

When I am the weaker, I ask you for my freedom, because that is your principle; but when I am the stronger, I take away your freedom, because that is my principle.
— Louis Veuillot

Perhaps because the origin of the term has been carefully disguised, racism is perceived in the West as solely a moral issue. This is rarely the case among others. Accusing a European-descended person of racism is an act of aggression intended to change the balance of power to the advantage of the accuser. The fact that whites believe racism to be a moral failing explains why the word is so effective. Those who lose the high moral ground in a debate are sure to lose the sympathy of most whites. Non-whites have focused on this weakness with laser-like precision. Whether consciously or not, they recognize the nature of the debate for what it is in reality—a struggle for social, political, and economic advantage. The same can be said for other trigger words. As the late Garrett Hardin noted, even words like freedom and equality can be used as weapons to gain advantage in modern societies.

More Equal than Others

The zeitgeist of racism is so powerful that it has led to new forms of crime, forms that George Orwell, author of the prophetic 1984, would have recognized: hate crimes. Taking a page from Orwell’s other book, Animal Farm—in which the perfect equality of the barnyard is marred by the ascendancy of some animals over others—no longer are crimes simply violations of the law. Some crimes qualify as hate crimes—almost always those involving a white man committing an act that is already illegal against a black, Latino, or other non-white, or a homosexual. The convicted perpetrator is subject to more severe punishment than an ordinary criminal. The reverse situation, crimes committed against whites with obvious racial malice, is often covered up—or even justified as retribution for supposed past injustices.

In Europe and Canada, this double standard is even more pernicious than in America; many European nations also have hate speech laws. Individuals have been fined or imprisoned for making statements that, in the view of the court, might promote racial animosity. In some cases the fact that a statement is true is inadmissible as a defense—even the attempt to introduce evidence that a statement is true is a separate chargeable offense. Without the flimsy protection of the First Amendment, is there any doubt that America would have such laws? Who can say that they will not soon follow and, once passed, be allowed to stand by a Supreme Court whose most recent appointee explicitly cloaks herself in an identity perspective? As Third World immigration changes Western demographics, more such justices—and legislators and executive branch officials—are sure to follow.

The existence of hate crime and hate speech laws—essentially the criminalization of thought or motive, but only for some—is a powerful indicator that something is terribly amiss with the assertion that racism is a trump-everything supreme moral evil. Ultimately, hate crime and hate speech laws—clearly directed at only one segment of the population—have nothing to do with justice but rather exist for the exercise of power by one segment of the population over another. Likewise, it should come as no surprise that an immediate casualty of civil rights laws that enforce equality by outlawing “discrimination” against chosen groups have the inevitable consequence of destroying those same rights for other groups—precisely because real inequalities in ability do exist.

In fact, the closer one looks at the concept of racism—or more particularly the way it is used to secure power and enforce social control in Western societies—the more apparent become its inherent falsehoods, contradictions, and inconsistencies. As events have unfolded, the meaning of the word is far more a manifestation of the Frankfurt School’s critical theory attack on Western civilization than it is an objective standard of moral value. This is not to say that the word is devoid of moral content but rather that its content has been so co-opted as to render nugatory its usefulness as a term of meaningful dialogue.

Truth and Consequences

The triumph of cultural Marxism is changing America in profound and irreversible ways. Since differences are real and motivate behavior, when diversity reaches a tipping point gaps become visible, envy follows, and the likelihood of conflict grows. Once unrest begins, people trade freedom for security. The consequence is repressive laws, abridging historic freedoms that, once lost, will be difficult to retrieve. Long-standing Western traditions of liberty codified in the Constitution are impediments to consolidation, and they will eventually be vacated. One is led to consider the formerly unthinkable: how long before the government declares those who oppose its cultural Marxist ideology to be outside the law?

Many scoff at such questions as alarmist, but this type of control is surely a goal behind attempts to criminalize “hate speech.” Laws already on the books could be adapted. Republican-backed legislation such as the USA Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the Warner Defense Appropriations Act of 2006 contain provisions that could serve admirably. Ostensibly aimed at terrorists, they leave a certain flexibility as to who is a terrorist.

There have already been a few trial runs. In early 2009, Missouri issued a directive to state police defining criteria for tracking potential “right wing terrorists.” Indicators included support for Texas Representative Ron Paul, a 2008 Republican presidential candidate! At nearly the same time, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning that service personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan might become recruits for “right wing extremist” organizations. House Democratic leaders circulated a document to the media claiming that that orderly and peaceful “Tea Party” demonstrations byAmericans exercising their constitutional right to petition for redress of grievances were attended by “neo-Nazis, militias, secessionists and racists”—and the Speaker of the House hinted that questioning administration policy might constitute incitement to violence.

Can one be certain that the next incursion against dissent will not go beyond mere rhetoric? Even if popular outrage dissuades the current leadership from pursuing these threats beyond saber-rattling bluster, what will happen once others achieve majority status and with it control over the levers of power? Will a non-white majority accord whites the same civil liberty protections that whites have afforded to them by law? As previously noted, black Attorney General Holder has already stated that some legal protections do not extend to white men.

Who will benefit and who will lose at the hands of a bureaucracy fueled by Third World immigration and administered with explicit racial consciousness? What will a future Congress do with social security payments and Medicare for aging white baby boomers? A preview emerged in the form of a proposed nationalized health care scheme that would, if the most draconian provisions had become law (thankfully they did not), not only invade the confidentiality of the doctor/patient relationship but also give the government power over who receives treatment and who does not—and thus, indirectly, over who lives and who dies. The likely losers would have been elderly whites, who would have stood to be denied the late-in-life care they worked a lifetime to earn—their tax dollars confiscated to enrich cultural Marxism’s new proletariat. The fact that such measures were considered does not bode well for the future.

The nature of the future under cultural Marxism can only be understood by realizing that the goal of its acolytes is not justice, “social” or otherwise. It is power, pure and simple. That goal has been pursued with an implacability that never admits lasting compromise. Tradition is scorned—treated as an enemy, to be destroyed. Reason is futile; its residual utility is as an appeal to rally the uncommitted. Justice will ultimately become the servant of ideology—to be transmogrified into chains of suppression rather than continuing in its historic role as impartial standard of equitability. At that point—following Jefferson’s “wolf by the ear” observation to its logical conclusion—self-preservation will have become the only alternative.

[1]. As was the case with the Duke lacrosse players.

[2]. Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776, authored by George Mason

[3]. Many of the perpetrators fled to America, some becoming prominent officers in Abraham Lincoln’s Union Army, among them Joseph Weydemeyer, Carl Schurz, Franz Sigel, Thomas Francis Meagher (commander of the Irish Brigade), Peter Joseph Osterhaus, August von Willich, Friedrich Salomon, Alexander Schimmelfennig, E. S. Solomon, Albin Schoepf, Julius Stahel, Max Weber, and Frederick Hecker.


About the author

Michael W. Masters is a long-time writer on ecology, sustainability, immigration, sociobiology, moral philosophy, Southern heritage and other political, historical, and cultural topics.