Psychology

Communists got early access to psychology to build “critical theory”

We will never find out if Karl Marx was simply misguided with his prediction of the collapse of capitalism, or if he was intentionally lying to his audience. Early industrial production was certainly not fun due to low wages, long work hours and the power of those who owned the factories and banks. But the advances of science during the 1800s gave the strong impression that productivity und quality would reach ever higher levels. Maybe Marx was hiding his true opinion and instead acted the doomsday prophet to destabilize the progress that was made.

When finally the American steel, oil and vehicle production became fully mature, the workers could afford to buy these products and finance houses. Obviously communism was in panic mode before it even got off the ground. It does not come as a surprise that the first meaningful revolution happened in Russia, which was a medieval system and never experienced any sort of controlled or less controlled enlightenment. The Russian serfs had been freed on paper in 1861 without any serious redistribution of property and no workable political system.

In the US and Europe, a sudden and violent communist revolution was unlikely. So the strategy became the strengthening of Soviet Russia and a subversion program for Western Europe and the US. Subversion had to be done to weaken the West’s economy and to destabilize populations through the help of psychology. Thus, “critical theory” was born. It combines baseline subversion techniques with psychology to increase tensions between different members and groups within a society. Enraging workers is easy due to the obvious factors such as low wages, long work hours and no equity. Targeting women or weakening the churches is also not difficult. But to be truly successful, communists wanted to understand the mentality with the help of early psychological research. Even back when Karl Marx was active German scientists established the field of psychology and even psychometrics; that is the measurement of someone’s personality traits which enables one to predict behavior. Psychiatrists were treating Germans and learned of typical dark family secrets, abuse by psychopathic or narcissistic fathers, extremely strict rules and the subdued desires of women. 

Communists used different scales to measure the “Authoritarian Personality type” according to the degrees of antisemitism, ethno-centrism and political-economical conservatism, conventionalism, submissiveness to authority aggression, superstition, opinions about sexual intercourse and the belief in “evil”.  Note that in today’s “woke” era communists scale up their provocations high enough to trigger the “authoritarian” types and get exaggerated responses out of them which seemingly confirms the authoritarian stereotypes and prejudices. Simultaneously scientists identified persons who liked change, disliked authority, were disinterested in religion, had little patriotic feelings, liked sexual freedom and lacked a clear view on what evil is.

Communists could use these pre-digital “algorithms” to tailor their messages and subversive activities according to different target audiences. It was now known how humans evolve in a positive way from childhood to adulthood, so communists knew exactly what to sabotage. Women wanted rights, not get married off at a young age to some man they didn’t really know. So the communists promised them freedom. Researchers like Horkheimer, Adorno and Marcuse published a lot of gibberish to obfuscate the true nature of critical theory. At some distant point in the future, societies would break down and be ready for a communist takeover.

Many such scientists fled from the Nazis to the US, and some returned to Germany after the war, restarted the Institute for social science and called the program the “Frankfurt School”. The jewish background of prominent researchers does not mean this program was part of some jewish world conspiracy. Anybody can become a communist and it was only a matter of time, until ancient baseline techniques of subversion received a thorough update.

The Frankfurt Institute was financed by Felix Weil, who was in contact with the notorious soviet GRU spy Richard Sorge. 1935 Weil gave all his money to it so it would continue as the Institute for Social Research (ISR) in New York. In 1930 the leader of Max Horkheimer published his fundamental critique of the traditional society. Of course the communists had not created a better life in the USSR. He trashed not only conservatism, but also the enlightenment which was not real change for him and a cult. For obvious reasons different countries were not able to turn into perfectly fair and square full-blown capitalist republics during the 1800s but had to closely guard the key industries. The communists themselves took over everything in the USSR. Even the politbureau members were not rich by Western standards, society was still extremely divided and communism was conducted like a cult. Marx was regarded as the prophet, Lenin became the messiah, Stalin the untouchable emperor and the doctrine was defended with a violent and paranoid mentality just like the rule of centuries past.

Horkheimer and Adorno even delved into racist territory which their disdain for the Western, “rational type of human which aims at dominance”. Of course, every historian knows that vicious empires started in Mesopotamia while the Western empires simply copied and adapted the methods. Theodor W. Adorno came from a wealthy family and became an advanced student in philosophy at Merton College in Oxford. Herbert Marcuse served in the American secret service OSS in its research and analysis department. He then worked for the Office of Intelligence Research, founded in 1946, which reported to the US State Department. For the Committee on World Communism (CWC), he worked until 1951, at times also as a European chief. Under his leadership, the CWC developed scientific results in the service of psychological warfare. After leaving the secret service, he continued to study Soviet Marxism in 1952/53 at the Russian Institute at New York’s Columbia University, a prestigious project of the Rockefeller Foundation and at the Russian Research Center at Harvard University (1954/55). Herbert Marcuse also spoke of a “linguistic therapy” with which people should be conditioned. This is where gender talk or “political correctness” comes from today, where certain words are supposed to be made taboo.

Paths of radicalization

In times of psychometrics and artificial intelligence, it is possible to calculate and simulate which citizens are likely to participate in radical activism or terrorism and under what circumstances. Researchers have identified various factors that sometimes sound banal, such as whether the person has attended many meetings in a group and how long they have been a member. Modern tools offer governments and especially secret services unprecedented opportunities. In this way, the growth of groups can be calculated, their potential and what measures the authorities should take. Within the group, the new recruit becomes increasingly absorbed and incited and isolated from non-members and those who think differently. Within the filter bubble, the doctrine sounds wonderfully plausible and the standards of morality shift. In principle, everyone can end up in a cult. But there are also a number of separate risk factors:

  • Early antisocial behavior and emotional factors like low behavioral inhibitions
  • Poor cognitive development-hyperactivity
  • Inadequate or inappropriate child education practices
  • Abuse
  • Parents’ antisocial history
  • Poverty
  • Repeated violence in the family
  • Divorce
  • Parental psychopathology
  • Low levels of positive parental involvement
  • Less positive social opportunities due to bullying and rejection
  • Bad academic achievements. Low commitment to school.
  • Social disorganization in the community in which the young person lives
  • High crime neighborhoods

Communists figured out that many downtrodden Western people would never convert to communism and thus the decision was made to mix the Leninist attack strategy against Western capitalism with traditional conspiracy ideology. Central banks, large merchants banks and industrial dynasties were painted as a jewish-masonic plot. If somebody was born into poverty or at least into a dysfunctional household, experienced bullying and other problems, that person could be targeted with “truther” material.

Clark McCauley and Sofia Mosalenko’s book “Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us” identifies several sociological and psychodynamic paths: Feelings of revenge due to real or supposed damage are a strong driving force. They trigger other psychodynamic mechanisms, such as a stronger group thinking, lower inhibitions of violence and lower incentives to avoid violence. But revenge can also function more abstractly because of indirect or imagined harm that one has suffered. Growing up in poverty quickly triggers feelings of revenge against the state and corporations and against the apathetic middle class. Persistent dissatisfaction with politics in their own country and the individual effects on one’s own life also trigger their experience of revenge. The dynamics of “group revenge” are similar to those triggered by personal revenge; The difference is that the individual perceives the damage that is added to a group who belongs to it or for whom it has sympathy. This path makes up the greater part of the political and ethnic radical violence, in which measures are taken on behalf of the group as a whole and not as personal revenge. The White Power movement sees the entire white race as a victim, while Black Live’s Matter claims the victim role for African Americans, and radical Latinos in turn swear revenge against the “Gringos” and “Anglos”. If you sit in an echo chamber in which like-minded people are constantly confirming each other and contradiction is no longer tolerated, you forget where the real moral and legal limits are. What is still considered “normal” today will be too soft again next week and a higher degree of radicalism is now perceived as the new “normal”. Within a radical group violent actors receive an elevated status and reap praise for bravery and commitment to the cause.

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