Posted on July 1st, 2014
In Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg shows how progressivism joined psychology with Marxism and declared opponents insane:
A handful of immensely influential Marxist theorists, mostly Germans from the so-called Frankfurt School (transplanted to Columbia University beginning in the 1930s), married psychology and Marxism to provide a new vocabulary for liberalism. These theorists— led by Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Erich Fromm, and Herbert Marcuse— tried to explain why fascism had been more popular than communism in much of Europe. Borrowing from Freud and Jung, the Frankfurt School described Nazism and Fascism as forms of mass psychosis. That was plausible enough, but their analysis also held that since Marxism was objectively superior to its alternatives, the masses, the bourgeoisie, and anyone else who disagreed with them had to be, quite literally, mad.
The opponent is labeled someone who cannot change or “progress”:
It’s tempting to say these theorists merely threw a patina of pseudoscientific psychobabble over the propaganda leaflets of Stalin’s Third International. But the tactic was more sophisticated than that. The essential argument was brilliant in its simplicity. The original Marxist explanation of fascism was that it was the capitalist ruling classes’ reaction to the threat of the ascendancy of the working classes. The Frankfurt School deftly psychologized this argument. Instead of rich white men and middle-class dupes protecting their economic interests, fascism became a psychological defense mechanism against change generally. Men who cannot handle “progress” respond violently because they have “authoritarian personalities.” So, in effect, anyone who disagrees with the aims, scope, and methods of liberalism is suffering from a mental defect, commonly known as fascism. (Kindle Locations 4284-4290)
Now consider how the same tactic is used in the church. Those who hold to the traditional liturgy are termed “liturgical nazis,” refusing to change because supposedly they want parishioners to obey (“authoritarian personality”). When I went to seminary, students who demonstrated enthusiasm for conservative theology were forced to take psychological examinations designed to diagnose psychopathologies. Those who refused such indignities ended up expelled. Hopefully new leadership has improved things.