The Clare Spark Blog

August 16, 2012

Marx, anarchist rivals, and our enigmatic President

[For a related blog see https://clarespark.com/2012/04/06/diagnosing-potus/. Also, https://clarespark.com/2012/09/14/ron-paul-anarchist-in-chief/]

Because the history of radical thought is rarely taught objectively, if at all, in the universities, much of the electorate is at the mercy of any anti-statist conservative who takes it upon himself to write a book about his political enemies, tarring them with the brush of either communism, fascism, or “totalitarianism” (the latter conflating communism and Nazism/ fascism, which have differing political genealogies, and differ sharply with respect to the Enlightenment).

We remain in an attenuated political culture, because leftists and liberals alike dominate the teaching of the humanities in the public schools, and elite universities (both private and public). Right wing protest attempts to overcome the leftist monopoly with largely religious claims that are often flawed, for instance, holding “atheism” or “materialism” or “science” or “technology” or “feminism” or “gays” responsible for the perceived decadence of our times.

At the same time, many vocal post-60s leftists refuse to acknowledge that this is a big country, with diverse belief systems. Hence their political tactics may be intolerant and lacking in empathy for those who find purpose and meaning in Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, etc. Enter the fiercely argued culture wars, where “secularism,” to take one example, has been transformed from the separation of Church and State to “godless Communism.” Do we enjoy Ayn Rand’s novels? She must be the devil, for she was a materialist who lauded creative achievement in this world. What we may not do is view her as the product of a particular moment in history, when collectivism (either Soviet Communism or the New Deal) was justified as the realization of altruism, a quality held to be lacking in dog-eat-dog hyper-individualistic industrial society, controlled by “economic royalists” as FDR named his opponents. At a moment when social bonds were mystical (as envisioned by either the corporatist liberals or the Soviets), Rand defended science, technology, and the materialist Enlightenment:  for Rand social bonds were rational and based on competence in manipulating the materials of this world.

What to do when there is no common basis for agreement regarding fundamental values, let alone the application of the Constitution to an industrialized or post-industrial society such as our own? My personal solution is to defend scientific method, political pluralism (on “cultural pluralism” see https://clarespark.com/2013/09/26/cultural-pluralism-vs-multiculturalism/), and creative freedom against all authoritarian tendencies, whether these emanate from the Left, the “moderate men,” or the Right. That is the purpose of the website, and decades earlier, was the project of my radio programs on KPFK-FM, Los Angeles. Whereas “leftists”(including anarchists) claim to stand with “the oppressed,” I stand with artists, the unleashed imagination, and the creative spirit in general, which I believe each one of our species possesses.

Yesterday, I promised my Facebook friends that I would try to write a blog distinguishing between Karl Marx and his anarchist rivals. Looking over the various Wikipedia biographies of the major actors in this (anarchist) trend in European history (see below), I was daunted, even floored. But I did discover that Noam Chomsky admired such anarchist thinkers as Bakunin (add Perry Anderson to that list), while Martin Luther King, Jr. is better seen as a descendant of Tolstoy.

As for Marx versus Lenin versus Mao-Tse-tung, I will summarize all too briefly what their differences were here (and note that I am drastically oversimplifying, and everything I write will be seen as reductionist and dumb by those who are intellectuals in the many left-wing sects):

  1. Marx was  hardly the sole critic of industrial society, but it is his apocalyptic prophecies of socialist revolution that distinguish him from his rivals. He believed that the working class would become immiserated, and that portions of the bourgeoisie would desert their class to join with the workers to “expropriate the expropriators.” This could  only happen in advanced industrial societies where the working class comprised the majority. Marx had little use for petit-bourgeois radicalism  (such as utopian socialism advanced by many of his contemporaries, including Robert Owen and the Fourierites in America). And he famously despised “the idiocy of rural life” and societies he considered to be backward, which aroused the fury of such as the anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist Edward Said, along with other primitivists and antisemites. Most controversially, Marx predicted the withering away of the state after a relatively brief period of working class dictatorship. In his fantasies, the creative spirit soon would be enjoyed by everyone, once the commodifying capitalist boot was lifted from the necks of hapless workers.
  2. Soviet Communism. It was not supposed to happen in a backward country, but Lenin and his Bolshevik comrades took advantage of the Great War and Russia’s defeat to mount a  coup and a separate peace. Lenin was deeply influenced by J. A. Hobson, and one emphasis was breaking the stranglehold of finance capital (“the Jews”). Rather than allowing worker’s councils (as had sprung up in numerous locales), he supported “war communism” and “bureaucratic  centralism” that easily was transmuted by Stalin to “socialism in one country.” Meanwhile, Trotskyists broke with Stalinism to foment international revolution, while I. N. Steinberg, leader of the Left Social Revolutionaries, fled for his life.
  3. Maoism. The Chinese Communists broke with Moscow from about 1958 onward. Mao’s theory that the peasants were the revolutionary class in China appealed to many radicals  with an agrarian bias. Such incendiary radicals as H. Bruce Franklin,  however, managed to defend Stalin while advocating Third World revolution  in the 1960s. Here is where the New Left and the anti-urban, libertarian, anarchistic “counter-culture” could join hands. “Old Guard” members of SDS finally lined up with the Democratic Party, while some of the “direct action” folk blew themselves up and their ideological offspring can be found in parts of the Occupy Wall Street, anti-globalization demonstrations. In pop culture they may “rage against the machine.”
  4. The irony of Marxism. For true Marxists, the bourgeoisie was a progressive class. This is basic, for without Adam Smith and Company, there would be no industrial society that could lead to a utopia that would eliminate toil and drudgery for the majority of humanity. For the others mentioned here and below in the biographies of the most important European anarchists, the bourgeoisie was evil, amoral, and thieving of the labor of workers and peasants. Nihilistic  gangs such as Baader-Meinhof or the Weathermen (as embodied in Bernadine Dohrn and William Ayers) hold to the violence of George Sorel. To what extent their beliefs have penetrated youth culture I cannot say for certain, but it should worry us all.

Bernadine Dohrn

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical_materialism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proudhon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakunin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Tolstoy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Kropotkin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Sorel

Finally, given the intricacy of these European social movements and their chief ideologues, I hesitate to apply them willy nilly to American political figures. We are too given to easy labels, without nuance and without knowledge of revolutionary theories that were developed on crowded continents with autocratic ruling classes. There is no substitute for studying the labor movement in America. Let the intellectuals fret over “Why there is no socialism in America.”  We might do better to study shifting coalitions in American political parties as they existed in the past and in the campaign year of 2012. Are the varied components of either the Democratic or the Republican parties compatible with each other, or are they at odds? And does or does not this internal incoherence complicate our picture of the often enigmatic Barack Obama and his challengers?

[Illustrated: Isaac N. Steinberg, briefly in a coalition government with Lenin, leader of the Left Social Revolutionaries, and author of Workshop of the Revolution, that denounced the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, and the suppression of the mutinous Kronstadt sailors. Steinberg and his family–including his son Leo who went on to be a great and revered art historian–fled the Soviets in 1923. Steinberg went on to search for a homeland for the Jews that would not make them vulnerable to a sea of Arab neighbors.]

I.N. Steinberg

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February 24, 2012

Malkin, Dolan, and the Empire State Building

Jewification as seen by Nazis

Once we go statist, there is an ever finer line between Marxists, social democrats, progressives, and other corporatist liberals. Many continue to conflate these ideologies (sometimes adding fascism to the mix, see https://clarespark.com/2010/03/10/jonah-goldbergs-liberal-fascism-part-one/). In my view, such conflations are a mistake, one that blurs distinctions between mystics and materialists, the enlightened and the enemies to the Enlightenment.

In this blog I respond to a Facebook friend who implied in a comment that rich Jews like Anthony Malkin (see https://malkinsecurities.com/about-us/bios/anthony-e-malkin)were not only anti-Catholic (the refusal to honor Cardinal Timothy Dolan by lighting the Empire State Building, ostensibly owned by Malkin, to honor Dolan’s elevation to the College of Cardinals on February 23, 2012), but that Jews should not be Marxists, by which I assume he meant that Jews, of whatever degree of assimilation, were stubbornly atheistic, antagonistic to Christianity as a group, and of course ferociously anti-Right wing.

Although he denies it, he has confused progressives (often Reform Jews) with Marxists. He wrote, “I don’t confuse “progressives with Marxists”… I can see who is driving the “progressive” movement and they ARE Marxists. They change their names over the years from Labor to Social Democrats to Liberal to whatever… every time one label gets too smelly they change it again, but the agenda is the same, top down direction of EVERYTHING by intellectuals for the better administration of “social justice” for the masses too ignorant to know their own best interest. I can understand why this is going on and why it is most unpleasant for some people to admit it, and even more unpleasant when they have done everything they can to resist it.”

My response followed (slightly expanded here): “The Progressive movement was always statist,  anti-capitalist and Christian in spirit, following both Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum and social democracy as it evolved in 19th century Protestant Europe. These adjustments were not “Marxist” in any way, but rather movements of the moderate men—the conservative reformers such as FDR. Progressivism became more intense from JFK onward, as the New Left hooked up with the church-based civil rights movement, only to be partially co-opted by older liberals associated with the most prestigious universities and foundations. Before that, the progressives were largely (subtly and not-subtly) racist and Protestant, though they had their token good Jews of German descent, such as Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter, Bernard Baruch, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Walter Lippmann, to name just a few. As for the Eastern European Jews who came here after 1881 (called “Zelig(s)” by my friend, they were often penniless, became working class, were sometimes exploited by German Jews, and were hence active in organizing the labor movement and hostile to wealthy, super-assimilated Jews. If any of them became communists, and many did, they relinquished the Jewish religion along with all religions, as directed by the Soviet Union. What is it that you expect assimilated Jews to do? To revert to Orthodox Jewish observance, which they reject as lower class? Will these be your “good Jews?” Or would you be satisfied with support of Israel? I ask this in good faith.”

His answer: “And yes… Israel is the acid test. If they don’t support Israel,that is the fatal delimiter.”

Illustrated: A Nazi caricature of Franklin Delano Roosevelt surrounded by Jews, and circulated by a jihadist website..

September 29, 2011

The Abraham Lincoln Conundrum

The example of Abraham Lincoln’s conciliatory, moderate  leadership is now offered as the solution to the dramatic polarization of the American electorate by such as Bill O’Reilly, co-author of a new book Killing Lincoln, advertised as a “thriller” but certainly not a novel contribution to the massive literature on the controversial President, assassinated shortly after his second term as President was under way. Nor is it likely that O’Reilly has looked into the attempt by leading social psychologists affiliated with the Roosevelt administration to merge the “idealized” images of good father figures: Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. I wrote about their attempts here, in my study of the teaching of American literature for propaganda purposes, Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival. The materials from which this startling advice to other progressives was drawn are held by the Harvard University Archives, and consisted of numerous worksheets, distributed nationally to citizen groups interested in Henry A. Murray and Gordon Allport’s program of “civilian morale,” circa 1941-42. After this excerpt from a published work, I will reflect upon the differing assessments of Lincoln and the more “radical” or “Jacobin” members of the Republican Party.

[ Book excerpt, chapter two, quoting Murray and Allport; the narrative is mine:]  The section “General Attitudes Toward Leaders” anticipated the criticism that American propaganda duplicated Nazi methods. First the authors warned “the less the faith in sources of information, the worse the morale.” The next item suggested “Linking of Present Leader to the Idealized Leaders of the Past”: ‘The more the present leader is seen as continuing in the footsteps of the great idealized leaders of the past, the better the morale. (Picture of Roosevelt between Washington and Lincoln would encourage this identification.) The more the present leader is seen as falling short of the stature of the great idealized leaders of the past, the worse the identification (11). By effective leadership the group’s latent communality may emerge through identification with the leader. If this smacks of the Führer-Prinzip, we would insist that identification is a process common to all societies, and that what distinguishes the democratic leadership from the Nazi leadership is not the process of identification but the content of what is identified with. It is the function of the democratic leader to inspire confidence in the democratic way of life, in its value for the individual or the society and not mere identification with his person, or the mythical Volk (16).’ (my emph.)

For the tolerant materialists Murray and Allport, as with David Hume before them, there is no foreordained clash between individuals and institutions, no economic relationships to undermine altruism and benevolence: man is naturally communal and “society” as a coherent entity, a collective subject, actually exists. The good leader is neither autocratic nor corrupt, “does not waver, is not self-seeking, is impartial, accepts good criticism” (#4, 10). As we have seen, tolerance, i.e., criticism of leadership, had its limits.[i] The Constitutionalist legacy had to be reinterpreted because critical support of political institutions in the Lockean-Freudian mode is not identical with “identification,” an unconscious process whereby primitive emotions of early childhood are transferred to all authority, coloring our ‘rational’ choices and judgments. Only the most rigorous and ongoing demystification and precise structural analysis (with no government secrets) could maintain institutional legitimacy for political theorists in the libertarian tradition, but, for the moderates, such claims to accurate readings as a prelude to reform were the sticky residue of the regicides. And where is the boundary between good and bad criticism? Alas, just as Martin Dies had suggested that the poor should tolerate the rich, Murray and Allport advised Americans to tolerate (or forget) “Failure in the Nation’s Past.” We must do better, of course.

The worksheet continues, recommending that traditional American evangelicalism embrace the disaffected, for there may be moderate enthusiasts in the new dispensation: “The submerging of the individual in enthusiastic team work is not altogether foreign to the American temper. This means Jews, the “lower” classes, the draftees, labor unions, and so on. It cannot be done by fiat, but the inequalities might be mitigated if not removed, so that otherwise apathetic groups would feel a stake in the defense of the country, and the middle and upper classes more aware of the meaning of democracy (16).”

These latter remarks were intended to answer the question Murray and Allport had posed at the beginning of their worksheets: “Certain themes in Axis propaganda are continually stressed, notably the self-righteousness and hypocrisy of the democracies in general and of the U.S. (and President Roosevelt) in particular. What’s to be done about it?” (4). Virtually the entire postwar program of conservative reform was foreshadowed in these pages. As formulated in the mid-nineteenth century, abolitionist and working-class demands for universal education, equal rights, and enforcement of the Constitution would be redirected into the quotas of affirmative action or multiculturalism. In worksheet #17, “Long Term Aspects of Democratic Morale Building,” a program of integration and deferential politeness would rearrange the American people’s community:

” …far from ignoring or suppressing diversities of intelligence, the objective of democratic morale-building should be their conscious integration into an improving collective opinion. The techniques of such integration exist. They are inherent in the democratic tradition of tolerance and the democratic custom of free discussion. They exist, however, in outline rather than in any ultimate or perhaps even very high state of development (4). [Quoting Gordon Allport:]…Our pressure groups are loud, their protests vehement and our method of electioneering bitter and sometimes vicious. In the process of becoming self-reliant Americans have lost respect, docility, and trust in relation to their leaders. Our habit of unbridled criticism, though defended as a basic right, brings only a scant sense of security to ourselves in an emergency, and actively benefits the enemies of the nation (5). (“integration” Murray’s and Allport’s emph., bold-face mine)

And one such source of insecurity (i.e., subversion) was anti-war education and pacifism: “insofar as the disapproval of war was based on a rejection of imperialist patriotism, it engendered war-cynicism” (Red-bound typescript, 4). In other words, Murray and Allport were admitting that involvement in the war could not be legitimated as an anti-imperialist intervention, nor could there be any other appeal to reason. Leaders, past and present, would have to be idealized; all criticism bridled in the interest of “integration.” The disaffected should moderate their demands, settling for mitigation, not relief.
And if, despite the neo-Progressive prescriptions, the road to national unity remained rocky, scapegoating, properly guided by social scientific principles, would certainly deflect aggression away from ruling groups. [end, excerpt, Hunting Captain Ahab.]

Left-liberal historians vs. Southern historians on Lincoln: That the historic figure Lincoln has been appropriated for present-day partisan concerns should be obvious. Richard Hofstadter debunked him as well as Roosevelt in The American Political Tradition (1948): for Hofstadter, Lincoln was a calculating, ambitious politician, who followed public opinion without leading it. That same sub-text can be found in the more recent popular biography by David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (Simon and Schuster, 1995), foreshadowed by Southerner T.  Harry Williams’s anthology of Lincoln’s speeches (Packard, 1943).  For instance, in reporting Lincoln’s last public speech, Donald takes him to task: “…Nor was he about to issue a proclamation for the general reorganization of the Southern states. The sole item on the agenda was peace, and Lincoln did not in this speech—or elsewhere—offer a broad vision of the future, outlining how the conquered South should be governed. He stipulated only that loyal men must rule. His view was not that of the  Conservatives, who simply wanted the rebellious states, without slavery, to return to their former position in the Union, nor was it the view of the Radicals, who wanted to take advantage of this molten moment of history to recast the entire social structure of the South. [Williams wrote an entire book on Lincoln and the Radicals.] He did not share the Conservatives’ desire to put the section back into the hands of the planters and businessmen who had dominated the South before the war, but he did not adopt the Radicals’ belief that the only true Unionists in the South were African-Americans. (p.582).”

Donald, originally a Southerner. later a Harvard professor of note, and author of a hostile biography of Charles Sumner (Donald refers to the Radical Republicans as “Jacobins” in the Lincoln book)  is writing partly in the Hofstadter tradition, as he demonstrates throughout this minutely documented study of Lincoln’s life—a study that strongly contradicts the conversion narrative offered up by leftist historian Eric Foner (see https://clarespark.com/2011/03/30/eric-foners-christianized-lincoln/). By contrast, Foner uses the Lincoln example to buttress the case for reparations, in concert with other left-liberal historians such as David Brion Davis, David Blight, Steven Mintz, and John Stauffer. They are not interested in Lincoln’s purported moderation (that in Donald’s account slips into rank opportunism and lack of principle).

Eric Foner made much of Lincoln’s growing religiosity as his presidency progressed, but one wonders if the religious rhetoric of the Second Inaugural Address was not at least partly inspired by Julia Ward Howe’s Battle Hymn of the Republic (1861), with an almost identical appeal to Providence, hence an evasion of personal responsibility for the welfare of the freedmen, for Lincoln’s recurrent depression and sense of horror over the casualties of the Civil War must at least partly account for his distressing lack of personal security that allowed Booth’s conspiracy to triumph. It is not an unreasonable inference to suggest that Lincoln was suicidal, and not only at the end, when the country remained enraged, as it had been for many years over such matters as the expansion of slavery and states rights. Add to that the slaughter that we have just learned was underestimated in its numbers of killed and wounded–estimates now exceed 750,000, and perhaps that too is low! See http://www2.bupipedream.com/news/professor-rethinks-civil-war-death-toll-1.2613738.

I find it impossible to laud Lincoln’s record as a moderate who succeeded in conciliating sectional conflict, as O’Reilly imagines; no human being could have done. We are still fighting over the causes and conduct of the Civil War; the proposals of the so-called Radical Republicans might have done much to allay the bitterness that remains over this irrepressible, unresolved, traumatic and traumatizing conflict. (See https://clarespark.com/2011/02/20/are-we-still-fighting-the-civil-war/.) For a treatment of Herman Melville’s treatment of Robert E. Lee and the Civil War in general, see https://clarespark.com/2008/05/03/margoth-vs-robert-e-lee/. And oh, yes, I still maintain that the antislavery Senator from Massachusetts, Charles Sumner, was at least one contributor to Melville’s world-famous Captain Ahab. See https://clarespark.com/2009/10/05/charles-sumner-moderate-conservative-on-lifelong-learning/, for similarities between Sumner’s views and Ahab’s words.


[i]        David Hume had confidently asserted that unpredictability enters politics when factions are infiltrated by radical religion; by triumphalist hypermoralistic, hyper-rationalist puritan extremists: the link between cause and effect would no longer be obvious. See History of England, Vol. 6, year 1617. The Hume entry in the Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1971, presents Hume as a philosopher whose major contribution was his demonstration that there could be no theory of reality, no verification for our assertions of causality. Faced with the necessity of action we rely upon our habit of association and (subjective) beliefs. And yet Hume is described as a thinker who saw philosophy as “the inductive science of human nature.” He is not  described as a moderate or a Tory.

June 12, 2011

Call Me Isabel (a reflection on “lying”)

Illustrations by Maurice Sendak from a truncated edition of “PIerre”

From the chapter “The Journey and The Pamphlet” (Herman Melville, Pierre, or the Ambiguities,Book XIV):

“When a youth discovers that his father has been misrepresented as morally irreproachable, and is hence disillusioned and angry] an overpowering sense of the world’s downright positive falsity comes over him; the world seems to lie saturated and soaking with lies.” Properly instructed by philosophy, the youth will discard his romanticism, and then realize that “…A virtuous expediency…seems the highest desirable or attainable earthly excellence for the mass of men, and is the only earthly excellence that their Creator intended for them.”

During the research phase of my work on the politics of the interwar and postwar Melville Revival I discovered several juicy items. One factoid (that Melville was a brutal husband and father) was considered to be excellent red meat for a journal article by several editors, and indeed Andrew Delbanco (Columbia U. superstar) quoted my nugget in his Melville biography, without noting that it was bogus, and that I had demonstrated it to be bogus throughout my book.

Another fact (not a factoid) was the suppression of a family letter by key revivers strongly suggesting that the plot of Melville’s novel Pierre, or the Ambiguities (1852) was taken from real life, and that Melville’s family had hidden the existence of a real-life natural sister roughly corresponding to the character Isabel (an archetypal Dark Lady, i.e., a rebel and emancipator) in the novel. Briefly, Pierre jilts the safely blonde and wealthy girl preferred by his mother, risks being disowned and ostracized, and runs away to the city to “gospelize the world anew” as a [Voltairean, Byronic, Promethean] figure. In short, Pierre is another Captain Ahab, a character who had been linked to Hitler in the approved Melville scholarship, and in my book, Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival (Kent State UP, 2001, 2006),  I show parallel passages in both novels linking the two characters as truth-seekers in the mode of John Milton speaking through Satan in Book IX of Paradise Lost.

When I offered to write journal articles about my findings (in the late 1980s), including the suppression of the family letter,  I aroused angry, even hysterical responses in editors. They wanted dirt on Herman Melville (he was crazy or violent), but not an accurate account of his family situation, one that made impossible demands to be both a good Christian and lover of truth, but not to disturb conservative notions of order. For these editors, like the officially sanctioned Melville scholars, were conforming to the profile of the moderate men that Melville had denounced in The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (1857), see https://clarespark.com/2010/11/06/moderate-men-falling-down/. These scholars were therefore advocates of “virtuous expediency” as “Plotinus Plinlimmon’s” pamphlet had advised. To say that they were merely ideological or incompetent is to excuse what was a blatant lie—the pretense that the family letter didn’t say what it said, or ignoring its existence altogether in order to maintain the Melville-as-Ishmael fiction. Or you can call the polite suppression of the family letter a noble lie, if you prefer, for “community cohesion” and “stability” trump the discovery of the truth every time. Melville scholars generally approve of “virtuous expediency” and don’t see it as a sin against the truth. As Dr. Henry A. Murray argued, the perfect father was needed as “the focus of veneration”. Murray also linked Melville, the romantic artist, to Hitler in a confidential report to FDR.

I further discovered that in one College Board exam constructed by Terence Martin, it was correct to state that Ahab was a terrorist, while Ishmael was an advocate for interdependence–the antithesis of Ahab.  Does this distortion of the text rise to the ignominious accusation of lying, or is it merely ideological? When a student’s future is guaranteed by lying, what does it say about our culture and the path to success? The world is indeed, soaked in lies. Call me Isabel. If Anthony Weiner is to be punished, let us all take a personal inventory as we go about our business, deferring to others for opportunistic purposes.

Clearly, judging by the book sales of such as Jonah Goldberg and Ann Coulter, demonization of the Democratic opponents, like the world-wide demonization of Captain Ahab/Melville  is rewarded; similarly left-wing authors often return the favor, hence our polarized polity. Did Jonah Goldberg, like Noam Chomsky before him, lie about the major claim of Walter Lippmann’s important book Public Opinion, in order to buttress Goldberg’s populist agenda in opposing “the nanny state”? I say that he did. (See https://clarespark.com/2009/08/19/noam-chomskys-misrepresentation-of-walter-lippmanns-chief-ideas-on-manufacturing-consent/.) Has this kind of wicked distortion anything to do with the witch hunt being mounted against Anthony Weiner? I thought it did, and criticized these right-wing publicists of hypocrisy. For this I was reprimanded by another scholar, who, in passing, denied that anyone could claim “absolute objectivity” as a historian.

Although I am generally very cautious about definitive answers to controversial questions,  I have no problem claiming absolute objectivity in declaring that many of Herman Melville’s most revered biographers withheld documents that would have changed their readings of his texts (not just the family letter about an Isabel, but other weighty letters that countered the rumor that he was a violent father and husband). In doing so, they betrayed the ideals of professional scholarship. I feel the same in authoritatively stating that Melville was ambivalent and a waverer, as many another writer has been– while in the dangerous position of endangering his economic survival by flouting the prejudices of his relatives or patrons (see the life of Goethe for another waverer, compare for instance the two Wilhelm Meister novels). The same goes for scholars who fail to defy their dissertation directors or colleagues (when warranted)  in order to get a job. If conforming to what is known to be timid scholarship is not lying, then I don’t know what is. (For more on this theme, see the following blog: https://clarespark.com/2011/06/13/weinergate-papa-freud-and-the-imperfect-father/.)

February 20, 2010

The Glenn Beck Problem

Pierrot collage by Clare Spark

[Added 9-1-10: This blog has obviously been evolving as I have tried to place Glenn Beck’s views in some recognizable historical narrative. For a liberal account of Beck as demagogue that I find disturbingly distorted see http://hnn.us/articles/130820.html. My search for Beck follows; I should say that Beck does urge his viewers to do their homework and to read primary sources, then challenge him if he is mistaken in his characterization of the Founders, or any other claim he makes. That is not the usual practice of a demagogue (who does not permit, let alone welcome, criticism from the crowd):]

Click onto the illustration and read what German agent George Sylvester Viereck wrote about Hitler in 1923: you will find the line “he storms their reserve with his passion.” Yesterday I posted my objection to Glenn Beck’s obsession with blaming everything wrong with our society on “the progressive movement.”  I also objected to his tendency to equate right-wing social democrats with communists, an error only a person with little knowledge of 20th century European history would make. Given the millions who tune into every program and who think he is a powerful weapon in the campaign against “Big Government,” it is not surprising that one of my Facebook friends immediately objected to my criticism of a man he thinks is a hero, but who, though I often agree with him, sometime suspect to be a power-hungry demagogue, taking advantage of ever-growing dissatisfaction with U.S. domestic and foreign policies to feed his ego and to line his pocket, while playing the earnest clown. Whatever his motives, there is no excuse for indicting “progressivism” as a “cancer….” as he did in his keynote address at CPAC, or his comments today (May 26, 2010) trashing Bernays and Lippmann. Usually  this is an antisemitic jibe from the Left and Chomsky, but Beck was vehement and nasty.  I am disgusted. See my widely circulated essay https://clarespark.com/2009/08/19/noam-chomskys-misrepresentation-of-walter-lippmanns-chief-ideas-on-manufacturing-consent/

[Added, March 19. I have been reading about Edmund Burke and his revival from the 1950s on. Paleoconservative Russell Kirk (a founder of National Review) and his ultraconservative Burkean allies in academe are probably the intellectual sources for Beck. Although on many points, he seems to be a libertarian, he is also opposed to any view that does not regard the Christian God as the source of order and liberty–along with Bill O’Reilly and Newt Gingrich, his opponents are “secularists.” Hence his attempt to remake the Founding Fathers into believers in God as the chief lawgiver of “moral natural law”–the source of order, with the state as a usurper insofar as it threatens (upper- or middle-class) property, the ballast for “tradition.” This places Beck as a follower of Edmund Burke, as I believe Jonah Goldberg to be, who is as rattled by “the Jacobins” as the source of totalitarian/statist control.)* [Added 6-6-10: I was much mollified and gratified by Beck’s support for Israel during the last week. How this fits in with his general ideology, I cannot say. Added 7-18-10: Beck clarified what he means by rights being God-given: he was contrasting this position with the competing notion that rights are gifts from the State, a key Nazi idea.] [Added 10-30-10. I am taken aback by the Harvard UP published book by Philip Hamburger, Separation of Church and State (2002). This book is more helpful in explaining the religious Right and their alarm at secularism than any other history book I have ever read. If intent matters, Hamburger bolsters the case that the writers of the Constitution did not banish religion from the public square, far from it. See https://clarespark.com/2010/11/05/hamburgers-separation-of-church-and-state/.]

This blog is about the danger of allowing any media personalities to do our thinking for us, and I am not speaking about Glenn Beck alone, nor do I wish to insult his viewers or listeners, but they should be on guard. As my long-time friend political scientist Stephen Eric Bronner wrote in one of his first books (this on German Expressionism), making a passionate work of art or viewing it, though valuable in itself, cannot substitute for the thoughtful study, investigating, organizing and other activity that resists illegitimate authority. Professor Bronner wrote enthusiastically about Rosa Luxemburg too, as well as other radical social democrats who were associated with the Second International. These activists were called left-wing social democrats, because they meant to educate the masses in the most advanced industrialized societies and through majority acquiescence (as opposed to bureaucratic centralism) make the transition from capitalism to socialism. Luxemburg herself was an anti-Bolshevik and argued with Lenin about issues that are still red-hot today, such as supporting anti-colonial social movements that were antidemocratic and backward. (I am updating the debate between Luxemburg and Lenin, originally about the nature of imperialism, and about self-determination in the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires, not about Third World dictatorships of today. (Thanks to Steve Bronner for the correction. But as Robert Brenner and Perry Anderson taught the debate in a session I audited, the issue concerned  left-wing alliances with antidemocratic entities, so I extrapolated to the present, when the hard Left does ally itself with dubious entities. For an entirely negative view of Luxemburg and other “Non-Jewish Jews” see Paul Johnson’s A History of the Jews. Johnson has the clearest exposition of twentieth-century politics and diplomacy affecting the future of Jewry that I have ever read. It is especially welcome at a time when a new “peace process” is under way.)

All this is to explain that “right-wing social democrats” like FDR were conservative reformers, similar in their views to those of Edmund Burke, ardent critic of the French Revolution and its threat of popular sovereignty. Bronner, though a prolific author, is not typical of today’s radical (Leninist) Left. And I have shifted my own position, as my Pacifica memoir makes clear. As an historian with a background in science education, my most positive contribution must be to encourage individuals to be skeptical of all pronouncements from politicians and other celebrities, and to withhold their support until they know among other things, who is financing their endeavors: Arab sheiks? Closet Islamic jihadists? Americans remain innocent, characters in a novel by Henry James. We remain child-like in our quickness to trust. We are not experienced in the ways of amoral and jaded Europeans or elites from other societies who would destroy democratic movements in their own countries and who seek to bring down the West tout court, for the West is full of bad examples, such as the American and French Revolutions. Do we know the extent to which their financing of university programs and media corporations such as Rupert Murdoch’s outfit is affecting their programming (Fox) or curriculum (Columbia U.)?

While reading Schiller’s and Goethe’s plays over the last few years, I was struck by the complexities of their plots, for they were writing in a time when court life was full of intrigue. Perhaps that is why I collect masks and images of Pierrot. Artists knew that it was bad, really bad out there.

* On the subject of Edmund Burke as a liberal constitutionalist and not an organicist, see Rod Preece, “Edmund Burke and his European Reception,” The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation Vol.21, Number 3 (Autumn 1980): 255-273. Preece argues that Burke’s European admirers mistook him for an organicist thinker, and that for Burke, there was a contract between the state and the individual; moreover that he was opposed to Platonic guardians, but preferred practical men of affairs (the moderates) to be running things. But that Burke was horrified by Jacobins and the French Revolution, there is no dispute. If Preece is correct, then Russell Kirk’s name should be added to those who have misunderstood Burke.

September 20, 2009

Jungians on the loose, part one

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Jung as Aryan Christ

This is the first of two posts on Jung’s relation to the moderate men or what I have called Conservative Enlightenment. The Henry A.  Murray excerpt from his confidential report to FDR is particularly bizarre. The actual denazification of Germany is a special field in itself. I have found the literature on Wilhelm Furtwängler’s rehabilitation to be helpful. Look for bureaucratic clumsiness and the need to align with the New Deal progressives against the Soviet Union for clues. [For a related blog, see https://clarespark.com/2012/11/03/the-social-work-of-progressives/.]

[Dr. C.G. Jung diagnoses wasteland maladies, 1946:] As I said before, the upheaval of mass instincts corresponds to a compensatory move of the unconscious.  Such a move became possible because the conscious state of the people had become estranged from the natural laws of human existence.  Because of industrialization, large parts of the population became uprooted, and they were herded together in large centres.  And because of this new form of existence–with its mass psychology and its social dependence upon the fluctuations of markets and wages, an individual was created who was unstable, insecure, and suggestible…Germany…is by no means the only nation threatened by this dangerous germ.  The influence of mass psychology has spread far and wide.  It was the individual’s feeling of weakness, and indeed of non-existence, which was compensated by the upheaval of hitherto unknown desires for power…Nothing but materialism was preached by the highest intellectual authority….Hitler…was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities.  He was a highly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic individual, full of empty childish fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or guttersnipe.  He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this is another reason why they fell for him.[1]

THE  SWITCH…? Interdisciplinary tolerance and more tolerance.

[Max Weinreich describes speech by Walter Gross, M.D., at reception for diplomats and newspapermen, Germany, 1935, their joint (interdisciplinary) project to synthesize applied biology, history and politics.  Weinreich’s assessment of their sole deficiency: no free speech, no checks and balances, no equal opportunity to express both sides of a controversy:]  ‘The National Socialist Rasse idea stands as an indivisible and undivided whole, above all compartmentalized learning of the former era.  Consequently, the idea of race cannot be taught by an old-fashioned specialist, he insisted, but only by a National Socialist who combines knowledge and material of the most different fields into a new insight and on its basis shapes the world picture of a new era….’ [Dr. Martin Staemmler:] ‘I believe and hope just after the events of the last years that German idealism, heroism, and spirit of sacrifice are still alive….Let us,therefore, free the Nordic soul from the fetters of materialism; then it will again attain its former bloom.  Then we will again recognize it as what we would like to set before our people as the breeding aim.’ [2]

[Hitler, Oct. 21, 1941:]  Nobody was more tolerant than the Romans. Every man could pray to the god of his choice, and a place was even reserved in the temples for the unknown god.  Moreover, every man prayed as he chose, and had the right to proclaim his preferences.

St. Paul knew how to exploit this state of affairs in order to conduct his struggle against the Roman State.  Nothing has changed; the method has remained sound.  Under cover of a pretended religious instruction, the priests continue to incite the faithful against the State.

The religious ideas of the Romans are common to all Aryan peoples.  The Jew, on the other hand, worshipped and continues to worship, then and now, nothing but the golden calf.  The Jewish religion is devoid of all metaphysics and has no foundation but the most repulsive materialism.  That’s proved even in the concrete representation they have of the Beyond–which for them is identified with Abraham’s bosom….(Table Talk, 77).

[Dr. Henry A. Murray, Director of the Harvard Psychological Clinic and a Jungian, advises FDR, October 1943, on the best ways to apply the lessons of (patrician) psychoanalysis to the postwar treatment of the German people (his emphasis through out:]

It can be predicted that we will find the German people profoundly humiliated, resentful, disenchanted, dejected, morose, despairing of the future.  Accustomed to obeying an arbitrary external authority, they will have no dependable inner guides to control behavior.  There will be a wave of crime and suicide.  Apathy will be wide-spread.  Having passed through a period of intense unanimity and cooperation, Germany as a social system will fall apart, each man to suffer pain and mortification in private.

Disorganization and confusion will be general, creating a breeding ground for cults of extreme individualism.  A considerable part of the population will be weighted down by a heavy sense of guilt, which should lead to a revival of religion.  The soil will be laid [sic] for a spiritual regeneration; and perhaps the Germans, not we, will inherit the future.

It is assumed that the Allies will demilitarize Germany, will insist on efficient guarantees against future conspiracies, will take steps to liquidate the Junker Class, will prevent rearmament and the misuse of raw materials.  As Dr. Foerster has said: a soft peace for Germany will be a very hard peace for the German people, delivering them to the Prussian caste who led them astray.

Nothing permanent, however, can be achieved by such measures alone.  What is required is a profound conversion of Germany’s attitude: abandonment of the idea (1) that they are innately superior; (2) that they are destined to govern the earth; (3) that there is no human law or authority higher than the good of the German State; (4) that power is to be admired above everything; and (5) that Might makes Right.

In treating the Germans psychologically we must realize that we are dealing with a nation suffering from paranoid trends: delusions of grandeur; delusions of persecution; profound hatred of strong opponents and contempt of weak opponents; arrogance, suspiciousness and envy–all of which has been built up as a reaction to an age-old inferiority complex and a desire to be appreciated.

Possibly the first four steps in the treatment of a single paranoid personality can be adapted to the conversion of Germany.  In attempting this we must not forget that the source of their psychic sickness is wounded pride.

3.(a) First Step.-The physician must gain the respect of the patient.  (i) Individual paranoid.– Paranoids cannot be treated successfully if they are not impressed (consciously or unconsciously) by the ability, knowledge, wisdom, or perhaps mere magnetic force, of the physician.  Special efforts must sometimes be made to achieve this end, since paranoids, being full of scorn, are not easy to impress.

(ii) Germany.  The regiments that occupy Germany should be the finest that the United Nations can assemble – regiments with a history of victories, composed of tall well-disciplined soldiers commanded by the best generals.  Rowdiness and drunkenness should not be permitted.  The Germans should be compelled to admit: “These are splendid men; not the weak degenerates (democratic soldiers) or barbarians (Russian soldiers) we were led to expect.”  The Germans admire orderliness, precision, efficiency.

3. (b) Second Step. The potential worth of the patient should be fully acknowledged. (i) Individual paranoid.-The indwelling burning hunger of the paranoid is for recognition, power and glory–praise from those he respects.  This hunger should be appeased as soon as possible, so that the paranoid thinks to himself: “The great man appreciates me.  Together we can face the world.”  It is as if he thought: “He is God the Father and I am his chosen son.”

(ii) Germany.– Germany’s countryside, its music, historic culture, and monuments of beauty should be appreciated and praised.  The army of occupation should manifest intense interest in the culture of Old Germany and complete indifference to all recent developments.  The troops should be instructed and coached by lectures and guide-books covering the district they will occupy.  They should be told that the war is not won until the heart of the German people has been won.

Germans of the old school should be hired to teach the German language, to guide the soldiers on tours of the country and of museums, to teach native arts and skills.  Concerts should be arranged, omitting pieces that have been specially favored by the Nazis.  Editions of books burned by the Nazis should be published and put on sale immediately.

All this will serve a double purpose.  It will provide education for our troops and occupy their time; thus helping to maintain morale.  Also the submerged inferiority feelings and resentments of the Germans will be alleviated.

3 (c) Third Step.Insight should be tactfully provided, a little at a time. (i) Individual paranoid.– Very gradually, step by step, the patient is enlightened as to his own paranoid mechanisms.  Pride in being uncriticizable and always in the right must be gradually replaced by pride in being able to rise above his own mechanisms and criticize himself, pride in being strong enough to admit some weaknesses and erros [sic].  He should be made to understand that he has been victimized by unconscious forces which gained control over his proper self.  During the course of these talks the physician should freely confess his own weaknesses and errors, the patient being treated as an equal.

(ii) Germany. The last ten years of German history should be interpreted as a violent infectious fever, a possession of the spirit, which took hold of the people as soon as they gave ear to the false prophets of Fascism.

A series of articles, editorials, essays and short books should be written now by Germans in this country (Thomas Mann, Reinhold Niebuhr, Foerster, and others), aided possibly by suggestions from psychiatrists, to be published in German newspapers and distributed soon after the occupation.  They should be therapeutic essays essentially- perhaps signed by a nom de plume as if written by a minister, physician, or writer in Germany.

Not too much should be said in any one paper; but, in time, the lies, delusions, treacheries and crimes of the Nazis should be reviewed objectively and in historical sequence.  The German people should be made to understand that the world regards them as unwitting and unhappy victims of instinctual forces.  The Allies should be magnanimous enough to admit their own errors and misdeeds.

3. (d) Fourth Step. The patient should be insociated in a group.  (1) Individual paranoid.  Having attained a measure of satisfaction by winning the respect and friendship of his physician and then having gained some insight and control, the patient is ready for group therapy.  Later, he can be persuaded to join outside groups.  Gradually he must learn to take his place and cooperate on an equal basis with others.  The group he joins should have a goal.

(ii) Germany.  If Germany is to be converted, it is of the utmost importance that some strong and efficient super-government be established as soon as possible, providing a new world conscience, that her people can respect.  As said above, Germans must have something to look up to – a God, a Fuehrer, an Absolute, a national ideal.  It can not be a rival nation, or a temporary alliance of nations.  It must be a body – a strong body with a police force–which stands above any single state.  A supranational symbol would eventually attract the deference that is now focussed upon Hitler.  Lacking such a symbol, many Germans will certainly fall into a state of profound disillusionment and despair.  At the proper time Germany should be insociated as an equal in whatever league or federation of nations has been established.

From here on the therapy of a single paranoid personality fails as an analogy, principally because the German people will not be in the position of a patient who comes willingly to the physician’s office.  The Nazis will be in no mood to be educated by their enemies.  Furthermore it would be very presumptuous of us to try it.  The most that the Allies could do would be to close all schools and universities until new anti-fascist teachers and faculties had been recruited.  The greatest problem will be in dealing with a whole generation of brutalized and hardened young Nazis.  (Perhaps exhibition games of soccer, football, lacrosse and baseball between American and English regiments would serve to introduce ideas of fair play and sportsmanship; but much else must be done – by German educators).

For the conversion of Germany the most effective agency will be some form of world federation.  Without this the Allied victory will have no permanently important consequences.[3]

[J.M. Broughton explains that “neutral” psychology and science (the Enlightenment) will kill us all; summons “theory” to the rescue:]  A psychology constructed upon such an epistemology, compelled solely by the empirical, has never been compatible with theory.  Yet, central to its approach is a highly theoretical precept that human beings are fully individuated, unifed [sic] rational subjects.  Such subjects are conceived after the Cartesian model, as radically distinct from and standing over against the world of objects that they do and can know.  Unified rational individuals are typically construed in the image of scientists: not only are they to be studied with objective methods, but they themselves experience only objectively.  Their subjective life is allowed no fictive, fabricative power; it is confined to cognitive categorization and decision-making; resulting in the formation of informational structures, attitudes and beliefs.  The “subjectivity” of such subjects is confined to their biases, defined in terms of the objective invalidity of their knowledge or literal inaccuracy of their beliefs and attitudes.  Such prejudices are subject to correction through sustained contact with external reality mediated by methodologically legitimate procedures of inquiry.  Subjects constituted in this way can only be connected outwardly, through mutually objectifying relationships.

” [Henry A.] Murray’s (1938) empirical studies identified this methodological objectivist tendency and termed it “extraceptiveness.”  A major deficit of the extraceptive individual is that “he may be confused by complex emotional situations…(and is) deficient in his interpretations of the more irrational phases of human experience.” Moreover, such a personality orientation, guided by a preoccupation with control, tends to social conformism and uncritical acquiescence to the group.  Nevitt Sanford (1966) and Adorno, et al (1950) went on to show that extraceptiveness actually served the defensive purpose of “anti-intraceptiveness,” self-deceptive disowning of any interior life other than rationally organized ideation.  Modern philosophy of science has indicated how the objectivist antipathy to subjectivity, and particularly to the dynamism of emotional life, is an epistemological opposition to interpretation, the latter being precisely that process most generally implicated in all the activities of human beings.

“The final link in our chain is provided by the cognitive psychologist, Dinnerstein (1976), who has demonstrated how the authoritarian stress on external reality and the anti-interpretive reduction of subjective life to objectifiable data are central to the etiology of the nuclear dilemma.  Rather than the more familiar view espoused by organizations of physicians and psychiatrists that nuclear threat has led to a disregard for internal life, she shows that it is the other way round.  Moreover, she points to the way in which the “external reality” favored by scientific psychology is more accurately described as an externalized reality, since the outer world of the self-deceiving agent is constructedchiefly by objectified forms of disowned inner experience.  There is an irony here: Precisely that discipline which denies to the subject any power of fabrication of “reality” is guilty of an elaborate fabrication of “reality” itself.

“In short, authoritarianism is endemic to scientific psychology, and contributes significantly to the very nuclear dilemma that it claims to be able to distance from itself as an object of democratically dispassionate observation and rational analysis. [4]

 


[1] C.G. Jung,”Individual and Mass Psychology,” Essays on Contemporary Events(London:Kegan Paul, 1946): xiii-xv. Originally broadcast on the BBC, Nov. 3, 1946.

[2] Max Weinreich, Hitler’s Professors: The Part of Scholarship in Germany’s Crimes Against the Jewish People (N.Y.: Yiddish Scientific Institute): 34, 35, 51-52, 80.

[3] Henry A. Murray, M.D., “Analysis of the Personality of Adolph [sic] Hitler with predictions of his future behavior and suggestions for dealing with him now and after Germany’s surrender,” 46-53.  Declassified confidential document, in J.F. Carter papers, FDR Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.  Cf. the antimodern films of Fritz Lang on the crazy scientist, Doctor Mabuse (1923) and Metropolis (1926).  Mabuse is the charismatic psychoanalyst with the evil eye, a money-mad chameleon who changes his form (he is “the player” like all artists?); he has chosen “the will to power” and “desire” over “love.”  Bored German aristocrats caught in his net have been previously weakened by their decadent affair with primitivism and expressionism (i.e., the body).  The group of film critics with whom I viewed Mabuse had no doubt that he was a prototype of Hitler.

[4] John M. Broughton, “Babes in Arms: Object Relations and Fantasies of Annihilation,” The Psychology of War and Peace: The Image of the Enemy, ed. Robert W. Rieber (N.Y.: Plenum Press, 1991): 88-89. Broughton describes Melanie Klein’s mind map with the same images deployed by “democratic pluralists” and Symbolic interactionists treated by me as proto-fascist/counter-Enlightenment: “[Klein sees] the mind as an inner world populated with a plurality of diverse, interacting objects, or, initially, object parts…Klein was an avid adherent to the notion of biologically based life and death instincts; her theory could be seen as a development of the concept of Thanatos suggestively formulated in Freud’s later work.(94)…she finds adult consciousness suffused with unconscious, fantastic, and barbarous distortions that tend to remove us systematically and dangerously from a realistic perception of the human situation and the social world.”(97)

I did not include all of Broughton’s citations in the passage I have quoted.  Dr. Henry A. Murray, head of personnel assessment for the OSS, recommended that Hitler’s uncanny ability to see into and manage the minds of “the average man” be appropriated by the U.S.  These numerous achievements were published without attribution in the Walter Langer report on Hitler’s mind (Basic Books, 1972).  Murray made his mark devising projective tests to identify latent radicalism in future leaders, an approach strongly endorsed by Harold Lasswell, another powerful corporatist liberal political scientist, and admired as a progressive figure by Blanche Wiesen Cook and Stanley Aronowitz, two New Left intellectuals.

Cf. editorial, The Nation, May 18, 1992, on the jury that acquitted the policemen who beat Rodney King: “Racial fears and prejudices are planted so firmly in their unconscious (not one of them was black) that nothing prejudicial need be said to produce the desired effect…The venue was moved from multicultural Los Angeles to the suburban Simi Valley in the far reaches of Ventura County, conveniently close to the Ronald Reagan Library in case anyone wanted to dash over during a break and see how racism was instituted in America on a truly grand scale (651-2).

August 31, 2009

Klara Hitler’s Son: The Langer Report on Hitler’s Mind

[Update: All the salacious material treated as fact by the Langer team appears to have been lifted from Konrad Heiden,  Der Fuehrer : Hitler’s Rise to Power (Boston, 1944).  Heiden’s docudrama was, inter alia, a defense of Social Democracy.]

This is my article (slightly revised) published in Social Thought and Research, Vol.22, No. 1/2 (1999): 113-37. Don’t miss the footnotes, some of which are as astounding as the analysis of Hitler’s psyche presented to FDR by both Murray and Langer.

[This essay is a spin-off from Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival (Kent State UP, 2001, paperback 2006).  Unbelievably, leading scholars in the twentieth-century “revival” of Herman Melville (1819-1891) read their subject as a bad Jew; bad because, like the abolitionists and other radical puritans, he thought Judeo-Christian morality ought to be lived out in everyday life and could not be compromised in the interests of “expediency.” (Moreover, “Captain Ahab” quarreled with God.)Such rigorous and consistent moralism was viewed as wild-eyed zealotry or monomania by the pragmatic moderate men who intervened between readers and Melville’s texts, annexing Melville’s art and the lessons of his bumpy career to their own corporatist agendas.  The same scholars (Dr. Henry A. Murray, Charles Olson, and Jay Leyda) who frowned upon Melville/Ahab the Hebraic moralist were simultaneously involved in the creation of propaganda during the Roosevelt administration. Neither antisemitism in the Melville Revival nor Murray’s Jungian reading of Hitler’s soma and psyche can be understood without reference to the Tory response to Hebraic radical puritanism as it surfaced in the English Civil War. With Herman Melville and Captain Ahab on his mind, Dr. Henry A. Murray and his Harvard colleague Walter Langer suggested to FDR that Nazi evil was drawn from Jewish blood, applying racial theory to the long-distance psychoanalysis of Hitler.  Of course, Murray and Langer did not profess antisemitism; quite the contrary.  Such a deficit in self-understanding was the inevitable outcome of conservative Enlightenment.]

Lockean constitutionalism, “leveling” republicanism, and species-unity composed the elements of Enlightenment that were denounced as sentimental bourgeois culture by displaced aristocratic elites.  Nietzschean romantic conservatives have argued that popular sovereignty–jacobin fanaticism, bad taste, a bad smell, history as written by the plebs, a.k.a. “mass culture”–accounted for the rise of Hitler and the decline of the West.[2]  The Harvard psychologists and their humanist collaborators were assiduous adherents to conservatively enlightened progress and expertise; they and the class whose interests they serve (while proclaiming their “autonomy”), routinely make decisions affecting the state of our planet. [3]  Such immense authority is justified because as moderate men, they are held to be more rational and intelligent, more independent, ecologically aware and socially responsible than “the people” or “the masses” they represent, overawe, instruct, and control.  As philosophical idealists and cultural relativists, their friendliness to “multiplicity” and “pluralism” is displayed in their hostility to the history written by their competition, the classical liberals.  In this article, I will draw out the consequences for public policy when materialism (the epistemology of the radical Enlightenment) is erased in favor of Jungian psychohistory (the servant of conservative Enlightenment).

My subject is the 1972 best-seller published by Basic Books in response to the perceived protofascism of 1960s Romantics: Dr. Walter Langer’s The Mind of Adolf Hitler: The Secret Wartime Report, ostensibly the replica of his 1943 report for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).  Nowhere are the strange, wandering and broken spirits of the moderate men more evident to the naked scanner of events than in the Langer report, yet it has been praised for its prescience in the popular press, even by the sophisticated British New Statesman.  Langer actually leaned heavily on Dr. Henry A. Murray’s already existent views on Hitler’s psyche as stated both in his Harvard seminar worksheets for “civilian morale” (1941) and in his classified report to FDR (October 1943); this indebtedness was concealed by Langer.[4]  Langer, Murray and other theorists of psychological warfare may have been swept away by the apocalyptic sublime–the conservative vision that constitutes the terror-gothic style in art, in life, and in the writing of modern history.

In 1972 Basic Books touted the Langer report with Barnum-esque hyperbole:

“Here is the secret psychological report written in 1943 for “Wild Bill” Donovan of the OSS, which correctly predicted Adolf Hitler’s degeneration and eventual suicide.  This fascinating work, the most remarkable attempt ever made by a government intelligence agency to apply psychoanalytic insight to warfare, was classified as a secret for almost a quarter of a century.  Yet among those few historians and scholars who have ever seen it, it is regarded as a masterpiece of “psychohistorical reconstruction,” whose judgments concerning the personality and probable behavior of the Third Reich’s Evil Genius are, in the light of what we know today, uncanny in their accuracy.

By combining a careful study of documents and other writings available at the time with personal interviews arranged by the OSS with informants who had known Hitler before the war, Dr. Walter Langer inquired into Hitler’s troubled family background, his sexual pathologies, death fears, Messiah complex, vegetarianism, and other characteristics.  Drawing on his clinical knowledge of psychiatric patients with similar traits, Dr. Langer was able to foretell Hitler’s increasing isolation, his frequent rages, and the general deterioration of his mental condition.

What effect did this astounding secret document have on Allied war policy?  That is not yet known.  But in the words of Robert G.L. Waite, the distinguished historian, Dr. Langer’s The Mind of Adolf Hitler is, in itself, “fascinating…a significant and suggestive interpretation which no serious student of Hitler will ignore.” [end, blurb]

The jacket blurb was followed by a photo of elderly Dr. Langer, seated in an inexpensive lawn chair, dressed informally, relaxed, gazing at the viewer with an attentive smile.  He looks composed, but forthright and open to whatever life may have in store: the knees are spread, his clasped hands rest mostly on his right thigh.  Yale historian Hans Gatzke has shown, however, that the claim to have published the original OSS report was a misrepresentation.  Even without Professor Gatzke’s comparison of the two publications, the alert reader might have suspected that broad strokes of docudrama had replaced high fidelity to primary sources, for instance in this folksy rendition of a conversation between Donovan and Langer:

“What we need,” the General said, “is a realistic appraisal of the German situation.  If Hitler is running the show, what kind of person is he?  What are his ambitions?  How does he appear to the German people?  What is he like with his associates?  What is his background?  And most of all, we want to know as much as possible about his psychological makeup–the things that make him tick.  In addition, we ought to know what he might do if things begin to go against him.  Do you suppose you could come up with something along these lines?” (Langer, 10).

If we are to believe our eyes as we read the book jacket to The Mind of Adolf Hitler, and then the text and sub-text beneath the covers, Walter Langer and his unnamed collaborators (Henry A. Murray, Bertram Lewin and Ernst Kris) had, at best, an attenuated relationship to the real fact of “the final solution” to “the Jewish problem,” although Hitler had always advertised himself as the saviour of “nature” (i.e., aristocratic culture), the good father (or, better, the good peasant son) doing the work of the Lord/Master (Herren) to save the planet from Jewishly instigated degeneration. In 1939, Hitler had threatened revenge against all of European Jewry, the real agents of war, in his warning to the Western democracies.  Millions of Jews had been killed by the time the Langer report was filed with the OSS in the late summer of 1943, yet only in the context of predicting Hitler’s responses to military defeat did the idea of a “complete extermination” even come up:

“…4. Hitler may be assassinated. Although Hitler is extremely well protected there is a possibility that someone may assassinate him.  Hitler is afraid of this possibility and has expressed the opinion that: “His own friends would one day stab him mortally in the back…And it would be just before the last and greatest victory, at the moment of supreme tension.  Once more Hagen would slay Siegried.  Once more Hermann[5] the Liberator would be murdered by his own kinsmen.  The eternal destiny of the German nation must be fulfilled yet again, for the last time.”  This possibility too, would be undesirable from our point of view inasmuch it would make a martyr of him and strengthen the legend.

It would be even more undesirable if the assassin were a Jew, for this would convince the German people of Hitler’s infallibility and strengthen the fanaticism of the German troops and people.  Needless to say, it would be followed by the complete extermination of all Jews in Germany and the occupied countries (210, my emphasis).”

Even if the word “complete” indicates that the writers were aware that at least two million Jews were known to have been killed by 1943, since the subject of genocide had not been mentioned elsewhere in the book, the sentence suggests that only an assassination by a Jew would provoke such revenge. Perhaps the Langer team did not mention the Holocaust already in progress because it was more interested in another issue: Hitler’s uncanny insight into the psychology of other little men, as these parallel passages indicate:

[Murray and Allport, 1941:] “What are the strengths and weaknesses of Nazi ideology as an instrument for world conquest?”

[Murray, 1943:]” Hitler has a number of unusual abilities of which his opponents should not be ignorant.  Not only is it important to justly appraise the strength of an enemy but it is well to know whether or not he possesses capacities and techniques which can be appropriated to good advantage.  Hitler’s chief abilities, realizations, and principles of action as a political figure, all of which involve an uncanny knowledge of the average man, are briefly these:…” [6]

[Langer:]”…It can scarcely be denied that [Hitler] has some extraordinary abilities where the psychology of the average man is concerned.  He has been able, in some manner or other, to unearth and apply successfully many factors pertaining to group psychology, the importance of which has not been generally recognized and some of which we might adopt to good advantage.  [63].”

Twenty-seven “factors” follow; those which “we might adopt” are not specified. These passages become even more gripping in light of the Langer report’s conclusions:

“It is Hitler’s ability to play upon the unconscious tendencies of the German people and to act as their spokesman that has enabled him to mobilize their energies and direct them into the same channels through which he believed he had found a solution to his own personal conflicts.  The result has been an extraordinary similarity in thinking, feeling, and acting in the German people.  It is as though Hitler had paralyzed the critical functions of the individual Germans and had assumed the role for himself.  As such he has been incorporated as a part of the personalities of his individual supporters and is able to dominate their mental processes.  This phenomenon lies at the very root of the peculiar bond that exists between Hitler as a person, and the German people and places it beyond the control of any purely rational, logical, or intellectual appeal.  In fighting for Hitler these persons are now unconsciously fighting for what appears to them to be their own psychological integrity (206).”

The Murray-Allport worksheets (1941, see my blog on civilian morale) had directed a national constituency concerned with “civilian morale” to “Quote passages from the original unexpurgated edition of Mein Kampf, in which Hitler expresses his cynical contempt of the masses, and the necessity of deceiving them.  Quote him in order to prove that he planned the war and devised the tactics.  Ridicule Mein Kampf as a Bible, contrasting paragraphs from the two sources.”

Jewish blood was the source of brilliant insights, emotional disturbance, and the Big Lie.[7]  Internalized antisemitic stereotypes of switching Jews subverted Langer’s attempt at “a realistic appraisal of the German situation.”   In Dr. Henry A. Murray’s publications as in his correspondence with Melville scholars, a Nietzschean amor fati slipped out to contradict Progressive social optimism and faith in the power of the will.  Although Murray rebelled against his horoscope in 1927, perhaps he, along with the more conservative Melville critics, did not believe in the possibility of human amelioration, other than through “management” of conflicts generated by unruly archetypes, or in the eternal combat between good and evil or the (laissez-faire) individual and (corporatist) society.  This is one strategy to absolve the self of responsibility for having expelled the bad Jewish-androgyne-Indian within, the troublesome presence demanding a reconfiguration of social life and human possibility, activating compassion by connecting self-awareness to social awareness.  Such self-cleansing is advocated and performed by “moderate conservatives” in the interest, they say, of human solidarity and a functional non-Jewish Anglo-American identity: [8] a je ne sais quoi achieved through pluralism-without-dissenting individuals and anthropology-without-history.

Langer’s 1972 Introduction to the “secret wartime report” matched the manipulative approach to treatment promoted by Murray in his 1935 unveiling of the Thematic Apperception Test.[9]  Through free association, Langer explained, the neurotic patient exposes and spews forth his unconscious fears and fantasies.  The analyst then interprets for the patient, penetrating and weakening his defense mechanisms, bringing up ever earlier memories “to throw light on the unsound premises or misconceptions that are the basis of his subsequent adjustments” (14,15).  For these chiropractors of the psyche there is nothing structurally weak or contradictory about institutions that would lead to emotional difficulties; neither need they fear irrationality within themselves: they have stared the devil down.

The disordered family with its flawed or glistening genetic inheritance is the sole source of Hitler’s behavior.  The brutal father, the masochistic mother, the weak child are common enough; they are not peculiar to Hitler’s childhood.  In such environments the child is spoiled by over-indulgent mothers who have engaged in sex-play with the boy, as Hitler’s mother is supposed to have done (150).  Hence the asocial impulses are not conquered in early childhood.  Like Vienna, with its lower class and oversexed dirty Jews (185), these families are houses of incest, manufacturing revolting children, stirring the cauldron of war.  Peaceful, well-ordered families with humane gentleman at the head (kindly and consistent role-models like FDR), deflecting their wives’ libido away from the sons, will prevent disastrous social movements in the future. Here is a good king masquerading as a western hero: “Wild Bill” Donovan (Columbia, class of 1912), OSS chief, introduced to us as brilliant, broadly imaginative, independent in judgment, and foresighted.  In tandem with psychoanalysts, other Donovans will use their expertise to study the irrational processes that dominate society, the better to psych out the adversary and anticipate resistance to the draft, hence to build morale: to stomp out “smouldering” “sentiments” that ignite antiwar movements (5).  Indeed, at the urging of fellow-scholars (24,25), and in the interest of preventive politics, Langer explained, the report had been declassified to point the way toward further collaborations between psychologists and historians:

“I may be naive in diplomatic matters, but I like to believe that if such a study of Hitler had been made earlier, under less tension, there might not have been a Munich; a similar study of Stalin might have produced a different Yalta; one of Castro might have prevented the Cuban situation; and one of President Diem might have avoided our deep involvement in Vietnam.  Studies of this type cannot solve our international problems.  That would be too much to expect.  They might, however, help to avoid some of the serious blunders we seem to have made because we were ignorant of the psychological factors involved and the nature of the leaders with whom we were negotiating.  I am not naive enough, however, to believe that even a well-documented study would completely offset the tendency of many policy makers to set their course on the basis of what they want to believe, rather than on what is known (23).” [10]

One wonders if Langer was proposing other studies relying on theories of national and ethnic character to predict the behavior of antagonistic elites.  At times Langer adheres to Lockean environmentalism, patiently reconstructing interactions between individuals and their culture (as in a reference to “the formative years of [Hitler’s] life,” 18), but hereditarian thinking pops out to overwhelm his analysis.  For instance, in the view of Hitler as a poor physical specimen, “Professor Max von Gruber of the University of Munich, the most eminent eugenist in Germany” is quoted:

“It was the first time I had seen Hitler close at hand.  Face and head of inferior type, cross-breed; low receding forehead, ugly nose, broad cheekbones, little eyes, dark hair.  Expression not of a man exercising authority in perfect self-command, but of raving excitement.  At the end an expression of satisfied egotism (44).”

Hitler’s genetic inheritance was brought up several times.  Langer mentions the mental and physical weakness of Hitler’s siblings and other relatives, mentioning a hunchback, a child with a speech impediment, an imbecile, a high-grade moron, and a predisposition to cancer.  All are attributed to Klara Hitler’s “constitutional weakness,” a possible “syphilitic taint…One has grounds to question the purity of the blood” (105, 106). But worse, these investigators took seriously Hitler’s fantasy that he was one quarter Jewish.[11]  They would like to verify the rumors that Hitler’s father’s mother, Maria Anna Schicklgruber, was impregnated by the Baron Rothschild or another Rothschild in the household in which she was a maid (101-102).  Some informants argued that the Jewish [genes] would account for Alois Schicklgruber’s “intelligence,” “ambitiousness and extraordinary political intuition” that was atypical of “Austrian peasant families,” but “in harmony with the Rothschild tradition.”  More: “…it would be peculiar for Alois Hitler, while working as a customs official in Braunau, to choose a Jew named Prinz, of Vienna, to act as Adolf’s godfather unless he felt some kinship with the Jews himself.”[12]  Langer left the door open to the possibility of Hitler’s Jewishness and underlined its potential explanatory character, while asserting the superior rigor and discretion of his methodology:

“This is certainly a very intriguing hypothesis, and much of Adolf’s later behavior could be explained in rather easy terms on this basis.  However, it is not absolutely necessary to assume that he has Jewish blood in his veins in order to make a comprehensive picture of his character with its manifold traits and sentiments.  From a purely scientific point of view, therefore, it is sounder not to base our reconstruction on such slim evidence but to seek firmer foundations.  Nevertheless, we can leave it as a possibility that requires further verification (102-103).”

A few pages later, Langer accepted Reinhold Hanisch’s description of Hitler in Vienna in 1910, a time when he was “not a Jew-hater,” because some of his best friends were Jews.  In fact, “…During this time Hitler himself looked very Jewish.  Hanisch writes:    ‘Hitler at that time looked very Jewish, so that I often joked with him that he must be of Jewish blood, since such a large beard rarely grows on a Christian chin.  Also he had big feet, as a desert wanderer must have (119.’ ” In the Afterword, 232, Robert Waite says Hitler never looked like that.).

Langer has given us two nearly identical sentences that state Hitler looked very Jewish.  Should there be any doubt in our minds that Langer believed Hitler carried Jewish blood, and that his Jewishness accounted for astonishing feats of statesmanship and duplicity?  Perhaps this was the source of his Jewish perversion, which he then had to disown and destroy in others.  But first, Langer established his own attitude toward dirt, laziness, and homosexuality:

“Hitler’s life in Vienna was one of extreme passivity in which activity was held at the lowest level consistent with survival.  He seemed to enjoy being dirty and even filthy in his appearance and personal cleanliness.  This can mean only one thing from a psychological point of view, namely that his perversion was in the process of maturation and was finding gratification in a more or less symbolic form.  His attitude during this period could be summarized in the following terms: “I enjoy nothing more than to lie around while the world defecates on me.”  And he probably delighted in being covered with dirt, which was tangible proof of the fact [His probable delight proves what fact? C.S.].  Even in these days he lived in a flophouse that was known to be inhabited by men who lent themselves to homosexual practices, and it was probably for this reason that he was listed on the Vienna police record as a ‘sexual pervert’ ” (182).

On the next page, Langer seemed to lose his temper.  First he offered his explanation for the onset and growth of Hitler’s anti-Semitism: Hitler’s disgusting perversion (the desire to have women defecate and urinate upon him) was projected onto the Jews, and “the Jew became a symbol of everything that Hitler hated in himself.  Again, his own personal problems and conflicts were transferred from within himself to the external world where they assumed the proportions of racial and national conflicts.”   With words that leap off the page, Langer scolded Hitler:

“Forgetting entirely that for years he not only looked like a lower class Jew but was as dirty as the dirtiest and as great a social outcast, he now began to see the Jew as a [sic] source of all evil.”

Even were Langer to be arguing for a little Christian charity, he was admitting that “lower class” Jews are as bad as Hitler says they are.  Therefore, it was rational for Hitler to blame them for soiling society, but he should have blamed himself, too, for copying.  Next, Langer continued to ignore the role played by the European Right in the formation and transmission of anti-Semitic attitudes; Christian Socialism must be the sole cultural source of Jew hatred:

“The teachings of [Christian Socialists] Schoenerer and Lueger helped to solidify and rationalize his feelings and inner convictions.  More and more he became convinced that the Jew was a great parasite on humanity who sucked its lifeblood and if a nation was to become great it must rid itself of this pestilence…The greater the demands of his perversion became, the more he hated the Jews and the more he talked against them (183-184).”

The projection of the perversion was formative: “Here was his political career in an embryo state.”  This in turn stimulated selective reading habits:

“He read only in order to find additional justification for his own inner feelings and convictions and to rationalize his projections…he never forms a rational opinion in the light of the information but only pays attention to those parts that convince him he was right to begin with. [184. Cf. Langer’s brother William: in the 1930s “the world was threatened by irrational and demonic forces” vi].

Curiously, Hitler’s method resembled the Langer team approach in selecting their data:

“A survey of the raw material [just described as not “first hand,” as “superficial and fragmentary”], in conjunction with our knowledge of Hitler’s actions as reported in the news, was sufficient to convince us that he was, in all probability, a neurotic psychopath.  With this diagnosis as a point of orientation, we were able to evaluate the data in terms of probability.  Those fragments that could most easily be fitted into this general clinical category were tentatively regarded as possessing a higher degree of probability–as far as reliability and relevance were concerned–than those which seemed alien [Jewish facts? C.S.] to the clinical picture.  Each of the collaborators screened the raw material from this point of view, and there was considerable agreement on what was probably pertinent to our study and what was not (16,17). [13]

One wonders if the common identification of the Jew with Bolshevism/finance capital got screened out, along with other more rational interests, but these are absent. For the Langer team, “Jew” connoted either sex and disease (lower-class Jew-type) or “ambitiousness and extraordinary political intuition” (Rothschild-type).

Bereft of history and politics, Langer attempted to explain the total transformation of Hitler’s character from lazy pervert to imperial genius.  The defeat of Germany in 1918 caused a crisis and a revolution in his psyche: the scourging of Germany by the Allies tested himself and the German people.  Hitler somehow realizes that, as Klara Hitler’s son, he has mistakenly identified with his mother’s passive and masochistic humanity, which he boots out:  “In their place we find what Hitler’s warped mind conceived the supermasculine to be: ‘…if a people is to become free it needs pride and will-power, defiance, hate, hate, and once again hate’ (193).”

Hitler hears voices assuring him he is the chosen one, and leader of the chosen people (190-191).  Perhaps Langer believed that the cunning, commanding Rothschild genes have asserted themselves over the fawning and coprophageous ghetto hippie Jewish ones displayed in the meek, defeated, forgiving, ignoble, feminized Christ (193).  Hitler, at the nadir of his career, suddenly Identifies with the Aggressor, and treats others the way he fantasizes “the victors” (the Jews?) would like to treat him (193-196):

[Langer:]  “In his treatment of the Jews we see the “Identification with the Aggressor” mechanism at work.  He is now practicing on the Jews in reality the things he feared the victors might do to him in fantasy.  From this he derives a manifold satisfaction.  First, it affords him an opportunity of appearing before the world as the pitiless brute he imagines himself to be; second, it affords him an opportunity of proving to himself that he is as heartless and brutal as he wants to be (that he can really take it); third, in eliminating the Jews he unconsciously feels that he is ridding himself, and Germany, of the poison that is responsible for all his difficulties; fourth as the masochist he really is, he derives a vicarious pleasure from the suffering of others in whom he can see himself; fifth, he can give vent to his bitter hatred and contempt of the world in general by using the Jew as a scapegoat; and sixth, it pays heavy material and propagandistic dividends (195, 196).”

Surely the mention (almost a “by the way”) of the rational core of Hitler’s behavior, the “material and propagandistic dividends” should not have been the last item in Langer’s description of, and explanation for, the dynamics of Hitler’s psyche.  He should have examined the antidemocratic discourse of Western organic conservatives: the deicidal, legalistic, carnal, crazy, hypercritical Jew had been its antitype for nearly two thousand years. [14]  Besides the obvious benefits to professional rivals and looters of Jewish property, antisemitism provided an indispensable vocabulary to ruling classes in an age of mass politics and burgeoning socialist aspirations.  Langer should have started with the class interest that the purges protected and enhanced; he would have seen the pervasiveness of “sadism” and “masochism” (perhaps structured responses to the class tasks of middle management) that Langer applies to the “neurotic psychopath” Hitler and his dragon crew, the German people.  But of course that would have undermined the sharp distinctions that Langer must protect to please his clients: light vs. dark, rational vs. irrational, good geniuses vs. evil geniuses, democracy vs. autocracy: distinctions that may not be blurred by comparisons between the institutions, ideologies, and social practices of capitalist societies with societies held to be antithetical.[15]

Walter Langer’s portrait of Hitler’s personality and its achievements framed his published study.  It is patently a warning to the 1972 reading public to beware of the flower children in their midst, who, like Hitler, may suddenly expel their long-suffering feminine/Jewish components, with similar effects:

“Hitler, clearly, was more than the crazy paperhanger depicted in popular prints.  Up until the age of twenty-five he manifested many of the characteristics that we now associate with the “hippies” of the 1960s.  He was shiftless, seemed to lack any sense of identity, appeared to have no real sense of direction or ambition, was content to live in filth and squalor, worked only when he had to, and then sporadically, spent most of his time in romantic dreams of being a great artist, was anti-Establishment and vocal on the shortcomings of society, but was short on deeds.  Even his war record bears testimony to a certain incompetence.  After spending four years in a regiment that had suffered heavy losses, he had never been promoted to a rank above Lance Corporal.  Nevertheless, this apparently insignificant and incompetent ne’er-do-well was later able, in the course of a relatively few years, to talk his way into the highest political offices, hoodwink the experienced leaders of the major powers, turn millions of highly civilized people into barbarians, order the extermination of a large segment of the population, build and control the mightiest war machine ever known, and plunge the world into history’s most devastating war (10, 11).”

In Langer’s characterizations of Hitler and his followers, we have glimpsed typical neoclassical images: Dionysus sneaked in through the ear: talking, hoodwinking, turning, ordering, controlling, plunging.  Stealthily ousting Apollonian fathers and only apparently civilized, the possessed Nazis were bloodthirstily reverting to type, surpassing all previous tyrannies in destruction and cruelty.  How did they do it?  Better than we aristocratically educated American consultants to the OSS, Hitler, himself immersed in Americanized mass culture,[16] Jewishly psyched out the hidden feminine and masochistic character of the German masses.  Through mass hypnosis achieved through his eroticized flashing phallic eyes (father’s) and falsetto voice (mother’s), then mutual engorgement at the speeches and rallies, Hitler and the audience re-enacted the transformation from feminized and depressed Jekyll to brutal and excited Hyde.  Hitler’s gimlet eye bore its way into the German psyche, subliminally persuading it to act out his drama of purification and vicarious masochistic identification with the Jewish victims of Nazism.  But the false self created in these erotic transactions could not be maintained: every defeat would require more and more brutal action to maintain the aura of invincibility.  The German people, in short, would behave as Ahab and his mesmerized crew in the ecstatic final chapters of Moby-Dick [my leap, not Langer’s].

Langer’s exasperation was understandable: Hitler, the uppity Austrian peasant and crypto-Jew, should not have tried to pass himself off as a world leader, rational and respectable like the rest.  If he had been as rational as Langer et al, he would have seen that his politics were determined by his inner life: specifically that he had been behaving like a Jewish victim turned Jewish upstart.  If Langer the psychologist had treated him, perhaps Hitler could have been persuaded that he was overindulged by his mother, that his family failed in not motivating him to conquer the asocial impulses that led him to sexual perversion.  He would have known that brutal, selfish and distracted fathers (defined against FDR the gentleman, 148-149) abandoning their sons to mysterious mothers (who are either too clean or too dirty, cf. Horace Walpole’s play “The Mysterious Mother”: who either pray or love too much) are at the root of his evil behavior.  And therefore, freed from responsibility for his perversion, Hitler could have blamed mother and father for transmitting their unsound premises, hence he would have been immune to the appeals of the Christian Socialists of Vienna (whose anti-Semitism was brand new to him).  And he would have understood that there are no real irreconcilable class and national conflicts in the world, only projections.  So, even in the modern world where ambitious and extraordinarily talented Jewish politicos are at large, there are happy endings when families are reformed in the interests of a strong “sense of [rooted] identity.”

The good father cure persists in popular culture: it resolves the double bind that Melville identified in his sarcastic description of  “virtuous expediency.”[17] In the 1956 movie, The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, the tycoon Ralph Hopkins (played by Fredric March), founder of the gigantic United Broadcasting Corporation, discovers too late that his self-regarding obsessive ambition, his lust for power and money, has forced him to neglect his family; catastrophically, his wife has raised the children by herself, explaining perhaps why his only son was killed in World War II (because his womanish idealism required that he sign up as an enlisted man?), and father’s neglect has made his eighteen-year old daughter a ne’er-do-well and a nihilist: a spoiled brat, positively bored by her responsibilities as the steward of great wealth and preferring marriage to a parasite suggestively named Byron.

Hopkins is the tragic foil to his new employee Thomas J. Rath (played by Gregory Peck), a World War II veteran (a captain) who has had an idyllic but adulterous affair in Italy with a saintly young girl Maria.  Rath, still traumatized by his experiences in the war, comes to understand through the indignant prodding of his wife Betsy (played by Jennifer Jones) and the example of Hopkins’ sluttish daughter that he (Rath) must not compromise his integrity or his paternal duties for the sake of personal advancement.  In fact, Hopkins’ belated epiphany makes it possible for Rath to satisfy the demands of his long-suffering wife for both rectitude and career: Rath speaks his mind (criticizing the deficiencies of Hopkins’ proposed speech to physicians designed to promote community mental health with “preventive” measures!) and his boss loves it; Hopkins has lost his taste for sycophants (an outcome that would have made Melville snort in disbelief), but Rath will never sell out; he refuses to play the substitute son for Hopkins if that means sacrificing his stabilizing presence at the helm of the family–one with three children rapidly succumbing to the hypnotic qualities of violence in early television westerns.

The same day that Rath makes his stand for integrity, he is informed by his former sergeant that Maria and Rath’s love child are now destitute, indeed are being supported by the sergeant on his elevator operator’s salary. Stricken by the revelation, Rath figuratively lobs a grenade at his wife (as he did so in the Pacific, accidentally killing his “best friend”and leaving himself in crazy denial). But Betsy, though furious and briefly floored on their front lawn after learning of the affair in Italy, is strong enough to adjust; after a brief runaway in the family car, she agrees (off screen) that they must both support the love-child, filling the local Connecticut judge (a very principled, very stable man named Bernstein–always disturbed when he must choose between competing claims for justice– with awe and gratification: “As the poet said, ‘God’s in His heaven; all’s right with the world.’ ” Judge Bernstein will assume the responsibility for sending $100 per month to Maria and Child so that the father will not have to correspond directly with his Italian family.  As the reconciled married pair drive off having survived two crises, Rath’s last words to Betsy are “I worship you.”

Tension is maintained throughout in a sustained color scheme, the colors of night-time combat: tigerish orange and red explosions contrast brilliantly with the dark blue-green foliage and rust-colored earth of the Pacific island where Rath was traumatized. Hence we feel the persistence of the horrible wartime incident that begins the movie, whether in Rath’s drab suburban home, in Rath’s inherited nineteenth-century mansion, during R&R in Italy, in the offices of United Broadcasting Corporation, Hopkins’ apartment, or the elevator where Rath meets his former subordinate.

The décor of the judge’s office carries through the same colors but they are now cooler in tone; suffused with the blessing of authority, in this case, the smile of a Jewish judge, the terror-gothic has lightened up. [18]


[2] See George Allen Morgan, What Nietzsche Means (Cambridge: Harvard U.P.: 1941); Morgan, a philosophy professor at Duke (the same Morgan as the consultant to the Psychological Strategy Board of the NSC, 1951-53?) masterfully decoded Nietzsche, showing that the ethical antinomy for the nineteenth century was not good Christian versus bad Jew, but austerely ascetic (impassible?) Heraclitean Greek versus (feminized) Christian/Jew; (the latter were of course, originators of the slave rebellions that had toppled towering geniuses).

[3] Barbara Ehrenreich, a leading feminist and social democrat, deplored the lack of autonomy of the professional-managerial class under Reagan, comparing its relative freedom prior to 1980 (KPFK radio broadcast, 10/2/89).  This would be precisely the argument of the socially responsible liberals of the Committee For Economic Development and other corporatists discussed throughout my study.                [4] See American Historical Review, April, 1973, 394-401; Oct. 1973, 1155-1163, for the dispute between Hans Gatzke and Walter Langer regarding the participation of Murray in the OSS report.  Gatzke could have made a stronger case in his own defense.  But an even more obvious influence was the worksheet on Hitler’s personality devised by Murray and Gordon Allport for their Harvard seminar on Civilian Morale (1941), and designed for national distribution to private organizations concerned with consensus building before, during and after the looming conflict.  The Harvard University Archives register for the Murray Papers states that Murray started work on his psychological profile of Hitler in 1938, after a request from the Roosevelt administration.    Two subsequent books contain conflicting reports regarding the inception of the Langer report. According to one account, Dr. Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl, a former intimate of Hitler, was interrogated for many weeks. “The results were of great value to a psychiatric profile of Hitler which Donovan had commissioned.” See Anthony Cave Brown, The Last Hero: Wild Bill Donovan (Random House Vintage Paperback, 1984): 211 (no sources given).  But according to another researcher (in an obscurely written  paragraph discussing German hopes for a separate peace), the Langer report was part of “a flood of rumors” concocted by the British and O.S.S. Morale Operations in 1944-45 “to spread the tale that the Nazis were trying to use atrocities to provoke the British and the Americans into retaining the policy of unconditional surrender so that the German people would continue to feel that there was no alternative but to fight on….It was the Chief of London M.O. Fred Oechsner who had the idea of preparing a psychological study of Hitler to guide his covert propaganda operations. The  resulting work by Walter Langer, which was known in the O.S.S. as the “spiced-up” version and cost the organization $2500 in Langer’s fees, was heralded after the war as an Allied intelligence project prepared to predict the course Hitler would follow as he approached his end. In fact, it was just another of M.O.’s wild schemes, using juicy tidbits from the Führer’s life to addle the brains of the population of Central Europe.” See Bradley F. Smith, The Shadow Warriors (N.Y.: Basic Books, 1983): 276-77.  Smith’s sources are the British Foreign Office and the James Donovan Papers at the Hoover Institution. One problem with this bizarre scenario is that the Langer report was supposedly filed in 1943. Smith makes no connection between the Murray and Langer reports, but in a footnote p. 447, n14, refers to the 1943 Murray study of Hitler as utilizing Hanfstaengl as an informant (though no such source is named in the actual report), and as black propaganda intended “to cause dissension in Nazi ranks” (205); all this as part of FDR’s private intelligence team headed by John Franklin Carter. (Note that Basic Books had also published what it said was the original 1943 Langer Report, the subject of my essay.) John D. Marks also mystified the connection of the Murray report to FDR and the Langer Report, perhaps taking Walter Langer’s word that he was initially resistant to the project because he had no direct access to Hitler; see Marks, The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate”: The CIA and Mind Control (N.Y.: Times Books, 1978): 15.

[5] Cf. Charles Olson’s name switch from Herman to Hermann Melville in his article for New Republic, 9/8/52 and 9/15/52.

[6] Dr. Henry A. Murray, “Analysis of The Personality of Adolph [sic] Hitler, With Predictions of His Future Behavior and Suggestions for Dealing With Him Now and After Germany’s Surrender,” October 1943, p.211, ff.  Murray’s list of Hitler’s skills are almost identical to those enumerated in the Langer report.  It is curious that Gatzke did not mention this in his refutation of Langer’s claim that Murray’s report was not even read by his team before it was filed with the O.S.S. in 1943!  However, there are important differences in interpretation between the two works; e.g. Murray, while giving credence to the Jewish blood, does not discuss Hitler’s sex life as a central determinant, but attempts a class analysis and gives weight to the Romantic Hitler’s reading and his life experience, the brutal lower-middle class father who opposed his son’s ambitions to become an artist, etc.  The Murray-Allport worksheets for their Harvard seminar on “Civilian Morale” (1941) do contain allusions to a deranged sexuality along with inferences drawn from Hitler’s physiognomy, but “social milieu” is deemed more important (“Hitler The Man…” p.11).

[7] Hitler believed that the masses were feminine and irrational, but he does not present himself as a cynical swindler in Mein Kampf.  He invariably paints himself as the good reliable father, protecting the gulllible people against switching Jews, the Fifth Column.  In both MK and Table Talk, he explains that Nazi propaganda must simplify, not falsify.

[8] Murray remarked to me that there were “differences between first, second and third-generation Jews.”

[9] See Henry A. Murray and Christiana Morgan, “A Method For Investigating Fantasies: The Thematic Apperception Test,” Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 34, 1935.  In the TAT, the subject is shown a drawing which he then interprets in written form.  The Progressive Murray of course believed he was rescuing the patient from such neuroses as the Icarus complex (social radicalism, itself irrationally motivated) when he concluded: “…the thematic apperception test is an effective means of disclosing a subject’s regnant preoccupations and some of the unconscious trends which underlie them.  The advantages of the test are that it is a simple procedure which may be completed in two hours or in an abbreviated form in half that time, and it may be performed in a casual and informal fashion.  Since the subject is led to believe that it is a test of creative imagination, even when it is given in a clinic, he is unaware of the fact that he is revealing his innermost thoughts.  The subject’s attention is not on himself, and so in many instances he indirectly confesses to things which he would not be willing to mention directly.  But more than this, he exposes latent tendencies of which he is entirely unconscious.  For the fantasties being projected may be inwardly disclaimed and thus avoid complete repression…At the present time a young person who shows a few mildly neurotic symptoms or, like all inwardly developing young persons, is temporarily overburdened by mental conflict generally has, if he wants expert assistance, but two choices.  He may be analyzed, or he may consult a psychiatrist with no experience in analysis…There are numberless young men and women who need the kind of help which perhaps only a trained therapeutist trained in psychoanalysis is in a position to give and yet who do not need, or want or cannot afford an analysis lasting a year or more.  They need to confess and discuss their problems, to attain insight, but in most cases it is better not to impede their progressive efforts by having to revive and relive their past.  It is in such cases that the thematic apperception test may provide the psychotherapeutist with the information necessary for the fulfillment of his function as a guide and healer of men.”

[10] In his review of the Langer report, Robert Jay Lifton was worried about such extrapolations, but Charles Rotunda in the New Republic agreed with Langer.

[11] The charge that Hitler had Jewish blood was given credence by the antifascist muckraker George Seldes in Facts and Fascism (N.Y.: In Fact, 1943), in a classic example of petit-bourgeois radicalism (populism: the enemy is filthy lucre, not all forms of illegitimate authority): “Factual evidence shows that bankers, international or what-not, are without exception on the side of money; they always invest to make profits, and they are without exception on the reactionary or fascist side, no matter what church, nation, “race” or “blood” they belong to.  When Wheeler, Coughlin, Hitler, Goebbels and others make statements to the contrary such statements are propaganda, if not plain falsehood.  Curiously enough, no less an authority than Fritz Thyssen, the man who bought and paid for the Nazi Party, believes the rumor that Hitler is partly Jewish.  Every official trace of evidence concerning Hitler’s ancestry has now disappeared.  It has been destroyed by order, just as were Mussolini’s police record in Italy and his record for forgery in Switzerland (as well as his political arrests).  However, Thyssen writes: “According to the published records, Hitler’s grandmother had an illegitimate son, and this son was to become the father of Germany’s present leader.”  An inquiry by Chancellor Dollfuss of Austria “disclosed that the Feuhrer’s [sic] grandmother became pregnant during her employment as a servant in a Viennese family…none other than that of Baron Rothschild.”  Thyssen insists that Hitler learned of this document and that it was one of the reason [sic] for the murder of Dollfuss.  Thyssen believes the British secret service has a copy.  The original, he says, Hitler got from Chancellor Schuschning and destroyed.  If Thyssen’s rumors turn out to be fact, it would appear that the world’s greatest anti-Semite, the greatest liar and the greatest propagandist of the “international bankers” myth, is himself a Rothschild” (156).

The irony of the last sentence is dependent on seeing that Hitler’s Jewish blood would make him, in fact, “a Rothschild” of the domineering banker-type he, Hitler, appears to hate. Seldes’ statement at first glance seems to be criticizing Hitler’s racism in attributing Jewishmess to all bankers instead of dealing with their class interests. By the time Seldes wrote his book, the myth of the Jewish banking conspiracy had been thoroughly exploded in the liberal press.  But what did Seldes think he was doing by summoning Thyssen as a witness lending plausibility to a rumor that he, as a Nazi supporter, had every interest in suppressing, unless he, Seldes, at some level wished to muddy the waters regarding the links between international Jews and finance capital?  And why does Seldes tell the reader that all bankers are evil profiteers, regardless of genetic inheritance, but then, in the third and fourth sentences, create a suggestive link between “Hitler’s [possible part-Jewish] ancestry” and Mussolini’s shameful crimes? Why mention Mussolini’s cover-up at all?  Don’t all illegitimate rulers clean up their records? Has Seldes reverted, unconsciously perhaps, to the stereotyping he so furiously criticizes by connecting in a rapid-fire barrage of unsupported assertions, money, class, dirt (the shameful suppressed rumor), and hypocrisy? When the muckrakers raked, was their muck latently Jewish in content?

[12] Cf. Murray on peasant stock vs. Hitler’s Jewish blood in the Harvard worksheet “Hitler, The Man–Notes For A Case History.”  There is a mystery as to the grandfather: “The ancestors on both sides of the family were peasant people of the district of Waldviertel, highly illiterate and very inbred.”  Father’s eyes were “small sharp, wicked”; he was a “harsh, stern, ambitious and punctilious man” (2).  What are his relations to his mother?  Hitler had “large melancholy thoughtful eyes” (2) and an “essentially feminine appearance.”  The eyes of “neutral grey tend to take on the colors of their surroundings” (4).  Mother took his side in the dispute over Hitler’s becoming an artist over father’s objections (3).  The brutal father caused him to be submissive, but he was boiling over.  He was enslaved to mother, an attachment he never outgrew, so he perhaps harbored a deep unconscious rage against her.  Failure added to other factors would unleash aggression (11).  Discussing the sources of Hitler’s antisemitism (consisting solely of a “morbid connection” between “Jews and disease, blood disease, syphilis, and filthy excrescences of all sorts”) Murray mentions that Hitler was a common Jewish name and he was teased about his Jewish appearance in Vienna (11).  Murray speculates: “Now it is known that syphilophobia often has its roots in the childhood discovery of the nature of sexual congress between the parents.  With a father who was illegitimate and possibly of Jewish origin [fn The name Hitler is Jewish as was pointed out] and a strong mother fixation, such a discovery by the child Adolf may well have laid the basis of a syphilophobia which some adventure with a Jewish prostitute in Vienna fanned to a full flame.  Terrified by the fear of his own infection, all the hatred in his being is then directed toward the Jews…Hitler’s personality structure, though falling within the normal range, may now be described as the paranoid type with delusions of persecution and of grandeur.  This stems from a sado-masochistic split in his personality.  Integral with these alternating and opposed elements in his personality are his fear of infection, the identification of the Jews as the source…and some derangement of the sexual function which make his relations with the opposite sex abnormal in nature.”  He has projected his inner conflicts onto the world.

Murray describes ambivalence: Hitler hates the Germans, so he uses “Jewish” tricks–”deceit, lying, violence and sudden attack both to subject the German people as well as their foes.”  International Jewish capital, etc. strangles and infects the mother.  Father partly possesses her so Hitler destroys the Austrian State.  But Hitler’s aggression arouses protest from the other side, causing anxiety, panic, insomnia, and nightmares.  Now he controls himself, because Fate controls his violence.  Success assuages fear.  When the limit of success is reached, “the personality may collapse under the weight of its own guilt feelings.  It is, therefore, quite possible that Hitler will do away with himself at whatever moment German defeat becomes sufficient enough to destroy the fiction of Fate which has shielded him from the violence of his own guilt….” (11-14).  The Murray Papers at Harvard University Archives contain materials relevant to his conflicted relations with Walter Langer, but they are closed to me as of this writing.

[13] Gatzke objected to this procedure, but did not compare it to Hitler’s.  Also, if there was so much discussion, then agreement, why did the OSS report resemble Murray’s earlier report for FDR, as Gatzke noted?  (Langer said Murray opted out of the team almost immediately.)

[14] See Rosemary Radford Ruether, Faith and Fratricide (N.Y.: Seabury Press, 1973).  Ruether dates the onset of modern antisemitism with the writings of  Patristic church fathers.

[15] In an essay reviewing sixteen recent studies of the Holocaust (NYRB, 9/28/89), Istvan Deak, Professor of History at Columbia University, declared Marxist identifications of fascism with late capitalism passé; Deak, like other conservatives, apparently views the People, not the system, as the source of violence.  For Deak, the mass murder committed by the Nazis is unique, and probably incomprehensible (here quoting Arno Mayer).  Perhaps Nazi crimes would not be so inexplicable were they not encapsulated with the excuse of historicism.  For to insert Nazi violence into the continuum of permissible violence would reflect badly on the aristocratic paternalism which Deak and other elitists would like to protect; but worse, such comparisons (with child abuse, degradation of the environment, the cruelty of class education, the toleration of poverty and other unnecessary human suffering in an age of technology) would expose the fragility and novelty of the humanitarianism and science introduced during the Renaissance and Enlightenment–and their cooption and deformation by conservatives (another outdated ‘Marxist’ idea).

[16] Murray mentions Hitler’s reading of James Fenimore Cooper and Karl May  (a popular German writer on American Indians), worksheet on Hitler, p.3.

[17] See Plinlimmon’s pamphlet in Pierre, or the Ambiguities (1852). Ultraconservatives have consistently identified Melville and his character Ishmael with Plinlimmon’s amorality in the service of social cohesion.

[18] This themes I have identified are suppressed in an H-Net Review (11-13-98) by Philip J. Landon of the History Channel’s series on the 1950s: “The small-town scandals of Peyton Place are balanced by interviews with Betty Friedan (The Feminine Mystique, 1963) and Sloan Wilson (The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, 1955), writers who chronicled the suburban domestic life of young businessmen climbing the corporate ladder and their wives, whose horizons have narrowed to children and kitchen appliances. Their discontents are illustrated primarily with scenes from the Hollywood adaptation of Wilson’s novel, which focuses on the middle-class and upwardly mobile Rath family. While the Raths may exemplify the disappointments awaiting those who achieve the American Dream, they are more 1950s myth than 1950s reality. Very few families ever enjoyed the Rath’s material well-being. The discontents which haunted most families originated in their failure to share the Dream which advertising and the mass-media held up as the reward awaiting all deserving Americans. To many of us who grew up in the lower-middle and working-class families and came of age during the 1950s, the tribulations of the Rath family seemed both delicious and desirable.”

August 8, 2009

Hitler, switches, modern art, and more, much more

Wilhelm Trubner, 1877: Combat of the Titans

Here are three pages from my unpublished manuscript that criticizes existing psychoanalytic/social psychological explanations of Hitler’s psyche, using Hitler’s own words about himself as a primary source. I am posting this on the Yankee Doodle Society website as an enticement to read more from this chapter, as the footnotes are lengthy and survey the literature existing at the time I wrote it, in the late 1980s-early 1990s. If viewers here want to see the entire 32 page excerpt from my larger manuscript (tentatively titled Eros and the Middle Manager), please write to me at clarespark@verizon.net or see the last three blogs here: https://clarespark.com/2010/08/14/index-to-blogs-on-hitlers-view-of-the-jewish-mind-2/.  If you have been reading prior blogs here, you will recognize the themes I have tried to develop on the Yankee Doodle Society website, overall an attempt to rescue the radical Enlightenment from the “moderate men” who have co-opted “the Enlightenment” and turned it against “the lower orders.” The sample follows below, and Hitler’s words were taken from his Table Talk (1973) with introductory essay by H. R. Trevor-Roper, and translated by Norman Cameron and R.H. Stevens. I challenge the widespread notion that Hitler is best understood as a failed artist. In my view, Hitler views the skeptical, switching, restless Jewish mind with panic, but his fears are also class fears of the squeezed petit bourgeois.

I should add that this and the rest of the ms. was read by Robert Brenner, Frederick Crews(this section only), and the late Roy Porter. I was encouraged by their responses to press on.

[From my manuscript:]

[Hitler, Feb. 3-4, 1942; Hitler identifies with heretics; Jews have instigated the “collective madness” of witch hunts carried out by organized Christianity:] A Jew was discovered to whom it occurred that if one presented abstruse ideas to non-Jews, the more abstruse these ideas were, the more the non-Jews would rack their brains to try to understand them. The fact of having their attention fixed on what does not exist must make them blind to what exists. An excellent calculation on the Jew’s part. So the Jew smacks his thighs to see how his diabolic strategem has succeeded. He bears in mind that if his victims suddenly became aware of these things, all Jews would be exterminated. But, this time, the Jews will disappear from Europe. The world will breathe freely and recover its sense of joy, when this weight is no longer crushing its shoulders (288).

[Hitler, June 13, 1943:] I cannot make up my mind to buy a picture by a French painter, because I am not sure of the dividing line between what I understand and what I do not understand. I have the same feeling when I look at paintings by Corinth and Trübner–to mention only two of our German artists. These men started by painting pictures of great merit, and then, urged on by pride, they started to produce the most startling and extraordinary works. [THE SWITCH] In literature the Jew has already blazed the same pernicious trail, and artists like Corinth and Trübner have followed them. The result is the frightful daubs with which they now inflict us (703-704).

Less is more. Like many critical theorists, George L. Mosse has placed Nazi excess in the tradition of mass politics and youth revolt, i.e., Jacobin democracy and terror. But Hitler’s own writings place him securely in the ranks of the reactionary romantic anticapitalists; he was a typically vulnerable petit-bourgeois, railing against fluctuating money markets, terrified of status loss, and choking off the intellectual curiosity and expression that will cast him into the abyss reserved for lapsed conservative Christians and blue-collars. He wants an enduring structure, a familiar terrain. How many of those who have attempted to analyze him and/or the appeal of national socialism pay attention to his panic in the face of naturalistic romantic art and poetry? As with other neoclassicists, the consequence for Hitler is a deficient vocabulary; he cannot define his situation in concrete, descriptively precise language—words, tones, and gestures that chart the rise and fall of feelings, their switches, subtle interpenetrations and metamorphoses. How might the scientistic social critic (his vocabulary similarly limited insofar as he turns away from the living world to his non-interactive models, ideal types and abstractions) react with phobic intensity to the finely differentiated emotions of everyday life, emotions that he cannot grasp without the words and detail that match the distinctive qualities, nuances and motions of each? Might his own person become the loathsome, super-demanding, ever elusive creature that Hitler disowned as Jewish, the muddling (female) body that even after repeated exterminations inevitably returned to terrorize him again? Might the tasteful planner or architect taken with structural models that may be encompassed at a single glance feel the same? Are there not escapist, mystical, and submissive longings , underneath such “aesthetic” preferences; postures or dreamy states that quiet the rage of seeing, mop up the blood on the floor?
The blurred formulations of Nazi ideology crowding the field of cultural anthropology and cultural history sharply contrast with the clear view of the enemy available in the straightforward writing of Hitler and other National Socialists. They explicitly and plainly oppose independent labor unions, the rootless cosmopolitanism associated with “international finance capital,” liberalism and international socialism, and the universalist ethics and the too-attractive no-holds-barred intellectual procedures associated with science and democracy, all products of the radical Enlightenment and identified with “the International Jew.” Because the idealist social theorists described above are corporatist liberals wedded to the calming closures of Christian eschatology (and unconditional surrender?) their explanations for Nazi antisemitism are marred by the abstractness and vagueness of ideal types and antitheses.

Above all they must carve a clear channel between Hitler and themselves as supporters of FDR and other self-sacrificing good fathers; as bureaucratic collectivists supposed to be different from fascists they necessarily construct Hitler as a creative figure, the failed, unbalanced romantic artist concocting an original, eclectic, incoherent ideology that may not be construed as another case of corporatist liberalism. .

[Harvard social psychologist, Dr. Henry A. Murray to FDR, 1943:] [Hitler] was a compound, say, of Lord Byron and Al Capone (143)…It was not Germany as it was or had been that Hitler represented but rather the ideal social pattern which he wished to impose on the country. Not only during his days of rumination in Vienna but later it was necessary for him to construct an ideology from diverse sources in terms of which he could preach to the people. None of the elements were original with him but some inventiveness was required in developing the precise combination of principles that became the creed of the Nazi Party. Besides this, he was continually preoccupied with inventing means to his goals, which involved a considerable amount of creative thought; thus, to a certain extent, he functioned as a creative artist and certainly conceived of himself as such (178-179).

The only switch visible to the moderate men is the metamorphosis of extreme nationalism to antisemitism and xenophobia, a change that “moderate” nationalism resists after social psychologists have cooled it out. In the mass media that have interpreted the Third Reich to millions, the outsider Hitler’s own voice has been presented, perhaps invariably, as a rant in the German language, shadowed by domineering Jewish blood, lapped up by cheering fresh-scrubbed German Aryan women. [end of excerpt from Eros and the Middle Manager]

Lovis Corinth, 1905: Die Jugend des Zeus

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