Here is Jay Nordlinger writing at National Review:
Michael Walsh has written a new book: The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West. It is a dazzling book. It’s erudite, bold, entertaining, and important.
What’s the book about? In essence, it’s about the struggle before us: truth and liberty and life versus error and bondage and death.
Big enough for you, theme-wise?
Listen to Michael — he’s talking about the Frankfurt School and critical theory, and their stupendous influence after World War II:
At once overly intellectualized and emotionally juvenile, Critical Theory — like Pandora’s Box — released a horde of demons into the American psyche. When everything could be questioned, nothing could be real, and the muscular, confident empiricism that had just won the war gave way, in less than a generation, to a fashionable Central European nihilism that was celebrated on college campuses across the United States. Seizing the high ground of academe and the arts, the new nihilists set about dissolving the bedrock of the country, from patriotism to marriage to the family to military service.
Are you unfamiliar with the Frankfurt School? Don’t worry, most people aren’t familiar with it because Republicans and conservatives haven’t been seriously fighting in the information war.
Republicans and conservatives are supposed to be the folks who love the Founding Fathers, but I fear too often they ignore what those men said when it comes to (what I call) job number one (informing public opinion). Here’s James Madison on the topic:
A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.
Talk about a prescient prediction of Obama’s election and reelection. Republicans and conservatives haven’t established effective “means of acquiring” the right information. Americans have ceded unprecedented levels of power to their government because they don’t have the right knowledge.
Too many on our side seem to be waiting for something to happen that will magically transform enough independents into clear-thinking voters. That’s not going to happen. Worse news is that we’ve got a lot of work to do to catch up to the political left when it comes to mass communications.
Let’s do a quick review. The political left controls the K-12 public schools and much of academia. The left controls the dominate media, almost all of the old – newspapers, TV and radio news, and the new media with a big audience – such as Google and Yahoo news services. The left controls pop culture like movies and TV. In addition to that there are countless non-profit organizations and many labor unions that take political communication seriously.
The chances are far greater that your neighbors will hear some skewed report which is written by someone who is either clueless about the facts or has an agenda to prove claiming that conservatives are the problem.
Here’s just one more excerpt from it:
Another epigraph comes from Leo Strauss: “The crisis of the West consists in the West’s having become uncertain of its purpose.”
Ya think? And the key part of “the West” is right here in America — where Republicans and conservatives have been failing in their purpose of arming enough of their fellow citizens with the power that knowledge gives.