With a hat-tip to Bill Valicella, here’s an item, by Alex Ross for The New Yorker, arguing that the Frankfurt School foresaw the rise of Donald Trump.

Did they? Well, we shouldn’t be surprised, because they labored to create exactly the ideological conditions in the postwar West — the deadly mind-virus of radical and pathologically altruistic non-discrimination — that, by opposing every normal means of cultural self-preservation until at last the West’s very survival was at stake, guaranteed at last the very reaction they had sought to prevent. (Perhaps it is similar, in a sense, to the way the overuse of antibiotics has given rise to deadly strains of bacteria.) The New Yorker has been disseminating this pathogen for decades.

Mr. Ross, however, sees none of this. He betrays this blindness in his last sentence:

[T]he fear is that the present antidemocratic wave may prove too strong even for Germany — the only country in the history of the world that ever learned from its mistakes.

“Learned from its mistakes”? I think not. What happened, rather, was that Germany was crushed by its enemies, subjugated, and forcibly re-educated. It “learned” nothing that it wasn’t taught, in the wake of the war, by the Frankfurt School itself. As we watch Germany now, its culture staggering in extremis from decades of memetic infection, it should be obvious that all it has done has been to exchange one catastrophic mistake for another.

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