Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 66(3) Aug 2016
The Devil's Pleasure Palace:
The Cult of
Critical Theory and The Subversion of the West.
By Michael Walsh.
Encounter Books (20 Aug 2015)
How have we arrived at the state we are currently in? The author of this deeply insightful book gives us a clue. He is a journalist and former classical music critic of Time magazine. In part, the answer lies in the advancement of the cultural Marxism promoted by the Frankfurt School and whose theories were popularised in the Universities and other institutions from the Second World War onwards. In the name of "tolerance," they have so effectively campaigned to rid the institutions of moral values. But, of course, their version of tolerance entails the suppression of free speech for traditional Christians.
The Frankfurt School especially targeted the family unit because they realized that the state can only become powerful when the family unit is destroyed. The insane Father of the Sexual Revolution, Wilhelm Reich, was a member of the Frankfurt School and his blend of psychoanalysis and Marxism became hugely popular especially in the Sixties. As the author notes, Reich and his followers realized that the best way to subjugate the masses was by means of promoting the pleasure principle. The classical Marxists got it wrong because they focused on the economy. Critical theory has been promoted as a means of emancipating the masses. The masses, or at least some of them, have realized too late that the consequence of this "emancipation" has in fact been a greater slavery of individuals to the state and to themselves.
Apart from Reich, other members of the Frankfurt School include Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Antonio Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse and Erich Fromm. As the author notes, they were united in their hatred of Western (Christian) civilization. Many of them entered the United States around the time of the Second World War and they were able to promote their subversive views especially in the Universities. The author of this superb book ends on a positive note: once the enemy is unmasked, it will decay.
Reviewed by Dr Pravin Thevathasan,
MB, BS, MRCPsych, MSc, MA
(Medical Ethics and Law)