Adorno on the Far-Right 1967

The words of Theodor W. Adorno from 1967 are haunting for all who have experienced the last five years of the MAGA Fascist criminal and wannabe dictator and his followers. I welcome all who want to have a deeper understanding of fascism and how it takes hold within society.

Below is a transcript from the video using voice dictation. Accuracy may not be completely perfect, and punctuation is wanting.

See Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

right laying extremism or the potential for such a right-wing extremism is explained by the fact that the social conditions for fascism continues to exist

despite the collapse of fascism the conditions for such movements are still socially if not politically present

These groups still tend towards a hatred of socialism or what they call socialism

That is they lay the blame for their own potential downgrading not on the apparatus that causes it but on those who were critical of the system in which they once had a status

In that sense, fascist movements can be described as the wounds the scars of a democracy that to this day has not yet fully lived up to its own concept

If one is unable to see anything before them and does not want to change the social foundation one has little choice but to say like Richard Wagner’s Wotan:” Do you know what Wotan wants? The end.”

From their own social situation, they long for demise though not the demise of their own group but as far as possible the demise of all

One shouldn’t underestimate these movements due to their low intellectual level and lack of theory

I think it would be a complete lack of political vision to conclude from this that they are unsuccessful

What is characteristic of these movements is rather an extraordinary perfection of certain methods primarily propaganda’s methods in the broadest sense combined with blindness indeed abstruseness of the ends they pursue

And I think that precisely this constellation of rational means and irrational ends, if I can’t put it in such an abbreviated form, corresponds in some ways to the overall tendency of civilization which leads to such a perfection of techniques and means while the overall social purpose falls by the wayside

The propaganda of these parties and their movements is especially brilliant in that it balances out the difference the unquestionable difference between the real interest and the insurer aimed they in espouse

It is the very substance of the matter just as it was with the Nazis

Which means increasingly become substitutes for ends One can almost say that in these extreme right-wing movements propaganda itself constitutes the substance of politics

What is fundamental about this ideology is its fragmentary nature

How many planks such as the eastward expansion imperialism in the true sense have fallen away willy-nilly

The prospect of tomorrow the whole world is entirely missing which gives the whole thing a bit of a lack of impetus and makes it rely even more on desperation than what was already present subliminally in Nazism

but let me say again that there was never a truly fully developed theory in fascism

It always implied that what mattered was power conceptless praxis ultimately unconditional domination and that spirit of the kind that expresses itself in theory was secondary by comparison

And in turn, gave these movements that ideological flexibility that can be observed so often

This is also part of the zeitgeist The predominance of a conceptless praxis and it also has consequences for propaganda

Let me finally say a few things about propaganda which as I suggested before I actually consider the center even the matter itself in a certain sense

This propaganda is less concerned with spreading an ideology which as I told you is far too thin to draw into the masses

So propaganda is primarily a technique of mass psychology

It is based on the model of the authority bound personality today exactly as in the time of Hitler or in the movements of the lunatic Fringe in America or anywhere else

The unity lies in this appeal to the authority bound personality It is said again and again that these movements all promise something and that is true as a characteristic of the lack of theory

But it is false in the sense that in this appeal to the authority bound character there’s a very specific and empathetic unity

You’ll never find a single utterance That does not correspond to the schema of the authority bound personality

These unconscious tendencies which feed the authority bound personality aren’t thus made conscious by this propaganda but on the contrary they are pushed even deeper into the unconscious They are kept artificially unconscious

consider the excessive significance of the so-called symbols which is characteristic of all such movements

There is a whole array of designated enemies One of these is the image of the communist

Then another bete noire is obviously the intellect s who are especially hated. The term left-wing intellect is another one of those boogeymen.

Of course in spite of everything anti-Semitism continues to be a plank of the platform

Now of course there has been official legislation to make these things taboo

But even the taboo about mentioning the Jews becomes a means of anti-semitic incitement with a wink and a nudge We are not allowed to say it but we all understand each other We all know what we mean

And The mere mention of a Jewish name is already sufficient for this technique of illusion to create certain effects

Psychoanalysis is hated most of all of course and here is anti-intellectualism The fear of the unconscious becoming conscious and the authoritarian character which form a kind of syndrome together

The propaganda technique relates to certain formal features and two more or less isolated individual topics.

It has long been my conviction that there are a relatively small number of recurring standardized and completely objectified tricks which are very poor and thin in themselves but by their constant repetition gain a certain propaganda’s value for these movements

As far as this ideology goes the law prevents it from fully expressing itself

It can be said that all ideological expressions of right-wing extremism are characterized by a constant conflict between not being allowed to say something and what as one agitator recently described it is intended to bring the audience to a boiling point

People now had the feeling That with this movement that seeks precisely to abolish freedom they are now regaining their freedom of decision and spontaneity

One needs to be warned about the cult of a so-called order that doesn’t answer to reason especially the concept of discipline which is present as an end in itself without asking a discipline for what

Also, the fetishization of everything military has expressed in such lovely phrases as solitary man clearly belongs in this context

Right-wing extremism isn’t a psychological and ideological problem but a very real and political one

But the factually wrong untrue nature of its own substance forces it to operate with ideological means which in this case is propagandistic means

And that is why aside from the political struggle by purely political means one must face it in It’s very own domain

But do not fight lies with lies Do not try to be just as clever as it is but counteract it with the full force of reason with truly non-ideological truth