Tolkien versus the Frankfurt School : The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly of the Left

August 15, 2011

Bilbo Comes to the Huts of the Raft-Elves

By Robert Stark

I was listening to Tom Sunic’s recent interview with Counter-Currents Publishing editor Greg Johnson on the Voice of Reason Broadcast Network, which also hosts my show, The Stark Truth. The topic of the interview was the New Right movement in Europe, which has recently made inroads within the American alternative Right. The New Right differentiates itself from the American conservative movement, which is thought to be based on classical liberalism rather than European traditionalism.

During the interview, Johnson pointed out that,

A lot of things that are conventionally left-wing by contemporary standards are not so different from things that were defended by traditionalists in Europe. So we tend to have a critical attitude about capitalism. We tend to be opposed to the despoiling of the environment or the destruction of history, [for] walkable communities, [against] processed crappy food and things like that. We tend to be, in many ways in terms of lifestyle and aesthetic taste and things like that, aligned with people that are contemporary leftists, but I would even say that the contemporary Left has roots, if you go back far enough, where things blend together with things that are more right-wing if you will, or let’s just say European traditional forms of society.

So one of the things that I talk about is what I like to call “West Coast White nationalism” because West Coast White nationalism, a lot of the people that I know on the West Coast who think in terms of a racially defined new order of society, you take one look at them and you think that they’re hippies or you think that they’re liberals. Their lifestyles and their attitudes embrace a lot of things like Eastern spirituality, and drinking fruit juice, and wearing sandals, and granola, and vegetarianism, and organic food and organic farming, all these sort of things that you think are kind of hippie things.

If you look at the roots of a lot of the West Coast hippie culture and also the hippie culture in Europe for that matter, a lot of it goes back to Tolkien. What doesn’t come from the New Left, let’s say the Frankfurt school and things like that, a lot of it comes from Tolkien which is pretty much directly connected with European Traditionalism.

Despite the fact that he lived before the modern environmental movement, Tolkien had a passionate love for nature, which he expressed in his work. He was personally disgusted by the greed and destruction of nature which occurred during the industrialization of Great Britain and often used the term “steward” in his work. There is a book by Matthew T. Dickerson called Ents, Elves and Eriador: The Environmental Vision of J.R.R. Tolkien, which examines the message of stewardship of nature in his work. The author examines how the community the Hobbits is sustainable and self-sufficient, as well as how the Ents preserve the forest of Fangorn.


In an essay from 1968 entitled “The Hobbit and the Hippie” on the influence that Tolkien’s work had on the hippie movement, co-authors William Ratliff and Charles Flinn point out that “the great respect for the past found in the trilogy has already been noted, and it is this respect which in part supports the rejection of the idea of continual progress. For the hippies, however, continual progress is denied because it conflicts with the exaltation of undifferentiated experience and with the state more usually associated with madness.”

While in regards to issues such as preserving the environment there is truth to this, it’s obvious that the counterculture movement of the 1960s brought about great societal change, mainly due to the influence of cultural Marxism and the Frankfurt School.

Critics of cultural Marxism have made the argument that it is an ideological tool to subvert traditional institutions and concepts such as Western Civilization, nationalism, Christianity, race, gender, and the family. In his book Death of the West, Pat Buchanan asserts that cultural Marxists have taken control of the American media and use it as a tool to infect the minds of Americans. Other traditional conservatives have made similar arguments. William S. Lind stated that “Political Correctness is cultural Marxism. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. It is an effort that goes back not to the 1960s and the hippies and the peace movement, but back to World War I. If we compare the basic tenets of Political Correctness with classical Marxism the parallels are very obvious.” In his book The Strange Death of Marxism, Paul Gottfried argues the point that Marxism outlived communism in form of cultural Marxism rather than economics.

While they have vast differences in ideology and values, both Tolkien in his works and the cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt School laid the ideological ground work for the 1960s counterculture movement, which most political thinkers characterize as left-wing. Causes that were associated with the hippie movement include the anti-war, pro-environment, anti-racist, feminist, and anti-consumerist ones. More recently, the Left much like the modern Right has sold out many of the their principles to big capital and consumerism; however, the influence of the Frankfurt School remains and has influenced society though the media and academia.

Today, Hollywood, which is often described by social conservatives as a bastion of liberal elitism, is the perfect example of an unholy marriage between cultural Marxism and consumerism. While Hollywood continues to attack nationalism, Whites, men, Christianity, and the family, it also promotes mass consumption and conformity, despite conning the consumers into thinking they are being edgy. Working for the advertisement industry, Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, who was an avowed cultural Marxist, implemented these ideas, using his uncle’s knowledge of psychological manipulation, on unsuspecting consumers. Obviously the main objective of those who run Hollywood is to make money, but even cultural Marxists figure that crony capitalist economics and consumer culture are the best way to make a profit as well as spread their ideas and warp the minds of billions of people throughout the world.

Ironically in response there is now a growing counterculture movement in the alternative Right that has revived a lot of the principles that are associated with Tolkien’s work as well as with the original counterculture Left. Greg Johnson, who stresses building a new political coalition that reaches beyond the Left-Right paradigm, wrote in essay titled “West Coast White Nationalism,” where he describes this counter culture movement which is primarily found on the West Coast.

He says that he has “noticed that today’s West Coast White Nationalists tend to be socially and even politically more left-wing than White Nationalists from other parts of the United States. I’ll never forget the evening in 2003 when, at a David Irving lecture in San Francisco, I met a daughter of the ’60s counterculture who told me that her two favorite books are The Lord of the Rings and Mein Kampf.”

He continues to list further characteristics:

  • West Coast White Nationalists tend to have higher SWPLQs (“Stuff White People Like” Quotients) than White Nationalists in other parts of the US. (I liked 122/150 SWPL in the first Stuff White People Like book, but only 41/92 SWPL in Whiter Shades of Pale.)
  • West Coast White Nationalists tend to be more strongly concerned with environmental preservation, healthy and sustainable lifestyles, and combating animal cruelty than White Nationalists in other parts of the US. If Savitri Devi were alive today, she would be smuggling stray cats into an organic gardening commune in Berkeley.
  • West Coast White Nationalists tend to be more critical of the workings of unrestrained global capitalism. We are pro-labor, protectionist, pro-zoning, and pro-small business.
  • West Coast White Nationalists tend to be more non-Christian and to be more honest about it than other White Nationalists. I know atheists, agnostics, neo-pagans, New Agers, and even some who have made extensive study and practice of Eastern philosophies and religions. Religious pluralism and tolerance would definitely be features of a West Coast White Republic.
  • West Coast White Nationalists tend to be more tolerant of homosexuals, bisexuals, “androphiles,” and “none of the aboves” who put their racial identity first.
  • West Coast White Nationalists tend to be more tolerant of drugs like marijuana and psychedelics.
  • West Coast White Nationalists are far less hung up on sub-racial distinctions and Old World feuds than White Nationalists in the East and South. We tend to think of ourselves as whites first and foremost.

While Johnson is a White nationalist, which of course is not for everyone, within the greater conservative movement, Rod Dreher, who is a journalist for National Review, has expressed similar ideas in his book titled “Crunchy Cons,” which also discusses this growing counterculture whose belief that “‘small is beautiful’ often puts them at odds with the mainstream corporate influenced conservative movement.” Dreher states “that being a truly committed conservative today” should mean “being as skeptical of big business as you are of big government.”


2 Responses to “Tolkien versus the Frankfurt School : The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly of the Left”

  1. Tolkien Versus The Frankfurt School: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Of The Left | DRScoundrels on August 16th, 2011 3:50 pm

    [...] was listening to Tom Sunic’s recent interview with Counter-Currents Publishing editor Greg Johnson on the Voice of Reason [...]

  2. Robert Stark on West Coast White Nationalism | Counter-Currents Publishing on August 16th, 2011 10:41 pm

    [...] Robert Stark has posted an article at the Voice of Reason entitled “Tolkien versus the Frankfurt School: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly of the Left” in which he comments favorably on my recent VOR interview with Tom Sunic and on my article “West Coast White Nationalism.” Check out his article as well as his Voice of Reason show The Stark Truth. [...]