The price paid for discounting the social and political impact of your decisions is going to be high.

Offence taken – but you have the right to your opinion.


As a social psychologist, I don’t want persons who might take offence at some of our more controversial social survey findings hauling me up before some “Offended Persons Tribunal” simply because the results don't happen to fit their world view. Giving offence may get your throat cut in some places but there would be few countries that legislate it as a crime in itself . Nevertheless such tactics were confronted by one of the leading psychologists of the 1950’s and 1960’s as a means of shutting him up. In true Gramscian[1] style, the Leninist vilification strategy complete with requisite goons and reputation besmirchers was regularly utilised as a silencing tactic on Hans Eysenck by a coterie of the UK’s far left social engineers after it had proven so darn successful for the controllers of Eastern Europe, North Korea and China at the time.

Following the release of Adorno’s book, the Authoritarian Personality[2] at the beginning of the 1950’s, the Frankfurt School[3] became de rigeur in many Western educational elite circles. The book identifies and attempts to measure attitudes akin to fascism i.e. authoritarianism of the right, as a means of coming to grips with the actions of the Nazis and their collaborators. However, it wasn’t too long before other authors noted that that when it came to the authoritarian mindset, it mattered little on which side of the political fence you happen to stand.[4] Ray[5] in particular was able to demonstrate that authoritarianism of the left was as resiliently dogmatic and iron fisted as that of the right and deserved special mention any time the topic was discussed. While the 30’s and 40’s saw the rise of authoritarianism of the right through Hitler and Mussolini in Europe and Oswald Moseley’s Brown Shirts in the UK, the 60’s and 70’s promoted the rise of the radical left which was equally boisterous and dogmatic…some may say even more so if we include Stalin, Mao and Madame Mao’s Red Guard in that category.

So, if we look at what a mild mannered experimental psychologist like Hans Eysenck had to endure at the end of the 60’s and the beginning of the 1970’s after the publication of his book “Race, Intelligence and education”[6] it is clear that smear, innuendo and physical threat were becoming the new tools for settling debate. I would argue from commentary I have heard recently on the attempts to rationalise laws on racial abuse so that they cannot be used as a political weapon, little has changed since then. Eysenck says in his book Rebel with a Cause regarding his run in with demonstrators at the London School of Economics and elsewhere; “I have told the story of misrepresentation, physical attacks, broken-up meetings, threats of bombing and worse in an article in Encounter under the title ‘The Danger of the New Zealots’[7],  and will not repeat myself here. My wife and children suffered equally under this persecution…..I do advocate open discussion, along scientific lines of the problems caused by differences between racial, national and religious groups; I am certain of thing – the problem will not be solved by slogans, and in ignorance of the true facts…..I am not optimistic about this becoming a possibility in the near future”[8]

Perhaps the most damning indictment of the radical left was demonstrated in what was to become the oxymoron of all oxymorons. After Eysenck was scheduled to deliver a lecture on his 1971 book “Race, Intelligence and Education” at Birmingham University, the following slogans were carved into the stone at the front of one of its main buildings:


Such critics as they do today, tend to adopt what eventually became a favorite Soviet tactic against dissidents: anyone whose political views differed from theirs was labeled insane and sent off to “summer camp” as Libertarian poet Ezra Pound can attest although in his case that happened to him immediately after WW11[10].

I look at the carping and misrepresentation of many of today’s recalcitrant “liberal left” politicians and their media acolytes this week over the dangers of free speech and am forced to agree with Eysenck that unless we protect the rights of others to have an opinion we cannot be optimistic about our future as a free society. Fascism is a multi-directional beast!

So I ask: has anything changed? The same old Marxist social engineers are alive and well and legislating in Canberra among other places, attempting to purge the bulk of us from the face of the earth if we let them…..well at least during parliamentary sittings anyway.

[1] Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) was one of the most important Hegelian Marxist thinkers in the 20th century. He is a notable figure within modern European thought and his writings analyze culture and political leadership. He is known for his theory of cultural hegemony, which describes how states use cultural institutions to maintain power in capitalist societies. In 1919 Gramsci set up the weekly newspaper L'Ordine Nuovo (The New Order) which was seen by Vladimir Lenin as closest in orientation to the Bolsheviks, receiving his backing. On 21 January 1921, in the town of Livorno, the Communist Party of Italy (Partito Comunista d'Italia – PCI) was founded. Gramsci would be a leader of the party from its inception. In 1922 Gramsci travelled to Russia as a representative of the new party and met Julia Schucht, a young violinist whom he married in 1923 and by whom he had two sons. He was arrested by Mussolini’s fascists not long after returning to Italy and spent much of his adult life in gaol writing on how to break down the ruling class system through the union movement, use of the Hegelian dialectic, smear, slander and violence towards one’s enemies where possible. Source:Wikipedia.

[2] Adorno, T. W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D. J., & Sanford, R. N. (1950). The Authoritarian Personality. New York: Harper and Row

[3] Adorno had been a member of the "Frankfurt School", a predominantly Jewish group of philosophers and Marxist theorists who fled Germany when Hitler shut down their Institute for Social Research.

[4]  Billings S. W., Guastello S. J., Reike M. L. (1993). "A comparative assessment of the construct validity of three authoritarianism measures". Journal of Research in Personality 27: 328–348.

5] Ray, J.J. (1980) "Libertarians and the Authoritarian Personality". The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. IV, No. 1, Winter 1980, pp. 39-43. 

[6] Eysenck H J, Race Intelligence and Education, London Temple Smith, 1971

[7] Eysenck H J (1972) ‘The Danger of the New Zealots’ [7](Encounter, 39, 12 pp77-91)

[8] Rebel with a Cause – The Autobiography of Hans Eysenck, (1997) Transaction Publishers, London, UK (p216)

[9] From photograph in Rebel with a Cause – The Autobiography of Hans Eysenck, (1997) Transaction Publishers, London, UK

[10] That difficult individual Ezra Pound, (2011), Eustace Mullins, Literary Licensing, LLC 

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