It basically comes down to this: Jordan Peterson, the Canadian raw-red-meat-eating He-Man himself, reboiled this old piece of cabbage he called Cultural Marxism. It's essentially an attack on the Frankfurt School's influence of what can be generally described as the late-20th century rise of cultural studies in university programs concerning literature, film, sociology, anthropology, and politics. What the members of the Frankfurt School initiated during the Weimar Republic was the isolation of a branch of philosophy that became known as Critical Theory. (Can you already see the missing word in Christopher Rufo's now popular rehashing?)
A major influence on this movement of philosophical thought was, of course, Karl Marx, an economist who critiqued the operations and ontology of 19th-century capitalism in his key works. However, the founding and most prominent members of the Frankfurt School were leftist Jewish intellectuals: Max Horkheimer (the father), Theodor W. Adorno (the son), and Walter Benjamin (the holy ghost). There was also Erich Fromm, Friedrich Pollock, and Leo Löwenthal.
One of the leading members was a philosopher who got his start wedding Marxian economics with Heideggerian existentialism, Herbert Marcuse. He fled Nazi Germany because of his Jewish heritage and radical politics. (The Nazis tossed international socialists and communists into their death camps.) After the Second World War, the Cold War took shape in the US as a pronounced attack on the perceived threat of unrepentant leftist Jews. There was, indeed, a time in the US when being Jewish and a communist was seen as one and the same thing. This kind of association was tolerated in the Red 30s, but not in McCarthy 50s. If this is kept in mind, it will not be hard to understand why the only American commies ever fried (or executed, to put it nicely) by the US government were Jews, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.
It is also not hard to understand why Seattle's utter nutter Christopher Rufo (and please stop DM'ing me on Twitter) successfully reboiled Jordan Peterson's reboiled cabbage as critical race theory, which, on the face of it, means racism is systemic in the US.
From the New Yorker's recent story of Rufo:
If people were upset about the seminars, Rufo wanted them also to notice “critical race theory” operating behind the curtain. Following the trail back through the citations in the legal scholars’ texts, Rufo thought that he could detect the seed of their ideas in radical, often explicitly Marxist, critical-theory texts from the generation of 1968. (Crenshaw said that this was a selective, “red-baiting” account of critical race theory’s origins, which overlooked less divisive influences such as Martin Luther King, Jr.) But Rufo believed that he could detect a single lineage, and that the same concepts and terms that organized discussions among white employees of the city of Seattle, or the anti-racism seminars at Sandia National Laboratories, were present a half century ago. “Look at Angela Davis—you see all of the key terms,” Rufo said. Davis had been Herbert Marcuse’s doctoral student, and Rufo had been reading her writing from the late sixties to the mid-seventies.
The Angela Davis/Herbert Marcuse connection is pure Peterson. And it also reminds one of the key descriptions of Cultural Marxism, one that is even on Wikipedia: "It is a far-right antisemitic conspiracy theory which claims Western Marxism as the basis of continuing academic and intellectual efforts to subvert Western culture."
Critical race theory picks up where Cultural Marxism left off. It takes us right back to the racist imagery of trouble-making, European-hating Jews. It was this reading of Jewish intellectual culture that forced the Frankfurt School to flee Germany in the early 1930s and relocate in New York City. But now all of this bad Jewish thinking, which settled in the US, has been injected into academia by way of black scholars, the queen of whom is Angela Davis. This is your toxic Rufo, a product of Seattle.
That isn't CRT. Rufo's motives on this are fairly suspect. CRT is an legal theorizing framework. Yoking any conversation about race you don't like to CRT is like saying any invocation of *particles* is a reference to quantum mechanics, with just as many understanding.... pic.twitter.com/y9b0J0rqvH
— RomanX (@RomanX1976) June 16, 2021