Friday, February 14, 2020

Pete Buttigieg's Father Was a Hardcore Marxist

Joseph and Pete Buttigieg

By Robert Wenzel

As primary voters continue to go to the polls, voters may have to consider how close the apple has fallen from the tree when it comes to Pete Buttigieg and his father Joesph who was born in Malta and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1979. He died in January 2019.

Pete wrote at the time:
We miss him already but his love of life, and his moral passion, will stay with us forever...We are left with memories of his powerful intellect, his extensive legacy, his personal warmth and his deeply felt love for Mom, me, and all those close to him.
So what was this "moral passion" of Pete's father?

It was a passion for Marxism and more specifically the philosophy of  Antonio Gramsci.

Joseph, who was a professor at Notre Dame, co-translated and co-edited the three-volume English edition of Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks. He also was a founding member and president of the International Gramsci Society.

Who was Gramsci?

Louis Althusser wrote:
Who has really attempted to follow up the explorations of Marx and Engels? I can think of only Gramsci.
From Roger Scruton in Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left :
[Gramsci] could never have foreseen that a generation of students would one day be taught to see him in the same light and with the same uncritical adulation that they were taught to see Trotsky, Mao, Castro and Che Guevara: as leader, teacher and hero of a worldwide revolutionary movement.
And the intolerance displayed by modern-day Lefties comes right out of the Gramsci framework.

Scruton again:
Thus to the realist to ask how, in this society of the future, conflicts are to be accommodated or resolved, Gramsci has no reply. The communist shares with the fascists an overriding contempt for opposition. The purpose of politics is not to live with opposition, but to remove it - to achieve the condition in which opposition no longer exists.
Pete's father was also an adviser to Rethinking Marxism, an academic journal that published articles “that seek to discuss, elaborate, and/or extend Marxian theory, "

And he was clearly in the movement to position the Marxist attack from a cultural perspective.

“Equity, environmental consciousness, and racial justice are surely some of the ingredients of a healthy Marxism. Indeed, Marxism's greatest appeal — undiminished by the collapse of Communist edifices — is the imbalances produced by other sociopolitical governing structures,” Joseph wrote in 1998, in an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Paul Kengor, a professor at Grove City College and an expert in communism and progressivism, said Joseph was among a group of leftist professors who focused on injecting Marxism into the wider culture, reports The Washington Examiner.

"They’re part of a wider international community of Marxist theorists and academicians with a particular devotion to the writings of the late Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci, who died over 80 years ago. Gramsci was all about applying Marxist theory to culture and cultural institutions — what is often referred to as a 'long march through the institutions,' such as film, media, and especially education," Kengor told the Examiner.

So what kind of influence has Pete's father had on him when it comes to social and political philosophy? Well, Pete is certainly not going to come out of the closest as a Marxist if he has national political goals at this time.

But, though he now positions himself as a "centrist," there are curious things.

After Vermont’s socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire Democratic primary on Tuesday night, Pete said:
I admired Sen. Sanders when I was a high school student. I respect him greatly to this day, and I congratulate him on his strong showing tonight.
And in 2000, Pete won a JFK Profile in Courage essay where he wrote:
One outstanding and inspiring example of...integrity is the country’s only Independent Congressman, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders.
Sanders’ courage is evident in the first word he uses to describe himself: “Socialist”. In a country where Communism is still the dirtiest of ideological dirty words, in a climate where even liberalism is considered radical, and Socialism is immediately and perhaps willfully confused with Communism, a politician dares to call himself a socialist? He does indeed. Here is someone who has “looked into his own soul” and expressed an ideology, the endorsement of which, in today’s political atmosphere, is analogous to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Even though he has lived through a time in which an admitted socialist could not act in a film, let alone hold a Congressional seat, Sanders is not afraid to be candid about his political persuasion... He and few others like him have the power to restore principle and leadership in Congress and to win back the faith of a voting public weary and wary of political opportunism. 
In an MSNBC interview in February, Pete said that socialism “is a word in American politics that has basically lost all meaning” and “has been used as a kill switch to stop an idea from being talked about.”

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.comand Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bankand most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here.


  1. Thanks for this Mr. Wenzel. I believe that it is not out of naivete but rather necessity that key players in the DNC and the national media position Mr. Buttigieg as a moderate. The apple leans upon the trunk in my opinion

  2. All is fair in politics but I don't believe the sjns of the father should fall on the son. Mayor Pete has a laundry list of reasons not to vote for him. I could care less if his father was Murray Rothbard or Joseph Buttigieg

  3. This seems very 'off'. A guy whose father is a hardcore Marxist and who admires Bernie Sanders, voluntarily joins the U.S. military. What admirer of Bernie Sanders would ever join the U.S. military? None of the ones I know personally.

    1. Marxists ADORE military. After all, military is their ideal of society: everybody is goosestepping as one, under the penetrating infinitely wise gaze of the Dear Leader.

  4. If you look deep enough you will find that every politician was damaged as a child. None ever recovered.

  5. What a silly article. My parents were Great Society liberals yet I'm as free market as it gets.

    1. Remind me again what socialist tracts your parents translated.