Cultural Marxism

A history of cultural marxism . I won’t pretend I can write it better or with more understanding, but I do have a few comments.

From The Weekly Standard, Barton Swain, an excerpt. He argues that what he calls “Liberalism”, what I am calling “Cultural Marxism” is waning: “The second strand of modern liberalism is the radical Marxian one. This is the source of the modern liberal’s rationalist economics (sometimes called state planning or statism) and historical determinism (sometimes called progressivism). There is a contradiction at the heart of Marxian thought about the origins of evil, and the contradiction affects everything. On the one hand, man is born innocent and innately good. On the other, there are terrible things in the world and we must find and punish whoever is responsible for them. Where did these bad things come from if man is born good? This is a mystery that no Enlightenment or post-Enlightenment philosopher has ever solved. Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed he had solved the problem by locating man’s “fall” at the moment when he first discovered the possibility of owning property; from that discovery sprang greed and corruption and violence (see the famous opening passage of his second Discourse, on inequality). For Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, similarly, man naturally seeks the good, but the division of labor brings about the class system and thus the opportunity to exploit the masses. Again: Man is essentially good, indeed perfectible, but human life is terrible; someone therefore is responsible. There is plenty of disagreement in early Marxist thought about who is responsible for exploitation—the wealthy capitalists alone? the bourgeois too? those who ran the institutions of the capitalist state?—but all agreed that these groups would have to be shamed and eliminated. 20th century creed in perpetual need of bad and immoral things to oppose and destroy—and, by extension, bad and immoral people to vilify.

“Liberalism is a spent force. Everything it wanted to try, it has tried: social-welfare policies, affirmative action and related social engineering, liberal internationalism, the expansion of the franchise and civil rights to everyone. Sometimes it succeeded, sometimes it failed, but liberalism has no new ideas. It has slain all the dragons it’s destined to slay. During the Obama years, liberals roamed the country looking for beasts to slay and found only tiny ones that weren’t dragons at all. By the end of his second term, we found ourselves arguing about microaggressions, cultural appropriation, and transgendered bathrooms. With the election of Donald Trump, suddenly there appeared a fierce and detestable dragon, and liberals have thrown all their energies into the morally redeeming work of destroying it. Trump often jokes that he has saved the “failing New York Times,” meaning he has given the newspaper’s staff and readers something to get excited about in opposing him.”

I spent the majority of my professional life counseling people–personal performance, marriage, financial decisions, coping with life–and learned a few lessons related to cultural Marxism. 1. The child who grew up starved for attention, who shouted to parents too distracted to notice, “look at me, look at me” as he or she jumped off the diving board, will stop at nothing to get attention even when grown up. Given there’s a direct relationship between the outrageousness of an idea and the attention it generates, why should we be surprised that so many really foolish notions have been promoted by self styled culture-social justice “warriors” in all their guises? 2. Since no one can know the mind of another, most opinions about motives comes from projecting our own motives. “If I acted that way, I would be thinking….” The projected motives that people are most reactive to are the ones they are most desperate to deny in themselves. When Antifa fanatics are attacking foes preemptively, it is because they know what kind of hatred they themselves harbor. 3. It’s so much easier and less threatening to improve the whole world than to improve yourself, and to love the masses than your next door neighbor. The trouble is, you know you aren’t accomplishing anything, and are a hypocrite, when you insist on things you have no power to change, while avoiding the things you do have the power to change. I heard that Michael Moore is writing a book called How To Be A Communist On Two Million Dollars A Year. Or was it Robert DeNiro, How To Prevent Global Warming By Shutting My Mouth. (?)