What Cultural Marxism has wrought


I will keep using the term “cultural Marxism” not only because it annoys cultural Marxists but also because it is accurate.

At “The Australian”, editor-at-large Paul Kelly has a good summary of Jonathan Haidt’s and Greg Lukianoff’s new book, “The Coddling of the American Mind”, titled “The three great lies corroding western cultures” 

The degeneration in the culture that drives the corrosion in our politics has its origins in three great lies now being propounded daily in our universities, media, corporates and obviously among the politicians…

The starting lie or untruth is that disputes and differences today are a battle between good and evil, between the oppressed (the virtuous victims) and the oppressors (evil tyrants of the status quo.)

This turns the mundane injus­tices of everyday life into a moral contest. Yet it is a contest based on distorted morality. There are many illustrations: if you don’t support radical action to curb climate change you are a moral threat to society and betraying your friends. In short, your support for the status quo marks you as a bad person no matter how many charities you support…

These days social issues are frequently presented in mainstream media as rituals of injustice and grievance. This mentality originated in Marxist ideology. Once you believe social problems arise primarily because of power and the oppressed-oppressor conflict, then the scene is set for tribal warfare justified by a moral principle…

The second great lie or untruth from the Haidt-Lukianoff analysis is people will be weaker by being challenged in their ideas and preconceptions. They need to be protected and made safe. This is the notion of a fragile society. It was given focus last year in the campaign against the same-sex marriage plebiscite when politicians and mental health experts united against a democratic vote and debate because its extremes would damage too many people.

Because identity politics relates to the personal, it becomes dan­gerous. It is not just your political views being threatened, it is your identity. That makes it a health issue…

The third lie the authors nominate is “the untruth of emotional reasoning”, the false nostrum you must “always trust your feelings”. Much of our political and media debate now revolves around displays of emotions to prove you care. Be unemotional and you are uncaring. The oppressor-oppressed mentality largely thrives on emotion at the cost of reason.

It’s all essentially a New Age Marxism. It combines the evolution and reimagination of the creed of a struggle between classes based on their relationship to the means of production to one of a struggle between groups based on their seemingly immutable genetic characteristics (I say, “seemingly”, because at the same time we are told that concepts like gender and sexuality are fluid and rely on self-identification rather than any objective criteria) with the early 21st century psychological sensibilities. All this would baffle Marx himself, whose philosophy was meant to be rational and scientific, a child of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution; rather, we’re now having a psychodramatic mish-mash rewritten by the Romantics and the Luddites.

However ridiculous it sounds, it’s still very dangerous, and the irony is that the cultural Marxism today is more influential throughout the Western world than the original “scientific” Marxism was since its heyday. Looks like in the end Gramsci was righter (or lefter) than Marx.