A Critical Theory on Critical Theories
Did you ever wonder how, after the West won the Cold War, and it was clear to the whole world that the Free Market provided a much better standard of living for people, as well as more freedom, that hip young Westerners have gradually grown to see us as the bad guys and people like Che and Mao as misunderstood heroes? Maybe a little story would help illustrate what has occurred.
Imagine if you will, a guy, we’ll call him Mark Sizm, who really likes a certain girl, we’ll call her Prola Tariat, but Prola wants nothing to do with Mark and instead is going steady with a certain Freemar Kit. Mark follows them around and makes advances towards Prola, but she just looks at him skeptically and says, “No, I’m happy with Freemar. He provides me nice things, and let’s me live pretty much how I like. Anyways, didn’t you used to date my friend Cindy? She said you were super-controlling and … didn’t you like, kill her whole family too?”
Mark continues his advances for awhile, but soon realizes it is hopeless. He can’t compete. She really likes Freemar and Mark has kind of a bad reputation. He needs another plan. What if he just followed them to all their dates and was critical of everything about Freemar? Eventually, she would probably come to hate ol’ Freemar and might warm-up to him.
During a movie one night Mark said, “Prola, did you know that Freemar’s great-great-grandfather stole this land from a Native American family?” Another day while they were grilling in the backyard he added, “Also, his great-grandfather made slaves build them this nice house on the land.” Later when they were sitting at a nice restaurant, “Oh, and his grandpa made his grandma have a bunch of kids and go to church every week!”
Freemar starting to get annoyed finally spoke-up, “Shut up, bro! Didn’t you massacre over 100 million people and collapse their economies, while taking away basic freedoms and stuff?” (Every metaphor has to break-down at some point.) Mark moved in for the kill, “How dare you try to judge other’s actions?! How can you claim the moral high-ground with a bloody, oppressive history like your family has?” Freemar, not having a PHD like Mark, felt a little out-gunned intellectually, and decided not to confront him again.
Years later, after Mark’s continued criticism, Prola looked at Freemar and realizing she no longer loved him, said finally, “You … disgust me.” and left in Mark’s Volvo. She is now flirting a little bit with Mark Sizm, but hasn’t necessarily decided to make the switch yet.
What that clumsy extended-metaphor was trying to portray, was the actual plan of the Marxists to embed their ideology within Western culture. Yeah, I’m serious. Sounds a little conspiracy-ish but hear me out. After the 1st World War, Marxists realized that the working class had not jumped at the opportunity to band together with the other workers of the world. Instead, like American “rednecks” or other patriotic blue-collar folks of most countries, they were loyal to their countries over their class. You try inviting a NASCAR fan to a Communist rally and let me know how it goes. In some poorer nations, the Marxist ideology had been successful, but in the West, the working-class was “blinded” by their relative comfort and actually liked the Free Market system.
Marxists in Germany founded the Institute for Social Research, later renamed the Frankfurt School, which tried to find a way around this issue. When Hitler came to power, the Frankfurt school fled to America, and became wedded to Columbia University in New York. They decided that rather than focus on economics in the West, since it wasn’t at a crisis point, they would instead focus on a “cultural Marxism” that would just gradually make those in the West less and less proud of their heritage. Eventually, they would be disgusted enough by their own histories and political ideology that they would be open to revolutionary change. Below is one video that does a decent job at summarizing this process (relevant history begins at 3:30).
The cultural Marxists devised a brilliant strategy to achieve this discontent; they would do pretty much exactly what our jealous friend Mark Sizm did in the story, just criticize until people’s opinions changed. The not-too-creative name for this process is “Critical Theory.”
Since its inception at Columbia University, Critical Theory has taken almost complete control of the universities in this country. Herbert Marcuse of the Frankfurt School even earned the title “Father of the New Left” for laying a lot of the philosophical groundwork. “Studies departments” for race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and many other things, all grew from this movement. Feminism, the Gay Rights Movement, the Sexual Revolution, and the Anti-War Movement have all been credited to Critical Theory.
Even when fair points are being made, the main goal is to criticize Western culture, history and tradition making loyalty to country seem like an abhorrent idea. You will not find a feminist studies department spending a large amount of time discussing the fact that women in Saudi Arabia can’t leave the house without permission or drive or dress how they want. The focus is meant always to stay on the West in order to increase discontent. This discontent has somewhat reached critical mass in the Occupy Wall Street movement. They have refused to say (or maybe have yet to decide) what their main complaint is. Despite being vague, this anger is burning hot at our unfair society which needs to experience a massive change … immediately!
The purpose, as far as it’s publicly stated, is to end domination and make the world more free. If pressed, the professors might argue that by attacking the structures of sexual, moral, family, religious, and gender traditions in the West, people would be freed from these institutions. But, as many have pointed out, nature abhors a vacuum. We can’t be ignorant enough to believe that if we dismantle the traditional structures of this culture that something would not come to replace them.
And for any student of history, you can’t even begin to think that the Marxists are just trying to knock these structures down and have no interest in replacing them with their own ideology. They may feign outrage at examples of Western domination every day, but domination is not absent from their vision. In fact, Marxism and domination are inseparable.
And we don’t even have to wonder if that’s what they are planning. The Marxists didn’t even try covering their tracks. They were pretty clear; let’s mock and criticize every element of this society until it loses all self-confidence, and then we can replace their structures with our structures. We can replace a religious society with one that thinks that religion is for the ignorant and is an “opiate for the masses.” We can replace dependence on families and communities during hard-times, with dependence on a far-away bureaucracy. We can replace the old-fashioned morals surrounding family-life, with a new model that gives government control of a child from day-care to university.
They are not really that far from this vision. If you talk to the average college student, they are mostly on-board. They now dislike the history and values of this country and they want to move towards a more “fair” society that relies on a benevolent government to sew a much tighter safety net. Actually, a padded-room might be a better analogy than a safety-net. Instead of allowing us the dangers of freedom and then simply preventing us from hitting the ground when we make a mistake, this new government will make sure that none of our decisions will ever put us in any danger in the first-place. It’s a false utopian promise, but an attractive one.
What sane person would willfully trade the freedom and prosperity given to them in this country, for an ideology that in the not-too-distant-past killed more than all previous utopian failures combined, destroyed every economy it touched, and reduced its people to prisoners trying to jump over barbed-wire? A padded-room might be the right place for a person who would make this exchange. This fight will not go away. There are people working everyday to ensure our way of life is brought down.
Listen to world-renowned University of Chicago professor Bill Ayers, who got a lot of press for being closely-linked to our now President of the United States, describe how he wakes-up every morning trying to think positive, saying to himself, maybe “today I will end capitalism.” In the 60’s he led a revolutionary group called The Weather Underground and participated in terrorist bombings of the Pentagon and other targets. He still hates our country and wants to bring down the system but since he is just inculcating these beliefs into youth through university lectures, he is now apparently worthy of respect, and awards, and tenure.
He and many others are working hard everyday. There is a lot of momentum moving in their direction. Religion is on the decline. The traditional family is fracturing. Those we used to hold up as heroes are now villains. Sexual morals have shifted. The momentum will keep moving in that direction unless there is an equal and opposite (or hopefully greater) force to stop it. We need to turn the tide and direct a little criticism back at their ideologies. We need to show how all their “progress” simply leads to misery. Families, moral values, faith, and communities are not things we should just allow to be criticized into pieces in front of our eyes. We need to stand-up to Mark and tell him where he can put his criticism.