‘Political correctness’ has always been a misnomer. The pushing of biology-defying gender ideology in schools, for example, is neither political nor correct; instead, this is the latest advance of a broader cultural movement to subvert conventional norms and values. Anyone who criticises such teaching as ‘PC’ confirms their status as ‘un-PC’, thus unwittingly giving credibility to the dominance of an ideology that trumps common sense. We argue that political correctness is a lame phrase that masks something far more sinister.
The revolutionary mission of overturning traditional society has long been known as cultural Marxism. But this concept has been censored by the Left and the mainstream media have fallen into line. Search ‘cultural Marxism’ in Google and the politically-sensitised algorithm produces a series of definitions of the term as right-wing, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.
When Conservative MP Suella Braverman told a Bruges Group meeting that “we are at war with cultural Marxism,” Peter Walker of the Guardian was one of many to denounce her for her alleged anti-Semitism. Never mind that Braverman has a Jewish spouse. She was later defended by Spectator editor Fraser Nelson, who recalled his lecturers in the 1980s packaging contemporary sociological thought as cultural Marxism.
When a Bruges Group monograph titled Moralitis: A Cultural Virus on the spread of the PC ideology was published a few years ago, it was readily described by Vice News as anti-Semitic, despite no mention of Judaism, Jews, or Israel anywhere in the text. The reporter (a job given new meaning by these inquisitionists) sought condemnation from Jewish organisations, and from the Conservative Party, at whose conference the booklet was on sale. A Tory spokesman distanced the party from the allegedly ‘abhorrent’ publication, without ever having read it.
Social conservatives don’t need lessons on anti-Semitism from the Left. The Labour Party has been exposed for antipathy to Israel and Jewish people, and not only on the fringes. Indeed, anti-Semitism is rife among followers of Jeremy Corbyn, resulting in an investigation by the Equality & Human Rights Commission; it is also rearing its ugly head in the Democratic Party of the United States, with Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar repeatedly spouting anti-Semitic bile. Moreover, if the concept of cultural Marxism is deemed offensive, why not the original Marxism? The bearded prophet of communism (himself of Jewish background) wrote hateful lines about Judaism and its adherents.
Cultural Marxism is a regular topic in conservative publications such as Standpoint and The Salisbury Review. Rod Liddle regularly satirises its absurdities in the Sun and Sunday Times, as does Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday. However, unlike James Delingpole, who names the beast in his Breitbart missives, most writers avoid the definitive label. Few among the general public have heard of cultural Marxism. Consequently, the serpent steals undetected through the undergrowth.
Literally, cultural Marxism arose from the shift from the economic determinism of Karl Marx to the postmodern New Left project. As policies to eradicate faith, folklore, and family loyalty floundered in communist states, Marxists realised that nothing changes unless the underlying culture is changed. Guidance for this reorientation came from the ‘critical theory’ of the Frankfurt School, many of whose theorists— including Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, and Herbert Marcuse — were Jews who fled Nazi persecution in the 1930s. But their work was Marxist (and anti-religious).
The aim of critical theory was to undermine capitalism indirectly. The Frankfurt School theorists were aware that the working classes in the democratic West would not agitate for a Soviet-style communist revolution in the manner of the Bolsheviks of 1917. The proletariat were too patriotic, and they eschewed pied pipers who threatened to bring the whole house down. Against this prevailing preference for continuity over change, critical theory targeted the foundational elements of our culture that maintain stability, order, and belonging.
In his book The Authoritarian Personality, Adorno noted that people espousing traditional family values and faith scored highly on his contrived “F scale” (F for fascism). Marcuse married neo-Freudianism with Marxism in Eros and Civilisation, his premise being that Western civilisation, with its Judeao-Christian mores, was inherently repressive. He termed society “monogamic-patriarchal”, postulating that freedom would come only if the West escaped from its ritual prison and became “polymorphous-perverse”. He thus sought to dismantle the family structure at a granular level and replace it with sexual anarchy.
Marcuse exploited the widespread unease in the United States over the Vietnam War, coining the slogan of the sexual revolution: “make love, not war.” Normative family and marriage were portrayed as the fount of neurosis. Liberty depended on overcoming illiberal, repressive mores. Yet the truth is the polar opposite: children raised in stable families with a married mother and father have better life outcomes on all measures: higher educational and career attainment, stronger commitment to relationships in adulthood, and lower risk of crime, drug addiction, depression, and suicide. A rock compared with the quicksand of social and sexual liberation, Judeao-Christian morality is the nemesis of those carrying the baton of the Frankfurt School.
In Britain, Antonio Gramsci is better known than Marcuse and the professors of the Frankfurt School. Jailed for communist agitation in Italy, Gramsci mused in The Prison Notebooks on why social stratification had persisted in the West and suggested how to create the conditions for revolutionary success. Civic society would need to be weakened by a Marxist onslaught, aiming beyond the “economic substructure” to the “cultural superstructure”. Unlike the rapid, violent uprising of October 1917, this would be a slow process, popularly conceived by Rudi Dutschke as the “long march through the institutions”.
Who are the cultural Marxists in our midst? Current historiography treats the “Reds under the bed”campaign of Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s as a moral panic; undoubtedly it was overzealous. But as Ronald Reagan knew before making his transition from Democrat-voting actor to Republican politician, Hollywood was dominated by Soviet sympathisers, when the Cold War was dividing the world between the American-led polity of individual liberty and oppressive collectivist regimes. Washington had numerous Moscow moles, and it is only through passage of time that we can read of the treacherous Rosenbergs with intrigue rather than horror.
Unlike the Cambridge Spy Ring, cultural Marxists have no need to act as undercover agents for a hostile state, but as ‘long marchers’ they are careful not to explicitly state the destination. Saul Alinsky, author of Rules for Radicals, advised: “True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism. They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within.” Cultural Marxists don’t dress as cultural Marxists, instead choosing the cloaks of ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’.
The march is nearly complete. Since the 1960s, postmodernists have steadily gained influence and positions of power in the judiciary, education, policing, armed services, media, marketing industry, and corporate headquarters. Gradually they have created a new political and cultural establishment. Their neo-Marxist beliefs are at odds with the outlook of the general public, whose traditional beliefs linger, but the process of change is hastened through the educational system. The Jesuits said that if given a child until the age of seven, they could mould that child for good. Lacking the critical faculties to scrutinise what they are told, young children are easily brainwashed.
In the Spectator, Liddle described a homework exercise at a local high school:
The geography homework invited the child to explain why a 14-year-old Eritrean boy Emir, and his family, must be granted citizenship in this country … They were told that the boy’s father was a brain surgeon, and that Eritrea is a foul country and that there was an Eritrean community ready for them in London.
The only acceptable answer was that Emir has a moral right to come to Britain. As Liddle observed, the mantra of child-centred learning is a façade: this is indoctrination. Geography has become “the provisional wing of Marxist sociology”.
The humanities and social studies faculties at universities across the Western world began this crusade back in the 1960s and 1970s, infused with critical theory. Whereas traditional disciplines nurture knowledge and critical thinking, a plethora of new courses promoted critical anti-knowledge, as in the ‘deconstruction’ method of Jacques Derrida. Students could read women’s studies to learn why the patriarchy is bad and how to smash it, or gender studies to learn that heteronormativity is repressive and how to smash it, or race studies to learn how Western culture is evil and how to smash it.
The existence of media studies in university, despite its limited career value, is due to the prominence given to ideological narrative in academe. The BBC and liberal-left newspapers are sophisticated propaganda machines. Though they claim to be news outlets, they are not; they are narrative outlets. In a distortion of lofty Reithian ideals, the BBC has strayed from informing the public to manipulating public opinion. The progressive agenda is used to control the thoughts of listeners, to affirm the acquiescent, to persuade the pliable, and to disparage, discredit, and destroy any dissenters. Come back, Mary Whitehouse — all is forgiven!
The rising tide of cultural Marxism cannot be attributed to any particular person or organisation. As explained in the aforementioned Moralitis, most people are mere carriers of the ideological fever, having learned to project the favoured attitudes. For example, transgenderism has a sharp point as it pierces the truth of biological sex, but the arrowhead has greater impact in its broad rear of compliance. Of course, armies cannot rely on conscripts; they need generals. The active propagators of cultural Marxism, however, are not easily identified.
‘Common Purpose’ is a shadowy international body that trains leaders to work across boundaries and ‘beyond authority’. It has around 70,000 alumni. Many senior figures in the private, public, and NGO sectors are graduates of its Meridian or Matrix programmes. Common Purpose is reported to select trainees carefully, applying neuro-linguistic programming to rewire thinking and to achieve the desired consensus.
Mega-financier George Soros and his Open Society organisation flout national sovereignty to prepare the way for a post-democratic global government. Arguably the world’s leading cultural (but certainly not classic) Marxist, Soros made vast wealth by betting against the pound when the UK was forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992, and billions more in the Far East financial crisis of 1997. Whereas once left-wing newspapers condemned his amoral avarice, now they rally to defend him from criticism, smearing his critics as anti-Semites. But criticism. Of Soros has nothing to do with his ethnic or religious background but rather with his political actions. In fact, other prominent Jews such as Dennis Prager of Prager University are openly opposed to his aims. In a Standpoint editorial, managing editor Michael Mosbacher argued that talk of a “Soros empire” is no more anti-Semitic than references to the media empire of Rupert Murdoch are anti-Antipodean.
Labelling siren-sounders of subversive ideology as ‘far right’ is a regular and reliable instrument in the culture war. The Alinskyite Left knows that cultural Marxism is a powerful meme that encapsulates, highlights, and counters their project. Rule 12 of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals advises “pick the target, freeze it, personalise it, and polarise it.” A frenzy is stirred against any reactionary foe. Popular critics such as Paul Joseph Watson, Jordan Peterson, and Ben Shapiro are subjected to severe character assassination — not because they are hateful, but because they are effective.
Nobody is physically hurt by the naming of cultural Marxism, despite the outrage of progressive puritans, who ignore the sticks and stones that really break bones. Ordinary people understand intuitively that a corrosive force is undermining their society; but they cannot put their finger on it. We argue that the term ‘political correctness’ is a weak, euphemistic notion that underestimates cultural Marxism. Subversive morality must be countered and corrected, and smears of anti-Semitism must not be allowed to shut down debate. We stand with the Israeli people against their violent detractors. We stand with British Jews against the genuinely anti-Semitic hard Left, Jeremy Corbyn, and an unconscionably large number of university lecturers. Down with cultural Marxism; up with the West’s Judaeo-Christian heritage.