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Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

The Counter-Offensive Begins

How to strike back against cultural marxism.

Washington,,Dc,,Usa-,May,20,,2019:,The,White,House,In
Credit: Matthew Hodgkins

We now know the world is flat. How do we know that? Because the left has fallen off the edge. Sixty-four genders? Safe spaces and trigger warnings, as if universities were nurseries? The sky falls if someone uses a “wrong” pronoun, e.g. “she” instead of “multitudes?” Graduates of universities, instead of wearing a mortarboard, should sport cap-and-bells.

When a movement has become a satire of itself, it has hit its culminating point. That is when its opponents should launch a counter-offensive. Happily, it’s already underway. Christopher Rufo’s excellent book, America’s Cultural Revolution: How the Radical Left Conquered Everything, has inspired parents and school boards to dump Critical Race Theory. Senator Ted Cruz has followed up with Unwoke: How to Defeat Cultural Marxism in America that points to where the counter-offensive should begin, with calling the left what they have become: not “progressives” but “cultural Marxists.” 

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The term “cultural Marxism” originated in the 1990s when some scholars’ work, including my own, identified the Institute for Social Research, aka The Frankfurt School, as the creator of what we then called “Political Correctness.” (You can find a video history of the Frankfurt School on YouTube under the title, “History of Political Correctness.”) The members of the Frankfurt School self-identified as Marxists, but the Marxism they created was different from that of Moscow. The latter was based on economics, the former on culture. To avoid confusion, a new term was needed, and it seemed logical to label a Marxism that focused on culture, “cultural Marxism.”

The left hates the term because it is de-legitimizing. That is why conservatives should use it, rather than “PC” or “woke.” For example, if you are denounced using one of the left’s boogeyman words—“racist,” “sexist,” “oppressor,” etc.—reply, “That is the language of cultural Marxism, and since I'm not a Marxist, your words are meaningless to me.” Most onlookers will also not be Marxists.

Similarly, when the cultural Marxists talk about “diversity,” ask them if it includes diversity of viewpoints. They hate that question because if they say yes, the lie is obvious. When they admit it does not, follow up with, “So only cultural Marxism has a voice here?”

If Republicans capture the White House this year, there are some specific actions a new administration could take to strike directly at the cultural Marxists’ base in the universities. President Trump set one in motion during his first term: cut off all federal funding, including research funds, to any college or university that does not adopt a University of Chicago-like strong statement on freedom of thought and expression. Most campuses have conservative student groups that could monitor compliance. The rule-making process was not completed before President Trump left office, but his second term could easily see it revived.

Another action that would be immensely popular with all Americans would be to cut the chain the academic robber barons have stretched across life’s river. Without a college degree, a young man or woman’s future earnings are likely to be small. but getting that degree requires tens of thousands, often hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition paid to learn very little. There’s a way to fix this, one I’m sure President Trump would love: simply order that any public school district receiving federal funds, directly or indirectly, must offer extra courses in high school that, if passed, allow the student to receive a high school diploma and a B.A. at the same time. They would have the magic piece of paper without paying a dime.

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This is already happening to a lesser degree. A friend of mine’s daughter here in northern Ohio took some extra courses and left high school with an associate’s degree as well as her diploma. She has already established her own business and is on her way to success in real life, sans college debt.

Importantly. the free B.A. would only be a B.A., not a B.S. A B.S. would still require college because, in the hard-science college courses, facts and skills are taught, not the “attitudes” demanded by cultural Marxism. So, those university departments would flourish while the home base of the cultural Marxist “critical studies” departments, the humanities and social sciences, would dry up and blow away. What a shame.

Here’s a final idea, not for government, but for Fox News. Cultural Marxism requires a broad cultural pessimism as the petri dish within it can grow. NBC, ABC, and CBS do a great job of spreading cultural pessimism in their 6:30 evening news programs. They start with Weather porn (“The storm of the millennium is about to hit a third of the country, aaugh!”), have Chicken Little as their host, and leave their listeners depressed and anxious, which is what the cultural Marxists want them to be. Fox does not presently have an equivalent over-the-air news program. Why not start one that dares to present good news as well as bad, in a reasonable balance. They’d have a ratings sweep in a fortnight.

May the counter-offensive swell and sweep all before it as Americans recover what most of us want: a normal life, free of all “isms.” I hear Russell Kirk saying, “Just so.”

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