Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Waking Up To The Quiet Revolution

A decade ago, Marguerite Peeters identified the content and strategy of Western civilization's internal saboteurs
Screen Shot 2023-01-26 at 2.43.02 PM

Last night in Budapest, a European Catholic writer named Marguerite Peeters presented the Hungarian version of a 2012 book of hers, The Globalization Of The Western Cultural Revolution, one that lays out an argument for how the cultural revolution that first captured the elites in the West has become globalized. I couldn't find it on Amazon; it may not be easily available. This morning I borrowed an English copy from my friend Mario Fantini, editor of the European Conservative. I gave it a quick read after lunch, and want to share with you Dr. Peeters's insights. Forgive me for the poor quality of the images; I had to "quote" them with my iPhone:


Is that not as pure a description of reality as you have read in ages? More:

No trace of the Judeo-Christian tradition should remain. This is where we are. There are plenty of people who don't want to exterminate Christianity (as the atheist Michel Onfray does), but who want to exterminate within Christianity anything that contradicts the spirit of postmodernity. People, for example, like Cardinal Screwtape.

Here is Peeters, eleven years ago, identifying the deceptive operating mechanism of what I would later call, in Live Not By Lies, "soft totalitarianism":


Back in the year 2000, I wrote about how gay activists were infiltrating school curricula by saying that teaching their ideology was necessary to make the schools "safe". Everybody agreed that bullying was bad; the activists said the only effective way to fight bullying was not to fight bullying, but to re-educate students according to sex and gender ideology. Peeters grasped how "safetyism" works to advance the cultural revolution:

In 2012, she saw that the acceptance of gender ideology within elite institutions and networks was going to abolish man and woman:

Destroying the gender binary creates sexual chaos, inevitably:

This is big, because it speaks to the irreconcilable metaphysical conflict undergirding all other rights and values conflicts today:

How many people today, even conservatives, would say that the law exists to be discovered, not constructed? Peeters's writing here helps illuminate for me why Andrew Sullivan and I talked past each other the other night on his podcast. He believes quite sincerely in radical sexual freedom. I tried to explain how I believe that our moral behavior is embedded in a transcendent sacred order, but this made no sense to him. I tried to describe married sex as reproducing the life of the Trinity, which he thought was bonkers. Here's Peeters, from a 2011 interview about gender ideology:

How can we recover the « sense of reason » when the culture in which we live has clearly lost it?

To rehabilitate reason, which the present situation does require of us, it appears today necessary to put into light the role of conscience and the heart in the process of the human act. The West, which rendered reason “autonomous” from faith, has for centuries given the absolute primacy to reason, to the detriment of the conscience and the heart. We know by experience that rational arguments are not heard by those who chose negation. The gender revolution is first and foremost, not a simple “theory”, but a process of negation of what is real, true and good for the human being, and a personal and cultural engagement in this negation.

This mystery of evil and of its free choice must be taken into account, including in our public engagements, where it appears urgent to reintroduce, especially in the field of education, the notion of conscience, of a sincere search for what is good, for truth and love. We have capitulated on this front for centuries. The gender crisis invites us to go deep: Duc in Altum.

We are not first and foremost in an intellectual debate but in a combat between light and darkness, life and death, love and hatred, truth and falsehood. We are not alone in this combat. As Christians, we are called to collaborate with the Holy Spirit when he awakens the reason, conscience and heart of the persons we meet to truth and love. We believe each human being is endowed not only with a reason, but with a conscience and a heart and that God wants to reveal himself to everyone. Doesn’t humanity aspire to the civilization of love? Man and woman are created in the image of God, who is Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: paternal love, filial and fraternal love, spousal communion. How wouldn’t our anthropology be Trinitarian?

I didn't really engage Andrew as I ought to have done, in part because I was unprepared to have this discussion, but mostly because I don't believe, at this point, that most people -- even the self-professed Catholic Andrew Sullivan -- don't want to accept appeals to rational arguments against the sexually liberationist ideology. I fully believe it's a matter of the will. I understand Andrew's point of view, I think -- and that's why I despair that people like him and people like me can ever reach agreement. MacIntyre saw this in the early 1980s, and speculated that it would cause our society to fall apart. Same with Philip Rieff, who said all civilizations depend on a shared "sacred order," but that we in the modern West were the first to attempt to build a civilization on the negation of sacred order. This can't work, he said. He was right.

Here she is on the revolution that happened with nobody noticing how everything was changing:

How many of you readers with children know whether or not your kids' school is introducing them to gender ideology? Are you sure? Or are you going to wake up one day wondering how your kids came to believe such things? Are you going to be like the Slovenian Catholic father struggling to lift his 12-year-old daughter out of deep depression, which came upon her after he and her mom bought the kid a smartphone for her 11th birthday. The parents had not considered that their child, an innocent in Ljubljana, would be able to make contact with some very bad actors in the US, who would put destructive ideas about gender and identity in her head. The revolution was achieved by stealth ... noiseless, practically without people knowing it.

Here is Peeters anticipating the approach of Pope Francis and Cardinal Screwtape:

I can't find a copy of Peeters's book, but I did find this online PDF distillation of its argument, which you can download. If you like what you've read above, I strongly encourage you to download that PDF. We have been very, very slow to wake up to reality. But it's not too late!

One more thing, from a tweet by Mario Fantini, who was there last night:

She's right. For other conservatives around the West, Hungary is to us what Republican Spain was to the international Left in the 1930s. Most of us on the contemporary Right just don't realize it yet. We will. We had better.