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LEFT DENIES CULTURAL MARXISM — WHAT IS IT AND IS IT TRULY RAMPANT?
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, anyone who’s listened to Today in Perspective for any length of time knows you often use the term “cultural Marxism”. Michael Walsh recently ran an in-depth article on cultural Marxism.
Cultural Marxism, he says, has become a catchphrase of the right. It isn’t used to mean just a Marxist approach to the way power operates through culture, but it’s used to imply a programmatic undermining of Western civilization by Marxists who have been beaten in the political-economic arena and they’ve now transferred their attentions to the cultural sphere. They’re responsible for political correctness, identity politics, ‘60s liberalism and the threats to the established order that these represent.
DR. REEDER: He says “programmatic” and I’d say “tactical” use today. Many times, you know that you have put your finger on something when they even deny its existence. Cultural Marxism is a development, first of all, of Marxism, going back to the 19th century and then, secondly, it is a new tactic given the failures of Marxism in the 20th century.
MARXISM COMES FROM HEGEL PHILOSOPHY ALONG WITH EVOLUTION
What is Marxism? Well, Karl Marx developed a theory of government and economics and life that was based upon what was called “dialectical materialism”. There was a philosopher by the name of Hegel and the notion is this: You have in life a reality and, because of that reality, reality always creates an anti-reality. And the anti-reality and the reality eventually have a violent confrontation. Now, it may be verbal, physical or academic violence, but it will come into conflict. Out of that conflict will come a new reality, which will create a new anti-reality.
There is thesis and, when you have a thesis, it then creates an antithesis and the thesis and the antithesis come into conflict and that creates a synthesis out of the conflict and the synthesis becomes the new thesis that then creates another antithesis, another conflict and that becomes the pattern of society.
Well, Hegel’s view was adopted by a couple of thinkers — one was a scientific thinker by the name of Darwin and Darwin adopted that so his view was called “evolution”. He didn’t develop evolution from observations, scientific experiment and the fossil record, but he actually interpreted observation and fossil records through the prism of his Hegelian dialectic.
MARX ADOPTED AND CREATED SOCIAL VERSION
Karl Marx did the same thing and he said you have the bourgeois, that is, the people in power, you have the proletariat, the oppressed, and the proletariat will finally rebel against their oppression and, instead of evolution, he developed the theory of revolution. The state was “the Messiah,” the God, the Savior and so the way the state would expand its power is it would foment revolution. Well, if there’s revolution, people don’t like to live in the midst of conflict and disorder so the state says, “Oh, we’ll solve it for you,” and the state becomes the Savior in the midst of the chaos of revolution.
The political and economic dynamics of Marxism led to socialism and then its next step is the reality called communism. Those who believe in the supremacy of the government then had two choices: one is the fascism that we saw under Nazism or communism, which uses the lack of values or the profane values of the left in order to advance the power of the state.
Well, it soon found out that the biggest enemy of Marxism was Christianity and, therefore, under the regimes of Stalin and then Mao Zedong in China, Pol Pot in Southeast Asia came with the wholesale annihilation of Christians and the annihilation and control of religion by the state. You can’t have a nation under God if you want the nation to be under the state, itself.
FAILURE IN PAST DECADES FUELS NEW TACTICS NOW
Politically and economically, in the ‘70s and ‘80s and ‘90s, the communist movement fell apart because it couldn’t sustain itself, but there are those who have not given up on Marxism, nor on communism.
And they’ve decided the way to move this forward is cultural Marxism so what we want to do is create conflict in society, culturally and socially, so we will get this thesis/antithesis and, therefore, violence and conflict and now who is it that will step in to solve it economically and governmentally? The state. The state will take over economics. The state will take over the social order.
Therefore, it marginalizes Christianity because you don’t want Christianity that teaches the dignity of humanity and a hope that is found outside of the government. Thus, in our country, the cultural Marxists despise the First Amendment, it wants to marginalize self-reliance, thus they despise the Second Amendment and then they eventually despise all of the amendments because they’re rooted in local authority, that is state authority, and they want ultimate authority at the national level to control the state and the individual.
THIS EXPLAINS WHY THERE IS ALWAYS “CONFLICT” AND VIOLENCE
And the way to do that is to create chaos. How do you create chaos? You create thesis and antithesis and then revolution and that is conflict. We now have the cultural elite who are promoting this with the tactic of cultural Marxism, “Let’s turn black against white. Let’s turn rich against poor and issues such as income inequality, oppression, etc.” They take, many times, what are value issues and turn them into occasions for conflict.
And so, what is the answer to the conflict? It is not liberty. The answer is the state, the government, so we turn male against female, black against white, rich against poor, the employer against the employee. There’s taking the dynamics of life and, instead of teaching the creation sanctities that unify society and opening the doors for redeeming grace that changes the lives of men and women and how they treat one another and how they do their work.
Instead of opening the door for that, which historically has been what has matured and maintained our society, it is now marginalized in shaming the Christian witness or assimilating the Christian witness into its own brand of liberation theology whereby the Gospel now becomes the liberation from the oppressors of society. Instead of the Gospel being liberation from the penalty and power of sin, it is liberation from the oppressors of society so liberal Christianity is now co-opted by cultural Marxists as it reinvents the Gospel into the “cultural warrior” movement.
CHRIST’S CHURCH MUST COMBAT THIS
And what the church has got to do is say, “No, you’re not going to co-opt this. We’re going to continue to teach the sanctities of creation — that there’s the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of sexuality, the sanctity of work, the sanctity of men and women made in the image of God.”
That is, ultimately, the antidote to cultural Marxism, which, hopefully, our listeners now understand is even more than a social and political tactic — it actually is a religion that man needs a savior and the only savior is governmental authority and power over the rights and liberties of humanity.
Peter has already told us that we’re exiles so what you do is prepare yourself, out of the love of Christ, to always be ready to give an account of the hope that’s within you. And you do this with gentleness, clarity and a courageous compassion, but with conviction. You start in your own life through evangelism and discipleship, you share this with others, you engage in small group discipleship under the umbrella and oversight of a godly local church, you then gather for worship and then you scatter with the message of hope into a hopeless society because it doesn’t take long to make very clear that the state is not the savior. The state has a God-given role, but it is not God and, whenever it is under God but wants to be God, it eventually will take the lives of people because it claims the prerogative of God.
COMING UP WEDNESDAY: PERSONAL IDENTITY CRISES ABOUND?
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on tomorrow’s Today in Perspective, I want to somewhat stay on the same theme as we go to an article by Dr. Peter Jones on personal identity.
DR. REEDER: Yes, Tom. How did we get from “I am; therefore, I think,” to “I think; therefore, I am,” to now “Whatever I think I am, that’s what I am”?
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.