A common allusion that you will see made on various right-leaning political websites (and some that have gone far beyond leaning to the right) is an allusion being made to the concept of “Cultural Marxism.” It’s certainly a term that I have used in the past, including the series of articles that ultimately started my website.
However, something that I have taken notice of in recent days is the fact that both Wikipedia (which is supposed to be a politically neutral site) and Rational Wiki (an openly left-leaning site, albeit one that is substantially less idiotic than their ideological brethren) state that the very concept of “Cultural Marxism” is a mere conspiracy theory, that there’s no factual basis to any claims of such, and anybody who does use the claim is literally using a rhetorical device from Nazi Germany.
While my views have substantially shifted rightward from my days as a liberal, never let it be said that I will not consider the views of others. So let me begin this analysis by saying that, in one respect, Wikipedia and Rational Wiki are absolutely correct. They are correct in saying that there’s no group of people explicitly called “The Cultural Marxists.” There is no institute of Cultural Marxism, and there are no books explicitly proffering the glories of Cultural Marxism.
So that’s it, the debate is settled, Cultural Marxism is a fake delusion made up by right-wing troglodytes, yes?
It’s certainly a murky issue, but I think there is some truth to it:
As I mentioned before, I used to be a dyed in the wool leftist before turning against leftism. One of the major reasons I did turn was that I gradually noticed how modern leftism scarcely even pretends to care about labor unions or worker’s rights anymore (issues I have always been concerned with), and seems to be far more preoccupied with racial/ethnic intersectionality, myriads of nonsensical gender identities, and perpetually sticking their thumbs into the eyes of Western civilization.
Don’t believe me? Then take a look at how leftists idealize corporations influencing governments as long as it promotes gay rights. Take a look at how they automatically assume that illegal immigration is an inherent good, even as doing so hurts the working man in those industries (or were Cesar Chavez and the UFW, who were vehemently anti illegal immigration, just examples of stupid white American xenophobes?)
Take a look at how they claim to be objective paragons of science and rationality while promoting this. Take a look at how they denounce cultural appropriation in one breath while gushing over Hamilton in another. Take a look at how gentle progressives seem to really love brutal (non-white) reactionaries. And of course, let’s not ignore the always important anthropology schism that I have discussed extensively.
Indeed, America in the “bad old 1950s” had a labor force that was almost 40 percent unionized, compared to today where America is simultaneously the wellspring of every odious concept of the new left and has a labor force that is increasingly being run by temporary and underemployed labor. You barely hear a peep from modern leftists about these tragic circumstances.
This massive sea change is why I became increasingly disillusioned with the left. And while some (typically disaffected Democrats that have shifted further left) would argue that the abandonment of labor issues shows how the formerly leftist democrats have moved towards the center, I would disagree with that assessment.
The concepts of intersectionality and critical theory and all the other “white people guilt tripping” academic disciplines certainly can’t be considered to be “reactionary” or “conservative,” and they’ve certainly been adapted by leftists, so while they undoubtedly represent a different TYPE of leftism than the old fashioned “labor unions and isolationism” sort, let us be honest and admit that these things are undoubtedly leftist concepts.
Where did these theories come from? Where else but the Frankfurt School, who are, of course the ones that rightists always claim are the root of Cultural Marxism, and whom Rational Wiki describes as being rarely named in debates on Cultural Marxism.
And, while it is again true that the term “Cultural Marxism” was never used by them, that doesn’t change the fact that the Frankfurt school were, in fact, Marxists who wanted to apply Communist ideology to cultural and sociological rather than economic contexts.
Judging by the sheer amount of intellectual progeny the Frankfurt school has had, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that they were at least somewhat influential in creating leftist political thought as we know it today.
So if Cultural Marxism can be said to not exist, it is only non-existent in the sense that it hasn’t been formally named. In that respect, since the intellectual progenitors of much of modern “goodthink” were openly Marxist, why not just use the traditional name?