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Earlier this week when assembling the research for this post, I browsed the UK news online.

What did I find?  According to the Times (UK), the outgoing Labour government was

pursuing a “scorched earth policy” before the general election, leaving behind billions of pounds of previously hidden spending commitments.

The newly discovered Whitehall “black holes” could force even more severe public spending cuts, or higher tax rises, ministers fear.

Vince Cable, the [Liberal Democrat] business secretary, said: “I fear that a lot of bad news about the public finances has been hidden and stored up for the new government. The skeletons are starting to fall out of the cupboard.”

The new cabinet has been discovering previously unknown contracts and uncosted spending commitments left by their spendthrift predecessors.

So, not much concern from Labour for their electorate among honest, working class people — the ones they’re supposed to represent.  Dishonest.

Then I read about the Labour leadership contest, namely the two front runners, the Miliband brothers, Ed and David.  I looked up their late father Ralph.  He founded The Socialist Register and is buried near Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery.  Apparently, he became an active Marxist whilst studying in northwest London after his arrival from Poland during the Second World War.  Hmm. 

Well, news and history items such as these may elicit a non-response from the public.  Yet, they show the socialistic scope creep of our time.  Yesterday, I introduced the Frankfurt School Institute for Social Research to those who might not know about it.  Today, we look at its effects on late 20th century and early 21st century society.

First, you might wonder why we didn’t see it coming.  Participating in a 1996 panel on academic reform, the conservative thinker Gertrude Himmelfarb, Professor Emeritus at CUNY’s Graduate Center, explained:

that it slipped past those traditional academics almost unobserved until it was too late.  It occurred so ‘quietly’ that when they ‘looked up,’ postmodernism was upon them with a vengeance.  “They were surrounded by a tidal wave of faddish multicultural subjects such as radical feminism, deconstructed relativism as history and other courses” which undermine the perpetuation of Western Civilization.  Indeed, this tidal wave slipped by just as Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School had envisioned — a ‘quiet’ revolution.  A revolution that could not be resisted by force.

Those Frankfurt School luminaries who remained in the United States after the Second World War became American citizens.  In order to further their message, they took great care in using verbiage that would not offend mainstream America.  They said nothing about ‘revolution’, only ‘tolerance’ and ‘change’. 

Here are more ways in which the Frankfurt School influenced us directly or indirectly:

Popular psychology: In order to free us of our ‘hang-ups’, mass psychology took hold.  One of the most oft-heard questions of our time is ‘Have you considered therapy?’  Again, we see the Marxist preoccupation with mental disorders.

Postmodernism: Our world seems to be full of people like the postmodernist Hayden White. He discounted documented history, labelling it ‘authoritarian’:

Historical narratives…are verbal fictions, the contents of which are more invented than found … reinforce the proposition that truth and reality are primarily authoritarian weapons of our times.

And this is the crux of postmodernism: truth is authoritarian.  Hence, the relativism in which we find ourselves today: ‘My truth is just as valid as yours.’  Whose truth is the truth?  Only that of the revisionists who promote the left-wing agenda. The goal is to cut current and future generations off from the culture their ancestors knew and loved. In this way, we can be remade to think differently. So, you probably won’t be surprised to find that almost all of the people who either developed or advanced the concept of postmodernism are Marxists.  But I digress.

Family breakdown: The nuclear family is disappearing into single-parent households or morphing into a hydra of step-partners, step-grandparents, step-cousins and so forth.  Socialists like this because it means the state has more influence over what goes on at home.  Never mind the increased crime rates, lack of traditional role models, absentee parents and the like.  This is all right because state-appointed ‘experts’ can then dictate to us. 

The Frankfurt School influenced this through the ‘gender’ and ‘generation’ gaps, which never existed before in such a universally well-publicised way. Dr Gerald L Atkinson quotes the Institute for Social Research:

Even a partial breakdown of parental authority in the family might tend to increase the readiness of a coming generation to accept social change.

Women: And speaking of the gender gap, William Z Foster was a long-time General Secretary of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA).  This is what he had to say about women in the home:

The so-called freedom of the American woman is a myth. Either she is a gilded butterfly bourgeois parasite or she is an oppressed slave.

‘The Russian woman is free economically, and this is the foundation of all her freedom. Every field of activity is open to her. She is to be found even in such occupations as locomotive engineer, electrical crane operator, machinist . . .  

Sex: Of sexual roles and relationships, Frankfurt’s Eric Fromm believed that:

… sex was more often tied to hatred and destruction.  Masculinity and femininity were not reflections of ‘essential’ sexual differences, as the romantics had thought.  They were derived instead from differences in life functions, which were in part socially determined.

Herbert Marcuse, also of the Frankfurt School, advised university students to:

Make love, not war!

Do your own thing.

If it feels good, do it.

Those of us of a certain age will remember those rallying cries from the late 1960s protests and hippiedom.  Marcuse, often quoted at the time, was the guy in the background who really made that period of modern history both memorable and shocking.

Family courts: In a review of Stephen Baskerville’s book, Taken into Custody, author Joseph A D’Agostino notes:

… what most do not know, even if they follow family issues, is that our family courts are nearly all-powerful, unaccountable star chambers that openly reject due process, traditional legal rights and the Constitution itself. Family courts are civil courts or courts of equity, not criminal courts, so most constitutional protections and procedures do not apply, even though these courts have been given tremendous power. They routinely take couples’ children away from them without trial on the flimsiest accusation of abuse from a teacher or neighbor, limit or eliminate one or both parents’ contact with their own children after divorce without any evidence of wrongdoing on the parents’ part, order parents to pay the fees of lawyers and psychotherapists they did not hire, and send parents to jail without a hearing.

Sensitivity training:  This is a psychological technique which goes under various names depending on the subject matter.  University students are often required to undergo diversity training as part of first-year orientation.  Those of a certain demographic pass the course when they feel too guilty to be alive, even when there is no real justification for that guilt.  Sensitivity training may also form part of a management training course in either the public or private sector.  Dr Atkinson says:

It is of interest to note that the ‘sensitivity training’ techniques used in our public schools over the past 30 years and which are now employed by the U.S. military to educate the troops about ‘sexual harassment’ were developed during World War II and thereafter by Kurt Lewin and his proteges.  One of them, Abraham Maslow, was a member of the Frankfurt school and the author of ‘The Art of Facilitation’ which is a manual used during such ‘sensitivity’ training.  Thereby teachers were indoctrinated not to teach but to ‘facilitate.’  This manual describes the techniques developed by Kurt Lewin and others to change a person’s world view via participation in small-group encounter sessions.

Education: Teachers aren’t there to impart knowledge but to allow and encourage the students’ self-expression and independence. Dr Atkinson notes:

Teachers were to become amateur group therapists.  The classroom became the center of self-examination, therapeutic circles where children … talked about their own subjective feelings.  This technique was designed to convince children they were the sole authority in their own lives.

Many parents perceive that state teachers and school boards place more emphasis on sex education than the three Rs.  Students are expected to sacrifice personal safety for the sake of tolerance of a minority of violent students who take over the classroom and play areas.  Dress codes and traditional norms of behaviour have disappeared.   

Music: Theodor Adorno, a primary member of the Frankfurt School, was a trained musician and keen analyst of popular culture.  He connected melodic and classical music with capitalist and bourgeois oppression, advocating what was known at the time as ‘avant garde’ art and music.  Adorno wrote:

What radical music perceives is the untransfigured suffering of man… The seismographic registration of traumatic shock becomes, at the same time, the technical structural law of music. It forbids continuity and development. Musical language is polarized according to its extreme; towards gestures of shock resembling bodily convulsions on the one hand, and on the other towards a crystalline standstill of a human being whom anxiety causes to freeze in her tracks … Modern music sees absolute oblivion as its goal. It is the surviving message of despair from the shipwrecked

Art: In the 1930s the CPUSA received instructions from Moscow on the subject of art. They advocated promoting ugly, non-representational art forms in an effort to blight aesthetics and dull our innate appreciation of beauty.  This may seem like a small detail to those who are not interested in art, but, over time, it has an important effect on the psyche. An essay, ‘Gramscian Damage‘, explains:

The explicit goal was to erode the confidence of America’s ruling class and create an ideological vacuum to be filled by Marxism-Leninism.

Adorno and his fellow Frankfurt colleagues had also picked up on the value of modern art:

This view of modern art as producing truth only through the negation of traditional aesthetic form and traditional norms of beauty because they have become ideological is characteristic of Adorno and of the Frankfurt School generally. It has been criticized by those who do not share its conception of modern society as a false totality that renders obsolete traditional conceptions and images of beauty and harmony.

And, so, as another member of the Frankfurt School’s Institute for Social Research, Max Horkheimer, said:

The Revolution won’t happen with guns, rather it will happen incrementally, year by year, generation by generation. We will gradually infiltrate their educational institutions and their political offices, transforming them slowly into Marxist entities as we move towards universal egalitarianism.

The Frankfurt School’s influence is most clearly embodied in the immediate post-War wave of Baby Boomers, who are now in their 60s.  They are the establishment figures of our institutions, whether universities, schools or churches.  Many of these people have not only children of their own but grandchildren.  They were able to have the best of all possible worlds by growing up in America.  Whilst they deride the former ‘American way of life’, many of us can only gaze wistfully into the void hoping and working for its return.

There is so much more that can be said on this topic.  We have not examined television, film, architecture or literature.  However, by now, you now know what signs to look for.  These developments were never by accident, only design.

This week we’ll look at recent news and protests worldwide.

For more reading, see:

‘What is the Frankfurt School?’  

‘The Frankfurt School and Cultural Marxism: A Primer’

‘The Communist Plan for American Women’ 

‘Children of the State’

‘Anticommunism and Modern Art’

‘Modern Art as Communist Subversion’

‘Gramscian Damage’

‘The Origins of Political Correctness’ (also features more on individual Frankfurt School members)

You might not be familiar with the name, but you will certainly know of the effect this group of professors has had on 20th century Western society.  Before we look at just who they were, let’s look at ideas and quotes that helped develop their Marxist worldview:

– Karl Marx advocated a ‘community of women’ in his Communist Manifesto.   

– Friedrich Engels promoted matriarchy in ‘The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State’.

– Wilhelm Wundt, who largely devised the methodology used in behavioural psychology, proposed in the 1870s that man was nothing more than an animal and, as such, could not control his impulses.  He believed that children could be trained only through a stimulus-response approach via the nervous system.

– A group of intellectual socialists founded the Fabian Society in London in 1884. Its goal was to gradually transform society through left-wing ideology; Fabians founded the London School of Economics in 1895 and Britain’s Labour Party in 1900.

– Georg Lukacs, as Deputy Commissar for Culture in the short-lived Bolshevik Bela Kun regime in Hungary in 1919, set about de-Christianising the nation and sexualising its children.   

Needless to say, much thought and activity abounded between the mid-1800s, giving rise to Modernism and Communism, which would see its fruition in 1917 and the development of a Soviet state.  Pope St Pius X and some Protestant theologians, such as the Lutheran Charles Porterfield Krauth and the Presbyterian John Gresham Machen, condemned Modernism.  Pius X declared it a heresy in 1907 and advised Catholics to avoid joining labour organisations which went against Church teaching. 

After the Soviet state took root, Marxists and Communists in the West were confused as to why other countries weren’t undergoing similar transformations.  Antonio Gramsci was one of these.  His contemporaries in Germany at the University of Frankfurt am Main (on the Main River) wondered similarly.  Gramsci and this group of Marxist professors at the University’s Institute for Social Research would independently theorise how to advance Marxist praxis (practice) in Western society. 

But, before we look at the Frankfurt School, let’s study another contemporary of the period, Georg Lukacs.  Almost 20 years before the publication of Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, which advocated a de-Christianised and totally transformed culture comprised of criminals, women and racial minorities, Lukacs had already implemented these in what was up to that time, a highly traditional Hungary.  Linda Kimball explains in her essay on Cultural Marxism for American Thinker:

Reasoning that if Christian sexual ethics could be undermined among children, then both the hated patriarchal family and the Church would be dealt a crippling blow. Lukacs launched a radical sex education program in the schools.  Sex lectures were organized and literature handed out which graphically instructed youth in free love (promiscuity) and sexual intercourse while simultaneously encouraging them to deride and reject Christian moral ethics, monogamy, and parental and church authority.  All of this was accompanied by a reign of cultural terror perpetrated against parents, priests, and dissenters. 

Hungary’s youth, having been fed a steady diet of values-neutral (atheism) and radical sex education while simultaneously encouraged to rebel against all authority, easily turned into delinquents ranging from bullies and petty thieves to sex predators, murderers, and sociopaths.

Gramsci’s prescription and Lukacs’ plans were the precursor to what Cultural Marxism … later brought into American schools.

 

Lukacs was a primary influence, along with Marx, Hegel, Freud, Kant and others on the Frankfurt School.  These social theorists, some of whom were only loosely affiliated with each other, had in common a strong desire for social change.  Many of their influences and much of their work was based on countering the positive aspects of Western society.  Their approach was a fluid one to counter their opponents.  If an argument supported Marxism, they called it logical.  If an argument supported capitalism or maintaining the status quo, they termed it illogical.  Opponents were termed mentally unstable.  Eventually, ideas put forth by the Frankfurt School from the Institute for Social Research’s inception in 1923 eventuall evolved into today’s political correctness, but more on that later.

The tradition of thought associated with the Frankfurt School is known as critical theory, in an allusion to Kant’s critical philosophy.  Cultural Marxism, also primarily associated with the Frankfurt School, is the application of critical theory to social matters — what we would see as social engineering.       

By the early 1930s, the Frankfurt School members — principally, Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Ernst Bloch, Walter Benjamin, Wilhelm Reich, Erich Fromm, Herbert Marcuse, Wolfgang Fritz Haug and Jürgen Habermas — realised political change was afoot in Germany.  Adolf Hitler rose to power in 1933 and the institute left for Geneva (Switzerland) that same year.  In 1934, Columbia University in New York City offered the theorists an academic home.  And so, instead of transforming German society, they set about putting their ideas in place to transform American society.  They published a journal called Studies in Philosophy and Social Science.  The articles explored American culture, especially its more populist aspects.  American academe gave the professors a warm and welcome response. 

Linda Kimball writes:

The school was a multidisciplinary effort which included sociologists, sexologists, and psychologists.

The primary goal of the Frankfurt School was to translate Marxism from economic terms into cultural terms. It would provide the ideas on which to base a new political theory of revoltuion based on culture, harnessing new oppressed groups for the faithless proletariat. Smashing religion, morals, It would also build a constituency among academics, who could build careers studying and writing about the new oppression.

 

After the Second World War ended, many of the theorists returned to Europe, namely West and East Germany.  Adorno and Horkheimer re-established the Institute in Frankfurt in 1953.  Marcuse, however, stayed behind in America, where his ideas largely shaped the sexual revolution and student protests of the 1960s.   

Kimball describes this period and its aftermath:

Toward this end, Marcuse-who favored polymorphous perversion-expanded the ranks of Gramsci’s new proletariat by including homosexuals, lesbians, and transsexuals.  Into this was spliced Lukacs radical sex education and cultural terrorism tactics.  Gramsci’s ‘long march’ was added to the mix, and then all of this was wedded to Freudian psychoanalysis and psychological conditioning techniques. The end product was Cultural Marxism, now known in the West as multiculturalism.

In short, anything that represented historical Western culture was viewed as ‘authoritarian’.  Americans — and others — who upheld Western traditions and family values were labelled as intolerant or mentally disturbed:

In 1950, the Frankfurt School augmented Cultural Marxism with Theodor Adorno’s idea of the ‘authoritarian personality.’  This concept is premised on the notion that Christianity, capitalism, and the traditional family create a character prone to racism and fascism.  Thus, anyone who upholds America’s traditional moral values and institutions is both racist and fascist.  Children raised by traditional values parents, we are told to believe, will almost certainly become racists and fascists.  By extension, if fascism and racism are endemic to America’s traditional culture, then everyone raised in the traditions of God, family, patriotism, gun ownership, or free markets is in need of psychological help.

And this is where political correctness comes in.  Kimball goes on to say:

The strong suggestion here is that in order for one not to be thought of as racist or fascist, then one must not only be nonjudgmental but must also embrace the ‘new’ moral absolutes: diversity, choice, sensitivity, sexual orientation, and tolerance.  Political correctness is a Machiavellian psychological ‘command and control’ device.  Its purpose is the imposition of uniformity in thought, speech, and behavior.

In its nihilism critical theory, in turn, promotes political correctness (emphasis in the original):

Critical Theory is an ongoing and brutal assault via vicious criticism relentlessly leveled against Christians, Christmas, the Boy Scouts, Ten Commandments, our military, and all other aspects of traditional American culture and society. 
 
Both political correctness and Critical Theory are in essence, psychological bullying.  They are the psycho-political battering rams by which Frankfurt School disciples such as the ACLU are forcing Americans to submit to and to obey the will and the way of the Left.

 

If political correctness relies on critical theory, then critical theory relies on what is known as cultural determinism.  Cultural determinism is essentially identity politics.  In a Godless world the Frankfurt School and its present-day adherents say we have nothing more to rely on than our physical characteristics and sexual preferences.  Those determine who we are.  Without a God, there is no morality, so we cannot change what or who we are.  This opens the door to postmodernism and all the relativism associated with it, which we’ll look at in Monday’s post.

For now, here is a 10-minute overview (probably from the 1980s) which summarises the Frankfurt School and their influence on American society:

Further reading:

American Thinker: ‘Cultural Marxism’

‘What is the Frankfurt School?’

Frankfurt School

Cultural Marxism

Yesterday, I summarised an essay from Robert Chandler, an introduction to his 2009 book, Shadow World.  The post discussed the effect of Antonio Gramsci’s political theory on the Catholic Church.   

Today, borrowing again from pages 10 – 14 of the essay — ‘How Marxism Has Infiltrated the Catholic Church’ — I shall summarise non-Catholic institutions this retired United States Air Force Colonel and Government strategist has found as being infiltrated by Gramscian thought.    

By way of explanation, Chandler writes:   

The U.S. is being exploited from deep in the political shadows by a large, integrated number of far Left activist centers that are “progressive” on their face but solidly socialist and Marxist on the inside. “Communism” did not die in the early 1990s. Rather, Marxism-Leninism and the Cold War in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe expired and changed names and labels.   

Communism lives in the shadows of today’s world, while the Marxism of Antonio Gramsci wields a sword of “change” in the Western world.   

Gramsci advised Marxists worldwide to work within the political, religious and social structures of their nations, keeping a low profile.  Never must anyone suspect what is actually happening.  Everything must become a political issue, from poverty to sexism to racism.  This is what has been happening over a period of 70 years, although it hadn’t really become fully apparent until 40 years ago.  The next part of this series addresses the Frankfurt School, which along with Gramsci, has transformed the West in so many ways.   

For now, here are more examples of Gramsci’s philosophy and master plan taking root in America:   

Family: The reason so much sex-ed is forced on children is to break the bonds between parent and child at home.  Children must learn that abortion, same-sex relations and premarital sex are ‘healthy’ and ‘good’.  This is often why such programmes are mandatory, regardless of parents’ objections.     

Education: The ex-radical and now ‘respected’ educational expert (!) Bill Ayers says that education is a tool for ‘revolutions small and large’.  He has also said that ‘capitalism promotes racism and militarism’.  Incoming Columbia University undergo diversity training to rid themselves of any beliefs that ‘foster inequality’.  Similar programmes take place at Bryn Mawr, the University of Nebraska and Syracuse University. 

Religious organisations: The leftist Sojourners applaud President Obama’s support of liberation theology in the United Church of Christ.  The link will take you to my post on their perspective.   

Think tanks: The Institute for Policy Studies appears often in serious news analyses.  Did you know it has links with Communist Cuba?  It also is part of a vast Marxist network of similar organisations.  The Institute for America’s Future is funded by George Soros’s Open Society Institute.  A former director of the Institute for Policy Studies and renowned ‘progressive’, Robert Borosage, is at the helm.     

Global foundations: The wonderful-sounding Millenium Promise is a George Soros-funded organisation working with the UN and the US.  It works closely with Soros’s Open Society Institute.  There’s also the Arcus Foundation.    

Charitable foundations and churches: Chandler mentions the Tides Foundation in his essay as well as the American Friends Service Committee.  From my own reading, I’ve drawn up a chart connecting various charities, community organisations and churches with leftist activity.  Well-known foundations — Ford, Rockefeller, Mellon — fund cutting-edge social initiatives revolving around racial, ethnic or gender-specific issues.   

Unions and professional organisations: Chandler mentions well-known unions such as the AFL-CIO and SEIU (the purple t-shirt folks) as well as the National Lawyers Guild and the National Education Association.    

Politically-affiliated organisations: Chandler mentions links with the Democratic Party through the Center for American Progress, Democracy Alliance, Media Matters and another Soros group, MoveOn.org.   

Chandler writes:   

All told, there are hundreds of progressive-socialist-Marxist groups openly waging a subversive Gramsci culture war against America’s way of life in order to create a socialist-secular United States.   

He includes a quote from the late Otto Kuusinen, a senior official with the Soviet Union’s Communist International in the 1920s.  Kuusinen outlined this networking strategy:    

We must create a whole solar system of organizations and smaller committees around the Communist Party, so to speak, smaller organizations working under the influence of the Party (not mechanical leadership).   

Please, let’s wake up to the reality of what’s happening in the West.  

For further reading, see:

‘Why there is a culture war’

Last year an essay, which appears to be an introduction to Robert Chandler’s book Shadow World, outlined how Gramsci’s passive revolution is infiltrating the Catholic Church.  Cliff Kincaid, who is President of America’s Survival, Inc., and Chandler outlined the process in ‘How Marxism Has Infiltrated the Catholic Church’.  Even though it’s 16 pages long, it’s a gripping read and highly recommended.

Kincaid begins by citing a report by James Tyson, who used to work for Accuracy in Media in the US.  Tyson saw the Catholic Church working with Marxist Sandinistas in 1979. The US Catholic bishops strongly supported this move. Also, although Pope John Paul II and President Reagan (1980-1988) actively opposed Communism, a former Maryknoll priest, Blase Bonpane, started negotiations between the Church and the Sandinistas.  Today, Bonpane speaks of his successes in this regard at lectures around the world.  He advocates building an ‘international peace system’, which is also the focus of the University of Notre Dame’s Peace Studies department.  Although the Contras, with Reagan’s aid, won the battle, they ultimately lost the war.  The Sandinistas control Nicaragua, managing this with the support of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and the Castro-influenced Sao Paulo Forum.

Kincaid also mentions that Tyson alleged that in the 1980s, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) fell under the influence of leftist priests, notably the Revd J Bryan Hehir, known for his lecture series to the Institute for Policy Studies — a left-wing think tank — entitled ‘Matthew, Marx, Luke and John’.  The IPS also gave Fr Hehir an award named after a famous Chilean Communist, Orlando Letelier.  Today, Fr Hehir is a professor at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government.

So, we have American Catholic bishops and priests in synch with far-left political movements.  But, regular readers will recall that there’s more to the story, namely in the United States itself.  Last year, I reported on CCHD donations going to various left-wing community organisations and asked American Catholics not to donate to the annual nationwide collection in November.  Some funding even goes to the nefarious ACORN.

Robert Chandler, the author of the aforementioned Shadow World, is a retired US Air Force Colonel and Vietnam War veteran.  He has worked as a US Government strategist for many years.  He explains how Gramscian thought is at work in the Catholic Church in the United States:    

… to overturn the existing order and “Marxize the inner man,” one must create a subversive program of “counter-hegemony” against its supporting culture. The war against the existing culture would leave nothing outside of the struggle, especially Christianity, to negate the established modes of thought and ways of doing things.

Christianity is considered a prime target in preparing the way for a “Marxized America,” since religion, as an independent center of societal values, stands in the way of creating a new culture based on what is deceptively called “social justice” and “change.” Religion, in the Gramsci view, is the foundation for the Western values of individual liberty, private property, and the traditional family, and must be abolished in order for the new communist society to emerge.

Chandler notes that one of Gramsci’s leading proponents is actually a professor of English at the University of Notre Dame.  His name is Joseph Buttigieg.  Buttigieg has not only translated Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks but is also the co-founder and current president of the International Gramsci Society!  He has also addressed Marxist and Communist fora in the United States.

Another Notre Dame faculty member with avowedly left-wing credentials as an activist and advisor to the UN is David Cortright.  Cortright is a research fellow at ND’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

And, speaking of the UN, did you know that the president of their General Assembly in 2008-2009 was one Miguel D’Escoto — like Blase Bonpane, a Maryknoll priest — who was also a former foreign minister of Sandinista Nicaragua?  As one might expect, Fr D’Escoto strongly advocates liberation theology.

What does all of this mean for the average American Catholic? Chandler cites an explanation from the late conservative Catholic author, Malachi Martin:    

Malachi Martin explained that Gramsci’s quiet, anonymous revolution would do everything in the name of man’s dignity and rights, and in the name of the claims and constraints of Christianity: “Accomplish that, said Gramsci, and you will have established a true and freely adopted hegemony over the civil and political thinking of every formerly Christian country. Do that, he promised, and in essence you will have Marxized the West. The final step — the Marxization of the politics of life itself — will then follow. All classes will be one class. All minds will be proletarian minds. The earthly Paradise will be achieved.”

Does ‘earthly Paradise’ by way of ‘social justice’ sound familiar?  If so, avoid being Gramscied!  Who else is promoting this?  Rick Warren as well as the Emergent Church guys.

Chandler adds:    

for nearly five decades a revolutionary Marxist fifth column has been working openly to transform American culture from one founded upon a free market and personal liberties to one that could be made amenable to a socialist governance and secularization. These subversive activities were expected to pay-off after fifteen to twenty-five years of effort — the estimated time needed for successfully instilling a new set of socialist-Marxist values in America’s youth—to “Marxize” the inner man.

He closes his essay with a warning:    

When one enters a Catholic church in Europe for Sunday Mass, often the only sound to be heard is the echo of one’s own footsteps. If Americans give up Christianity to the contemporaneous Obama rush toward socialism and secularism, they will find their inner selves “Marxized” while their footsteps echo loudly in churches across the country — a hollow protest against the end of religious faith.

In light of the Emergents and Rick Warren, that would seem to hold true for Protestants, too.

Okay, I have bitten the bullet and decided to feature Antonio Gramsci after all.  ‘Who?’ you may say.  Gramsci (1891 – 1937) was one of the most enduring Marxist theorists whose ideas have transformed our way of life from the second half of the 20th century to the present.

Gramsci came to Marxism as a young adult in an impoverished Sardinia. He became a founding member and onetime leader of the Communist Party in Italy.  Benito Mussolini imprisoned him for his political activities.  Whilst in prison, Gramsci had plenty of time to read, and Mussolini allowed him to receive books by post.  However, it would be a few more years before Gramsci would be granted permission to possess pen and paper in order to write his famous Prison Notebooks, a blueprint for the left-wing world we know today.  Gramsci developed the notion of cultural hegemony and passive revolution, explained below in layman’s terms.  He theorised that this would take place via a ‘long march through the institutions’.

Gramsci analysed why the Marxist revolution did not envelop Western society.  To Marxists and Communists, their solution to the class struggle should have spoken for itself.  The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a success, was it not?  Therefore, shouldn’t every other worker — agricultural and industrial — have wanted to hop on the bandwagon?

Gramsci posited that a revolution in and of itself would be unlikely to succeed on its own in an orderly society.  He saw that many poor people had strong family values and identified with the Church.  He also noted that capitalism, despite its faults, provided stability and a dream of prosperity.  Western European society, by and large, had bought into the political and social order because they saw rewards in it for themselves.  More importantly, they perceived a moral high ground with its emphasis on family values and social advancement. 

Therefore, a revolution to topple that order would be unlikely to succeed in and of itself.  What would have to happen is a weakening of family and church structures to enable a questioning of values and morality.  The British Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm gave a lecture in 1987 which discusses this at length.  The YouTube links to it are at the bottom of this post.

Hobsbawm explains that Gramsci advocated playing the long game in terms of drawing the world towards socialism.  In some measure, this has worked.  It is difficult to find anyone in Britain under the age of 35 today who supports the Conservative Party.  This age group believes it is morally correct to support socialism, which they see as offering a fair deal for everyone.  Therefore, the Labour Party’s recent election campaign slogan, a ‘Britain fair for all’, resonated with a sizeable proportion of the electorate.

However, other examples abound.  And, occasionally, these involve long-established political parties or social structures taking on Marxist or socialist traits.  In his lecture, Hobsbawm cites Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal as an example of a non-socialist political party morphing to encompass left-wing ideology.  The most recent example of a similar morphing has to be last week’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom.  The Conservatives have seen that the key to survival for now is to compromise points in their party manifesto in order to form a government with a left-wing ‘kingmaker’ party.  So far, a majority of the general public find this acceptable and approve of it.  So, if Gramsci were alive today, he would most probably say that the rhetoric around this shows a socio-political compromise which detoxifies the Conservative Party in the popular mind by moving it into a more socialist position.   As more British people accept more socialist perspectives and policies, so society and politics move with it.

Hobsbawm cautioned his students saying that, although the Conservatives were in power when he gave his lectures, Gramsci foresaw that a political ebb and flow would take place.  Labour governments would come and go.  Some Conservative governments would  be elected now and then.  However, the main goal and the principal result is that with each Labour government, the nation would gradually move further to the left, despite intervening Conservative administrations. A salami-slice effect, in other words. And this is what Gramsci’s theory, in everyday terms, is largely about. 

It is the same with our social institutions.  Education has drifted steadily to the left over the past 50 years.  Even with a Conservative — or, in the US, a Republican — administration, state school teachers come from a left-wing educational perspective acquired at university which increasingly puts more emphasis on social cohesion and emotional expression than it does on historical fact, grammatical rules and scientific theory.

Our churches are also consumed by left-wing perspectives.  Many of us are asked to see the value in social justice and community organisations which work in association with churches.  This is the new, albeit erroneous, ‘gospel’.  As many Christians have come to see this over the years as worthy and righteous, we are all expected to fall into line.  We are called dogmatic or reactionary if we refuse.

Gramsci said that a revolution in and of itself would be unsuccessful.  In order to change society, a majority of people from all social classes must find a new dominant vision of higher moral value in order for socialism to succeed.  We are seeing Gramsci’s passive revolution come true in our world today.  In order to resist it, we need to start with our own families, as I advocated yesterday.

For a very potted biography of Antonio Gramsci, this short YouTube video may be helpful:

To understand how Gramscian theory works, this short video, whilst overly-simplified, goes some way towards explaining it:

Eric Hobsbawm’s lecture on Gramsci:

Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Woman priestSome years ago a Dutch newspaper used to feature a controversial op-ed column entitled ‘May I say this?’  Generally, the answer was no, not in public!  This post may elicit the same response.

In principle, I have no problem with ordaining women, provided the relevant Protestant denomination officially approves it.  In practice, some of the worst priests I’ve run across have been women.

Don’t get me wrong, yes, they seem devout. Yes, they preside over the services beautifully.  Yes, they know their theology.

It’s just that … one begins to wonder about what they learn at seminary.  You know, ‘women’s’ stuff.  They all seem to have this therapeutic need or obligation to bond.  Hugs all over the place — each other, church members, people they barely know.  Guy priests don’t do that.  Well, if they did, there’d probably be some sort of sex allegation!

Still, one has to wonder why.  They seem to have no semblance of humility, modesty or restraint. 

Why do they need to wear ostentatious or chunky adornments?  They seem particularly fond of huge crosses, ginormous rings and other ornamentation best left understated. Or there’s the chronically too-short hair.  It never grows out.  I wonder if they go for a short back and sides every fortnight.  There’s no modesty there.  But there does seem to be an insider’s message of sorts and an external message to outsiders. (Sorry, I’m not po-mo enough to understand.) It’s similar to thumb rings.  A certain type of person wears them.  Watch people with thumb rings, because within five minutes they’ll exhibit some irritating or distasteful behaviour — eating in public, loud conversation or raucous laughter.   

Then, we get to restraint, or self control, another of the timeless seven virtues.  Here’s a local example, one of the former curates.  Fortunately, she accepted a post in another part of England a few years ago.  One either loved her or loathed her.  (And, yes, she was huggy, too!)  The parish church used to have a 1662 Book of Common Prayer (BCP) service on Sundays at 12:00 twice a month.  She couldn’t stand presiding over it because she hated — yes, hated — the liturgy.  It only took a half-hour to say and there weren’t that many people there.  I used to go now and then but could see its days were numbered.  One Sunday I saw her running down a side street from the church still in her robes, straight from the 11:00 service.  She did a little dance in the middle of the street.  Then she saw someone she knew from church, ran over to them and — what else? — hugged them, saying: ‘Isn’t it wonderful?  We finally got rid of that stupid service — the notice is up on the church door!’   

In fact, her distaste for traditional liturgy was such that, when planning a funeral with my family, she ever so subtly knocked our BCP off the arm of the sofa.  The book lay there until I picked it up some minutes later.  So, it was all about her and the modified liturgy she suggested after informing us: ‘I don’t do the Book of Common Prayer’.  I gave her the hairy eyeball, especially since I had retrieved the prayer book from the carpet just a short time before. But more importantly, it was a funeral for a close family member;  surely, funerals are for the bereaved. ‘I suppose I could read a few prayers from it’. Humility? Forget it. It’s all ‘me, me, me!’  

Well, hey, who am I to criticise these ordained postmodern Earth Mamas?  No, I don’t want to hear about their children or grandchildren in a Midnight Mass sermon, as I did one year. I’m surprised they don’t talk about their menopausal experiences.  They probably do when they’re together.  There’s something of the ‘wise woman’ about them.  Fumare has a comment about ‘wise women’.  Let’s hope this isn’t true of our Anglican lady priests:

The meaning of the phrase ‘wise woman’ as code for neo-pagan feminist witch is well established. Just Google ‘wise woman’, 10:1 the returns are about neo-paganism, herbalism, moon circles, and aligned products and services …

In the late 80’s PBS began to popularize the ideas of mythologist Joseph Campbell and with him, Carl Jung through the Bill Moyers series The Power of Myth. The ideas of these men, and others, really paved the way for the mainstreaming of neo-paganism in America as an intellectually sophisticated practice about depth psychology and self-actualisation. Organizations such as Woman Within International offer women ‘training’ (code for ritual initiation) for ’empowerment’ (code for witchcraft power rituals) and a network of women who ‘gather’ for mutual support (code for monthly communal lunar rituals). Someone who has been initiated into this is a ‘wise woman’. The intellectual foundations for this coincide with feminist and post-colonial critical theory.

Critical theoryGramsci again!  The guy who wanted to destroy the Catholic Church because he resented the power it had over people and their beliefs.  Devout Catholics don’t fall for Marxism or Communism. Gramsci loved leftism, so he devised a way of making people accept it through ‘silent coup d’etats‘ in the media, churches, schools and universities. It started happening decades ago. ‘Relax — you’re soaking in it‘.

You’ll see another wise woman in the next post.  She’s Catholic. 

Unrelated but, according to Fumare, ‘the most intense feminist neo-pagans have Catholic backgrounds’.  I know a Catholic laywoman who fits the bill perfectly.

For more articles on postmodernism, click here.

Graffiti in Bristol, England (courtesy of digitallynblog)

Graffiti in Bristol, England (courtesy of digitallyn.net.blog)

Breaking news: ‘UK kids among Europe’s unhappiest’.

ITN News reports that the recent surge in unemployment, poor local environments and low numbers in training have placed Britain’s children 24th place out of 29 European countries in the wellbeing stakes. This is noticeably behind Germany (8th) and France (15th). 

Below the UK are Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Malta.

ITN quoted the UK’s Children’s Minister Beverly Hughes saying that the UK had ‘made “wide-ranging improvements” since the time the data was collected’. 

“The fact that we created a new Government department to focus solely on children, schools and families shows the increased importance being given to children in this country,” she said.

“Our Children’s Plan is our long term vision and it puts children and families at the centre of everything Government does.”

She said investment in children’s centres, free early years education for three and four-year-olds, play areas, support for disabled children and “world class places for young people to spend their free time” had “continually raised levels of attainment and the quality of life for children across the country”.

British kids have been unhappy for the past few years.  And the more money and resources Labour throws at these programmes, the less difference it makes.  Every year we’re told that contrary to the data, the outlook for children in this country is improving.  As you can see from the soundbite above, this year is no different.

Whether Labour realises it or not, these unhappy kids are a result of Antonio Gramsci‘s ‘long march through the insitutions’:

Gramsci was impressed with Roman Catholicism’s power over the popular mind, and the Church’s carefully preventing an excessively-wide gap between religion for the educated and religion for the uneducated…

Creating a proletarian culture requires the type of education needed for developing organic, working-class intellectuals who will present Marxist ideology to the proletariat, from within the proletariat, in order to renovate and criticise the status quo for the mass populace … Antonio Gramsci is the intellectual mentor of contemporary adult and popular education.

If this seems a bit complicated, Gramsci’s writings have influenced

the attacks on Christianity, the family, individual freedom, morality and moral judgements; … the replacement of the roles of family, religion, individual responsibility and choice with government rules, laws, and regs; the expansion of the State and the Welfare State and the Nanny State; anti-tradition, anti-capitalism, anti-success … and anti-Westernism.

It’s not just kids, but marriage, too.  Minette Marrin said last year:

As to why marriage has become so unpopular, explanations are legion…I suspect one of the main reasons why people don’t get married, or can’t stay married, particularly in lower social groups, is because so many people aren’t properly socialised. They aren’t, in better English, properly brought up, and in some cases are hardly brought up at all, or are left to bring each other up without much adult guidance. This is happening not to a minority but to a majority of British children.

Socialisation, or upbringing, is the complex process through which a child learns to be a social being – a responsible, considerate, self-disciplined, forbearing adult, who is capable of unselfish love and loyalty. That is to say, incidentally or perhaps not so incidentally, an adult who is capable of putting the best into and getting the best out of marriage.

Right now, there’s only one group of people I can think of who could help reverse this trend: the Calvinists.  They have an incredibly strong family life and know how Christianity works within it.  (This is by no means advocating a theocracy, just a plea to help return us to normality.) 

Guys, seriously, if you’re looking for a new mission after you’ve attended Calvin500 in July, the UK is only a short journey away.

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