Re-posted from original dated: April 4, 2019
Over the last few decades (1980s – 2020), western society has witnessed an unprecedented rise in the level of political correctness and identity politics to a point that freedom of speech and other forms of expression have become severely compromised, and such an intellectually oppressive climate has become a challenge to our most cherished democratic institutions. This situation begs the question: Should we be prepared to allow this trend toward cultural-Marxist ideology continue to erode the finest achievements of western democracy that were handed down to us from ancient Greece, then further developed throughout the Renaissance and the Enlightenment eras? My answer is, emphatically, no! Our society needs a restoration of the power of critical thinking and reasoned argument before we can move forward with any new knowledge that is worth having.
We need to understand how indoctrination over education has become so prominent a feature of our contemporary thinking by examining the rise of the political New Left from its earliest inception. Founded in the Weimar Republic in 1918 by a group of Marxist dissidents, the Frankfurt School provided a new platform for socialists who were disillusioned with the old-school method of change by bloody revolution, who also sought a more subtle way to bring about socialist reform in affluent western societies. Intellectuals of the new group spent some twenty-one years developing their Critical Theory and their Dialectical Method, before they eventually fled Germany (Weimar Republic) in 1939 in fear of the rise of Nazism. The Frankfurt School had a short stay in Geneva, Switzerland, before relocating in the same year to New York City, USA. There they began to spread their ideology to young adults throughout college campuses and universities. This interaction between the Critical Theory of cultural-Marxists and western youth led to the rise of political correctness as a form of socialist control language to capture young minds.
More recently, at the turn of the millennium, we now see entire generations of people who were bought up on the cultural-Marxist doctrines of identity politics and political correctness. Consequently, we find ourselves in a cultural war between traditionalists versus the radical social justice warriors of the far left. The far left of politics try to further their cause with a blend of ideology and claims of victimhood for minority groups to justify their views on climate change, and sexual or racial equality. The rhetoric of the social justice warrior has reached such a fever-pitch that it leaves no room for critical analysis or reasoned argument. The media constantly streams to us countless examples of political activism where it seems that those who scream the loudest in the public forum win the argument by shutting down the debate; not by applying any science or logic to the issues at hand. Anyone who dares to point out a few facts and draw logical conclusions is seen as a pariah and is either shouted down or de-platformed from the internet social media. As a society, we have found ourselves in a place where too many people are so steeped in cultural-Marxist ideology that they have become incapable of making rational conclusions on social issues of the times.
On the other side of the divide, conservatives and traditionalists still try to uphold the principles of rationality and free speech as the keystone of democracy. The finest achievements of human endeavour were built upon classical concepts requiring the observation of empirical truths, and the application of formal logic to make inferences and thereby draw conclusions that are both valid and factual. In the forum of ideas, the argument that was framed with sound logic and provable facts won the day. The methodologies for this approach were founded by our ancestors from ancient Greece, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment, in fact gave rise to the movement of Liberalism, of which some of its proponents were John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and John Stuart Mill, to name a few. In its original form, Liberalism enshrined the values of tolerance for all, and an openness to embracing new ideas. Having said this, it is important to keep in mind that the Enlightenment philosophers also insisted on maintaining the capacity for reason when considering the merits of an argument in the contest of ideas. They did not believe that an unscrutinised dogma or ideology that had never seen the light of scientific or logical inquiry could ever be a winning idea. Logic and scientific method were the way to the truth; truth and the freedom to express the truth were essential to the functioning of an enlightened, democratic and civilised society.
In the culture wars in which or society is presently engaged, we must choose between one of two paths. One is to embrace more cultural-Marxism and globalism as we head into a Brave New World of totalitarianism. The second is to restore the classical values that made our civilisation great in the first place. I could have proposed a third option of dropping out to live off-grid, but this is only available to a wealthy few who can afford to buy land and build a green technology home in preparation for the anticipated collapse of society; little consolation to the poor, who can’t afford to escape the city slums! I cannot endorse the totalitarian path, because the liberal far left, who embrace the totalitarian socialist state, and who have also hijacked the term liberal in their desire to appear virtuous and tolerant, have proven themselves to be extremely intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them. The cultural-Marxists do not embrace classical liberalism, and their virtue signalling reverberates a hollow sound to me. The only option left that has a ring of truth about it is to preserve our classical heritage with a view to building on that inherited body of knowledge so we can face the future with our eyes wide open to the truth.
Recommended Web Links
Look up these Wikipedia links to get a basic understanding of the Frankfurt School, Critical Theory, and Liberalism. Of course, these references are no substitute for in-depth research, but they might provide a springboard for further investigation:
Also, an interesting video about the formation of the Frankfurt School… The Architects of Western Decline: A Study on The Frankfurt School and Cultural Marxism (Mad TV)