Regarding a recent post at the Mises site by Chris Calton entitled What Is Cultural Marxism?, I offer some thoughts.
There is some real confusion about the origins and meaning of the phrase Cultural Marxism. The confusion begins by attributing cultural characteristics to Marxian theory. Marx developed a theory based on production, not really so much on culture. The proper place to look is Antonio Gramsci, an anti-Marxist communist if you will – Gramsci’s theory was specifically and overtly aimed at culture.
Gramsci understood that the working class in the west would not declare war on their middle class neighbors as long as they shared Christian values. It was these values that he believed must be destroyed if communism was to be realized. Therefore, the proper term would be Cultural Gramsci-ism.
What is the definition and objective of Cultural Marxism (to use the common phrase)? Destroy Christianity, Christian ethics, and Christian values. Here is at least some idea of understating the definition:
While firmly committed to global Communism, [Gramsci] knew that that violence would fail to win the West. American workers (proletariat) would never declare war on their middle class neighbors as long as they shared common Christian values. So the Italian communist -- a contemporary of Lenin -- wrote an alternative plan for a silent revolution. The main weapons would be deception, manipulation and infiltration. Hiding their Marxist ideology, the new Communist warriors would seek positions of influence in seminaries, government, communities, and the media.
Gramsci himself rejected Christianity and all its transcendent claims. Nevertheless, he knew Christian culture existed.... For that was the force binding all the classes... into a single, homogeneous culture. It was a specifically Christian culture, in which individual men and women understood that the most important things about human life transcended the material conditions in which they lived out their mortal lives.
How will this play out? It should be obvious in everything that underlies the polarized views of red vs. blue counties in the United States, of the elite coasts vs. flyover country. Where this leads? I doubt it leads to rapprochement any time soon. Ideally it leads to peaceful decentralization and secession.
However, some see civil war in the future. Others see that the “red” voters will vote in a strongman that makes Trump look like Mother Theresa if they don’t get what they want with Trump; the objective being “we will teach those SOBs a lesson and bring them to heel.”
While libertarians (contrary to Marxists) embrace property rights, the battle is no longer here; the battle for liberty vs. communism is being fought in the battle for the traditional western culture, grounded in Christianity and Christian ethics. Gramsci outlined this.
Hence, libertarians that embrace slogans like “anything peaceful” play right into Gramsci. While they have their eyes on “property,” they are ignorant of the war being fought right in front of their noses. Such libertarians contribute to losing both the battle and the war. My bet is “anything peaceful” equals “Gramsci wins.”
And my bet is that those who want your property and your life understand this – and understand it much better than libertarians who don’t.
Those who value liberty might consider incorporating this reality into their thinking.