Monday, November 8, 2021

Cultural Marxism and Critical Theory Today


…Critical Theory has come to dominate the academic world.

The Red Trojan Horse: A Concise Analysis of Cultural Marxism, by Alasdair Elder

This is the second of two posts on this book by Elder.  In the first, I covered the chapters in which he examined the history of Cultural Marxism and Critical Theory.  In this post, I will review his comments on the current situation and his proposed solution.

NB: I use the term Cultural Marxism because this is how Elder labels the situation.  I think it is more accurately described as Cultural Gramsci-ism.

Just as Classical Marxism considers that everyone has been fooled by capitalism, Cultural Marxism considers everyone has been fooled by the patriarchy.  Race, gender, sexual orientation, even religion – all are fair game as tools to crush traditional cultural and ethical bounds.

The tactic is always the same: identify a privileged oppressive group; this leads to identifying the underprivileged oppressed group; the oppressive group is then tagged with at least one pathology – an “ism” or a phobia; a victim narrative is established; finally, a feedback loop is established – constant reinforcement of the victim narrative.

This mechanism can be seen in feminism, multiculturalism, transgenderism, etc.   Sound arguments are never presented or addressed; bullying and labeling are the preferred tools.  Per Anita Sarkeesian, “Everything is racist, everything is sexist, everything is homophobic, and you have to point it all out.”

Hypocrisies abound, but these are irrelevant.  Pointing these out is also irrelevant.  Doing so merely demonstrates your phobia, your “ism.”  What is left for the Cultural Marxists is to be for nothing and against everything – ultimately leading to a radical individualism.

This is an individualism, not of responsibility and self-governance, but an individualism of complete isolation, resulting in such a nihilism that the societal fabric is destroyed, and all that is left of the culture is a void.  Total dependence on the state (communism) is all that is left.

This can be seen in many examples.  The nationalization of childhood (it takes a village).  Family life is dull, restrictive, oppressive.  Education is removed, replaced by schooling.  Memorization of facts (if that) instead of developing the ability to use reason in order to think critically. 

Feminism is another, used, finally, as a lever to destroy family – again, leaving children in the hands of the state.  Identity politics, offering power to every “identity” except straight white males.

Elder offers a nice overview of the economics of Cultural Marxism, although I would describe this as the economics of a state willing to leverage the destruction of a culture in order to maximize control.  Monetary and fiscal policy controlled by state actors and bankers, not by individuals acting in a market.  Fiat money, giving the control over the key commodity in a division of labor economy to a small group of central planners.

Elder does offer a chapter on the subject of religion and Cultural Marxism:

It was with very good reason that the progenitors of Cultural Marxism, particularly Georg Lukács and Antonio Gramsci, manifested such a vitriolic loathing for Christian culture. …it is impossible to deny that Christian values have formed the bedrock of Western Civilization.

Unfortunately, as will be seen shortly, Elder does nothing more with this reality. 

It was this cultural tradition that had to be destroyed; Freud’s views on Christianity as a psychologically unhealthy oppressive force would be quite useful for this purpose.

Elder points to the counterculture of the 1960s – the abandonment of traditional sexual mores, the promotion of mysticism and psychedelic “woo.”  As an aside, I recently heard, in a podcast by Tom Holland, a very interesting thought: someday, the 1960s will be seen as a historical turning point much as we today see Luther’s nailing of the ninety-five theses and the Reformation. 

Holland might be right, although I don’t think the effects will be as long lasting.  As violent, maybe; but there is no staying power in continuous deconstruction.

Returning to Elder: the enemy which he spends a good amount of effort on is Islam.  He spends far more time in this chapter on Islam than he does on Christianity.

I don’t know that Islam is any more of an “enemy” than the dozen other tools used by those who want to destroy Western Civilization.  In any case, it is a tool, it isn’t the craftsman. 

He makes an interesting point, and one that points out why continuous deconstruction will consume itself.  As more Muslims come to the West, what will come of transgender rights (and you may fill in any other of the shibboleths of the critical theorists)? 

My thought: deconstruction as a means cannot be satisfied merely with the communism as its end.  Deconstruction is not merely a means; it is the end, the purpose.  It will not be satisfied, as if to say “here, we have reached our goal.” 

There is no goal to reach, because every “achievement” only leads to a new hierarchy that must be deconstructed.  This will be the undoing of this era, but, again, it may be a painful experience for many of us between now and then

In the final chapter, entitled “The Cultural Battlefield,” Elder comes to his solution, or his method of combat.  I must say, it is a disappointing chapter.  After being clear that the Cultural Marxists have won the battle of the narrative, he focusses exclusively on the strategy of fighting with facts.  In speaking of the SJWs as useful idiots:

SJWs usually believe their lies because they are ignorant of any rational arguments to the contrary.

This really is an unbelievable statement.  They either know the arguments but don’t care, or they are screaming whenever someone tries to make a rational argument.  Elder earlier noted that sound arguments are never addressed.

…check the facts and examine statistics, which will always show such [Cultural Marxist] narratives to be false.

Wrong again.  Steven Pinker has made a career of facts and statistics.  He has lost the argument.  Facts and statistics don’t give meaning to life.  People don’t live in a world of facts and statistics; people live in a story, a narrative.  The most powerful story wins.  The West has lost its narrative, not its facts.

Elder is focused on winning one at a time by facts, yet the universities are turning out thousands a year on the other side.

To successfully combat an SJW, the red-pilled rebel must understand the programming, which controls the SJW in question…

Programming doesn’t get altered by facts; it gets altered by a change in the program.  The program is a narrative.  It acts on the facts presented to it in accord with the narrative with which it has been programmed.  Present the same facts to two different programs and you will get two different results.


After spending the entire book discussing how the means of the Cultural Marxists is exercised through the destruction of culture, Elder sees as the solution not some consideration about culture, but a presentation of facts.  It is an unfortunate conclusion. 

You can’t beat programming with facts.  Two individuals with two different “programs” will look at the same facts and come to different conclusion.  This is so obvious on its face; it is almost embarrassing to have to say it.

There is only one path possible for the return to some level of sanity, let alone liberty.  It is for the Christian Church and Christian leaders to properly lead in accord with the Scripture and Natural Law.  This is the narrative that sustained the West for centuries; it is the narrative – the only narrative in the history of the world – that gave us something approaching a healthy individual liberty.


  1. Bionic,

    I clicked on the link in the last paragraph and found myself wandering.

    If I could choose my own way without thought or regard to any other (or myself, for that matter), I would start with that link and follow the trail wherever it led, no matter how long it took or how much it cost, in the never-ending attempt to gain knowledge and increase my understanding. I have to work, however, so every excursion down the "rabbit hole" will have to be of short duration.

    Come to think of it, that life would be extremely selfish unless it was used to produce something of lasting value for others to learn and benefit from. John Donne was right--"No man is an island.", to which I might add, "...nor totally individual."

    1. It's probably why Jesus taught us to pray "Our father.." instead of "My father..."

      I've thought about this as well. Too much thinking without any doing becomes mental masturbation. But too much doing without any thinking is also often a waste of effort, or worse. As in most (if not all) things, we have to find the right balance in our own lives for taking on these big concepts, solidifying our principles, and trying to apply them to our lives and those in our care in a meaningful way. But I'm sure I'm probably choiring to the preacher here.

  2. "My thought: deconstruction as a means cannot be satisfied merely with the communism as its end. Deconstruction is not merely a means; it is the end, the purpose. It will not be satisfied, as if to say “here, we have reached our goal.”

    There is no goal to reach, because every “achievement” only leads to a new hierarchy that must be deconstructed. This will be the undoing of this era,..."

    Not only this era, but every future one in which destruction and chaos are sought after in order to build utopia on Earth, in the same manner that all past efforts have shown us.

    Out of the distant, foggy recesses of memory, I dredged up Gary North's book, "Marx's Religion of Revolution" which I read (but didn't understand) long ago. It is a lot more clear today.

    "...there is a continuing philosophical tension between chaos
    and order. One side will dominate men’s thinking for a period,
    and then the other will dominate. It has always been thus in the mind of the covenant-breaker.5 [footnote] God-defying man has always seen the origins of cosmic order in an original chaos."

    This tension (conflict) will always be with us. As you say, every achievement will be met with a concerted effort to destroy it. The end result of destructive chaos will be the loss of everything, including power, over anything held dear.

    Would the last person alive please turn out the lights before committing suicide? This seems to me to be the logical conclusion of Marxist/deconstructionist thought if held to consistently.

  3. Every "revolution has burned brightly until arrested the times/circumstances give rise to a strongman (i.e. Stalin) that co-opted the movement due to his accumulated power. That change altered the path of the ideology to some other end. So it go the Wokeist dream, ending with their destruction and the rise of totalitarianism.

    I agree with your assessment that the Church must lead the way forward, but the lack of effective leadership is astounding given the Source to which we have access.

    1. Archbishop Vigano is the most promising candidate to be that leader in my assessment. Please let me know if you've found someone with more reach who's taken a more courageous stand on all the right issues.

    2. Chuck Baldwin is also right on many of the right issues. But I don't know about reach.

  4. Word-gaming "total dependence on a communist state" into "individualism" is so rhetorically perverted that it is reminiscent of a quote attributed to Lenin with regard to revolution: "First, confuse the vocabulary". The moron, Noam Chomsky enjoys labeling himself a "libertarian socialist". Socialists are thieves and thieves are always liars, so Chomsky does not surprise.

    Wrecking the language in pursuit of intellectual attention appears to be trending.

  5. SJWs believe their lies because they are ignorant of any rational argument to the contrary.

    They are ignorant, but I have found,in exchanging with them, that they are so invested in their false beliefs that they have absolutely no interest in even considering a different point of view.


  6. To your point BM. We need to get the church in order around natural law and how that leads to and protects liberty.

    I have found that most believers that I know are ignorant on the issue. They just haven't been informed. Some may not accept it once told. But I have noticed, those who interested in studying the Bible and thinking through apologetic issues, are receptive to ideas of natural law, at least in the abstract.

    God's design is evident to those who are looking. Mankind couldn't live on a planet not created by Him for us, otherwise known as the anthropic principle. Parallel to the design seen in physics we can observe Gods' design in human minds, needs, and society. That's natural law in abstract. It is just one more step from there to natural rights. At that point liberty is in play.

    1. I think the idea of 'natural rights' is more convincing to the political, liberty-minded person, and 'natural law' is more convincing to the cultural, faith-minded person. Merging these two is, I'm convinced, the key to creating and sustaining a good society with limited governance.

      We need to know what we should not do to others, what is our duty to do for others, and what should be the consequences for failing with regard to either the 'not-dos' and the 'do-fors'.

      What decides these very important questions should not be a massive democratic vote or a representative elected by such a process, but decentralized or polycentric natural authority, the ability to choose it for yourself, and the reserve to allow others to do the same.

      Achieving this, however, will be an iterative process, since many will have to have some foundation in natural rights before any polycentric authority structure can arise. And perhaps many will have to have an idea of natural law before natural rights will gain a foothold.

      I think one pertinent question to ask is: what is the best strategy to achieving both? Is it best to push natural law to achieve natural rights or vice a versa? Or do they both need to be pushed at the same time? I'm willing to entertain the idea that natural law needs the prominent position since it has more bearing on culture and culture is the foundation of politics. But natural law, without regard for natural rights, can go off the rails too. Maybe some sort of balance between the two with natural law deployed to the cultural front and with natural rights deployed to the political front would be best?

      This is all confused though when you bear in mind the obvious truths that natural law has something to say about good politics; natural rights has something to say about good culture; and in most real world battle fields and in the minds of most combatants, the political and the cultural are all wrapped up and inseparable.

    2. Good comments all. I will give further thoughts.

      I think for the Christian, natural law is simply a study of the Bible. There will need to be some work to distill principles which apply to all and then extend also to get some agreement with nonbelievers.

      Natural law answers the questions around what is the best kind of life to live. What gives meaning, purpose, joy, prosperity. Bionic gives a word, beatitudo, or other regarding and loving action. That is the seed. But the idea needs to sprout, grow a trunk, branches, and leaves.

      Then natural rights answers what has to be removed from society to protect natural law or the ability for people to live their best "beatitudinal" lives. I think Christians more or less had it right in the 17th and 18th Centuries.

      I can give more thoughts once I read the Ethics of Liberty by Rothbard. But I have several projects I have to finish first.