I have often wondered what goes on in the minds of the “blame America first” crowd. Rarely does a day go by without the left and our local peace studies/centers valiantly attempting to convince us that America is what’s wrong with the world.
Where did this vision come from and why is it such an integral part of how the left is defined?
After reading Ilze Petersons’ Jan. 15-16 op-ed (“‘People’s inauguration’ builds on peace, human rights”), I think I may have stumbled on an answer. It seems their infatuation with every misdeed of Western civilization comes from the success of a little known weapon of the left called Critical Theory. What is this innocent sounding “theory”?
Critical Theory is best described by one of its adherents, “… it is the essential destructive criticism of all the main elements of Western culture, including Christianity, capitalism, authority, the family, patriarchy, morality, sexual restraint, patriotism, convention, and conservatism.”
Critical Theory has its roots in the Germany of the 1930s. Several members of the avowed Marxist, Frankfurt School, fled to America soon after the rise of Adolf Hitler. Most notable among them was Herbert Marcuse who would soon become the poster boy and influential leader of the “cultural Marxism” movement.
Marcuse and his cohorts were well aware of the failure of old-fashioned Marxism as a revolutionary approach to transforming a culture. They realized its emphasis on violence and terror to foment revolution and compel strict obedience from the masses did not work. Instead of violent revolution, cultural Marxism seeks victory through the slow destruction of Western culture. Only then will it be possible to peacefully transform existing values with the new values of revolutionary Marxism. A long, slow process but one that is highly effective.
With the aid of Columbia University, Marcuse and his cronies established the New Frankfurt School in New York City. Years later the ideas of Critical Theory were prevalent at many of the nation’s teachers colleges. The 1960s saw the fruition of Critical Theory where traditional values and morals were discarded en masse without consideration of their worth.
In order for Critical Theory to succeed it was necessary to repeat constantly that Western societies (and especially America) are bastions of sexism, racism, xenophobia and fascism. Petersons and her colleagues at the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine are willing participants in this repetition.
To be successful the cultural institutions must be infiltrated. Theater, the arts, schools, universities, seminaries and newspapers become prime targets and eventually succumb to the invasion. Critical Theory ideas have burrowed so deeply into these institutions that one is rarely aware they exist; a ringing in the ears that eventually goes unnoticed.
The constant drumbeat of negativism has a purpose: to promote “cultural pessimism” among people who enjoy the most freedom and prosperity in the history of civilization. Once this “pessimism” takes hold it is easy to instill new values to replace the old.
The time-tested traditions of Western civilization that had provided us with the freest, most tolerant nation on Earth are now replaced by nihilistic notions of free love, abortion, euthanasia, drugs, gay marriage, hatred of religion, and divorce.
Political correctness acts as the protector of the ideas. Those who would dare speak out against the new orthodoxy are branded as fascists, or mentally ill. Words of opposition are treated as hate speech. Mandatory “sensitivity training” attempts to fix those with the “wrong” attitude. Repeated opposition to these ideas brings with it charges of racism, sexism, homophobia and a “presumption of guilt.”
If there is any doubt that the Peace & Justice Center has bought into this intellectual model one need only visit its Web page (www.peacectr.org) or peruse its many publications.
It does a masterful job of cloaking its real agenda using the usual seductive vocabulary and terminology of the left (“peace,” “social justice,” etc.), but the cultural Marxist, anti-American, anti-capitalist fervor is ever present.
Calls for revolution, denigration of the military, tired worn-out slogans of Marxism and socialism, repeated references to America as “evil,” and of course the obligatory picture of the heavily armed American soldier threatening an innocent citizen, all right out of the Critical Theory playbook.
These are not evil people and they have every right to believe and say as they wish. But one has to wonder how such a fatalistic vision survives in their minds.
Ike Morgan is a resident of Exeter.