November 27, 2018

"The younger militants tend to have been influenced by the cultural Marxism that is now the lingua franca in the elite academy. Group identity is what matters."

"Society is a clash of oppressed and oppressor groups. People who are successful usually got that way through some form of group privilege and a legacy of oppression. The big generational clashes generally occur over definitions of professional excellence. The older liberals generally believe that the open exchange of ideas is an intrinsic good. Older liberal journalists generally believe that objectivity is an important ideal. But for many of the militants, these restraints are merely masks for the preservation of the existing power structures. They offer legitimacy to people and structures that are illegitimate. When the generations clash, the older generation generally retreats. Nobody wants to be hated and declared a moral pariah by his or her employees. Nobody wants to seem outdated. If the war is between the left and Trumpian white nationalism, nobody wants to be seen siding with Trump.... Liberal educated boomers have hogged the spotlight since Woodstock. But now events are driven by the oldsters who fuel Trump and the young wokesters who drive the left...."

Writes David Brooks in "Liberal Parents, Radical Children/The generation gap returns" (NYT).

That caught my eye because of the term "cultural Marxism." Earlier this month, I blogged a NYT column titled by Yale history-and-lawprof Samuel Moyn titled "The Alt-Right’s Favorite Meme Is 100 Years Old/'Cultural Marxism' might sound postmodern but it’s got a long, toxic history." I guess that "long, toxic history" bit didn't scare Brooks off using the term. Interesting! From the Moyn piece:
According to their delirious foes, “cultural Marxists” are an unholy alliance of abortionists, feminists, globalists, homosexuals, intellectuals and socialists who have translated the far left’s old campaign to take away people’s privileges from “class struggle” into “identity politics” and multiculturalism....

The defense of the West in the name of “order” and against “chaos,” which really seems to mean unjustifiable privilege against new claimants, is an old affair posing as new insight. It led to grievous harm in the last century.... “[C]ultural Marxism” is not only a sad diversion from framing legitimate grievances but also a dangerous lure in an increasingly unhinged moment.

61 comments:

rhhardin said...

Nobody wants to be hated and declared a moral pariah by his or her employees.

That there are no female moral pariahs conflicts with the rule-driven addition of his or her for his.

The his or her must have been added last, after the moral pariah had been forgotten.

tim in vermont said...

This will end well. My money is on Islam as the only proven effective resistance to this virus.

rhhardin said...

Not being allowed to say what you notice seems to cause all sorts of trouble.

Darrell said...

It's "Nationalism," not "White Nationalism."
The way all people used to be.
And a lot of Black Americans still are.

Humperdink said...

My desire(s) are quite simple. I want freedom. Freedom to do or say what I want.

According to the Commie-Pinko lefties however, everything I do or say impacts negatively on some person, group, or ideal. Therefore I must be drawn and quartered.

As this process continues to unfold, some will choose to go to re-education camps. I will not.

Darrell said...

If the Soviets really believed in the Internationale, why did they spend untold millions in scarce dollars trying to win more gold medals at the Olympics. Wouldn't any country's victory be their victory?

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm neither interested in identity politics nor in fighting against it.

It's all a bore, the clickbait controversy of sparring internet memes.

tim in vermont said...

Rational Wiki says: ‘“CAGW”, for “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”, is a snarl word (or snarl acronym) that global warming denialists use for the established science of climate change. A Google Scholar search indicates that the term is never used in the scientific literature on climate.’10

Where in turn the link for ‘snarl word’ says: ‘A snarl word is a derogatory label that can be attached to something (or even to people), in order to dismiss their importance or worth, without guilt. When used as snarl words, these words are essentially meaningless; most of them can be used with meaning, but that seldom happens.’
https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/26/cagw-a-snarl-word/#more-24508

I guess “cultural Marxism” is a “snarl word" too. It has a specific meaning, but since it can be used derisively, even if accurately, one can dismiss all criticism from anybody who used the term in a derogatory manner.

We are undergoing one long dialogue of the deaf.

Here is a list of snarl words:

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Loaded_language#Snarl_words

Lo and behold, Cultural Marxist makes the cut!

Ace Sullivan said...

It's the Frankfurt School and Bolshevism. But you can't say it because... AntiSemite!

If you have not read James Burnham's classic Suicide of the West, you have read nothing.

Darrell said...

I have read nothing.

tim in vermont said...

I think that this is relevant too:

Jack Shafer’s piece unintentionally illustrates why his suggestion for conservatives on Twitter utterly misses the point.

Shafer suggests conservatives ought to “Drive Twitter insane by playing by their rules, expressing yourself right up to the boundary-line of the company’s standards in a way that will invite inspection and self-criticism of those standards.” That is exactly what Jesse Kelly did! We know that because in the two years since he was verified he received not a single suspension or even a warning. Jesse Kelly engaged in iconoclasm and teased without threatening people or violating any rules. If he had, Twitter would’ve gone after him for it. Instead, his lack of a clear violation clearly caused frustration – so at the end of the day, they just pulled the plug on him, permanently, without justifying it under any rule or citing any activity whatsoever.

That is because of something Shafer either doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to acknowledge: that for Twitter, there are no rules.
via Instapundit.com

Whether we like it or not, cultural Marxists have seized control of our primary means of expression, and little redoubts of freethink like Althouse and Instapundit are as doomed as Gab was.

rhhardin said...

Now Amazon is in trouble for recommending pornography in a Dad gifts search.

You can't say anything at all these days.

Lewis Wetzel said...

The defense of the West in the name of “order” and against “chaos,” which really seems to mean unjustifiable privilege against new claimants, is an old affair posing as new insight. It led to grievous harm in the last century.... “[C]ultural Marxism” is not only a sad diversion from framing legitimate grievances but also a dangerous lure in an increasingly unhinged moment.
Was this really written by a Yale history & law prof? It is utterly devoid of fact or argument. It is the mere statement of opinion.

Jupiter said...

"The defense of the West in the name of “order” and against “chaos,” which really seems to mean unjustifiable privilege against new claimants, is an old affair posing as new insight."

Presumably, being a "Yale history-and-lawprof" is justifiable privilege, which does not have a long and toxic history. Yale is newly toxic.

tim maguire said...

The cultural Marxist says, "don't look here! There's no such thing as cultural Marxism!"

It must be true. After all, he would know, wouldn't he?

Henry said...

Moyne's second paragraph aligns perfectly with Brooks' description of the radical child.

Who's his daddy?

Lewis Wetzel said...

That is because of something Shafer either doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to acknowledge: that for Twitter, there are no rules. via Instapundit.com
In the Oceania of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four there were no criminals because there were no laws. If there were laws, a citizen might believe that if he followed the law, he was safe from Big Brothe,r or had a legitimate complaint of Big Brother persecuted him despite his following the law. Laws would restrict Big Brother as much as they restricted the people. Therefore, there were no laws.

Virgil Hilts said...

Samuel Moyn doesn't get to tell us or David Brooks what the term Cultural Marxist means and/or whether it is accurate (I think it is used accurately), just like I don't get to tell Samuel Moyn to stop labeling everyone he disagrees with (or anyone to the right of Nancy Pelosi) as the alt-right so as to try and discredit them.

Oso Negro said...

@ Darrell - me too. But I did read Shakespeare.

Lewis Wetzel said...

“[C]ultural Marxism” is not only a sad diversion from framing legitimate grievances but also a dangerous lure in an increasingly unhinged moment.
Everyone in the world thinks that there grievances are legitimate. So what, if not Marxism, makes a grievance legitimate in the eyes of Mohr? What is its frame? The opinion of elected officials? the Bible? Throw of the dice?
Maybe a socio-economic political theory developed in the mid-19th century?

tim maguire said...

tim in vermont said...
Rational Wiki says: ‘“CAGW”, for “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”, is a snarl word (or snarl acronym) that global warming denialists use for the established science of climate change.


WTF is "Rational Wiki"? Is that like "Dissembling Wiki"? "Spin Wiki? "Lying Wiki"?

Prof. Curry throws that out like we should know what it is, but a link would have been nice.

tim maguire said...

tim, I see you included the link later in your post. Thank you.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

AA: ...I blogged a NYT column titled by Yale history-and-lawprof Samuel Moyn titled "The Alt-Right’s Favorite Meme Is 100 Years Old/'Cultural Marxism' might sound postmodern but it’s got a long, toxic history." I guess that "long, toxic history" bit didn't scare Brooks off using the term...

'Cause he's a "conservative", see.

Brooks, Moyn, I see a couple of old white guys clumsily trying to make the facts fit a superannuated world view. ("Trumpian white nationalism", lol.)

Wonder if they'll manage to get out of their stale groupthink and see what's in front of their faces before they die.

Amadeus 48 said...

Titania McGrath has Samuel Moyn's number, and David Brooks's, too.

"Race is a social construct. It is surely no coincidence that it’s only ever privileged white people who dispute this." And "Feelings don't care about your facts."

Lewis Wetzel said...

How is it possible to maintain a progressive worldview without the dialectic of Marx? When you look at history for the last 2,000 years or so, you don't get the idea that we are progressing anywhere. After the fall of Rome it was over a thousand years before a building as large as the Pantheon was constructed again in Europe. Greeks had Linear B in the Bronze Age, lost literacy, and then picked literacy up again 500 years later by borrowing an alphabet from the Phoenicians.
I suppose it is possible to imagine progress as result of capitalism (we preserve past wealth & add to it, so the amount of wealth only increases over time), but capitalism is notoriously immoral. It's goal is the accumulation of wealth, not virtue.
And moral knowledge doesn't add to earlier moral knowledge, like scientific knowledge adds to earlier scientific knowledge. You can't say that people in 13th century China were moral than people in 3rd century China.
And anyhow "being on the right side of history" is indistinguishable from having the power to shape history.

Hagar said...

Marxism, fascism, nihilism, or whatever - it all ends with anarchy and then dictatorship.

gilbar said...

TiV said... Islam as the only proven effective resistance to this virus.

Won't it be A Laugh! when, after the Progressives have killed all the Classical Liberals and Christians; they are defenestrated by their allies the moslems?

Of course, a Progressive's Real hatred is of themself; so it's all just suicide anyway. . . the rest of us are just collateral damage

Amadeus 48 said...

I sometimes wondered why Titania McGrath isn't banned by Twitter, and then I realized that she is saying exactly what the Twitter police permit and, indeed, encourage.

Irony, thou art a rapier.

Tank said...

Vox Day has a somewhat different take on this:

This is precisely why the Alt-Right is inevitable, and probably not the more moderate varieties either. Both white American liberalism and white American conservatism are dying, because both ideological perspectives are fundamentally dependent upon the homogeneous majority white population that existed pre-1965. Note that neither the liberal nor the conservative ideology have ever taken root anywhere outside the United States despite the USA's global cultural influence. That's why they will not survive post-American US politics; neither holds any appeal to Diversity.

gilbar said...

@TitaniaMcGrath
I’m so sick of the anti-PC brigade sneering about “thought police” as though it’s a bad idea.

Tommy Duncan said...

Blogger Darrell said...

It's "Nationalism," not "White Nationalism."
The way all people used to be.


In my youth Americans were united by the things they held in common. Now they are divided by their diversity. The current denial of middle ground is dogmatic. Diversity is all about division.

Darrell said...

"post-American"

And a big "Fuck You" to you, too, VOXDAY.

CWJ said...

I deserve your stuff.

narciso said...

Well vox lives in Sweden, I think the problem lies with the disappearance of Amy Semblance of christianity in the west, in that vacuum the struggle will be between progressivism and the strongest faith which will be islam

EDH said...

Marx said he "turned Hegel on his head" by adopting a materialist dialectic of history, rather then one driven by ideas.

The Brooks version seems to say a new generation of cultural Marxists wish to alter the tactics if not the substance of the struggle by essentially turning Marx on his head believing ideas can be major force of history among those "who have translated the far left’s old campaign to take away people’s privileges from 'class struggle' into 'identity politics' and multiculturalism..."

Moyn seems to be saying that cultural Marxism is essentially an old slur against the bourgeois-led movement of people "framing legitimate grievances" rather than a new guise for a new generation fighting the old struggle.

That “cultural Marxism” is a crude slander, referring to something that does not exist, unfortunately does not mean actual people are not being set up to pay the price, as scapegoats to appease a rising sense of anger and anxiety. And for that reason, “cultural Marxism” is not only a sad diversion from framing legitimate grievances but also a dangerous lure in an increasingly unhinged moment.

Whether you accept the label or not, the old guard Marxists in private would call cultural Marxists "useful idiots".

Ray - SoCal said...

Vox lives in Italy.

tim in vermont said...

The American right is explained by an almost unique experience with freedom.

The American left is explained by lack of experience with actual communism.

Fernandistein said...

"WTF is "Rational Wiki"? Is that like "Dissembling Wiki"? "Spin Wiki? "Lying Wiki"?

It's "Politically Correct Wiki". It's pretty bad.

BJM said...

That's some ballistic grade bullshit.

Seeing Red said...

Writes David Brooks in "Liberal Parents, Radical Children/The generation gap returns" (NYT).

Rich parents and privileged children.

Walk your talk. Start by not going to an elite school.

Tina Trent said...

Brooks is 'gesturing at others,' the eternal impotent hope that he won't be swinging at the end of rope once the revolution really gets underway.

Mike Sylwester said...

Discussing Brooks' article, Steve Sailer writes:

A simple explanation for this pattern is that older people in America tend to be quite white, and white people tend to believe in the Bill of Rights and other old-fashioned notions. Younger people tend to be much more diverse, and the diverse don’t have all that much time for liberties, universal principles, reason, objectivity, and other problematic concepts.

Another reason is because David Brooks’ peers tend to be quite smart, while the low level young people working for them aren’t. Audacious Epigone has documented from General Social Survey data that IQ/vocabulary correlates closely with support for freedom of speech ....

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Article read like common variety bullshit until "...Trumpian white nationalism" revealed the core purpose of the screed to front the unsupported assertion that Trump is a white nationalist.

Not Sure said...

I "wonder" if "Professor" Moyn "trains" his "law students" in the "proper" use of "ironic" quotation marks in legal "analysis."

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

"...'Cultural Marxism' might sound postmodern but it’s got a long, toxic history."

Another apostrophe abuser who sacrifices clarity and brevity for byte count.

"It has...."

Michael said...

What caused "grievous harm" in the last century was romantic Progressivism of the Rousseau/Nietzsche/Marx variety, whether manifest in Communism, National Socialism, or the (yes) cultural Marxism of 1968 et seq. "White Nationalism" is simply the Left's latest epithet of choice since they have pretty much worn out the effectiveness of "racist." You can find examples of anything in a nation of 330 million, but most people who support the liberal order (i.e. Conservatives) are happy to admit anyone to its "privileges" who is willing to play by the rules.

Bill Peschel said...

American history has shown that the amount of support for the Bill of Rights is small, until you need it.

DavidD said...

If the war is between the left and anyone, side with anyone.

Sebastian said...

"The defense of the West in the name of “order” and against “chaos”"

Piling on, but --

Hey, Moyn, who does this?

Russell Kirk, maybe; T.S. Eliot, maybe --anyone else?

YoungHegelian said...

@Sebastian,

The defense of the West in the name of “order” and against “chaos,” which really seems to mean unjustifiable privilege against new claimants, is an old affair posing as new insight. It led to grievous harm in the last century..

Hey, Moyn, who does this?

Russell Kirk, maybe; T.S. Eliot, maybe --anyone else?


While I may be putting words in Moyn's mouth, judging from the phrase "grievous harm in the last century" I think he'd include both National Socialism & Italian Fascism in those "defenses of the West". In this matter, he has somewhat of a point.

TSH73 said...

the order and chaos business was a shot at Jordan Peterson.

Moyn's piece is strangely devoid of content other than abuse of the construct of cultural marxism on the grounds that it "doesnt exist" and has been appropriated by alt-right types for nefarious purposes. He offers no actual evidence that the contemporary identity politics-driven left has not been influenced by the Frankfurt School or any particular reason for one rather than another label for our present post-Marxist left. What would he prefer to call it and why is "cultural Marxism" a bad label? Would have been nice to see an argument in that piece.

YoungHegelian said...

I will register here once again my ardent dislike of the term "Cultural Marxism" which is used by conservatives.

My first objection is a general principle to prefer the term of reference that the adherents of a movement or movements use for themselves, and not to default to a term of reference used by their opponents. In other words, in this case I prefer the term "Identity politics" to "Cultural Marxism". Actually, I really prefer the phrase "The Post-Marxist Left".

My second objection is that I just don't see how much of this stuff is particularly "Marxist". Class consciousness is not paramount. There's no discussion of the labor theory of value & how that explains capitalist exploitation of labor. There's no emphasis on proletarian consciousness as the "Science" of human existence. The only thing left is that the Post-Marxist Left uses the dialectic of Lordship & Bondage except in terms of identity rather than class. Well, L&B is actually something Marx lifted from Hegel's Phenomenology of Spririt, so why aren't they "Cultural Hegelians"?

Sebastian said...

"While I may be putting words in Moyn's mouth, judging from the phrase "grievous harm in the last century" I think he'd include both National Socialism & Italian Fascism in those "defenses of the West". In this matter, he has somewhat of a point."

At the risk of disagreeing for the first time ever with YoungHegelian, I don't think National Socialists and Italian Fascists claimed to or did in fact defend "the West."

In any case, Moyn refers to an "old affair" posing as a "new insight." My point was to question who expresses it as "new insight." Maybe Peterson stresses "order" but even he does not "defend the West," as far as I can tell, nor does he oppose "new claimants."

YoungHegelian said...

@Sebastian,

I don't think National Socialists and Italian Fascists claimed to or did in fact defend "the West."

Actually, sometimes they did. They were critical of the "softness" of free market liberal capitalist man, but the Italian Fascists saw themselves as reviving the glories of Ancient Rome & the Nazis saw themselves as bulwarks in the "Struggle against Judaeo-Bolshevism" which in turn led to rhetoric along the lines of "Western Civ versus Eastern Barbarism".

Actually, you can find almost any strain of thought in the Facisms, especially in National Socialism, if you look hard enough.

gerry said...

"Cultural Hegelians" sounds a lot like "Cultural Hooligans".

Marx said he "turned Hegel on his head" by adopting a materialist dialectic of history, rather then one driven by ideas.

This is confusing. A dialectic is by its nature an idea, is it not? A dialectic does not exist in a world without ideas and entities with consciousness that can be aware of ideas. Even if consciousness is merely electrochemical reactions, it is necessary to support ideas (or ideology) that drive anything that is materialist, which is, to a materialist, everything.

Sebastian said...

"Ancient Rome & the Nazis saw themselves as bulwarks in the "Struggle against Judaeo-Bolshevism""

I know. I don't mean to quibble, but I don't think that counts as "defense of the West" in any sense that establishes continuity between then and now, as asserted by Moyn.

Sure, the National Socialists wanted to reverse the Untergang des Abendlandes, but for the sake of German and aryan greatness.

YoungHegelian said...

@Sebastian,

I don't mean to quibble, but I don't think that counts as "defense of the West" in any sense that establishes continuity between then and now, as asserted by Moyn.

Due to a lack of any further evidence from Moyn as to what he means by "grievous harm in the last century", we're going to have to agree to disagree. I doubt that he meant the forces of the First World & what they did to the 2nd & 3rd Worlds, but, maybe. Moyn may be Lefty enough to see things this way.

I still think Moyn meant Fascism & National Socialism because I think he sees both movements as Right Wing Movements in continuity with the modern American Right. You & I see that contention as nonsense. Not so the average reader of the NYT.

YoungHegelian said...

@gerry,

This is confusing. A dialectic is by its nature an idea, is it not? A dialectic does not exist in a world without ideas and entities with consciousness that can be aware of ideas. Even if consciousness is merely electrochemical reactions, it is necessary to support ideas (or ideology) that drive anything that is materialist, which is, to a materialist, everything.

Marx & Engels applied Hegel's thesis-antithesis-synthesis dialectic to what they thought what was much more "scientific", materialist version of Hegel's Philosophy of Nature. Mostly, it was Engels who pursued this line of thought, which later Marxists tend to see as an embarrassment.

So, actually, while Marx & Engels did think that the dialectic applied to human thought, they also thought it was the motive force of physical processes as well. Remember what Marx & Engels were doing was in essence to take the Spiritual Monism of Hegel & project it into the physical world of history, culture & nature. For that process to succeed, the dialectic had to apply to the physical world, too.

Douglas said...

Cultural Marxism is the translation of the Marxist obsession with economic equality into an obsession with racial, gender, and ethnic equality. In each case, it's the obsession with equality at the expense of any other human value that makes it toxic.

gerry said...

Thank you, @YoungHegelian, for your informative (and patient) post.

The last two sentences summarizes the cause my misunderstanding succinctly: "Remember what Marx & Engels were doing was in essence to take the Spiritual Monism of Hegel & project it into the physical world of history, culture & nature. For that process to succeed, the dialectic had to apply to the physical world, too."

Perhaps the materialist projection of dialectics onto the physical realm of things is why its political projects (Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, Chavesism, Maoism, etc.) always fail, usually disastrously.

gerry said...

cause of my misunderstanding