President Trump recently took the courageous step of banning the use of ‘Critical Race Theory’ and ‘White Privilege’ training for all U.S. federal agencies. These categories are integral to the larger socio-political philosophy, commonly referred to as ‘Cultural Marxism’ (CM), which is part of the worldview that tends to dominate those on the Left.
While progressive publications such as The Guardian dismissively label CM as a “uniting theory for right-wingers who love to play the victim”, Yoram Hazony persuasively argues in Quillette that The Challenge of Marxism is real. As Hazony explains:
“… they disorient their opponents by referring to their beliefs with a shifting vocabulary of terms, including “the Left,” “Progressivism,” “Social Justice,” “Anti-Racism,” “Anti-Fascism,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Critical Race Theory,” “Identity Politics,” “Political Correctness,” “Wokeness,” and more.
… The new Marxists do not use the technical jargon that was devised by 19th-century Communists. They don’t talk about the bourgeoisie, proletariat, class struggle, alienation of labor, commodity fetishism, and the rest, and in fact they have developed their own jargon tailored to present circumstances in American, Britain, and elsewhere. Nevertheless, their politics are based on Marx’s framework for critiquing liberalism (what Marx calls the “ideology of the bourgeoisie”) and overthrowing it.”
For those who are interested and would like to learn more, there has been an increasing body of literature which examines the subject. One of the best introductions is by Rob Smith, Cultural Marxism: Imaginary Conspiracy or Revolutionary Reality? See also the excellent analysis by Timothy Keller, A Biblical Critique of Secular Justice and Critical Theory.
A longer, book-length treatment is by Melvin Tinker, That Hideous Strength: How the West Was Lost: The Cancer of Cultural Marxism in the Church, the World and the Gospel of Change (EP Books, 2018). Dr. Daniel Strange of Oak Hill College in London, writes in the foreword:
The specific rebellious academic scribbles of those associated with the ideology called cultural Marxism have, and continue, to manipulate our culture and prey on its most vulnerable members. Melvin’s analysis not only stops us from an unrealistic and overly-optimistic cultural naivety, but also lays out the ‘hopeful’ ways in which this idolatrous ideology is ultimately toppled by the God who comes down, and by God’s people who must challenge this ‘Hideous Strength.’
In recent years, we have witnessed in Australia expressions of cultural Marxism in movements such as The Safe Schools Coalition and Black Lives Matter™, both of which have been led by people who are explicitly Marxist. And this has led influential cultural commentators such as Martyn Iles, the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, to rightly warn of the spiritual danger both these organisations pose.
Unfortunately, some Christian leaders have either embraced the movement with unthinking enthusiasm, or denied that it even exists! I believe, though, that it is one of the greatest intellectual threats and forms of false teaching facing the church of God today. As Melvin Tinker presciently urges:
“If it is the case that we are involved in a spiritual battle, as the Bible makes clear, Christians can’t yield the field to the secularists, in fact they have all the more vigorously to assert the supernatural for, as we shall see in due course, whatever the particular ideologies the church has to contend with, they are manifestations of forces which mere human means are unable to overcome.”
And as such, it’s a good sign that leaders such as Donald Trump are willing to expose and do something about the cultural rot that is eating away at the very fabric of Western society.