Cultural Nonsense

Victor Onrust is a Gates of Vienna reader from the Netherlands. He sent this essay sometime last year, and I have been so dilatory that I failed to post it until now. For the first time in many months, the pressure of new material has abated — possibly because MissPiggy is on vacation! — and I’ve actually had time to dig down into my immense “to do” pile and excavate some material that should have been posted long ago.

This article is a response to an essay by Peter in Thailand.

Cultural nonsense

by Victor Onrust

I have followed “Peter’s” series on the loony left. And although he makes some good observations, especially in part one and part three, The Red Evolution IV: The Subversive Left is rather problematic. Although he doesn’t state this explicitly he sees “Cultural Marxism” as a conspiracy theory. An active conspiracy theory, at work in the here and now. As with most conspiracy ideas, little is said about who the conspirators are. Some vaguely-defined groups are held responsible. To my knowledge, any conspiracy needs some committee or other organization that has a definite plan. So I will leave it at that: CM is not a conspiracy.

So what is it? For most of the more regular users, especially in Europe, it describes the ideology of the (loony) left, the social justice warriors, etc. The core of CM is: There is great injustice and inequality in the world; many groups (“natives”, women, homosexuals, people of [black] color) are oppressed and exploited by… the white male. This should end, if necessary, with revolutionary violence. Each of these named groups have their own ideas, cultures, which are equal or even superior to the culture of the white man.

It is clear that these ideas have great influence and are put in to actual policies by the ruling class. The question is: Where did these ideas come from, why are they called “Cultural Marxism”, and why are they so influential?
In general, and Peter is no exception, the primary source of CM is thought to be the Frankfurter School, while many add Gramsci. What is interesting is that I haven’t found any article, with references to Frankfurter School authors, describing how this Cultural Marxism came about. The one thing I have found is that Martin Jay, the author of The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School fell into a trap set by William Lind (also here towards the end). Note in the piece by Jay that there are certainly anti-Semitic issues with CM, as is usual for most world-scale conspiracy-theories.

Living in Europe, I participated in ’68 (more the ’70s, though) and read (on) Marx, Gramsci, Habermas, Benjamin, Fromm, Marcuse and a lot of others. I can tell that only very few people seriously studied these authors. In some (Fromm and Marcuse for instance), one can see tendencies that go in the direction of “CM”. However, they are not taken seriously as Marxists. There is some revolutionary rhetoric that could as well stem from Bakunin. The first question to ask is: What is “Marxism” anyway, “Cultural”, “Female”, or what you will? The answer is rather simple: Marxism is about Capitalism and the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Now there is a lot to say about if and how Marx’s ideas on this subject hold in the present, but one thing is sure: Capitalism is the dominant force in this world, and this “poses some problems”. So maybe we can learn something from Marx and his successors, especially Gramsci, about how to tackle these problems.

Identity politics and cultural relativism are mainly grounded in French Postmodernism and the like: Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Baudrillard, Lyotard. Some of these once knew some Marxist influence, but have denounced it. So why frame this postmodernism and the like as “Cultural Marxism”? I can think of only one reason: That Marx is still a threat to capitalism and produced some useful insights into its workings, its inherent problems and dangers. Also some ideas how to deal with these problems; but while these proved wrong, his analyses are still very useful.

So the objective is to denounce Marx by ascribing to him the ideas of the loony left. The “cultural” part is to denounce their goal to infiltrate political and juridical institutions, media and universities. Now it’s certainly true that they did this and succeeded. But any political movement that wants to come into power should set such a goal. There is no difference here between right, left, conservative, republican, democrat, socialist, Zeitgeist/Occupy, Social Justice Warriors or Islam.

15 thoughts on “Cultural Nonsense

  1. Marxism, historical, cultural, or otherwise is still about the self and how it suffers at the hands of the others, who should be brought to heel.
    Christianity, on the other hand, is about others and how they could be loved and cared for while meeting our own daily needs. If you consider others and how your conduct would affect them you wouldn’t need to worry about the law because you have already fulfilled it. If all you are concerned or care about is yourself or your own little group then you must beware of the law and even seek to eliminate it if it gets in the way of your agenda.
    Maybe that is why those who ascribe to and advocate their culturally marxist identity politics hate Christians so thoroughly. By our presence we are reminders of what they should be and should be doing, and no, not all of us are white. In fact, most of us have skin colors other than white.

    • I agree with you. This is an attack on culture – which of course is why it is called “cultural”. I don’t really understand Marxism, or why this is appended to the term Cultural Marxism, but the name refers to an assault on the established culture. Conspiracy means different things to different people but I don’t think anyone would seriously believe that there is an office with an established hierarchy coordinating this attack – rather those who use the term most likely are referring to “group think”. So is there group think, and who are the groups? The problem is that this virus has become endemic and can no longer be localised. The main progenitors of the established culture which is being attacked, are white men, although as you say, because of the inclusive nature of Christianity, it has become embraced by others. But white men are the main targets – bring them down and you bring down the Nationalistic, Christian culture with all of its hard won freedoms. With, I predict, repercussions that will make the French Revolution look quaint.

    • Well said Acuara. Meanwhile over at is an article from the America magazine – the Jesuits mouth piece – extolling the virtues of communism and its r relationship to the Christian (Catholic) faith.
      I am sure ‘my’ Pope heartily agrees as his global warming pagan encyclical is quoted in the article.
      It gets harder by the day to hang on to my faith.

  2. I am writing a book on our current situation. “Trashing Common Sense” and investigation into political entropy and destruction. Cults play a huge part in this ongoing struggle. I also suggest practical solutions. This is not about “Joos” or any other group, nor Islam but how and why we are where we are. Despite my reservations about Boris “Al” Johnson, he is like Maggie Thatcher a cultural response to all the above. Boris is a very clever if rather sclerotic entity and far from the buffoon people think he is. I have no illusions about him. He is a typical product of the Public School system or private education like myself. He likes power and is prepared to use it. If he fails to get us away from the Bolshevik EU, there will be civil war. Of this I am certain. We will have no other choice. The Globalist Bolsheviks have gone too far this time. I also believe that the rejection of the EU and our leaving will collapse the whole rotten edifice.

  3. Cultural Marxism isn’t a conspiracy? All those conspirators at the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory in Chicago didn’t conspire anything against Western Culture. There’s no difference between the left or right, conservative or socialist. Oh, and Marxism is about capitalism. Amazing. Wow. The idiom “can’t see the forest for the trees” comes to my mind here. Seems a bit convoluted in his thinking that there are no differences when there are huge, unmistakable distinctions. So Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt had it right all along.

  4. Having failed to topple capitalism they have set their sights on lesser manifestations of oppression, ostensibly against minorites such as women, ethnics and homosexuals. Marx and Engels stated that until all forms of oppression were vanquished the revolution would never be over. It seems to me they’re working back from the minor forms of oppression, back to the major issue, which is exploitation of the white working class male.

  5. Marxism is a secular and immanent eschatology that nominates the proletariat as the bearer of salvation. This essential feature of Marxism finds itself reflected across the entire “rainbow spectrum” of contemporary leftist obsessions, each of which, more narrowly than Marxism, nominates its own bearer of salvation. Marxism itself and its later “pomo” variants sink their taproot in resentment, as many a critic has observed for more than a century. Both Marxism on behalf of the proletariat and its later “pomo” variants on behalf of themselves make a claim of victimhood. They do this in order to put forward the correlative claim that their innocence has been grossly violated by wicked victimizers. Outside observers can easily see that claimants of victimhood have reversed the terms. As the late René Girard said, the only way effectively to victimize someone in the modern world is to charge him with being a victimizer. (Think of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.) The behavior is narcissistic, hysterical, and – sacrificial. It therefore may legitimately be said to constitute a cult. In that light, the catch-all term “Cultural Marxism,” perhaps better foreshortened as “cultmarx,” strikes me as useful.

    • Bravo. Best description and analysis of cultural Marxism I’ve seen. The common thread is the narcissism and frustrated feeling of entitlement of the cultists.

  6. When the Daily Signal sent one of its reporters to a conference in the U.S. promoting Socialism, a major point that was made there was that these various supports for gays, trans and other marginal groups are not so much to help these groups as to attack the conventional family, which needs to be destroyed because it supports capitalism. Show me a case where Marxism applied has genuinely rescued anyone from oppression, though it certainly has given rise to plenty of governments that have been outstanding oppressors, the most famous currently is Venezuela. Lots of moola for the socialist elite and their families, but….

  7. The photo that illustrates this essay is titled the “Great Wall of Communists”. From right to left, and in reverse chronological order, these Communist heroes are Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and the Marx twins.

    The Marx twins? Who knew that Karl Marx had an identical twin? What was the name of Karl’s brother? The Marxes deserve as much recognition as other historical brother, such as the Brothers Grimm or the Brothers Smith.

    • I would have expected the other to be Engels. It looks like this is in a museum or something somewhere, this relief.

  8. Thanks for the article. Just one question for the author:

    Initially author claims that CM does not have any committee and plan:
    “To my knowledge, any conspiracy needs some committee or other organization that has a definite plan. So I will leave it at that: CM is not a conspiracy.”

    But in the end he admits they have infiltrated every institution around:
    “The “cultural” part is to denounce their goal to infiltrate political and juridical institutions, media and universities. Now it’s certainly true that they did this and succeeded.”

    More than a little bit contradictory. It seems they certainly had plans and committees somewhere. But maybe the point is that we should recognise these groups as Postmoderns and not Cultural Marxists? I can’t understand what the main point of the article is.

  9. I agree with the writer on that there is no centrally organised conspiracy. And the thing is no more about economical systems – “capitalism-socialism”-axis does no more exist as a major issue.

    Nevertheless, the mode of thinking and saying of the people said to be “leftist”, “liberal”, “cultural Marxist”, equals to the goals and means of the original Marxist-Leninist ideology.

    That is:
    1) How to think about the concepts of Man and humanity? There is almost nothing given by God (who actually doesn’t exist) – or biological evolution ; most of human behavior and thinking are of learned, cultural structures. Those were given accidentally, thus they are bad.
    2) Therefore, you can change the humanity by changing the cultural rules.
    3) The only way to change humanity is by corrupting the social structures. By promoting the decay of the concepts of marriage and family, the concept of beauty, the confidence at the local levels. Thereby you can nullify the disturbing values among your pupils. They become tabulas rasa to write on. (The values you’ll pour on the nullified heads would need another topic).
    4) The most efficient way to achieve this is affecting the Intelligentsia, the academic world. “What the academic youth sings today, that will be the whole people’s song tomorrow”.

    This was the way the Leninists, since Russian Revolution, had built they’r way to Soviet Paradise. In the territory they already had won, they could run their program from 1) ahead. With violence, when needed. In the West, they had to begin from the fourth paragraph. This project, after all, has been a real success. The harvest is but ripening after the sower’s death.

    During 1989-1991 the “Realsozialismus” fell down in the Soviet bloc. In those countries, the intelligentsija had to renew itself, and its ways of philosophy.

    ..Meanwhile, in the Western world, the “Frankfurter”-affected intelligentsia didn’t see any reason to regret. So it went on, leading the political stance to anything at hand.

    So here we are. Feeling shame about that we even exist. Being afraid of infringing someone, about what we still can’t even imagine.

    The people declaring us this shame-feeling.. I don’t believe they know the fountains of their thinking, know their cultural marxism. So it’s no conspiracy. It’s rather like cancer.

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