Can Somebody Help Me Out Here?

Whenever I blaspheme the sacred name of the Dark Englightenment crap as the post-Christian racialism it is and point out that it is incompatible with Catholic teaching, somebody always denounces me as something called a “Cultural Marxist”. I have no idea what that means but it appears to be the preferred bogeyman of people who go for DE garbage.

Any clues on what the term means? I should at least have some clue what it is if I am to be such a dedicated supporter of it.

"I think I understand what you mean. :)"

Raymond Arroyo: Derision Over Truth
"Ah, right! Thank you. Now I understand what you mean.This view was condemned by Pope ..."

Raymond Arroyo: Derision Over Truth
"Thank you for your reply. The Church approves some claims to private revelation and rejects ..."

Raymond Arroyo: Derision Over Truth
"The Buddhist understanding of eternity is the unity of the personal self into the impersonal ..."

Raymond Arroyo: Derision Over Truth

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Andy

    From metapeida – Cultural Marxism or Cultural Bolshevism (degenerate culture) seeks to destroy everything good about a society, what holds it together, what helps it to advance, what promotes intelligence and beauty. It seeks to degenerate society and take it to a lower form where people are less intelligent and more animal. It’s based on the Marixst lie that everything good about society is all a form of oppression. Every time anyone promotes cultural marxism, they use the same line claiming it is about freeing people from oppression.

    • silicasandra

      This was how I learned about it, though couched in much more positive terms (I was in college, which is sadly about all the explanation needed) Basically, the idea that social institutions (not just political and economic ones – or that social institutions are really political and economic ones too) are ways to preserve power so they deserve to be overthrown. It’s also tied to relativism – the idea that all cultures are equal and it’s prejudiced to suggest that cultures can be primitive or barbaric or backwards in any way. Except, of course, for white male Christian European wealthy heteronormative culture.

      You’re definitely not a cultural Marxist, Mark, but I could see why some skinheads would be quick to accuse you of it.

    • Jared Clark

      How could Mark Shea embrace such villainy? To be against all that is good in society! I am shocked and appalled!!

      Though, maybe I should have expected you secretly embrace evil–so secretly that there is no real evidence, but that’s just more evidence of your deception–when I first encountered you giving a talk entitled “101 reasons to not be Catholic”, which despite your humor and clear love for the Church, is now clearly a secret message for cultural Marxism!!

      (Since this is the internet, I suppose I’ll throw in a “JUST KIDDING” disclaimer. In all seriousness, that was a fantastic talk and I’d love to see a book on the topic 🙂 )

    • chezami

      Mkay. I can see how the racialist worshipper of power would feel threatened by a gospel that says “Blessed are the poor” and urges losing your life to find it.

      • Andy

        It is your plot to make the Beatitudes the way of life for the uneducated masses – thus brining the lower forms of people to your exalted status as destroyer. How clever to hide a Catholic thought n Marxism – my deepest and most heartfelt PC condrads.

    • jroberts548

      I don’t see how “against all that is good about a society” is a helpful definition.

      • Andy

        This is merely the academic/philosophical/whatever definition of something that makes little sense, especially in the present context. I can stake not claim to it other than I consulted the deep magic of Google.

        • jroberts548

          Metapedia is not academic /philosophical. It might be whatever.

          Look, for instance, at their entry on rival wikipedia:

          It’s a site by whack jobs for whack jobs.

          Or the entry for the holy father: I dare say that Catholics – as well as all people of good will – should stay away.

          • Andy

            It matched two or three other sites – word for word – it was the only site that allowed me to copy – that is why I used it. Note how I included the whatever – I have a sense of its unique views of things

            • jroberts548

              By unique, I assume you mean “deranged, nazi, white-supremacist.”

              The other sites include, but are not limited to:
              theforbiddentruth, including such fora as “China: the Next Jewish Superstar” and “The Biological Jew: Know Your Enemy.”

              Stormfront, which is just quoting the Metapedia definition in a forum.

              Allenwestrepublic, which links Cultural Marxism to the Coke ad (because when I think Marxist, I think of huge corporations).

              expeltheparasite, in the comments to an article titled “the eternal Jew: a necessary evil,” and again, it’s just quoting metapedia.

  • Gabriel Blanchard

    I’ve been accused of cultural Marxism repeatedly on my blog, but without any further explanation; I almost had the impression that the charge was chosen at random. It seemed to have something to do with my choosing to use words like “gay” instead of “same-sex attracted,” and for being willing to say that the Church’s pastoral practice and attitudes (lay as well as clerical) regarding LGBT-identified people are markedly imperfect. (I don’t dispute the Church’s teaching, which I wish I didn’t have to go out of my way to clarify.) My suspicion is that those Catholic bloggers who do not identify with political conservatism will all, at some point, be lumped into this category, though that suspicion is not susceptible of proof.

    • Nick Corrado

      Presumably they accuse you of that because “cultural anarchist” would have no effect.

  • JohnMcG

    Zippy discussed (in a post that coincidentally quoted me) it as a tendency to evaluate arguments based on the classes the one making the argument belongs to rather than the content of the argument (

    In this case, I suspect the argument being made is that any grievance white Christian men have against society is invalid because it is being raised by a privileged class against non-privileged minority groups. So you are rejecting the Dark Enlightenment arguments on that basis rather than engaging their arguments in any meaningful way.

    • chezami

      But…. that make the DE labels for me stupid since I’m not doing that. And what does “cultural” add to “Marxist” in such a definition? What the WTF?

      • JohnMcG

        As others mentioned, “cultural” is a weaselly modifier so that they can deny they are calling you an *actual* Marxist. They can sting you with the “Marxist” label while maintaining plausible deniability to the response that you aren’t a Marxist.

        I didn’t say I agreed with the argument. In fact, I think, in a way, they are practicing what they are accusing you of. Someone is saying something I disagree with! He must be doing it because he belongs to some kind of out group! I know; he’s a Cultural Marxist!

        • chezami

          Yeah. It seems like they could just as easily call me Emmanuel Goldstein or Designated Hate Object 23 for all the actual meaning the term has.

          • Rebecca Fuentes

            I’m sure you’re closer to Designated Hate Object 8 or 9.

          • Sean O

            Yes Mark

            You can be sure many of your critics are not critical thinkers. They often have little understanding of the terms they throw around. Marxist is a catchall for all they dont like or understand. “Cultural” is probably there to add faux sophistication.

            In the end, they are calling u a weenie.

  • Dan13

    Probably “Marxist” is just their standard insult for anyone to the left of them (which apparently is the entire human race, excluding, perhaps, Attila the Hun). If someone called me that, I’d be rather insulted: I happen to be a Trotskyist*.

    *Only joking because of the unintentionally funny newspapers the Commies used to occasionally give out outside of my undergrad dining hall (actually they charged for them–so much for socialism =P).

  • An Aaron, not The Aaron

    This is exactly the kind of question a Cultural Marxist would ask, Mark! J’Accuse!

  • Fr. Denis Lemieux

    I think some people use it, whether correctly or not, in reference to a tendency to couch everything in the dialectic of class warfare, although the classes in question may not be Marx’s economic classes, but rather gender, race, and so forth. It is, at best, a sloppy and vague usage, at worst rank idiocy.

  • Andy, Bad Person

    It means you’re not a piss-fueled reactionary, but you don’t advocate actual Marxism, so you’re, um, a cultural Marxist. Yeah! That’s it!

  • tteague

    Brief, but decent, overview here:

    Clearly your goal, Mark, must be the annihilation of Western Civilization in general and white people in particular.

    • chezami

      Duh. That goes without saying.

  • That’s part of the mythical/ideological scheme, which (with some flavours variations) runs as follows:

    We have in the world two rival forces (or semi-gods). On the left: Revolution, on the right: Tradition. Revolution, the evil one, wants to destroy Tradition and all the good West civilization embodies: family, nation, religion, private property. Its power has grown in the last centuries, the danger is currently biggest than ever, and those who refuse to recognize this (and fight the good fight) are idiots or cowards, nowithstanding they pretend to be christians, humanists or whatever.

    The most evident manifestation of this evil force in the previous century was Marxism, and in particular Communism. It won in URSS and for some time it seemed as it would won the world. Surprinsingly (or perhaps thanks to USA) it couldn’t progress much and ended collapsing in the eighties. That’s not the end, though, far from it. Marxism might appear to have lost the political battle, but that’s only one front: Revolution knows (as Gramsci taught) that the main front is Culture. The main war is cultural, what matters is to influence how people think, and to corrupt their conceptions of what’s good and bad. It’s not only Marx and Lenin, hence, but also Nietzsche, Freud, Lacan… it’s practically all modern (and post-modern) thought: sociology, psicology, philosophy, art, modern physics… All new “ideas and ideals”, everything that grab some popular favour, insomuch they were not “already known by Tradition” are suspect, and they are probable weapons for the revolution: democracy, egalitarianism, ecology, feminism, global-warming, gender theory, “homophilia”…

    In this mindset, to be christian or not is not decisive, because christianity is only accidentaly (and perhaps imperfectly) correlated with the Good Side (it could even be arguable that the roman pagans of the second or third centuries were in the good side, against those christians…)

    What is the decisive thing? Your adherence (intellect and passion) to this vision, that you fervently and vocally hate the bad side, that you suffer with the defeats of Tradition and fight for it. That’s what says you are on the right track. All the rest (your religious or moral life) matters, but it’s secondary.

    If you are not fully in tune with this dichotomy, if you (in spite of being catholic, professing love for tradition, opposing abortion, etc) somewhat find some good things in the left, or dennounce the sins on the right, you are colaborating with the enemy. In this sense, you might not be an explicit marxist, but you are helping the cultural war of the Revolution. You are then a “cultural marxist”.

    • Heather

      Okay, that makes sense.

      Well no, it doesn’t. But your explanation makes sense as an explanation of something that doesn’t make sense.

    • Zouave

      Where does the natural law come into play here ? There certainly is a kind of alliance between Catholic non-liberals who respect the natural law and other non-liberals who respect the natural law. As God created and sustains the order of the universe — that is, the structure ordained by His own Reason — those who rebel against the order urged by natural law — in this case, liberals — don’t represent some “semi-god” of Revolution but rather Revolution is merely the name for the pack of rebels that rejects God’s law as found in nature. Natural law is theonomic. There’s no need to paint this scheme as some sort of Manichaean or crypto-Manichean conception.

      • “There certainly is a kind of alliance between Catholic non-liberals who respect the natural law and other non-liberals who respect the natural law”

        Any “alliance” is possible. The question is whether the christian fight is played in those coordinates.

        Someone could also say that there is a kind of alliance between leftist bonna-fide catholics and other non christian left activists; and that those christian who promote social justice (think Dorothy Day) are the ones that follow Jesus’ message to serve the poor.

        Some others assume that respect for “natural law” is what matters most, and that abtraction (respectable as long as it is not idolized) is what defines our pertenence with the Good Party.
        I don’t, and think the catholic church doesn’t either.

        “Revolution is merely the name for the pack of rebels that rejects God’s law as found in nature.”

        Thanks for illustrating my point.

        • Zouave

          If you think that Marxists can be considered “bona fide” (which literally means “in good faith”) Catholics and refer to the natural law with cynical quotation marks, I don’t think we will make much progress in this discussion. Suffice it to say that I do believe that the natural law is important and that transgressions against it offend God. As such, yes, He is more pleased by those who respect the law that He ordained in His creation, whether they be Confucians or whatever, than those who do not. Do I think that the natural law is the most important thing in the world ? No. Eternal life comes through supernatural means, not natural. Even so, why make these points rivals ? God is displeased with violations of His divine law and of His natural law. We should be happy when people follow both, and especially happy when they enter the state of grace. Fair ?

  • Harry

    Dunno exactly where it comes from, but it’s always used by extremely conservative people as the ultimate negative epithet – also, it has an alarming popularity with racists.
    If it is a truly left-wing concept it appears to have fallen out of fashion – you can find plenty of liberal types willing to defend the concept of Political Correctness still, even though that’s a right-wing target, but I don’t think I’ve read anyone – not even Social Justice Warrior types on Tumblr – who have argued for a great campaign of Cultural Marxism.

    • “Theory” and the revolt of the hipster against “hegemony” are still quite popular in university humanities. They’re just not called “cultural Marxism” much anymore. Frankly, that kind of garbage is so common now in some universities, that I don’t know if it’s often discussed as a separate phenomenon by profs anymore, in sort of a “fish don’t notice the water” way.

  • jroberts548

    Literally, it would be someone who applies a Marxist dialectical materialist critique to culture – i.e., someone who views culture as being driven chiefly by the development of economic structures. This isn’t even (necessarily) a political position. I think it would be fair to accuse, e.g., Thomas Friedman of being a cultural Marxist, albeit a very dumb one. This can’t conceivably apply to you.

    As used by morons, it means someone who is culturally a Marxist. “Marxist” is this setting doesn’t mean someone who subscribes to marx’s economic or political views. It doesn’t even mean communist. It means anyone even slightly to the left of the moron using the term. This would include virtually everyone, including every pope, as well as both presidents Bush, and even Reagan if they were being honest.

  • I share your concerns, Mark. You’ve mentioned your dismay over the DE drawing young men away from Christianity, but I’ve run across quite a few of them who still claim to be Christian. When the incompatibility between racism and, say, Christ’s command to baptize all nations is pointed out, they restrict Jesus’ teaching to the spiritual sense and deny that it has any bearing on sociopolitical matters, especially economics.

    I think one of the reasons we’ve been blindsided by the Dark Enlightenment is that we’ve taken racism’s invalidity for granted for so long that few people have actually heard a reasoned theological/philosophical argument against it. I’d be grateful if you could find time to put together a Christian refutation of racism in all spheres of life.

    • In order to construct a coherent refutation of racism you’d have to have a coherent account of what racism claims. And I’m not being snarky, it’s just that “racism” is pretty difficult to isolate and study.

      “Racism” is so difficult to pin down because it’s a hot mess of cultural critique, conspiracy theory, and simplistic ideology masquerading as serious philosophy.

      • You’re right. And I’m convinced that the reason you’re right is our culture’s habit of shouting “racist!” with the frequency and increasing ineffectiveness of the boy who cried wolf. When we label people whose ideas we can’t refute in debate racists–whether their position has anything to do with race or not–real racism becomes that much harder to recognize.
        However, just because a concept isn’t grasped perfectly by everyone doesn’t mean it can’t be defined. For our purposes, I suggest defaulting to the classic definition of racism: the false anthropology which claims that members of one race are inherently superior to another based solely on their membership in that race. This is the definition that the Church implies when she teaches against racism.

  • Francisco J Castellanos

    Mark, I was born in Cuba.
    I studied with Marxists. I knew Marxists. Some Marxists were friends of mine. Mark, you’re no Marxist.

  • Joe

    Mark, why ask? Do you ask a deranged bag lady screaming at the traffic to explain her criticisms? The answer to this question will be just as coherent.

  • kev

    I’m a graduate student in the humanities–perhaps I can help?

    Cultural Marxism, from my reading on the subject, is the attempt by 20th century marxist theorists to take marxism “back to the drawing board”, if you will, after the proletariate failed to revolt in the way traditional marxist theory predicted they would. Why did the lower classes not rise up against the owners of the “means of production” if they were being so oppressed, the theorists asked?

    Well, according to a new group of Marxist theorists (Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, among others) the reason was that the lower classes had been conditioned through centuries of western culture and christianity to be complacent with their condition in life, to accept the normalcy of their state, to accept “bourgeois” values and morality, etc.–it was these cultural components that conditioned people to not revolt the way Marx predicted. In other words, these theorists believed, traditional marxist theory–which tended to focus mostly on economics and class–made a severe mistake in neglecting and underestimating the ability of culture to condition people.

    Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist, was pivotal in theorizing how a society holds itself together via a dominant “hegemony”–hegemony is the dominant set of cultural assumptions that are present in a society, and certain institutional sites of power like schools, churches, media, etc. produce, express, educate, and enforce a society’s dominant “hegemony”. If you infiltrate and subvert those sites of hegemony–the schools, for instance–then you can, over time, overturn a prevailing culture. That’s essentially the mission which the “new left” was up to during the latter half of the twentieth century, and which leftist progressives continue to do this very day. With the injection of culture into the mix, the focus is no longer solely on economics and class, but race, sex, and gender have been placed at the forefront–rather than looking so much to the proletariat for oppressed people to rise up, the new left now focuses a lot of its energy on fomenting revolt among minorities within these other categories (hence, “identity politics”).Raising people’s awareness of how they’ve been oppressed by racism, heteronormativity, sexism, etc. is a way of raising their “consciousness” regarding their oppressed state, and condition them to see their lives more within a paradigm of a need to revolt against their oppressors.

    “Critical theory” in English studies is closely related to all of this, because critical theory focuses on exposing how (in its view) much, if not all of our societies’ “norms” and “values” are, at the end of the day, “social constructs” rather than the natural “way things are” or have to be. If certain values and ways of ordering society that western civilization took as “natural” or “common sense” for centuries (the familial structure of the nuclear family, for instance) can be demonstrated to be contingent and the mere result of power politics, the critical theorist believes, then they can be deconstructed, and new values/structures can be built up (which is typically some kind of progressive utopia, if not explicitly communism)

    Your pal John C Wright can tell you more about all of this–he writes about it all of the time. Nonetheless, I hope this helps.

    Oh–and you’re not a cultural marxist, Mr. Shea : )

    • orual’s kindred

      This is pretty much how I remember the classes I took. The topics were pretty much about hegemony, power struggles, relativity, deconstructionism, Materialism as a system of thought (I kept hearing about how thought belonged in the realm of matter).

      I’m also still amused at the phenomenon of decidedly non-white intellectuals expounding the works of white powerhouses.

      • IRVCath

        To give them credit, there is some method to their madness, and a lot of our presuppositions about modern life are Enlightenment constructs, though I certainly do not agree with where the Frankfurter wants to take me (I’m more counter-Enlightenment, as in Burke and the early Maistre). But the problem is that undergraduates seem to think the Frankfurt School to be “I’m a leftist and I don’t like you, clerofascist.” Most of the professors in undergrad respected my different take on things. It was the students who I was afraid of to an extent.

    • chezami

      I pretty much assumed that I wasn’t since I have no culture and I’m not a Marxist. 🙂

      • kevin

        Ha–well, you’re half right. “Orual’s kindred” below is correct…this is what english classes are generally about nowadays. Like Nietzsche, the types of professors who espouse this stuff are completely obsessed with power, and like Lewis warns in “The Abolition of Man” they want to re-create human nature. John C. Wright understands these kinds of people thoroughly.

    • TITCR. Nice comment, kev.

      In short, “cultural Marxism” originally meant “the Frankfurt School and associated Marxist thinkers in Europe (and later in America, due to emigration) who were moving the revolutionary battlefield from economics (e.g., strikes at factories) to culture (e.g., “theory” in university humanities departments).”

      That’s what it originally meant. Nowadays it either means “I watch a lot of Glenn Beck, and I really don’t like you” or “I am a race realist (i.e., a racist) and I really don’t like you.” The latter meanings, rather like the devolution of “liberal” from “Lockean” to “Progressive” to “I am a Republican and I don’t like you” are a shame, because it was very useful to have a handy phrase to describe those Frankfurt School thinkers and their influence in the university.

      As for you being a cultural Marxist–well, only in the current “I am right wing and I don’t like you” sense in which it’s an empty term of abuse with no real content.

  • Lamprotatia

    Coming from these people? It’s thinly veiled Jew-baiting. I am dead serious.

  • Linebyline

    I find it highly ironic that a “What the heck does this political buzzword mean?” post relies so heavily on use of the phrase “Dark enlightenment.” Someone enlighten me: What the flying monkeys is that? (I’d ask Professor Google but, being unfamiliar with the term to being with, I’d have no way to weed out a legitimate definition from Metapedia-like nonsense.)

    (P.S. No, I will not stand by my use of the term “ironic” as being strictly correct.)