The Poison of Cultural Marxism: Is There a Cure?
by Mary Anne Kreitzer
St. Thomas More once said, “There is no time so evil that a good man cannot live in it.” Of course, as things turned out, he could not, in fact, live in that evil time, and suffered martyrdom through the betrayal of liars and sycophants. And other good men and women over the next decades under succeeding monarchs of that trying English period died too: clergy like Bishop John Fisher and scores of priests including Jesuits St. Edmund Campion and St. Robert Southwell, lay priest protectors like Anne Line and Margaret Clitherow, and a host of others dragged to the “tree” at Tyburn, their personal cross, to be hanged, drawn and quartered.1
In retrospect More’s words seem ironic as we cast our eyes over history’s timeline. From that first “evil time” when God’s “light-bearer” embraced the dark by rebelling, down to our own times, many “good men and women” have lost their lives to the chopping block, the fire, the guillotine, firing squads and the death camps. A cynic could easily say that Thomas More was a foolish idealist whose words were disproved by his own life.
Yes, studying history is a sobering experience that causes some to question the goodness of God, a God who loved us enough to give us the freedom that permits rebellion. And in every age one can see how the devil, that first rebel, attempts to extinguish good by extinguishing good men. If he fails to seduce them, killing them appears to be the next best thing. The Old Testament is rife with stories of gruesome persecution of God’s Chosen People. The mother who witnessed her seven sons all tortured and killed by the tyrant Antiochus before her eyes while she urged them to resist is chilling.2 The suffering of the Hebrews in captivity in Egypt and Babylon illustrates the capacity of man to persecute his brothers. And the New Testament continues the litany of evil from its very beginning with the murder of the Holy Innocents as Herod attempted to snuff out the light of the world.
From there every age gushes with the blood of good men and women martyred by Satan’s human servants. The Roman leaders entertained the masses by drenching the coliseums with the blood of Christians. Endless conflicts between Church and state, especially during the Protestant Revolution, showed the jealousy of worldly powers threatened by the authority of God’s Church. The litany goes on up until modern times and the bloodiest century in history (so far), the 20th, when more Christian martyrs died than in all previous centuries put together.
Even in relatively good moral times like the Middle Ages when Christendom thrived under the Holy Roman Empire and local parishes and monasteries were the center of community life, Satan worked his devilish machinations assaulting mankind with physical evils. The Black Death killed one third of the population of Europe. Plagues, famine, superstition, and witchcraft all tempted humanity to fear and despair.
But despite doing his damnedest (literally), Satan will never extinguish the light. As long as good men continue to pray with the psalmist, “Here am I, Lord, I come to do your will,”3 Satan is doomed to defeat. Embracing God’s will is both a shield against evil and a torch lighting the world with the truth. And that is certainly, the most powerful way for the individual to fight. To embrace God’s will and search unceasingly for it is the best prescription for salvation.
But Christians are not called to have merely an individual relationship with God in our battle against the evil one. God calls us to work for the harvest. In our own times that offers particular challenges because of the poison of the “isms” (Marxism, modernism, feminism, secularism, etc.). Like the Black Plague of the Middle Ages, they have infected the hearts and minds of many generations.
In a recent issue of Culture Wars, William S. Lind describes how the Frankfurt School, founded in Germany in 1923, promoted Marxist theorists intent on the destruction of Western culture and the Christian religion in order to make way for the Communist utopia. Their ideas were the basis to inject Marxism into the cultural life of the United States. Lind tells how Herbert Marcuse took the work of Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno and put it into a popularized form to influence college students. Horkheimer believed that Marxism must be shifted from economics to culture because the working class “would not be the agent of revolution…it was becoming part of the middle class.” Adorno advanced the idea that since “life under capitalism was by definition alienating, music, art, architecture, etc. must also be alienating in order to be ‘true.’” The ideas of these men, combined with those of Erich Fromm and Wilhelm Reich, followers of Sigmund Freud’s school of psychiatry (repression is bad, let it all hang out) would provide the tools for undermining and destroying western culture.
The success of Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s ideas is clearly evident in all the ugly churches built between the 1960s and 1980s, the horrendous “music” with neither melody or harmony, only a jungle beat, the ugliness of modern art and the Bauhaus movement in architecture, the moral depravity of film and television, the vacuity of much of modern literature, etc.; but above all they lit the fuse of the sexual revolution spreading evil like shrapnel throughout the world.
It was Marcuse n his book Eros and Civilization who argued:
Lind argues that it is impossible to use philosophical argument against the “psychological conditioning” of Cultural Marxism which has so infected our age. For several generations the young have been trained to respond to events in ways that bypass rational thought and focus on feelings. Political correctness is so ingrained that Soviet KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov, who defected to Canada in 1970, described the brainwashing process in a 1985 interview:
Bezmenov went on to describe the first stage, demoralization, which takes 15-20 years and was already well underway in 1985. Its success is clear from the collapse of rational thought and moral reasoning since the 1960s. Consider his phrase, “to change the perception of reality.” Voila! Today, most people believe reality is fluid. Whatever you believe at the moment is real. History doesn’t matter. Opinions masquerade as facts. When the majority of a society accepts that a man saying he’s a woman or a woman saying she’s a man makes it true, the culture is in serious denial of reality. When facts and morality are defined to accommodate the latest fad where can a society go but into the abyss?
But I’m preaching to the choir. The question is – what can we do about it? If, as Brezmenov says, those who are psychologically conditioned cannot change, are we doomed to live in this insanity for at least another generation? From the secular viewpoint, it seems hopeless. But we are not mere creatures of the secular society. As Christians we live with one foot in the world and one in heaven. Every time we enter a Catholic Church we step out of time and into eternity where history is no longer a timeline, but a tapestry. And it’s there, in that eternity that we can find answers.
Like a cut diamond, the answer has many facets. Lind suggests that culture warriors embrace Retroculture and defines it as:
The editors at Traditional Right, the website publishing Lind’s work respond saying:
The Catholic would say even that is insufficient since traditionalism is defined basically as the natural law, the God-given order, within a particular culture. As traditionalist Alan Roebuck describes it, “Each people expresses this order in its own way, and this is why although there is only one God-given order, there are many different traditions. If you are an American, then, you need American traditionalism.”7
America has always been an amalgam of different cultures: the English and Irish settling New England, the Creoles of Louisiana, the ethnic neighborhoods of the cities with their Chinatowns and Little Italys; so I’m not convinced there is an “American” traditionalism. And in recent years, the splintering through “diversity” has been so great that our “common ground” is smaller than ever.
I think the “tribe” today, at least for serious Catholics, must combine the ideas of the Retroculture and Traditionalism with an overriding commitment to Catholic orthodoxy. What would a community look like where Catholics shared the ideals of the Retroculture, Traditionalism and Orthodoxy?
It would be made up of families that imitate the Holy Family; where the father is head of the home and mother is its heart; where the children don’t rule the roost, but are nurtured in an environment of love. Their responsibilities and privileges would grow as they matured and they would always understand that their contributions are a necessary part of family life to make the home run smoothly. It would be a place of peace where technology and social media are limited and silence has a prominent place. Its members would enjoy the best of the past in literature, art, and music. The family table of the little “domestic church” would be the altar with family conversation the “homily,” a special place to learn and laugh and share. And above all it would be a place of prayer that illustrates rosary priest Fr. Patrick Peyton’s motto, “The family that prays together stays together.”
Think of the impact of Catholic families preaching to their communities by this example. And it’s within the capability of each of us to do it – to foster those things that create a civilization worth preserving. Here are a few practical examples. If you can’t get rid of TV altogether, watch the old movies and series that emphasize family life: Little House on the Prairie, the Andy Griffith Show, Father Knows Best, movies of the saints, etc. Have a family garden, or if that’s too ambitious, a few large pots for a container garden. If you’re grandparents like we are, enlist the grandchildren as waterers and weeders. Go on field trips to historical sites near your home. Share the real past, not the politically correct assassinations of our forefathers. Yes, tell your children they had flaws just like we do, but they left a heritage worth preserving and deserve to be remembered with thanks. Read great books and poems out loud. Help your children experience the power of the written word spoken aloud.
Can we overcome the Cultural Marxism that has so undermined the West, and, in fact, the whole world? No! But God can through Jesus and Mary. Has there ever been a worse devastation than the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? And yet a rectory at ground zero in Hiroshima where a group of priests practiced the Fatima devotions was spared. Not one of those priests ever experienced the devastating physical effects of radiation sickness. And that’s just one example. The miracles linked to the rosary have saved cultures from Portugal’s protection during the Spanish Civil War and World War II to the conversion of Mexico after Mary’s apparition at Guadalupe to the Communists withdrawing from Austria in 1955without a shot being fired. 8
As St. Paul tells us, “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and serve according to His purpose.” We have nothing to fear when we say with the young prophet Samuel, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” While some of us may be martyred, others will prove that Thomas More was right: that good men and women can still live and profess the truth despite the evil times we live in.
1 A list of the canonized martyrs from the English so-called Reformation is available online at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Catholic_martyrs_of_the_English_Reformation
2 Maccabees 7.
3 Psalm 40.
4 Lind, William S., The Poison and the Antidote, Chronicles Magazine, September 2017, pp 11-14.
5 Interview between Soveit defector Yuri Bezmenov and G. Edward Griffith, How to Brainwash a Nation, 1985, transcript available at http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=139025.0
6 Lind, p. 13.
7 Roebuck, Alan, Why You Need Traditionalism, Traditional Right website, https://www.traditionalright.com/why-you-need-traditionalism/
8 Famous rosary miracles, http://miraculousrosary.blogspot.com/p/famous-rosary-miracles.html