Marxist ideology has influenced our contemporary culture, though unnoticed by most. Although it adopts the terminology of human dignity and rights from Christianity, it is antithetical to the Biblical worldview and destructive of God's righteous social order.
The prevailing wisdom today holds Marxism a failed ideology, its irrelevance confirmed by the collapse of the Soviet Union and fall of the Berlin Wall. It is also widely believed that Marxism cannot subsist in a democracy. But, in fact, Marxist ideology is shaping contemporary culture worldwide. This article will examine this claim.
Classic Marxism dealt with economics and political power, focusing on the exploitation of the working class, the proletariat, by the owners of the means of production, the bourgeoisie. Marx agitated for the proletariat to overthrow the bourgeoisie and implement a “classless” society. This conventional exposition of Marxist orthodoxy is responsible for the assumption that Marxism is dead in the democratic West.
Culture Change Fundamental to Political Change
Ideologies evolve and diverge and so there exist different species of Marxism. One, that of Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt school, has exercised widespread influence in our culture and geopolitics. While Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin posited that political power was a prerequisite to the pursuit of cultural reorientation, Gramsci inverted this, arguing that “cultural hegemony” precipitated the attainment of power: a quorum of citizens had to be convinced that your goals were just and good then, with their consent secured, the law could be wielded for the restructuring of society.
These later Marxists took the class struggle concept of Marx and applied it to other binary relationships such as race, gender and religion. Males were the oppressor class and females victims; Caucasians oppressors, non-whites victims; rich oppressors, poor victims. That these antagonisms ring familiar to Western ears is a testament to cultural Marxism’s entrenchment and, while they seem plausible to us because of the many instances of oppressor/victim relationships – abuses of women by men and the slave trade for instance – they do not accurately portray social relationships in general. Cultural Marxism promotes the very factionalism it is purportedly devised to eradicate in the hope of undermining the current social order and igniting revolution.
The brilliance of Marxists like Gramsci and the Frankfurt school is that they understood the necessity of changing culture first to achieve their ends. Today this is being accomplished through education and the media.
We see the rhetoric of “equality” everywhere. An “equality for all” ideology savors of justice but its adoption leads inevitably to tyranny where “equality” is bestowed selectively by a cultural elite.
In the Judeo-Christian social order the family and private property form the foundation for liberty. Accordingly, the often-cloaked goal of cultural Marxists is to destroy the nuclear family, private property, and ultimately Christianity. For Marx, replacing Christian with state-controlled schools was a precursor to the family’s destruction2. He sought the abolition of marriage, of private property and inheritance rights and a tax on income. Today, we see how far the state has advanced along this path.
Marxist Influence on Human Rights
Our government was constituted for the purpose of preserving human rights: the right to life, liberty and to hold property. The foundation for these was religious; the government lacked authority to abrogate what was God-given.
With the adoption of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 the foundation shifted from Christianity to Marxist philosophy. Human rights apportionment became the prerogative of the judiciary and equality under the law was steadily replaced by legal preference for groups deemed “victimized”.
Remember the Marxists formula of education to re-form people’s values preparing the way for legislation to enforce those values. Contemporary Marxists make no secret of this; my university professors repeatedly extolled the stratagem. But, though the Marxist cultural transformation begins with self-policing, it inevitably devolves to governmental enforcement, the suppression of freedoms being seen as necessary expediencies in the march to the egalitarian society.
The operations of the Human Rights Commissions in Canada illustrate this: more than alternative dispute-resolution agencies, these are intended to bully the incompliant into conforming to the Commission’s politically correct expectations.
Influence on the Global Level
Ideas have consequences. Marxist ideas are not merely university classroom fare. In 1995, the UN Commission on Global Governance issued a report titled Our Global Neighbourhood3 calling for the extension of global governance through:
- Global reach: exercising influence through UNESCO, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, NGOs, civil society organizations and a 110,000-strong military force (‘peacekeepers’).
- Global Court: for the prosecution of people at a supranational level, often violating existing due process and procedural rights.
- Worldwide economic control: using the International Monetary Fund as a global federal reserve with a global currency displacing all others.
- Global taxation: for the purpose of wealth redistribution.
- Global Sustainable Development: to takeover private property and the water supply and to control population levels.
- Global regulation of arms: not to eliminate arms but to achieve world dominance.
- Internet control: for taxation and censorship.
The UN is not an advocate for human rights but for political hegemony.
Covenant Keepers vs. Covenant Violators
Although it co-opts the terminology of human dignity and rights from Christianity, Marxist platitudes are antithetical to the Christian worldview.
God’s order for society leads to human flourishing. A righteous social order begins with the self-government of individual believers by the power of the Holy Spirit, choosing to live in accordance to God’s law; it doesn’t progress by way of the totalitarian state.
Let us not go the way of Babel, seeking to build a worldwide humanist utopia, but submit ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Matt. 6:33) in our own lives, families, churches and communities calling others to obedience also.
For a more detailed treatment of this subject please refer to Jubilee 2013 Fall.