Are progressives ‘cultural Marxists’?

Nov 29, 2018 by

from Faith and Politics:

Cultural Marxism, if you’re not familiar, is a term commonly used by those on the Right to identify an agenda and a way of thinking prevalent in our culture and amongst our elites. I say on the Right, as it’s one of those terms, like globalist and authoritarian, rarely owned by those it describes. But is it fair?

There’s been some debate about this recently. There are a number of other terms commonly used to describe broadly the same thing, among them postmodernism, multiculturalism, political correctness and identity politics. So what we are basically talking about here is anything that claims the mantle of progressive social policy. What does this look like?

Very briefly, progressivism in its own eyes stands against the privileged hierarchies of patriarchy, heteronormativity, white nationalism and so on. It is the source of novel (and often irritating) terms like woke, intersectionality and mansplaining, and embraces radical forms of feminism (especially Third-wave and later), multiculturalism and secularism. In the academy it deploys the tools of critical theory and deconstruction to expose and oppose what it regards as oppressive power structures and forms of cultural appropriation. It sees language as a key battleground, since with reality socially constructed, and language at the heart of social construction, those who control language control reality. For this reason it polices the boundaries of acceptable speech very closely, and has little tolerance for what it regards as the hateful speech and ideas of the political and cultural Right, or any criticism. It regards power relations to be at the core of reality, perceiving violence and micro-aggression across all contexts, and so has few qualms about using force and intimidation itself to achieve its aims.

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