What is “cultural Marxism”?

Cultural Marxism is a conspiracy theory originally promoted by ultraconservative American political operatives William S. Lind and Paul Weyrich, claiming the existence of an organized conspiracy against the “traditional Christian values of America.” It’s a modern derivative of the Nazi propaganda term “Cultural Bolshevism,” which was used as a derogative slur against anything progressive, modernist, secularist, and “humanist.”

Specifically, Cultural Marxism names the Jewish-German philosophers of the Frankfurt School — who fled the Nazi regime and came to devote much of their subsequent research to the study of the authoritarian personality and how Adolf Hitler‘s fascist regime came to power — as having taken over American popular culture to subvert Christian ethics in the United States. The claim is that these Jewish thinkers launched a culture war against “real America” and have brainwashed the Left into persecuting the innocent right-wing victims of these Communist thugs.

Cultural Marxism conspiracy is mainstream

This virulent and highly dangerous antisemitic conspiracy theory, once limited to the very fringes of right-wing thought, has become a dominant narrative on the right. From QAnon to the halls of Congress, Cultural Marxism has made its way from “nut country” to Washington, DC and beamed into homes all over the nation via Fox News, OANN, Newsmax, and right-wing media of all stripes.

It fits snugly with other popular conspiracy theories, from “Democrats are socialists” to the Christian Reconstruction movement seeking to establish an American theocracy on the basis of a Big Lie about the origins of America as a Christian nation. It also shares the provincial fear of globalists, cosmopolitanism, and internationalists (other “code words” to refer to Jews) of the white power movement at home and the European far right in its relative sphere.

That makes cultural Marxism an ideal weapon for a fundamentally lazy, uncreative, antisocial, and aggressive ultra-right wing Republican base — it’s already got “built in” marketing power from being embedded in these subcultures for so long. And it’s catnip for social dominators, always looking for ways to rationalize their group’s collective narcissism.

It’s a simple story for simple minds, that explains why everything (supposedly) has gone to hell and poor whites feel left behind — it’s not their phobia of education, books, urban settings, and logical decision-making, no! No no, these wounds are not terribly obviously self-inflicted: the Democrats did it!

Why would you want to believe anything else? πŸ€”

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