The Long March Though the Institutions
When Marx’s prediction of world-wide revolution failed to occur, leftist intellectuals began searching for a way to regain power and overthrow capitalism and democracy. They explained their failure with a patronizing theory called “cultural hegemony”, the idea that the common man is a sheep, deluded by their rich overlords into false beliefs in individualism, freedom, property rights, and the opportunity for personal advance. The idea was further advanced by Rudi Dutschke, the leader of the radical German student movement in the 1960s, who proclaimed there must be a “long march through the institutions”, to criticize and subvert western society one government agency and one academic field at a time.
The modern threat of neo-Marxism was born. Abandoning any concern for the fate of the working class, neo-Marxism is focused on creating revolution in other ways. The leftist intellectual imagines that with the elimination of capitalism, by any and every means, only they themselves will be left as a dominant power in society (although they would never admit to such an attitude). It looks for victim classes, and for subversive issues. But for them, the issue is never the issue, the issue is the revolution.
Dutschke’s first move was to join the Green movement. The sad result of the leftist take-over of the environmental movement has been to subvert it from a practical purpose (advocating for clean air, preserving wildlife, etc.) and painting the entire movement with red. As a long-time member of The Nature Conservancy, it angers me to see Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth as mere leftist front organizations. To get a full measure of the harm they have done, look at Robert Paarlberg’s book “Starved for Science: How biotechnology is being kept out of Africa”.
One of the modern triumphs of private enterprise has been the revolution in food production. In the Western World, crop yield has dramatically increased, while energy usage has gone down from a peak in the 1970s. But the left has successfully vilified the architects of this revolution, attacking Monsanto and spreading lies about GMO technology. In the west, this has only meant that a few people will buy over-priced and over-rated organic foods at hipster grocery stores. But in the third world, it has meant starvation and poverty. So successful have these faux environmentalist groups been that some African countries have even banned the use of nitrogen fertilizer. The issue is not ecology and nutrition, the issue is the revolution.
In the academic world, whole fields of study have been corrupted by neo-Marixism, replacing the rich traditions of western culture with postmodernism and critical theory – strident criticisms of every aspect of American society — the sort we find in the biased and inaccurate history of Howard Zinn or Oliver Stone’s anti-American television series. English departments teach deconstruction and a cynical world view, instead of teaching literature and writing. An excellent look at this problem can be found in Alan Sokal’s book, “Intellectual Impostures”.
Sokal gives a hilarious example from a neo-Marxist criticism of hydrodynamics. The Navier-Stokes equations of fluid flow are simple, but the complexity of turbulent flow makes the solution of these equations nearly impossible in some circumstances. Not to fear, feminist critical theory has the answer, with this ridiculous and ignorant analysis: “Whereas men have sex organs that protrude and become rigid, women have openings that leak menstrual blood and vaginal fluids… From this perspective it is no wonder that science has not been able to arrive at a successful model for turbulence. The problem of turbulent flow cannot be solved because the conceptions of fluids (and of women) have been formulated so as necessarily to leave unarticulated remainders.”
The sciences and engineering have been resistant to the hard left, until recently. Climate science is an obvious area that has been flooded by imposters with an anti-capitalist agenda. How many of them really understand partial differential equations of atmospheric flow? How many understand the computational numerical methods or how to convincingly test global circulation models?
Another area that is starting to crumble is computer science, and the leftist colonization of important movements like open source software and electronic privacy. While technical experts turn their attention to the important problems of programming and security protocols, many activists and “hacktivists” see it as an opportunity to attack property rights and capitalism and even the economy and defense of the United States. In the ranks of the movement, the Electronic Freedom Foundation, and authors of trendy books on the topic, we find English majors with cliché theses about how capitalism twists people and distorts our culture. What do they know about computers and science? Next to nothing. But their mastery of blogs and social media make them influential far beyond what their meager technical knowledge would permit.
What can be done? Perhaps a place to start is academia, where many of our young people are indoctrinated. Would it make sense to end tenure? The tenure system not only preserves the jobs of Marxist professors, it is a system that has permitted them to purge their departments of young professors who don’t toe the line and agree with their political beliefs. Is there any way to restore proper education in arts and humanities, instead of having a sort of scorched-earth policy towards funding of these fields?