Peering through our cultural fog, from the desecration of America’s statues to violent protests, and indeed, anarchy, it’s clear that freedom and our hallowed traditions are under assault by leftists intent on fundamentally undermining our nation. They begin with an effort to nullify historical truths that conflict with post-modernist socialist ideals, while insisting on an equality of outcomes, not of opportunity. They also misguidedly use a quixotic moral calculus to judge America while holding harmless the world’s most despotic regimes, and imposing their inflated sense of self-enlightenment on our history.
Blame for this can be attributed to our public education system, which features a curriculum steeped in self-loathing and white guilt. Those who enroll in universities are subjected to modernist critical theory, a Western-Marxist system of thought that denies universal truths and seeks the overthrow of traditional values. The post-modernist strain of this uniquely anti-American system seeks to rewrite the definition of race, gender, sexual orientation and identification.
Confirming the ideologically inbred teaching in our universities, a book titled “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” reports a pandemic lack of intellectual rigor at our universities. Debra Humphreys, vice president for communications and public affairs for the Association of American Colleges and Universities, said this book shows that “you can accumulate an awful lot of credits and not learn anything.”
It’s ironic that the most conspicuous feature of the left’s infatuation with diversity is an ironclad prior restraint on free speech. James Bennet, editorial page editor, and Bari Weiss, opinion editor of the New York Times recently resigned under pressure because they held the quaint belief that they could exercise independent thinking at the newspaper whose masthead for the past 113 years states, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”
As George Orwell knew, by recrafting how we define language, power structures can be reconfigured. A telling example is that now it’s those seeking a color-blind society who are called racist. Moreover, this cultural crusade lacks even a scintilla of intellectual cohesion, only a progression towards extremism which includes speech suppression and violence.
The journalist Gavin Haynes suggests that we’re undergoing a “moral feeding frenzy,” which happens whenever ideology prevails over truth. Not unlike the French Revolution or Mao’s cultural revolution, he states that these self-appointed culture warriors have a “purer-than-thou” mentality. That regimen stipulates a severe definition of purity, which in Robespierre fashion inevitably leads the architects of the movement to the guillotine, which at least at this point is figurative. All of this is the result of a radical blueprint using Alinsky tactics wedded to a Maoist strategy. The leftists correctly understand that our public education system is the most reliable ideological conveyor belt to turn out carbon copies that faithfully parrot radical liberal thinking.
As Orwell wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” By supplanting a curriculum that accurately outlines the Western canon —blemishes and all — with one that malignly casts it as a force for imperialism, nativist thinking, and the subjugation of minorities, they distort the historical record for transparently political purposes. Is locking our impressionable young minds in a leftist echo chamber the hallmark of a superb liberal arts education?
Ironically, it was the liberal historian Arthur Schlesinger in his 1991 book, “The Disuniting of America,” who argued that he who controls the curriculum controls history. He warned that the push for multiculturalism over national identity leads to a kind of “therapeutic” use of history, when the proper use should be “the recognition of complexity and the search for knowledge.”
In another vein, redacting religion from American life is the goal of the secular humanists, who breathe the same rarefied air as the radical leftists. In his farewell address, President Washington asserted that virtue cannot long be maintained without religion. He correctly understood that there’s a moral entropy in every nation, and that a nation without a religious foundation is similarly unvirtuous. As history demonstrates, that leads to nihilistic nations with hegemonic aspirations, unburdened by any hint of conscience.
When our history is extinguished or distorted beyond recognition, it allows what H.G. Wells described as control by a credentialed elite. This “emergent class of capable men,” Wells wrote, will assume the task of “controlling and restricting…the non-functional masses.” This new elite, he predicted, would replace democracy with “a higher organism” of what he called “the New Republic.” It’s clear that the radical leftists are in the vanguard of this assault, and that the downfall of America, the first nation founded on government of, by, and for the people, is their primary goal.
Philip Mella is former mayor pro tem of Woodland Park and serves on the 4th Judicial District Nominating Commission.