The Chinese Cultural Revolution – a terrifying decade of totalitarian purging of everyone and everything that did not conform to Maoist ideology – ended in 1976. But everything old becomes new again, so welcome to the new Cultural Revolution which is not on the rise in China but instead is eroding the freedoms of the Western world.
The architects of the Chinese Cultural Revolution employed the ruthless tactics of totalitarianism everywhere: public humiliation, capricious imprisonment, hard labor, torture and execution, the seizure of private property, and in China’s case, the forcible displacement of much of the young urban population to rural regions where they and millions of others were starved to death. And just as Muslim supremacists strive to erase any pre-Islam cultural and historical artifacts in conquered territories, the Chinese revolutionaries attempted to wipe the slate clean of pre-Communist history as well, ransacking cultural and religious sites.
Certainly such abuses are not underway in the democratic West – yet. But a similar totalitarian impulse is on the move among the radical Left. In America and England, for example, historical relics and artifacts are being destroyed as college activists radicalized by the Marxist professors who dominate Humanities departments clamor for the removal of monuments to the “slave-owning” Founding Fathers, to “colonialist” giants like Cecil Rhodes, and to “mass murderers” like Winston Churchill.
What has been the West’s response to such assaults on its cultural heritage? For the most part, it too often has been self-censorship, naval-gazing self-loathing, and apologetic compliance. The Left’s loud denunciations of so-called white privilege, colonialist imperialism, and cishetero-normativity have resulted not in pushback but increasingly in pre-emptive confessions of racial sin and gender intolerance.
National Geographic, for example, issued an embarrassing mea culpa recently titled, “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It,” in which the editor admitted the magazine’s long history of a self-described “colonialist” perspective in articles and photo layouts featuring racial caricatures. “It hurts to share the appalling stories from the magazine’s past,” she wrote. But having confessed, the magazine had earned permission to move forward cleansed of its past transgressions.
And how did Nat Geo move past the divisive minefield of race? By devoting an entire issue to the topic: “This story is part of The Race Issue, a special issue of National Geographic that explores how race defines, separates, and unites us.” The editor continued: “Let’s examine why we continue to segregate along racial lines and how we can build inclusive communities,” And in a not-so-subtle shot at the Trump administration, she added, “Let’s confront today’s shameful use of racism as a political strategy.”
The only shameful use of racism as a political strategy is on the part of the Left, which has made race-obsessed identity politics the spearhead of its ideological offensive, and against which Donald Trump’s rise to the White House was largely a reaction. Identity politics has degraded every aspect of our politics and culture – no national conversation is free anymore of its ugly, race-mongering, gender-denying, intentional divisiveness and relentless accusations.
In another example of confessional groveling, posters went up in some British Columbia schools earlier this year which depicted Canadian school administrators and their quotes about privilege and racism. School superintendent Teresa Downs, for example, is pictured beside a quote which reads, “I have unfairly benefitted from the colour of my skin. White privilege is not acceptable.”
In another poster, Secretary Treasurer Linda Minnabarriet poses with arms folded next to her quote, “I lose an opportunity if I don’t confront racism.” More to the point, she might lose her job if she doesn’t confess to her own racism.
(By racism, of course, the Left always means white racism. Racism against whites, or even against other non-whites, does not count. That’s because cultural Marxism divides the world between the oppressor and the oppressed, and only the oppressor – white people – can be racist. The oppressed are never racist, even when the oppressed become the oppressor, as in South Africa, where white farmers are facing genocide at the hands of black gangs, with the tacit and sometimes explicit approval of the nation’s black leadership – a story the mainstream media won’t touch, because the torture/murders of white farmers and the appropriation of their land is social justice.)
This controversial Canadian campaign, which has local parents riled up, was modeled after another self-flagellating campaign on Saskatoon billboards, one of which featured the image of an older white male accompanied by the quote “I have to acknowledge my own privilege and racist attitudes.” Have to – or he will be ground up beneath the wheels of the new Cultural Revolution. “We do understand that this is a discussion about race and privilege, and it can make some people uncomfortable,” says Superintendent Downs. Actually, what makes people “uncomfortable” about this “discussion” is the blatantly racist assumption that all whites are inherently, irredeemably bigoted and benefit from privilege. That assumption means it’s not a “discussion” but an ideological imperative which Downs and similar-minded educators are inculcating in students over the objections of their parents.
For those who don’t voluntarily confess their ideological impurity – or worse, those who aggressively resist indoctrination – the punishment reveals a sadistic streak typical of totalitarianism. A male student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, for example, was barred earlier this month from attending a religious studies class required for graduation because he challenged the feminist professor’s radical assumptions in class. According to Lake Ingle, his February 28 class was forced to watch a Ted Talk featuring a transgender woman discussing such divisive, cultural Marxist concepts as “mansplaining,” “male privilege,” and systemic sexism. Ingle wrote that after the video, the instructor “opened the floor to WOMEN ONLY. Barring men from speaking until the women in the class have had their chance to speak.”
“Not a single woman spoke,” Ingle told Campus Reform. “Thirty seconds or so passed and still no woman had spoken. So, I decided it was permissible for me to enter the conversation, especially because I felt the conversation itself was completely inappropriate in its structure,” Ingle continued. “I objected to the use of the anecdotal accounts of one woman’s experience to begin a discussion in which they were considered reality. It was during my objection that Dr. [Alison] Downie attempted to silence me because I am not a woman.”
Ingle was later accused, in a documented agreement, of
“Disrespectful objection to the professor’s class discussion structure; refusal to stop talking out of turn; angry outbursts in response to being required to listen to a trans speaker discuss the reality of white male privilege and sexism; disrespectful references to the validity of trans identity and experience; [and making a] disrespectful claim that a low score on any class work would be evidence of professor’s personal prejudice” [emphasis added].
Notice that the instructor considers “white male privilege” an indisputable “reality” and “trans identity” indisputably “valid.” The video she showed and its content were therefore for ideological purposes, not educational ones. Lake Ingle bucked the indoctrination, and so the school now expects him not merely to apologize, but to be degraded before Professor Downey and his classmates. “Lake will write an apology to the professor which specifically addresses each of the disrespectful behaviors described above,” the form reads. He is expected to “acknowledge how his behavior has significantly damaged” the classroom learning environment, and “explain how he will demonstrate respect for the professor” and his fellow students in the remaining sessions.
But most illuminatingly, “Lake will begin class with an apology to the class for his behavior and then listen in silence as the professor and/or any student who wishes to speak shares how he or she felt during Lake’s disrespectful and disruptive outbursts on 2-28” [emphasis added].
So it is not enough to correct the student’s errant thinking – he or she (or should I say “xe”?) must submit to public humiliation and bear it in silence, to provide the mob of humiliators a safe space from which to verbally degrade the offender. This is straight out of the Chinese Cultural Revolution playbook.
Such is the sado-masochistic totalitarianism at the heart of the Left. Their utopian dream of human perfectibility demands absolute conformity of thought and action, as well as absolute submission to their authority.
In the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the cruelest atrocities were carried out by the young fanatics of the Red Guard. In America today, our youth are being pushed to the forefront of radical movements, their impassioned, self-righteous, arrogant naiveté exploited and empowered. Witness, for example, the recent nationwide student walk-out to protest gun violence, an action backed by leftist agitators such as MoveOn.org, and supported and in some instances required by school administrators themselves. The protest was led by a coterie of survivors from the Valentine’s Day high school massacre in Parkland, Florida – the ones who, not coincidentally, aligned themselves with the Left’s gun confiscation agenda. Survivors who challenged that agenda, such as the courageous dissident Kyle Kashuv, found themselves largely ignored by the news media who fawned over the politically correct activists, even posing them for a TIME magazine cover article which hailed them as the generation that will finally overthrow the old-timers who are holding out against the Progressive tide. “You’re gonna be smeared in the textbooks,” promises 17-year-old media darling David Hogg, who has become the poster boy for the new Red Guard. “Your legacy is gone. If you don’t stand up with us now, you’ll be standing against us.”
And therein lies the solution to ending this burgeoning new Cultural Revolution: stand against it. The free West has lost ground against the resurgence of Communism, rebranded as Progressivism, because it has simply allowed itself to be overrun. It can turn the tide by opening its eyes and fighting back. Stand by the truth and refuse to buy into the Left’s linguistic manipulation. Do not tolerate their intolerance. Reject their demonizing labels. Push back against their violent bullying. Resist as relentlessly as they attack. Easier said than done, but the alternative is surrender to an enemy that will show no mercy.