The “entire world seems to be going insane,” writes investigative journalist James Simpson in his new book, Who Was Karl Marx?: The Men, the Motives and the Menace Behind Today’s Rampaging American Left. In this primer on the Left’s ideological origins, Simpson reveals the totalitarian trends that are roiling modern America and the wider Western world and offers interesting perspectives on the distinct yet interrelated Islamist threat.
Simpson examines how various modern causes such as the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement are exploiting concerns including racism in order to transform America fundamentally. “We are actually witnessing a Communist overthrow of the United States in real time. This sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it is not,” he writes. Thereby any specific social justice “issue is never the issue. The issue is always the Revolution” or the “Left’s relentless goal to overthrow the existing order to achieve absolute power and the wealth that comes with it, nothing else.”
In this cold civil war among political organizations, Simpson shows that knowledge is power. As BLM demonstrates, the “great danger of communism is that most of its followers are not communists. They are advocates and do-gooders of every stripe who don’t know or don’t care about the organization’s pedigree.” Yet the Left’s real intellectual forebears would shock any decent observer.
Marxism’s namesake, the nineteenth-century German philosopher Karl “Marx himself, was the biggest fraud of all,” Simpson notes. Marx “has been built up by a century of propaganda into a kind of omniscient, benevolent god.” Yet Simpson details that this supposed savior from humanity’s misery “himself was hypocritically greedy, petty, arrogant, lazy, selfish, dishonest, two-faced, lecherous, bigoted and brimming with hatred.”
Marx established a common historical pattern among the Left’s leaders of fortunate sons who had the luxury of developing arcane theories about the proletariat while spared from the toil of earning daily bread. As a lifelong sponger of others, “Marx’s economic theories had no grounding in reality. He had no experience actually working in the real world and lacked understanding of basic economic principles,” Simpson writes. Marx particularly relied on the wealthy heir Friedrich Engels, who “lived in the lap of luxury while planning world revolution” as a “sort-of revolutionary party animal.”
Similarly, most of the Frankfurt School’s Marxist scholars, established in Germany in 1923 before Nazism’s rise forced flight to New York City, were “trust fund revolutionaries,” Simpson observes. Fidel and Raul Castro, who established Cuba’s Communist dictatorship in 1959, also “as sons of a rich sugar plantation owner…had it all,” and Fidel, when he died in 2016, had amassed at least $900 million in wealth. As the son of a relatively wealthy peasant, Red China’s founding tyrant Mao Zedong had been in his youth “lazy, arrogant, insolent, and refused to work,” as shown by his expulsion from four schools for disobedience.
The “true essence of Communism” is “entrepreneurial parasites; greedy, manipulative, megalomaniacal psychopaths,” Simpson concludes in his historical survey. “By its very nature the communist model requires leaders like Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Assad, Mao and Pol Pot—all clever, devious, diabolical, mass murderers.”
Today Marxists usually seek to revolutionize Western societies not through hard power such as military takeovers, but through assaults on Western culture with agendas including a never-ending sexual revolution. “We all have primordial lusts,” Simpson notes. “The communists have always known this. Early on they began developing the philosophies, tactics, and institutions to inject poisonous ideas into our society that would capitalize on those natural human tendencies.”
Simpson highlights Georgi Lukacs, who served as People’s Commissar for Culture and Education in Béla Kun’s brief Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919. “Lukacs pioneered the attack on Western culture by using sex as a weapon of moral corruption. He instituted a radical program of mandated sex education in schools,” Simpson notes. This accompanied a “campaign of vilification against Christianity.”
Lukacs “Cultural Terrorism,” Simpson observes, “infuriated Hungary’s Catholic population.” When Romania invaded Hungary, “large segments of the population and the military would not fight when they realized the Communists’ true objectives.” Kun’s government collapsed, and he fled to the Soviet Union.
In 1923, Lukacs helped found the Frankfurt School, which developed Critical Theory. “Critical theory attacks Christianity, capitalism, authority, the family, patriarchy, hierarchy, morality, tradition, sexual restraint, loyalty, patriotism, and nationalism,” Simpson notes. Subsequently Derrick Bell, former President Barack Obama’s favorite professor, “devised Critical Race Theory [CRT], an offshoot of Critical Theory applied to race,” Simpson adds. CRT is BLM “in a nutshell, and defines the extreme polarization communists have deliberately fomented in America. They couldn’t achieve it by revolutionizing the proletariat, so they targeted race.”
Another Frankfurt School associate, Herbert Marcuse, ascended the Ivory Tower in professorships at universities such as Columbia and Harvard. This “Father of the New Left” in the 1960s “developed the idea of suppressing conservative speech in his 1965 essay ‘Repressive Tolerance,’” Simpson notes. What subsequently became “partisan tolerance” of only Leftist ideas now dominates Western academia and media.
This Marxist soft power reflects the thinking of Antonio Gramsci, who became Italy’s Communist Party leader in 1924. “According to Gramsci, capitalism’s power or ‘hegemony’ rested in its institutions, that is, churches, schools, the media, Hollywood, the military government and political parties,” Simpson notes. Gramsci accordingly devised what became the subversive “long march through the institutions” by Marxist cadre.
Such stealthy takeovers recall the 1869 Revolutionary Catechism by Russian anarchist Sergey Nechayev, a “blueprint for communist revolution” that Marxists have used throughout history, Simpson observes. In this pamphlet’s words, for any such Marxist “implacable enemy” of Western society, the “object is perpetually the same: the surest and quickest way of destroying the whole filthy order.” Nonetheless, the “revolutionary may and frequently must live within society while pretending to be completely different from what he really is, for he must penetrate everywhere.”
Given Simpson’s analysis, his situation report on America’s present perils interestingly offers strategies centered on civic society and education. “Leftist and Islamic allies seek destruction of Judeo/Christian values because it is our greatest source of strength and cultural stability,” he writes. Thus, he advocates various means to “Defund Universities,” which only “indoctrinate our youth in the Left’s destructive narratives.”
Simpson’s emphasis on “Judeo/Christian values” means that a church militant looms large in his battleplan. “Discourage interfaith dialogue. It facilitates the Koranic Concept of War: detach the enemy from his faith. Christians and Jews are urged to accept Islam, but Islam is not urged to accept Christianity or Judaism,” he writes. “Liberal churches are apostates,” he adds; “If you are a member, leave.”
Simpson calls for clear stands and aggressive action. “Men are men and women are women” no matter “very extensive cosmetic surgery,” he demands that people recognize in opposition to “transgender” ideology. Meanwhile, truth’s defenders should go on offense: “Infiltrate enemy organizations. Expose their various plans.”
The Marxists exposed by Simpson have often entered Red-Green alliances with Islamists in contemporary Western society, as he and others have noted. Therefore, his analysis sheds light on this parallel menace. For example, any Muslims who claim to be followers of God should answer why they would ally with what Simpson clearly denounces as “Satanic” Marxist forces, especially when they would ultimately seek to dominate Muslims as well.
Simpson’s debunking of Marx and his disciples provides further food for thought on Islam. Given scrutiny of the lives and claims of these ideologues, why should Islam’s prophet Muhammad and his followers experience any better treatment, notwithstanding traditional Islamic blasphemy prescriptions? In particular, the rule of various Islamic empires across history offers spectacles of rapacity and cruelty similar to many Communist dictatorships.
Gramsci’s “march through the institutions” and Nechayev’s covert “implacable enemy” of the “filthy order” also echo in the Muslim Brotherhood’s “civilization jihad.” Jewish outrage over the anti-Israel tirades of Fairfax County School Board member Abrar Omeish is simply the latest example of disappointment in a Muslim once celebrated for interfaith cooperation.
Perhaps the key lesson from Simpson’s book is that forewarned is forearmed. Understanding of the West and its enemies is just as necessary today as ever in this time of struggle amidst great ideological crosscurrents in America and the wider West. As Jesus once said, the “truth will set you free.” Perhaps Simpson thought on these words when he concluded: “Pray daily for the salvation of our nation.”