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Two Forms of Racism 

There are two chief forms of racism in the West. 

First, the garden-variety, traditional racism of the antebellum South, the KKK and the current white supremacist sort. It is abominable and abhorrent.

Fortunately, this form of racism is proportionately less pervasive than at any time in history.

Second, there is the ideological racism of Libertarian Marxism. This is the racism instigated to subvert the rule of law, equal treatment of all citizens, and merit-based rewards and replace it with a politicized culture dictated by power-hungry elites. It is abominable and abhorrent.

Unfortunately, this form of racism is proportionately more pervasive than at any time in history.

As Christians, we should oppose, expose, and abominate both forms of racism.

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How Modern Marxism Is Libertarian

homo

 

Today Communism as a political system, if not dead, is on life support. It survives only in North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam — and the campuses of elite American universities. That last sphere is the one that concerns me, and it should concern you, and it does concern you, whether you want it to or not. It’s not a Communism identical to Leninism and Stalinism, but a development of it, and it’s more pernicious and successful than anything Lenin or Marx or Pol Pot could have imagined.

 

This evolved Marxism is the leading social vision of our time. Some call it neo-Marxism, a refinement and development of the vastly influential 19th century German philosopher Karl Marx.[1] Others label it existential Marxism. Still others designate it Cultural Marxism or the New Left. I term this vision “Libertarian Marxism.”[2] (I’ll explain why in a moment.) Call it what you want,[3] it’s the reigning vision of the vast majority of cultural leaders in the West.[4]

 

The Libertarian Marxists differ widely among themselves on many issues, but they’re generally united in embracing their all-controlling vision. There’s likely no intellectual movement in history that has endured so many revisions as Marxism. Sometimes it seems there are as many Marxisms are there are Marxists. At several key points this newer vision deviates from traditional Marxism,[5] but this vision is sufficiently common and coherent that it’s correct to see it as an extension of Marxism, and its leaders certainly see it that way. It’s a way of thinking, living and being in the world.[6] It was invented and championed by a number of thinkers. Leading ones included Antonio Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse, and Georg Lukács. Their objective was to transform Western civilization from its Christian foundations to an elite-led, secular egalitarian utopia. They have been wildly successful.

 

Libertarian Marxism Defined

 

Here is a provisional definition of Libertarian Marxism by Sidney Hook, one of its advocates. It is

 

… a philosophy of human liberation. It seeks to overcome human alienation, to emancipate man from repressive social institutions, especially economic institutions that frustrate his true nature, and to bring him into harmony with himself, his fellow men, and the world around him so that he can overcome his estrangements and express his true essence through creative freedom.[7]

 

This permutation of Marxism is by no means identical to Marx’s original vision, or to Leninist-Stalinist Marxism. This newer version of Marxism is much more germane to our Western world than old-time Marxism. The founders of Libertarian Marxism knew that violent political revolution would fail in Western democracies, so they rethought how the basic instincts of Marxism could be introduced into and capture those democracies. Marxism was all about seeing and making society the sum total of its material conditions: everything was reduced to economics. Libertarian Marxism is all about liberating humanity from the social institutions and conditions (like the family and church and business and traditional views and habits and authorities) that prevent the individual from realizing his true self, his true desires and aspirations, from being anything he wants to be — full autonomy. Original Marxism and Libertarian Marxism overlap, but they’re not identical. Libertarian Marxism is the Marxism of our culture, of our time.

 

 

Libertarian Marxism Distilled

 

Modern Marxism is Libertarian. An extended metaphor might help. Imagine thousands of tiny seeds, full of flourishing, fruitful potential, but they can never fulfill that potential because they’re submerged beneath hard, frozen, nearly impenetrable soil. Imagine further a sympathetic farmer who comes with a massive plow and cracks the soil and waters and fertilizes it so that the seeds can finally sprout upward.

 

The good seed, the bad soil, and the great plow

 

The seeds in this metaphor are humans as we enter the world. Recall the famous first line of The Social Contract by the 18th century French romantic thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau: “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” Humanity is good at heart; we have massive, unrealized moral potential. But we’re chained. Returning to the original metaphor, we’re stifled by the hard, frozen soil, which won’t allow us to unleash our moral potential. That soil is our society, especially leading institutions like the family and church and business. We’re born into a family that requires us to curb our desires and sacrifice for other family members. Our family doesn’t provide the environment for realizing many of our desires and dreams. Perhaps our family is not well educated. It might not be wealthy. In any case, our families establish oppressive moral guidelines: you must obey your parents. You must attend school. You may not eat whatever you want, whenever you want. All life choices are not open to you.

 

And then there’s the church. It teaches that there’s a Triune, sovereign God to whom you’re responsible. He lays down his truth the Bible. The church establishes the boundaries of belief, or orthodoxy. You and I don’t get to decide. The church says premarital and extramarital sex and homosexuality are sinful. Ditto with covetousness and self-centeredness. If you have an unwanted pregnancy, you may not have an abortion. If you sin, you must confess your sin and repent and amend your ways. You must rely on Jesus Christ alone to save you. You don’t have free spiritual reign in your life.

 

Add to this your employer. You have to be at work on time. You work for your employer’s goals, and especially the customer’s. If your business exists to provide cheeseburgers or Chevy Impalas or legal counsel, you’re required to serve if you’re going to get paid. Your employer might hamper your dreams and ambitions. You feel stifled.

 

These social authorities — the family, church, business, as well as others — keep us frustrated and in check. Recall Sidney Hook’s definition. The Libertarian Marxists “emancipate man from repressive social institutions ….” This cold, hard topsoil prevents us from breaking through upward to realize our true selves. We should be free like an artist to paint beautiful pastels of our life onto the world we create. What we need is a plow to break up this hard soil and get it out of the way. In our metaphor, that plow is the state.

 

The oppression-liberation nexus

 

This is where Rousseau stepped in: he basically appealed, “Give me a state strong enough to wipe out the authority of these stultifying social institutions, and I’ll give you individual liberty — except, liberty from the state itself. I’ll give you your soil-wrecking plow.” This, in fact, essentially happened during the French Revolution. The church was gutted, the medieval guilds were destroyed, and the family was diluted. What became all-powerful was the state.

 

Why were so many individuals willing to make this trade? That’s simple enough. These other institutions, like the family and the church, demanded morality. The state doesn’t demand morality; it only demands subservience. Individuals were willing to give up political liberty in order to gain moral (=immoral) liberty. Or, more accurately, they were willing to enslave themselves to the state as long as they could emancipate themselves from moral standards. This has been the course of Leftism in the West. The state is the enforcer of the “oppression-liberation nexus.”[8] Your freedom to practice homosexuality is protected; your freedom to start a degree-granting Christian college is not protected. Your freedom to abort an unborn baby is protected; your freedom to pass on all your wealth to your heirs is not protected. Your freedom to produce and disseminate pornography is protected; your freedom as a pastor to endorse a Christian political candidate is not protected. Virtually any sort of sexual “preference” is permitted, just as long as you acquiesce to the state’s power.

 

This is Libertarian Marxism: it uses the state to get rid of all that is impeding sinful man from venting his basest instincts. Hierarchies keep those instincts in check. They have to go. The traditional authorities must be enslaved, literally or culturally: men, especially white men; fathers; clergy; business owners. They and their hierarchical authority put a crimp on us, particularly a crimp on our sexual desires. So, the authority of family and church and business must be diluted and undermined to provide individuals with maximum autonomy. This is the goal of Libertarian Marxism.

 

They undermine family authority by using the giant plow of the state to enforce abortion rights, allow quick and easy no-fault divorce, legalize same-sex “marriage.” They break the authority of the church by forbidding it to exclude from the clergy or membership people who violate the church’s beliefs, or even by imposing punishing zoning regulations. They dilute business authority by enacting excessive environmental regulations and imposing burdensome requirements for employees. In Libertarian Marxism, the state longs to assault all competitors to its own ubiquitous authority.

 

When we hear libertarianism, we think of freedom from the state. When we hear Libertarian Marxism, we should think of freedom from everything but the state. The state exists to hamper all other authorities that keep us from realizing our true dreams and desires. This is the leading social vision of our time.

 

And it also explains why pure libertarianism paves the way for statism: if you oppose the state but champion liberation from the non-coercively, God-ordained regulating institutions like the family and church, you’ll eventually need the state to coercively guarantee your freedom to live any way you want as long as you don’t hurt somebody else. This is how libertarian support for no-fault divorce, same-sex-marriage, pornography, hard drug legalization, and Ayn Rand’s “Objectivism” will come full circle to statism. Individual autonomy and state autonomy grow from the same liberty-crushing depraved root.

 

 

The Adversarial Intelligentsia

 

The Libertarian Marxists were led by thinkers. The Christian counterrevolution also needs a strong core of thinkers to combat the false, pervasive ideas of contemporary culture. Ideas have consequences, but only people communicate ideas. We Christian culturalists need what has been called an adversarial intelligentsia.[9] We need godly, courageous adversaries with nimble minds to refute the massive ideas eroding our culture. Ideas are important to everybody reading these lines, but some of you are gifted and called to be the adversarial intelligentsia, or to support them by your prayer and finances.

 

But everybody, from homeschool Mom to pastor, college student to professor, dishwasher to CEO, has a critical role to play.

 

We must labor by the Spirit’s power and the inspired Word of God to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and . . . take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Humanly speaking, the future rests with us.

 

Professing and practicing Biblical Faith, in all of its glorious and gracious hierarchies, is the revolutionary alternative to Libertarian Marxism.

 

And in the end, it — and it alone — will win.


[1] Isaiah Berlin, Karl MarxHis Life and Environment (New York: Time, 1963), 204.
[2] Interestingly, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn uses “libertarian” to describe the young Karl Marx, with whom what I term the Libertarian Marxists have special affinity. See his Leftism (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1974), 374.
[3] On Marxism as an ideology, see Sidney Hook, “Marxism,” in Dictionary of the History of Ideas, Philip P. Wiener, ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s, 1973), 3:146–161.
[4] See William R. Schroeder, Continental Philosophy — A Critical Approach (Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell, 2005), 76–92.
[5] Sidney Hook, “Marxism,” 3:158–161.
[6] I take this concept from Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time (Albany, New York: State University of New York, 1996), but of course my notion if thoroughly Christian.
[7] Sidney Hook, “Marxism,” 157.
[8] Kenneth Minogue. The Servile Mind (New York and London: Encounter Books), 2010, 296.
[9] John Fonte, “Antonio Gramsci and the Transformation of Institutions,” in Building a Healthy Culture, Don Eberly, ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), 211.
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Today’s Contest of Rival Religions 

Secularism is simply a temporary, transitional intellectual and cultural phase between the Christian Faith and neo-paganism, as Peter Jones has demonstrated. All of us are created in God’s image and therefore are at root religious beings. When we turn away from the triune God, we do not become irreligious; we eventually adopt another religion, even if under the guise of irreligion. There are no honest atheists. All of them embrace a covert, and apostate, religion.

 

The sheen of Enlightenment rationalism had already begun wearing off with the Romantic movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Romanticism in art, literature, and music championed the religious spirit in man without returning to a biblical faith. Even by then, secularism was no longer uncontested. Romanticism was, and is, a testimony that man cannot live without faith of some sort.

 

In the 20th century, the spectacular successes of science and technology (based originally, by the way, on Christian presuppositions) led many to believe that the brave new utopia would be a wonderland of secular science. The successes are real, but the prediction of a secular scientific utopia has been shown a cruel illusion. Science as a methodology is a success; science as a faith is a failure.

 

Religion, the heart-deep, basic impulse of humanity, always gets its revenge. Just as the ancient pagans turned away from the triune Creator God, so modern sophisticated secularists turn increasingly to neo-pagan spirituality, the New Age, and sex-god worship. They must have their faith.

 

The contest is never between faith and reason, but between rival faiths: those that worship and serve the Creator, and those that worship and serve the creation.

 

It’s Romans chapter 1 for 2017.

 

The solution to this conflict is not a return to the universal secular standards of Enlightenment reason; nor to a natural law that specifically excludes Jesus Christ under the naive hope that modern pagans will go along; nor a pre-60s restoration of conservative communities growing local fruits and vegetables, void of computers and iPhones, anathematizing technological progress.

 

The solution is what it always was: a return to the triune God.

 

If we are to be Christians, let us be Christians, and let us assert as clearly as possible that Jesus Christ is not merely the only way to heaven; he is also the only way to a peaceful, harmonious, law-abiding (though never sinless or problem-free) society.

 

Let us not be beguiled by the siren song of multiculturalism and assume that a mixture of (1) timid Christianity, slightly embarrassed by Jesus and God’s Word but indignant at the depravities of secularists and neo-pagans, and (2) 50s conservatism, with its alleged genteel manners and rural slowness, will produce a society safe for our children and grandchildren, all sweetness and light.

 

It will not. Jesus Christ is Lord of all things, and he will not bless any place, any culture that spurns his Lordship.

 

Our culture is to be Christian, or it is to be a disaster.

 

Pick one.

 

 

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The Ideological Roots of the Present Political Upheaval 

Over the last 300 years, three chief political ideologies have dominated Western societies. While they can coexist and have coexisted, they do not coexist peacefully, and each seeks dominance.

First, there is old-line, caste conservatism, including (sometimes) racial slavery. This version of conservatism is often, though not always, associated with monarchies: British, Spanish and French, for example. In the modern world, there are few old-line monarchies, but the ideology persists in strongmen political leaders; annoyance at negotiated politics; and tribal, identitarian social cohesiveness (for example, White Supremacy). It’s an attractive ideology to people weary (and wary) of rampant cosmopolitanism and the gradual erasure of national borders. It is a slander to consider most of these people racists, but they are much more committed to and interested in people who look and act like them than people who don’t.

Second, and more recently, radically individualistic progressivism, epitomized by Robespierre and Marx. This ideology is committed to social revolution and always (no exceptions) led by a politicized elite. It likes to play one economic class or one race or one sex off against another in order to create antagonism leading to perpetual social revolution. This assures that the elite will always be there to solve the social problem that they helped instigate. This view is rampant in the highest reaches of most Western universities, national governments, think tanks and, increasingly, big business. Unlike the other two ideologies, it tends almost always to be accompanied by an air of moral superiority: “You are venal and self-centered, but we are selfless and disinterested and know best how to run modern society.”

Finally, there’s the classical liberalism of many 16th-18th century Englishmen and the American founding. It began principally in England with Magna Carta and later flourished with Oliver Cromwell and the jurisdictional battles between parliament and the monarchy. It came to the fore at the founding of the United States. It was also heavily shaped by Protestantism, which stressed individual liberty within the rule of law. It strongly supports property rights, free-market economics, not only because this arrangement most fully eradicates poverty, but also because it protects human liberty and is a great check on political power. Classical liberalism has a distinct universalist streak. It is interested in God-given rights (like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) and responsibilities to everybody, not just people in our country or people who look and act like we do.

Classical liberalism sets itself apart from both the top-down political authority of caste conservatism as well as the radical egalitarianism championed by a politicized elite. It stresses trust in the triune God and, secondarily, in the character of the population to preserve liberty and, more formally, in constitutions and bills of rights and separation of powers. 

The preeminent weaknesses of classical liberalism are (1) that it depends on self-government, the character of the population, which is not naturally self-perpetuating, and (2) that it is vulnerable in the face of passionate, rousing, high-sounding appeals to social unity based on blood and soil (caste conservatism) as well as urges to radical social change (individualistic progressivism). Classical liberalism is a calm, reasoned ideology. When the other ideologies get the populace in a lather, the classical liberals are at a distinct disadvantage.

Unfortunately, the first two ideologies are working overtime to lather up our nation at this moment.

This is the main underlying source of the present social upheaval. 

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A Blunt Christian Statement on Racism 

Biblical Christians, of all people, should not avoid or tiptoe around the issue of race. Shout it from the housetop without fear or favor: racism is anti-Christian. White supremacy is evil. Leftist identitarianism is evil. The idea that whites are superior to blacks is evil. The idea that whites are “structurally” racist is evil. The defense of racial slavery by the South in the Civil War was evil. Using the history of racial slavery to attack whites, Asians, and Hispanics is evil. Nazi ideology is evil. Libertarian Marxist ideology is evil. 

For Christianity, this is what really matters: all races are created in the image of God; all races fell in Adam and Eve’s sin and are born into sin; and all races can and should be redeemed by the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

The church is a multinational, multiracial, multiethnic unity of the people of God swearing allegiance to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

The real difference in this world has nothing to do with race. It has to do with religion: Those who belong to Jesus Christ by faith versus those who have not trusted in Jesus Christ. 

The only color that fundamentally matters is not black or white or yellow or brown, but red: the shed blood of Jesus Christ and all washed from their sins in that atoning blood. 

Anything less than or different from this is contra-Christian. 

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The Christian Purification of Sex

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Long before our lifetime, the West gave up on Christianity, so even we Christians aren’t aware of the cultural capital we owe to Christianity. It’s not possible to conceive of the West without the influence of Christianity. Our civilization, though now secular and pagan, is unthinkable apart from Christianity.

 

Jesus Christ was born as a Jew into the Roman Empire. Israel was a satellite of Rome. It was governed locally by fellow Jews, but Rome pulled the strings. The Romans had supplanted the ancient Greek Empire, and Rome had assimilated many Greek ideas and practices. This is why we refer to the beginning of the classical world as Greco-Roman. This was the world within which Christianity emerged and which it finally vanquished. To grasp the legacy of Christianity, it’s useful to contrast the Christian ways with the Greco-Roman (and other pagan, non-Christian) ways. We therefore can ask what the world might look like today had Jesus Christ never been born, and had Christianity never emerged.[1]

Sexual license

An obvious example is the purification of sexuality. If you visited a home in the Greco-Roman world, you’d likely be stunned by least one factor: the depiction of raw sexual acts, including perversion, on everyday items like wall fixtures, oil lamps, vases, bowls, and cups. Pornography was routine and ubiquitous. There’s a very good, harrowing, explanation for this pervasive pornography. Marriage and sexual fidelity were looked on with derision and disgust. Sexual fidelity in marriage was a rarity. Sadism, masochism, and sexual orgies were common. Common bathhouses were magnets for heterosexual fornication. The emperor Caligula had people tortured during his sexual acts. The Romans were open about their sexual acts with children, even small children, who observed them or observed the acts depicted on common household items. Women were no less licentious than men, and many worked themselves sexual frenzy when they observed licentious acts.

Perversion

Both the Greeks and Romans were notoriously homosexual, and a great deal of homosexuality was pederasty and pedophilia. Roman emperors like Tiberius (emperor when our Lord was crucified), Nero, and Galba set the abominable standard for elite society and then the commoners. They would have at least one or two beautiful boys for their sexual pleasure.

 

To heterosexual fornication and homosexuality were added lesbianism and bestiality, also widely practiced among the ancient Greek and Romans. The description of these acts in the classical world is so coarse that it wouldn’t be appropriate to enumerate it publicly. Likely as evil as the acts themselves is the fact that there’s no indication of any remorse or repentance for these depravities. As Paul said in Romans 1, not only did the pagans commit these acts, but they happily approved those who committed them (v. 31).

The Christian view of sex

The Christian approach to human sexuality was decisively different. The sexual act is a beautiful gift from God to be reserved in marriage between a man and woman. Intercourse is designed for both delight and procreation within the divine ordinance of marriage. Interestingly, it was Christianity that introduced the now widespread notion of sexual privacy. Sexual intercourse is a private, not a public, act.

 

It should come as no surprise that the ancient Romans deplored the Christians precisely because Christians opposed and exposed sexual immorality. Rome was filled with sexual darkness, and Christians shined the light of sexual purity on their evil. By the way, the same thing is happening today when we for stand up for sexual morality. Secularists reverting to paganism mock us and shout us down and even expose us to legal action because we advocate God’s sexual standards. Licentiousness is their idol, and we’re the iconoclasts, and they’re furious with us.

 

Of this we can be certain: the decency and propriety and privacy toward sexuality that has marked the Western world at most times was the gift of Christianity. Had Christianity never appeared, the unbridled sexual license of the Greco-Roman world would likely have continued unabated.

 

And the loss of sexual and propriety and unbridled sexual license signals a reversion to paganism.

 


 

[1] I am greatly indebted to Alvin J. Schmidt, Under the Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001).
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