Cultural and political ideologies have historical records which can be traced back to origins. For evangelical Christians, the origins as well as contemporary manifestations of these ideologies can be examined relative to adherence to or divergence from the Biblical record.
The term “progressive” refers to the current operating ideology of the Democrat party. Following WWII, “liberal” was one of the terms used to characterize the party’s ideology, but with the formation of the New Left in the late 1950s into the 1960s, the ideology of Cultural Marxism was introduced, and by the time of the 1972 presidential election, the New Left had taken control of the party, with the old-style liberals becoming increasingly replaced with those supporting more radical ideology; by the late 1980s, the term “political correctness” began to be used to characterize policies supported by the at party. Fast forward to today, and the Democrat party is completely controlled by this ideology, and the term “progressive” is the operative label.
It should be noted that this is at least the second time that the Democrat party has been associated with the term “progressive”. The earlier paleo-progressive movement of the late 1800s until the time of the FDR presidency in the 1930s increasingly found its home in the Democrat party. In that era, “progressive” meant progressing in Darwinian fashion from a national ideology based on outdated theistic religion to one essentially worshiping the state. However current progressivism is much more closely related to Cultural Marxism and its major tool of cultural warfare “political correctness” (note: the degree of “correctness” on any issue is the degree of conformity to Marxist ideology.) Thus in order to properly “source” current progressivism that some evangelicals support, we must look at the founding ideas of Cultural Marxism.
The Origins of Contemporary Progressivism
For the evangelical progressive, the reconciliation with the Biblical record presents a daunting task. The ideology was essentially imported from European thought: paleo-progressives had Bismarck, Nietzsche and Mussolini, socialists had Marx and Hegel, the communists in their midst adding Lenin and the Bolsheviks, and Cultural Marxists had Gramsci and the Frankfurt School, including Lukacs, Reich, Adorno, and most importantly Marcuse. With today’s progressivism in the US dominated by Cultural Marxism, it seems apparent that Gramsci’s “long march through the culture” is now about to be completed, and cast in legal concrete.
On the eve of the legal takeover of the cultural and political landscape by Cultural Marxism, it would seem prudent for evangelical progressives to understand that essentially no alignment can be drawn between the founding ideas of this ideology and the Biblical record. For example, take these two quotes from Cultural Marxist Antonio Gramsci after WWI:
“For though Christianity appeared on the surface to be strong, it had for some time been debilitated by unceasing attacks against the failing remnant of Christianity. … Marxists must change the residually Christian mind… so that it would become not merely a non-Christian mind but an anti-Christian mind.”
“Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity. … In the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society.”
Is there Biblical basis supporting these founding ideals of progressivism? Of course not.
Or what about Hungarian Georg Lukacs (who joined the Frankfurt School in the mid 1920s after the Hungarian Bolshevik regime fell:
“The question is, who will free us from the yoke of Western Civilization?”
“Any political movement capable of bringing Bolshevism to the West would have to be ‘Demonic’.”
Biblical support? Hardly.
How about Frankfurt School luminary Herbert Marcuse (taken from Paul Kengor’s 2015 book: “Takedown – From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage”):
Marcuse proposed sexual liberation through the cultivation of “polymorphous perverse” sexuality (which includes oral, anal and genital eroticism) that eschews a narrow focus on genital heterosexual intercourse. Marcuse believed that sexual liberation was achieved by exploring new permutations of sexual desires, sexual activities, and gender rules – what Freud called “perverse” sexual desires, that is, all non-reproductive forms of sexual behavior, of which kissing, oral sex, and anal sex are familiar examples.
Marcuse himself was heterosexual, but he identified the homosexual as the radical standard bearer of sex for the sake of pleasure…..Marcuse, like other leading theorists of sexuality, such as Freud and Wilhelm Reich, argued that homosexuality was a form of sexuality of which everyone was capable – that in fact, everyone was fundamentally bisexual…
Marcuse heralded what he called “liberating tolerance,” or “repressive tolerance.” The Frankfurt School neo-Marxist urged “intolerance of movements from the Right and tolerance of movements from the Left.”
Are there Bible verses supporting any of Marcuse’s ideas as stated above? No.
Then there’s Kate Millet, famous for the slogan: “Smash monogamy”! The following litany is from a 1969 “T” group (also from Kengor’s book):
“Why are we here today?” she asked.
“To make revolution” they answered.
“What kind of revolution?” she replied.
“The Cultural Revolution”, they chanted.
“And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” She demanded.
“By destroying the American family” they answered.
“How do we destroy the family?” She came back.
“By destroying the American Patriarch” they cried exuberantly.
“And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she replied.
“By taking away his power”
“How do we do that?”
“By destroying monogamy” they shouted.
“How can we destroy monogamy?”
“By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexuality” they resounded.
Mallory Millett—sister of Kate, and NOT a Marxist — comments:
I’ve known women who fell for this creed in their youth who now, in their fifties and sixties, cry themselves to sleep decades of countless nights grieving for the children they’ll never have and the ones they coldly murdered because they were protecting the empty loveless future they now live with no way of going back. “Where are my children? Where are my grandchildren?” they cry to me.
Is there a Biblical basis for the litany above? Well, it seems to be a perverse remake of a Christian litany, so of course not.
This could go on and on (see some more “founders” quotes here), with Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, etc., plus the humanities faculty on most US campuses; always the question: Biblical basis? None. Yet these quotes contain some of the foundational concepts underlying today’s progressivism.
Democrats and the Transgender Bathroom Bill
Here’s an example of the Democrat party being 100% committed to Cultural Marxism: the recent Transgender “Bathroom Bill” in Massachusetts. ALL Democrats in the legislature voted for it, and this same party denied all proposed amendments which might have provided at least band-aid protection for women and children against sexual predators entering Women’s rooms or showers. As of October 1, 2016, if your wife or daughter sees a man exiting the Women’s room in your church (during a spaghetti supper) as she is about to enter, and says in a strident fashion, “What are YOU doing there?”, she is liable for a $50,000 fine and/or a year in prison, not to mention attorney fees. Is there a Biblical reference supporting that law? If one is a true Democrat, you have to either agree with that law, or have actively done SOMETHING to oppose it, correct? To be silent is to agree.
And what about the insanity of 3rd-wave Feminism? The fluidity of gender? Yet homosexuality is biologically determined? Which is it? Fluid or fixed? Biblical references? In fact, scientific references? It’s unbelievable that such utter nonsense both logically and scientifically has been codified into law. Further, you find similar results, no matter where you turn in Cultural Marxism: marriage, family, LGBTQ issues, Feminism, Islam issues, multiculturalism, diversity: a lack of Biblical support.
Progressivism in Higher Education
In addition to founding ideas and contemporary political thrusts such as the Bathroom Bill, another area to look for Biblical support is in the suppression of free speech on college and university campuses. The application of Marcusian “tolerance/intolerance” is widespread; speakers with non-Marxist viewpoints are boycotted, shouted down and otherwise intimidated. Their ideas are forbidden from expression at every level in a totalitarian manner. If someone within the community happens to express disagreement with a protected idea, there are DEMANDS for the silencing, disciplining or termination of that faculty or student. Any contrary expression is labeled as “hate speech” or worse, with trigger warnings, safe spaces and similar to protect the students from being exposed to points of view that they don’t wish to hear. The Bible actually urges believers to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), and not failing to do that which is good (James 4:17); that verse implies that remaining silent in the face of evil is a sin.
In summary, to be a progressive (i.e., Democrat) today is to be a believer in or (at least) a supporter of Cultural Marxism. In either case the progressive must own the ideas of the founding fathers and mothers of this ideology. Christians need to map what these founders wrote and said with possible accompanying scripture references which support the ideology. As already stated, this will be difficult, since the number one priority of Cultural Marxism has been to destroy Judeo-Christianity and the traditional family.
Back in the 1950s during the McCarthy era, communist supporters were divided into three tiers: (1) card-carrying party members, (2) fellow-travelers, and (3) compliant followers. In today’s progressivism, #1 includes the George Soros’s and other trans-national progressive elites, #2 includes many faculty members in universities, along with human resource managers in business, and a majority of the news media and entertainment complex; also, managers in various governmental agencies and probably at least half of the judiciary, all of who are helping to implement the progressive policies developed by the elites.
For tier #3, I see a couple categories, although there are probably more: (3a) low-information people (such as university students), easily swayed by the incredibly sophisticated propaganda from tiers #1 and #2; and also (3b) politicians and people of all walks of life who “go along to get along” – they just don’t want to be boycotted or called “homophobic”, “Islamophobic”, “misogynist” or “racist”. The second group must of necessity deal with “double think”; they can’t let the powers that be (i.e., the #1’s and #2’s) know they actually don’t buy in. One note about the low-information people: while they are deceived, many are well meaning and have the best interests of the culture at heart.
In all the above, I don’t deny that some policies from the non-progressive side are not good for the country. For example there have to be controls on capitalism, undoubtedly more than some on the Right would like. On the other hand, the Republican side gets into trouble when they adopt clearly progressive ideas in order to be “bi-partisan.” The progressives seem never to do the same. As Michael Walsh says in “The Devil’s Pleasure Palace”, the “Unholy Left” — “a term unapologetically both descriptive and judgmental”– is always on the attack; the Right always on the defensive.
Consider the following conclusion to a Gad Saad interview of University of Ottawa anti-Feminist professor Janice Fiamengo. And here’s a lament about political correctness – i.e., Cultural Marxism — from a University of Toronto Psychology professor, Jordan Peterson. Note that this professor is not a “right-winger”. In this video he deals among other things with the Ontario Human “Rights” Commission bill C-16, which basically codifies coercive obedience to transgender and similar anti-discrimination guidelines, forcing you not only in what you can’t say, but also what you must say. (The Massachusetts transgender Bathroom bill is a first step in that direction.) Gad Saad also interviews professor Peterson in a highly informative hour-long session, analyzing the political landscape from far Left to alt-Right in quantitative psychological terms, focusing on objective truth. If you lean in a progressive direction, you HAVE to expose yourself to what the professor has to say!!
Our culture is sliding into further chaos as the Cultural Marxist project nears completion of the long march into totalitarian control, and as Janice Fiamengo responded when asked if political correctness was going to “autocorrect”, she said “No, I think we are doomed”. Mr. Saad agreed, and went on to predict that there is going to be pushback which will result in “…a repeat of the violence and chaos of Beirut and Sarajevo EVERYWHERE!” (Gad Saad is Lebanese.)
The point of this essay is of course to demonstrate that properly understood, political and cultural progressivism is unsupported by the Biblical record. And further, that political (i.e., Cultural Marxist politics) correctness is evil. Evil, because its goal is to use propaganda (to gain and retain adherents) and coercion (to nullify opposition) to achieve the anti-Christian and anti-family goals of Cultural Marxism. That’s not to say that some aspects of the political correctness implementation may appear on the surface to be beneficial or at least benign. Yet those aspects which ARE truly beneficial would also result from Christianity.
Consider a simple example: both political correctness and Christianity state that people should be kind to overweight people. If you think of a Venn diagram, the “be nice” sector overlaps between the two ideologies. But the Marxism-only sector corrupts the mutual overlap, while the Christian-only redeems it. It is past time to dispense with the euphemistic terms “politically correct” and “politically incorrect” and use the more honest “Marxist” and “Anti-Marxist”. More complex but similar reasoning can be found in issues dealing with the poor, not to mention various gender issues; the solutions must adopt the Christian approach and reject Marxism.
In conclusion, the search for the source of contemporary progressivism yields uniformly evil and destructive ideology and objectives, principle among them being the intentional destruction of Judeo-Christianity and the traditional (and Biblical) family.
For further reading:
Paul Kengor traces the roots of the anti-family movement through the sordid history of socialists and communism
In The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, Michael Walsh looks at the ways that the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory took root in America and, once established and gestated, has affected nearly every aspect of American life and society – and what can be done to stop it.
This very comprehensive book unveils the great degree of Communist infiltration into the US government before, during and after World War II. Much of this aspect of the history of that era has needed to be rewritten due to the great body of new information obtained by the opening of the KGB files (and some of the similar US files) during the Yeltsin regime in the early 1990’s. Diana West’s haunting question is, “Who really won WWII?” The resounding answer appears to be the Left.
This very extensive expose of the Fascist nature of modern progressivism traces the origins of this ideology from Rousseau and Robespierre through Mussolini, Roosevelt, Wilson, Hitler, Lenin and Stalin up to the present. Throughout the strains of Fascism, there is always an attempt to replace worship of God with worship of the state. A book full of detailed background information.