Mr. Kalsbeek is a teacher in Covenant Christian High School and an elder in Hope Protestant Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Previous article in this series: March 1, 2009, p. 258.
(In our previous article on political correctness we answered the questions: What is it? and Where did it come from? We now move on to the questions: How is it being promoted? What are its consequences? and Why should modern-day Issachar be concerned?)
How is it being promoted?
Make love not war!” That would be the way to accomplish the cultural revolution of Lukacs, Gramsci, Adorno, Marcuse, and company. Not only does this revolution slogan implement the negative, anti-establishment theme of the revolution as set forth in the Frankfurt School’s ideology of “Critical Theory,” it also embodies that which they believed would serve most to destroy the West: sex! “Free sex” they believed, more than anything else would lead to the destruction of the family. Just as Lukacs had promoted sex education in the Hungarian schools, so too it would be promoted in the American schools.
The cultural Marxists saw that the American public schools could be used in many ways to serve the advancement of their revolution. William Ayers put it this way, “Education is the motor-force of revolution.”1 (This is the same Ayers, by the way, with whom our President worked in the 1990s to promote “school-reform projects” in Chicago.) Consequently the cultural Marxists worked hard to promote their ideas in the public schools. A tribute to their success is the promotion of “values clarification,” which teaches students to cast off their parents’ values and make their own choices. While other of their successes could be noted, we mention one currently being tried in Wisconsin.
“Rethinking Schools” is a Milwaukee-based organization that publishes instructional materials to assist teachers how to “weave social justice issues throughout the curriculum.” Lessons include “Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers” and “Reading, Writing and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word.”2
To further accomplish the destruction of the family “the Frankfurt school advocated the alternatives of matriarchy, where the mother rules the roost, and ‘androgyny theory,’ where male and female family roles are made interchangeable, and even reversed. Female boxing, women in combat, women rabbis and bishops, God as she,…films that depict women as tough and aggressive and men as sensitive and vulnerable….”3 All of which to the casual observer has been accomplished with alarming success, primarily by means of the various forms of the media that bombard us and our children on a daily basis.
Also successful has been the promotion of the political correctness agenda in the colleges and universities. Many of the student promoters of the “counter culture” in the 1960s are now (or have been) the administrators and professors of those same institutions. Little wonder, then, that these institutions serve as significant conveyers of the cultural revolution. One way they are accomplishing this is by promoting their goal of destroying the liberal arts tradition that has helped create and sustain Western civilization. T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr. writes about this:
The proponents of Political Correctness have concentrated their efforts on the core of a liberal education, the curriculum. Their efforts will radically alter what new generations of Americans will learn. In this battle the handmaiden of Political Correctness has been the “multicultural” movement. A number of critics have rightly pointed out that multiculturalism is more than an argument for courses that concentrate on groups that at one time were disadvantaged or oppressed. Rather, multiculturalism involves the systematic restructuring of the curriculum so as to hinder students from learning about the Western tradition. Since the ulterior motive behind Political Correctness is an attempt to restructure American society along egalitarian lines, it is imperative for its proponents to instill in the minds of students a thoroughgoing cultural relativism.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Politically Correct assault on the curriculum is that it has occurred at many of America’s elite universities.4
Cribb then goes on to reveal what this means. For example, at Stanford University the long-standing Western civilization course requirement was replaced in 1988 with a multicultural program known as “Cultures, Ideas, and Values.” Also, students at Stanford, like students at all but one of the 50 top universities in the United States, are not required to take a single course in history. And because elite institutions such as Stanford set the standard for the rest of American higher education, others have adopted similar programs.
Deconstruction is another way the cultural revolution is being promoted on the college campuses. Deconstruction is just another way of applying the Frankfurt School’s “Critical Theory” of continuously finding fault with Western ideas and institutions.
One might ask, “Can we really attribute all this chaos in the West to Lukacs, Gramsci, Adorno, Marcuse?” Patrick Buchanan’s answer is, “Probably not, but they did devise the strategy and the tactics of a successful Marxist revolution in the West, and the culture they set out to destroy is no longer the dominant culture in America and the West. They began their lives as outcasts and may end on the winning side of history.”5
What are its consequences?
While much more could be said about how the counter culture and its ideology of political correctness is being promoted in the West, we must move on to its consequences. Ideas do have consequences! Here too we will not be exhaustive. Rather, we simply present a few examples and leave the reader to fill in the blanks.
Phyllis Schlafly would say that one consequence is seen in the 2008 election and the fact that 32% of 18 to 29 year-old evangelicals voted for Obama, while only half that percentage voted for John Kerry in 2004. The reason many of them gave for putting the moral issues of life and marriage on the back burner and voting for Obama was that he stood forsocial justice. In today’s world it is politically correct to be in favor of social justice, which is simply left-wing jargon for the overthrow of those who have economic and political power. Schlafly attributes this to “attitudes and decision-making they learned in the public schools, which 89 percent of U.S. students attend.”6 Whether or not Schlafly is entirely on target is open for debate, but it cannot be doubted that these ideas are being promoted in the public schools with apparent effect.
Another consequence of political correctness is that it places restrictions on what may be expressed in our society. Supposedly we have the right of “free speech.” However, that right is more and more restricted, as the sad case of John Rocker illustrates. Sports enthusiasts recognize Rocker as a former pitcher of the Atlanta Braves. (That they still have the politically incorrect name Braves is a bit of a surprise.) In the year 2000 Rocker came under fire for some of his comments in an interview with a reporter:
New York City is “the most hectic, nerve-racking city,” Rocker complained. “Imagine having to take the (Number) 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re (riding through) Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.” Rocker also complained about the preponderance of “foreigners” in New York, and the fact that a visitor “can walk an entire block in Times Square” without hearing the English language being spoken.7
Whether one agrees with Rocker’s assessment of New York City is not the point here. What is the point is the vehement response to Rocker’s remarks. The then-president Clinton even weighed in: “…these bigoted remarks were outrageous and unacceptable and send a terrible message to our kids…. He (Rocker) should be appropriately sanctioned.” And sanctioned he was. Whether “appropriately” is still in doubt. However, “appropriate sanction” for Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig meant that Rocker needed to undergo psychological testing. The New York Times suggested that the testing was done to give Rocker a chance to prove he was not off his rocker, though they said it in more politically correct terms. The Times said the test was to give Rocker a “chance to prove that, despite the inflammatory remarks…he is a rational person.”
Additionally, as one might expect, the political correct movement has resulted in numerous methods of indoctrination and the application of speech codes on those who attend the colleges and universities. For more on this, review a previous article written by the undersigned: “Standing in the Shadow of Dawkins” (Vol. 84, p. 250).
The political correctness movement’s feminist attacks on home and family also have borne bitter fruit. Its themes of children being a burden, marriage as old-fashioned, and dads as unnecessary have wreaked havoc in the home and nation. As Buchanan aptly expresses it:
Millions of Western Women now share the feminists’ hostility to marriage and motherhood. Millions have adopted the movement’s agenda and have no intention of getting married and no desire to have children. Their embrace of Marcuse’s Pleasure Principle, their tours of duty in the sexual revolution, mean marriages put off. And as our divorce and birthrates show, even the marriages entered into are less stable and less fruitful. In the depopulating nations of Europe, even in the old Catholic countries, use of contraceptives is almost universal. Contraception, sterilization, abortion, and euthanasia are the four horsemen of the “culture of death….” The pill and condom have become the hammer and sickle of the cultural revolution.8
The statistics are in. These ideas also have contributed to a depopulation of Europe. At present birthrates without new immigration, Europe’s population will plummet from 728 million in 2000 to 600 million in 2050. The average fertility rate of European women has fallen to 1.4 children, with 2.1 needed just to replace the existing population.
Neither is America off the hook. 30 percent of all U.S. pregnancies now end in the abortionist’s clinic. This, combined with the use of contraceptives, has resulted in a significant drop in American birthrates from the 1960s to the present. Furthermore, we have seen a “1000 percent increase in the number of unmarried couples living together in the United States, from 523,000 in 1970 to 5.5 million today.”9 It would appear America is fast following in the footsteps of her mother countries in Europe.
A final consequence of political correctness that we will examine briefly is a result of its multicultural tenet, which denounces as “racist” the criticism of any culture other than our own. This hands-off policy has closed the door to honest critical examination of the beliefs and practices of those who hold to and promote Islam. We have on the one hand promoters of Islam who say, “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to be dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.10 And, on the other hand, we have a politically correct ideology that makes it impossible to examine the spread of these ideas in America without being labeled “Islamophobe.” In this environment the door is wide open to what Robert Spencer calls “stealth jihad.” In his book with that title Spencer writes:
The West today faces the threat of stealth jihadists. By using this term, I am not implying that they operate in secret; to the contrary, one of the key characteristics distinguishing them from their violent counterparts is that they carry out their business openly, carefully constructing a faÃ§ade of moderation. What is stealth about these operatives is their ultimate agenda—they are not seeking to protect Muslims’ “civil rights” from the rampant “Islamophobia” that ostensibly plagues Western societies, as they claim. Rather, they are leading a full-scale effort to transform pluralistic societies into Islamic states, and to sweep away Western notions of legal equality, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and more.’11
Consequently, the United States, in the name of multiculturalism, is unable to do polemical battle with an ideology that is presently working in America to destroy it.
Why should Issachar care?
While these and other consequences of political correctness are reason for concern, those whose desire it is to be “understanding of the times” also have a concern for how these ideas affect the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Modern-day Issachar recognizes that throughout history, according to the council of God, nations rise and fall. This will continue until our Lord returns. Nevertheless, it is imperative to consider how best to respond to these developments such that His cause is furthered.
There is a warning here that the church and her offspring not fall into the same politically-correct ideas of the society in which she resides. Some self-examination might be in order: to what degree have the politically-correct viewpoints of tolerance, diversity, multiculturalism, and feminism influenced us? Are we willing to sacrifice much of what this world has to offer for the bringing forth, and the godly rearing, of the covenant seed? Do we dare speak out in response to political correctness in a way that may well result in being labeled “racist,” “homophobe,” “Islamophobe,” “bigot,” etc.?
Furthermore, knowledge of what is being promoted in our society under the banner of godless political correctness, alerts modern-day Issachar to how vulnerable her offspring is to these ideas. William Lind, director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation, provides excellent food for thought as well as action by informing us that:
The entertainment industry…has wholly absorbed the ideology of cultural Marxism and preaches it endlessly not just in sermons but in parables: strong women beating up weak men, children wiser than their parents, corrupt clergymen thwarted by carping drifters, upper-class blacks confronting the violence of lower-class whites, manly homosexuals who lead normal lives. It is all fable, an inversion of reality, but the entertainment media make it seem real, more so than the world that lies beyond the front door.12
Back in 1987 University of Chicago professor Allen Bloom wrote The Closing of the American Mind, in which he bemoaned that “American high school graduates are among the sensitive illiterates in the world.” Thanks in part to the ideas of Lukacs, Gramsci, Adorno, and Marcuse they are that. God grant that Issachar’s graduates may be those whose minds are open to the truth and thereby “understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”
1 Phyllis Schlafly, “Public Schools Change Young Evangelicals’ Values,” http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?print=yes&id=30090, p. 1. destroy
2 Schlafly, 2.
3 Patrick J. Buchanan, The Death of the West (St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, 2002), p. 5.
4 T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr. “Political Correctness in Higher Education.” Political Correctness: A Short History of an Ideology. Ed. William S. Lind (Free Congress Foundation, November, 2004), p. 3.
5 Buchanan, 92.
6 Schlafly, 1.
7 William Norman Grigg, “Off His Rocker,” The New American 14 February, 2000:21.
8 Buchanan, 88.
9 Buchanan, 42.
10 Art Moore, “Did CAIR founder say Islam to rule in America?,” WorldNet Daily, December 11, 2006.
11 Robert Spencer, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam Is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs (Regnery Publishing, Inc. One Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC, 2008), 6.
12 William Lind, “Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop Out: A Cultural Conservative’s Strategy for the 21st Century,” Against the Grain, Free Congress Foundation, Washington, D. C., 1998.