Accusations of cultural Marxism have become a signal of ideological rejection, but on exactly what basis are these accusations made or the rejections they imply meaningful?
In order to understand the fallacious thinking that goes into dismissing ideas as cultural Marxism, I think it would benefit to work from an example, so I will use the one I see the most often.
“Political correctness is cultural Marxism.”
Let us begin by defining political correctness, or at least define what it seems to me what is intended to be conveyed in such a statement. Political correctness is a socially enforced expectation that we self-censor, or have censored for us, ideas and speech that target, alienate, dehumanize or dismiss the issues of those historically and presently oppressed by social, economic and political institutions – or at least appear to be, to some segment of people.
This would include jokes about race, gender, sexuality or victimization and violence. The implication by opponents of political correctness being that these topics fall under the rubric of free speech and should not be censored by the self or others. Yet even viewed as a violation of free speech, would that violation be as damaging to individuals as the violations of prejudice, bigotry and hate are to their victims? Obviously some people think so.
I would like to state plainly here that I wholeheartedly reject institutionalized censorship, but maintaining the self-discipline to not be an eager emotional aggressor is probably a virtue worth maintaining, even if only because it seems to me that you sort of get back what you put out into the apparent world.
Now lets break down ‘cultural Marxism’.
So far as what kind of speech a society finds damaging to its more progressive of values, Marx didn’t have much to say. The labor theory of value and predictions about how industrial societies will likely evolve have little to do with suggesting that your pet rape joke is past its ethical prime. So political correctness itself can hardly be called Marxist.
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