My earlier critique of Marxism, Communism and Leftism was based on my own layman understanding of the movement and its effects. Then I learned from a Youtube video with Catholic author Noelle Mering that Georg W. Hegel’s philosophical dialectic was a major factor in its development. This made me think, maybe a critique based on the philosophical roots of Marxist beliefs can lead to a more convincing argument. The information I present is not meant to be exhaustive; it is based on what I have learned on the topic so far.
I would explain Hegel’s dialectic as a process where two contradicting ideas, the thesis and antithesis, lock in conflict. Once the conflict is settled, the synthesis is left. This idea becomes applied to society by humans. Then this idea becomes a thesis, encounters an antithesis, and another synthesis is developed. And it goes on and on. Hegel said that this is the way the history of humanity always worked, following a defined path.
Karl Marx believed that the material world itself, and not ideas, goes through the dialectic. Since Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was fresh at the time, Marx applied the dialectic to it: species or traits of species clash, then the synthesis will be a new species or genus or whatever. Applying it to humans, he said that people and societies conflict, then they will come up with the synthesis of a perfect society. Unlike Hegel, Marx marked an end to the dialectic process.
In my own analogy, dialectic would be like two friends having different opinions. Instead of agreeing to disagree on different opinions, dialectic requires that they debate, argue or even fight it out. After the fight, they are expected to end up agreeing on a new idea, or at least the same idea. So, in essence, dialectic requires people to end up being the same, or else, they should be made to fight to force them to be in agreement later.
Marx also saw human society and relationships as defined only by the concept of oppressor and oppressed, and he attached this to his dialectic. And his ideology was born: oppression by capitalism was the thesis, a violent rebellion by the oppressed was the antithesis, and a utopia with communism was the synthesis, the end to the process (communism was likely influenced by the myth of the noble savage, as Marx observed primitive tribes practicing communal property). But he believed that conflict was needed until communism was finally achieved. If there was no conflict, you should start one to speed up getting to the synthesis.
So Marx died, as did Communist Manifesto co-writer Friedrich Engels. Things like the Russian Revolution and the World Wars passed by.
If we subject Marxism itself to the dialectic process:
Thesis – Capitalism, Western culture are evil, we must abolish or remove them
Antithesis – Resort to violence; try to apply communism
Synthesis – Communism leads to death and failure; is beaten back or reduced by its practitioners; Soviet Union collapse; capitalism and Western values are still around, as they helped make the world prosperous; private property is still desired; pushback against Neo-Marxism is happening
As Youtuber Ryan Chapman describes, Marx’s students were wondering why communism was not yet ruling the world. So they established the Frankfurt School to discuss this. They probably thought, if it won’t happen naturally, let’s give it a boost. Freudian ideas were incorporated. Some of them, like Herbert Marcuse and Antonio Gramsci (although Gramsci was not part of the Frankfurt School but worked in parallel), said that violence wasn’t working; instead, sneak in Marxist ideas into culture, including popular culture. Instead of using the proletariat, they will use the intellectuals to spread ideas of revolution. This was Cultural Marxism.
Frankfurt School ideas also found their way into the movements, namely the New Left, that came up during the Civil Rights movement and others in the 1960s. The New Left tried to hide its Marxist connections, but the basic premise of overthrow was still there. Also, scholar Helen Pluckrose says that the Left were actually in a schism at this point. Against the New Left were what could be called the Liberal Left or, as I will call them, the Real Left. The latter objected to the radical approaches of the New Left, including critical theory (Max Horkheimer), critical race theory (Richard Delgado, Kimberlé Crenshaw, et al), postmodernism, identity politics, social justice and other such ideas. The Real Left, among which I will include Martin Luther King Jr., are the ones who deserve more credit for successes in Civil Rights. Even today, they are still at odds with the New Left or Neo-Marxists.
The Neo-Marxists didn’t like the peaceful method. It was not according to what Marx originally envisioned, according to them at least. Some of them formed the Weather Underground and resorted to terrorism, but that failed. They had to find another way to start a revolution. All they needed was to redefine oppressed and oppressor by substituting the bougeoisie and proletariat with other groups.
Then in the 2010s, the word “woke” became popular, which black Americans used in referring to themselves as aware of social issues and problems (but never really solving them the right way). And so “woke” became the term for anyone who says they’re aware of anyone who’s oppressed and is fighting the oppressor. But they are also carrying on the radical Neo-Marxist ideals of overthrow. (for the rest of this article, Marxism and Marxists will just refer to the Neo-Marxists, not the Real Left)
The Road to Woke
In popular culture, many people have noticed how today’s TV shows and movies seem to cater to the woke agenda. Not only are there moves to have more LGBT characters, but also moves to rewrite established characters as LGBT. In some cases, if they are men, to change them into women. There is also a rash of overly strong women with badly written character and not much of a good story, like Rey from the recent Star Wars movies. In my article about Simon Webb, he talked about the move to rewrite not only TV characters as black, but rewrite black people into British history (for example, there was a Roman black army in England, black people invented the Internet, etc.).
And here’s something else. Shadiversity and the rest of the Knights Watch say that Disney today has a grooming agenda. Grooming means making little children more amenable to sexual relationships, gay or otherwise. Yes, pedophilia in short. This explains the LGBT characters in Buzz Lightyear and other recent productions. Outside of Disney, drag queens are holding story hour in children’s libraries. I wonder if Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein would consider them allies.
These are all part of Antonio Gramsci’s development of Marxism subverting the existing culture. He concluded that the family was one of the foundations of society and an obstacle to Marxist ideals, so it needed to be brought down. If you’ve heard of “smashing the patriarchy,” it comes from Gramsci’s plan to bring down the family. To make this happen, Gramsci encouraged infiltrating the church, mass media and other institutions aside from the academe to make this happen. Other notable figures who promoted Marxism in education were Hungarian Gyorgy Lukacs and Brazilian Paulo Freire.
So they went to work. For women, feminist activists such as Ti-Grace Atkinson said men are the enemy of women; thus the effort in movies and TV to make forceful heroines, no matter how badly written (in addition to more toxic women being around these days). Black activists like Stokely Carmichael believed in black power (which means blacks also practice racism), making whites the enemy; this contributed to critical race theory later on. Some LGBTs claim that seeing the normal straight orientation in others makes them feel oppressed. There is also the case of transgender people in sports, who when asked if they changed gender so they can win more easily in another arena, the asker will be labeled a bigot.
And there are the narcissists, the “influencers” on Facebook, Youtube and Tiktok doing ridiculous stuff for “likes.” Some Tiktokers fake disorders such as Tourette’s, probably pretending to commiserate with actual patients but they actually elicit cringes. But when you point this out to them, they get triggered and they lash at you, calling you “bigots” or “oppressors.” At times they will posture themselves as “social justice warriors.” They will defend the abovementioned trends in entertainment and society, including grooming, saying these are in support of “oppressed” groups. If angered enough, they try to “cancel” you, meaning, trying to shut you down and prevent you from being able to air your views.
They are the latest victims of Marxist manipulation happening in schools. They are taught that their own lived experience can become the truth, overcoming even objective truth. So when they are faced with an objective truth, they are encouraged to oppose it. For example, if one of them says their lived experience is 2 + 2 = 5, don’t try to correct them with 2 + 2 = 4, or you will be called a bigot. Narcissism is also a product of this “lived experience” doctrine. Their lived experience is “I am beautiful, and you should call me such too.” If you refuse, they’ll try to cancel you or pretend to be the victim to make you into the oppressor.
They are being made into the western equivalent of Mao-era China’s Red Guard. The Red Guard was made up of young Chinese people who would rat on their parents, elders, teachers and others who were not yet doing the Marxist way. They would also destroy statues and other structures that were of the older Chinese culture. The wokes today are also destroying statues. If their parents don’t support critical race theory, transsexualism, lived experience or other Neo-Marxist creations, they turn against the parents.
These young wokes are also being hoodwinked into being the warm (then later, cold) bodies for a revolution. I believe this was tried during the riots following George Floyd’s death in 2020, but they failed. But for other wokes, I think the toxicity from all of this is backfiring on them and they are suffering mental breakdowns (so while some wokes fake disorders, others are really suffering them). They might be immobilized by depression before they could ever participate in revolutions. I also think indoctrinators had been targeting those with mental conditions as these are more susceptible to manipulation.
Marxism and Critical Theory
Critical theory and critical race theory are offshoots of Marxism that trace their origins to the 1980s. They are not based on critical thinking at all, but on on “criticizing,” or in other words, looking for something wrong in anything. Critical theory is the tool to find another definition of oppressed and oppressor. Critical race theory was the branch that settled on race. By raising “racial consciousness,” it tries to keep racial tension alive in order to keep the oppression narrative alive for revolution. It says racism is built into any society so anti-discrimination measures and attitudes are not enough. Instead, the whole society must be overthrown. Thus, CRT believers look for cases of racism where there are none and even criticize steps that will actually reduce discrimination.
Critical theory does not determine what are oppressed-oppressor based on logical or objective bases; as Chapman says, it rejects objectivity as a white invention. Even common sense is similarly rejected. You cannot discuss logically whether something is oppression or not; the Marxists or critical theorists themselves will define it, so they are effectively thought dictators. If you still disagree with them, they will mark you as “on the wrong side of history” – yes, that phrase came from the Marxists.
In addition, critical theorists and Neo-Marxists are doing what Marcuse said in his essay Repressive Tolerance. He said, allow only left-wing or pro-Marxists opinions to be aired, and suppress any opposing opinion, even if not violent, and tag it as right-wing. In other words, be oppressive against those who oppose you. There’s the origin of cancel culture right there.
In a classroom hijacked by critical theorists, the actual subject matter that should be taught is discarded. Instead, the teacher will encourage critical theory practice. For example, in mathematics class, the teacher will say that certain forms of mathematics are pro-white, or certain numbers are racist. Or students will be made to talk about their “lived experience.” This is reportedly increasing in American schools and educational quality is going down as a result (of course, what else happens when you answer 2+ 2 = 5 just because it’s “lived experience”).
Alchemy and Hegelian Religion in Marxism
Here’s a weird thing that explains the Marxist dialectic and preoccupation with conflict. According to New Discourses, Hegel’s dialectic also incorporated a bit of Hermeticism, an ancient occult tradition that includes alchemy, astrology and theosophy. Alchemy is a pseudoscience with the goal of creating gold from other substances. One of its beliefs is that you can produce gold by purifying things through fire. Marxism carries that premise in that you should purify the world by causing conflict and destroying societies (purification by fire) to uncover the seed of utopia that was hidden there all along. Plus, New Discourses, quoting Eric Voegelin, says that Marx was actually a Gnostic, not an Atheist, based on his 1844 writings. If you’re thinking, “hey, you’re making Marxism sound like a religion,” take it from Gramsci himself who said that “Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity.”
Another aspect considered religious is the concept of “socialist man.” Basically, Marxism believes that after the purification of the world, socialist man, the ideal kind of human that will bring about Utopia, will automatically appear. This kind of man is described as selfless and totally devoted to spreading communism. It is actually a drone without individuality.
The concept became the New Soviet Man in the Soviet Union. One reason the Soviet Union sent their own people to gulags, or tortured and executed them, was because these people would not conform to the socialist man. The natural individuality of humans resists it. But this also showed that “socialist man” was against nature and reality. Marxism does not know how to achieve its goals because it tries to oppose and overcome nature. In the end, nature always wins. Marxism’s defenders say it has never really been tried; that is because, once attempted, it is impossible to practice as intended because it is fatally flawed. This inspired polemic literature like Yevgeny Zamiatin’s “We,” Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” and George Orwell’s “1984.” Also, come to think of it, the “socialist man” and purification of the world also look like corruptions of some Biblical themes, such as “putting on the new man” and the world being made new in Revelation.
I’m also getting the impression that, based on New Discourses explanations and readings of Neo-Marxist texts, the expected result of the Marxist revolution is the laws of nature being changed. For example, I’m guessing that socialist man as a totally changed being was expected to manifest as someone who doesn’t get hungry if he missed several meals, or he can work without getting tired. This is perhaps why some Marxists are so excited about overthrow. It’s like Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret; they think their thoughts will alter the rules of reality.
So when Marx said, “the philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways… the point, however, is to change it,” he was not just talking about some noble goal, like “change the world.” He was talking about changing reality itself, changing how the world and nature functions. This will always fail.
Marxism is indeed like alchemy, using the wrong method to attain a glittery goal. The result is that you destroy things and people, but you never get the gold. This makes Marxism self-contradictory. And even if Neo-Marxists/critical theorists in schools claim that they are not killing anyone, they are causing emotional distress and thereby killing people’s peace of mind and security. And they want to kill the institutions of society, like the family, which is just as bad as murder.
To me, more than a religion, Marxism turns out to be a deadly cult, perhaps the deadliest cult in the world, even more than Nazism. It was developed not through careful study and research, but irrationality. It makes people think nothing of hurting or killing others just to see an ideal reached. And even if millions murdered was the result, Marxists keep doing it over and over again, what Albert Einstein called insanity. If Marxists want to help the poor this way, they would fail, because the first casualties of their actions would be the poor. Quoting Eric Voegelin: Marx, as were Gramsci, Marcuse and the rest, was an “intellectual swindler for the purpose of maintaining an ideology that would permit him to support violent action against human beings with a show of moral indignation.”
The seed of utopia does not automatically emerge out of purification through conflict and destruction of systems. Thomas More already said it is humanly impossible to achieve Utopia. However, we can at least work toward it to the level that we can achieve. The guide for this is the religion that Marxism seeks to overcome. Its explanation is that humanity decided to make itself god and rejected the higher principle. Thus we degraded into violence and wrongdoing. “Socialist man” is impossible because the seed of wrongdoing comes from humans. If humans cannot accept this, then they can’t solve their problems. Also, Marxism itself seems to speak to our sinful nature by encouraging lashing out and destroying. People should not wonder why Christianity and capitalism seems to stand tall despite attempts to remove them. Religion is not opium, it is food and fuel.
On “socialist man,” Man is not only social; he is also individual. Both aspects should be treated not as contradictions but complementary aspects. Man is an island, but one that bridges to other islands. It is a mistake to think that individuality is a hindrance to social harmony. Individuality is an essential part of harmony and is part of what makes us human. Marxism will say that individuality is dehumanizing; trying to remove it is the true dehumanization.
We also need to be careful when using the dialectic process. It perhaps can be used as a way to look at certain ideas (Simon Webb used it in his book The Equalitarian Dogma). But we best not apply it to history or human society, as the effect was millions, perhaps billions, murdered. The dialectic by itself does not lead to the best solution; that depends on other inputs. Two ideas fighting does not always lead to a synthesis. Also, it is better to think that history does not follow a defined path according to the dialectic and we must not force things to follow it.
These days, we have new concepts like conflict resolution and modern psychological explanations of human behavior, as well as the modern value of willingness to accept different ideas and people. We can also accept that some contradictions are meant to coexist and not fight (as in my example of two friends, just agree to disagree). These things just make Marx’s ideas look utterly outdated. I wonder, if Marx and other Marxists were more informed on modern psychology, modern economics and other things, would they have come out with the same ideas? I’m guessing they would be different.
This may seem surprising to some but, according to Chapman, Marxism is actually the enemy of liberalism. But this is not the liberalism associated with the progressives today. Liberalism in Marx’s time is basically the rights of the individual as defined by the bill of rights, including the right to own property. Being freely able to own that one needs for business and other things is the basis of a productive and successful society. So when Communism is enforced, individual rights are crushed.
Marxists themselves will “debunk” this, but I hold the idea that Marx was actually Anti-Semitic despite being Jewish himself. I don’t see a contradiction, one can turn against their own ethnicity. Marx’s family wasn’t even practicing Judaism and he criticized it in his writings. After all, anti-Semitism was a common cultural attitude at the time because of the perceived avaricious nature of Jews. Jews made up most of the capitalists. So Marx had to be consistent; if he wanted capitalists to be overthrown, the Jews get overthrown too.
Marxism (Marcuse particularly) also says that people under capitalism or liberalism, like we who have work and are able to buy things to own as private property, are supposedly secretly unhappy (an application of Freud). So we have to be made conscious of this secret unhappiness. But if people are truly happy and satisfied, isn’t that a good thing? No, according to the Marxists, it is a deception keeping us under slavery. We must be awakened so we can overthrow the system. In other words, let’s fix what’s not broken. To me, that is just gaslighting. It’s something we need to watch out for because it’s part of the slick-tongued manner of Marxism. People who buy into it either don’t know how to be happy, don’t want to be happy or overthink things – wait, that is something I can describe Marxism as: one big overthink.
OK, so all this sounds like a big conspiracy theory as the Wikipedia entry on ‘Cultural Marxism’ says (it may have been the work of Neo-Marxist editors). But to me, it’s real. The woke mess, the child sexualization agenda and religion of revolution are real existential threats. James Lindsay of New Discourses was reading from the texts of Marxists and critical theorists themselves, and his analysis of those texts are most likely spot on.
In the Philippines, we have, of course, the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), which seem stuck with Marxist-Maoist notions of violent revolution. But even then, after the CPP-NPA founding, other local Marxists were already doing Gramsci’s way, infiltrating schools like the University of the Philippines, recruiting for violent revolution but also trying to indoctrinate others on Marxist ideals. They have been trying since then to create a local Red Guard. They ride the anti-Marcos ticket, which is convenient. But that is also one reason Marcos Jr. was elected: Marxism is still considered an existential threat to Filipinos. The voters hope he will also lead the pushback against Cultural Marxism, which some see in things like the SOGIE Bill and anti-catcall laws. I wonder, has Vice Ganda already done story-telling with children? That may need to be watched out for.
Sure, there are still problems in the country and the world, with dysfunctional culture and such. But Marxism is not the answer to them; in fact, it became one of the problems. In fact, in the textbook on Critical Race Theory, the theorists rejected the incremental method of the original Civil Rights movement and wanted to question the liberal order. In short, they want revolution. But that is something to push back against. It’s best to uphold our liberalist roots and traditional institutions such as the family, while encouraging discussions on changes in culture without overthrow. The incremental method is still the better one.
I will discourage violence against those we see caught up into any of the local woke movements. I myself have a relative who is a member of a red front group; he became reclusive when Marcos became president. I am hoping that he will later be open to dialogue so we can talk him out of wokeness. And, his case is one reason why Cultural Marxism is real to me.
I do hope we in the Philippines hold out against woke proliferation compared to the rest of the world, including the United States. If we are successful, that is one moment where I will be proud to be Filipino.
I believe, as my cohorts here do, that what Filipinos embrace as their culture is what actually pulls the country down. And those who seem to be anti-dictators, who may also believe themselves to be “heroes,” are the real dictators.