IN his book Mere Christianity C S Lewis wrote: ‘Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, “Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that”, or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible?
‘If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything – God and our friends and ourselves included – as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.’
There are a lot of people out there who want to think their enemies are as bad as possible. And a lot of them can be found on the left. On Tuesday Twitter went into overdrive and came after Conservative MP Suella Braverman. A few ‘journalists’ had trotted along to a talk she was giving to the Bruges Group to see what they could find, and they came up with this:
The article begins: ‘A former Brexit minister and leading Conservative MP has been accused of pushing a “far-right” anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about the spread of “cultural Marxism” in the UK. Conservative MP Suella Braverman told a meeting in central London on Tuesday that her party was engaged in “a fight against cultural Marxism” being led by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “As Conservatives, we are engaged in a battle against cultural Marxism,” she said.’
Cultural Marxism is a pretty wide term. True, it is used by the alt-right, but is also used by conservatives interchangeable with leftism. (Note to editors: no longer use the term ‘cultural Marxism’, use ‘leftist nonsense’ instead.)
The New Stateman waded in: ‘Earlier today, Conservative MP for Fareham Suella Braverman gave a speech at an event in Westminster which she said that, “As Conservatives, we are engaged in a battle against cultural Marxism . . .” For normal people, this line sounded like standard conservative dialogue – Marxists, anti-Corbyn sentiment, and references to class warfare, that are typical right-wing messages you see in every Tory speech.’
Exactly. To normal people it is just a standard term used to denote Marxism. That’s the point!
However, not to mispresent anyone the author continues: ‘But to people who have spent a modicum of time on 4chan, 8chan, YouTube, or Reddit, this sentence raised blaring, screeching alarm bells.’
The thing is many conservatives do not spend any time whatsoever on 4chan or 8chan (I had literally never heard of them until now) although we are allowed on YouTube, I hope?
Maybe it is in the left’s fevered dreams that you believe Conservative MPs are hanging out with the alt-right? Maybe, just maybe, you want them to be racist? Maybe you really want what you perceive to be black, a little blacker?
The author even says, ‘The term “cultural Marxism”, while seemingly benign, is an anti-Semitic meme that has existed for years – signalling that either Braverman’s aides or Braverman herself has spent a lot of time reading hard-right, internet conspiracy theories.’ Personally, I think this is defamatory but there it is. Think of the disappointment if it turned out that Braverman was not on such forums. That would make many on the left a little sad, I think.
The New Statesman again: ‘Cultural Marxism is a theory that started in the early 20th century, which was popularised in the aftermath of the socialist revolution (this great piece in the Guardian explains it in depth). The idea was that Marxism should extend beyond class and into cultural equality and that, through major institutions like schools and the media, cultural values could progressively be changed. The theory was later adopted by the philosophers at the Frankfurt School who posited that the only way to destroy capitalism was to destroy it in all walks of life; where not just classes, but all genders, races, and religions could live in society equally.’
It goes on to explain that the Frankfurt School comprised mainly Jewish economists and the term has of late been used by the alt-right and was used by mass murderer Anders Breivik.
So it does depend on whether you are using the term in its original sense – namely the spread of Marxism through all the cultural institutions – or in the alt-right, anti-Semitic sense. And no one, no decent person, can really believe Braverman was using it in the alt-right sense.
The headline run in the original piece against Braverman was utterly disgusting. They knew what they were doing – smearing her and hoping to hurl enough alt-right labels to destroy her reputation in the eyes of at least some people.
As C S Lewis said: ‘Finally we shall insist on seeing everything – God and our friends and ourselves included – as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.’
I have no doubt many of these journalists will complain tomorrow about all the hatred and division they see in society even when they have no problem linking an MP (a pregnant, female, ethnic minority MP for those who care about these things) to a mass murderer. Seeing white as black is a sickness. It’s contagious and it is spreading.
Why Suella Braverman is right
KAREN HARRADINE writes: Suella Braverman is one of the better MPs in Westminster. Her support for Brexit and the democratic process has been unwavering. This admirable quality, and the fact that she is a Conservative, has made her a target. And yesterday post-Liberal Puritans smelt blood and pounced on her.
Braverman’s ‘crime’ was to accuse Jeremy Corbyn of promoting Cultural Marxism. Right on cue a Twitter mob, whipped up into a frenzy of faux rage by certain journalists, claimed she uttered a far Right – or alt-Right – anti-Semitic trope.
The term Cultural Marxism is a much misunderstood and manipulated term. And so is the label ‘far Right’. The concept of far Right and alt-Right is now so distorted than anyone to the right of Corbyn is falsely accused of belonging to this ideology.
The real far Right have indeed co-opted Cultural Marxism, popularising and bastardising it as a code-word for ‘Jews’. But context is everything.
The same illogical witch-hunt against Braverman is reminiscent of the one against Melanie Phillips because she was mentioned in Anders Breivik’s dossier of hate. If a neo-Nazi, or a member of the cult of Corbyn, uses the term Cultural Marxism then it is probably an anti-Semitic trope. But if a sensible and hardworking MP like Braverman uses it I can assure you there is no anti-Semitic meaning in this context. Anti-Semitism has a certain stench to it – I don’t smell it around Braverman.
The term Cultural Marxism is flexible and I have used it myself to criticise the long march of destructive socialism through our institutions. Its usefulness lies in describing the domination of identity politics and the demise of academic freedom and freedom of speech. Cultural Marxism is also responsible for the brainwashing of students into Leftie groupthink and their insidious habits of no platforming and triggering.
As this excellent article in Tablet magazine explains, many of the founders and perpetrators of Cultural Marxism were not even Jewish. The philosopher Antonio Gramsci – who was not Jewish – built the central tenet of Cultural Marxism around the idea that revolutionary consciousness must be cultivated. He also developed the concept of cultural hegemony – the wielding of mass culture to control the masses. Some Cultural Marxists, like the academic Edward Said, are virulently anti-Israel.
So why are we letting far Right conspiracy theorists control the narrative when it comes to using the term Cultural Marxism? The real intellectual heritage of Cultural Marxism, and the dangers it poses, are being ignored in favour of Twitter mobs and wannabe fascist students dictating what we can or cannot say, without any evidence to back up their shrieking accusations.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews’ (BOD) condemnation of Braverman is also unfair and best discounted. The BOD have lost much of their credibility due to their inability to confront Labour’s anti-Semitism and their eagerness to attack Israel at any opportunity.
The sound and fury surrounding Braverman is a distraction from the pernicious anti-Semitism in Labour. Many British Jews are far more fearful of a Labour government than a Tory one. If Corbyn and his cult should ever reach power it will be open season on Jews. I would gladly have dinner with Braverman but would rather stick pins in my eyes than have anything to do with the anti-Semites in Labour.
Let us call out anti-Semitism in the Tory Party when it actually does occur, as I did last year with Michael Howard’s absurd blood libel against Israel. It did not happen yesterday. Cultural Marxism is an intellectual disease ruining our institutions. Suella Braverman is right to highlight this. Stop shooting the messenger.