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A lover of the liberal arts, especially antiquity in its diverse forms, I am nonetheless wholly devoted to, utterly transformed by divine revelation. I seek to know the thought of the past, articulate my deepest longings aroused by the wise, and understand the uneasy relationship between reason and revelation; all for the sake of proper action and contemplation, both now and in the future.


Cultural Marxism and Identity Politics

Everyone today intuitively understands a key element of Marx because his core of class struggle has for some reason migrated in translation to every sector of public discourse and popular culture. It is not his views on money and the economy. No one is motivated to enter the streets protesting on behalf of the proletariat against the bourgeois - in part because the American proletariat is now the Chinese, Indian, or Mexican industrial worker, and because in a few decades those jobs will be automated anyway. Even the Occupy Wall Street movement did not protest the bourgeois, only the extremely wealthy; and that movement was so disparate it lost focus and soon fizzled out. Instead, the critical insight of Marx remains: there are those with power, those without, and the two sides are at war with each other. In Marx, this leads to the revolution of the proletariat; today, the 'proletariat' (feminist, Black Lives Matter activist, LGBTQ, etc.) pays lip service to legal equality, but seems to desire some modern analogue to the proletariat revolution.

Power and oppression are the only things that are real. There is no common ground, no possibility for reconciliation. Martin Luther King is dated and naive here. The rich oppress the poor, whites oppress blacks, men oppress women: because they are strong and the minorities are weak; the strong do what they will, the weak suffer what they must, and this is how resentment and revolution are born. This pattern of strong vs weak and the conflict this engender may be extrapolated to every set of human relations in political discourse: man and woman, white and black and brown, heterosexual and homosexual, religious and non-religious, and so on to infinity. Find any marginalized and marginalizing class, and you can replicate the pattern yourself. This explains the animus against the so-called white privilege, against the Catholic Church, the backlash against religious freedom cases, etc. All of them have in common a historically oppressing (or judged to have been such by today's standards) agent and a historically oppressed minority class.

Thus there are only two groups: the oppressed and the oppressor. In the United States, historically the oppressing class was white males (slavery was not banned till after the Civil War, women did not vote till the 20th century, etc); thus, one can and must resist the oppressing class; this is right and good. On the other hand, those of the oppressing class must make reparation, feel guilty for the actions of their fathers, and acknowledge their societally privileged status, which necessarily undercuts any argument they might make. Were they to systematically criticize an oppressed class (gay, black, women, etc) it would be opprobrious homophobia, sexism, racism, etc., but the reverse is not true. Blacks can hate whites, but it is not racist, because blacks are seen to be an oppressed class in this country. Similarly women can hate men, but it is not sexist because of patriarchy, or homosexuals et al can hate heterosexuals because heteronormativity is still dominant. When the oppressed is at a disadvantaged position of power (which seems to mean being a minority in terms of population), anything goes. It might be prejudiced, but not sexist, racist, etc. because the one class holds the social, political, and economic power while the other class does not. 

Similarly, since some classes (LGBTQ, for instance) are more oppressed than others, this affects the expressed opinions of these classes; the weight of a black man's opinion will be different than a Latino lesbian, which is different than a blind bisexual, etc. One's category is a victim class, and the value of one's opinion is determined by the value of one's identity, particularly as it has been historically oppressed or not. This forms a hierarchy or pyramid, which varies in detail but not in overall structure; whether minority races face more discrimination than women is a subject for debate, but that these classes have been oppressed by cisgendered white males is not. All such oppressed classes have this in common, that they face discrimination perpetrated by cisgendered white males, and this is what fuels disputes in popular political discourse.

If this be the case, the prospects for different groups subordinating themselves to and working for the common good together are dismal indeed. Instead, one's political opponents must be seen as personal enemies devoid of anything good or noble, such that if their group flourish, your own must decline, and vice versa. Thus what might seem to bind different groups under a common cause, like the traditional American ideals of personal liberty and responsibility as enshrined in the Declaration, is now used as a weapon against those with whom you disagree. The dominant strain of politics is not the recognition that what we hold in common is far more significant than what divides us, but a set of rival groups, each fighting the other for dominance, none of which will give ground or seek common cause.