This is the first in a series of articles about the state we are in.
WHERE did wokery come from? It is not an accidental mutation in the development of our society and culture: it is a change in what T S Eliot called sensibility, in the unconscious presuppositions which, while they themselves go unexamined, form the mores of culture and society. I believe that wokery – or political correctness as we used to call it – originated in modern times in the work and ambitions of the radical political group, the Institute for Marxism, which became known as the Frankfurt School. In his book The Death of the West, Patrick J Buchanan says:
‘Political-Correctness is cultural Marxism. In a third of a century, what was denounced as the counterculture has become the dominant culture, and what was the dominant culture has become a dissident culture, an ideological state, a soft tyranny where the new orthodoxy is enforced not by police agents, but by inquisitors of the popular culture.’
I would amend this only to include police agents. What else, when the police are called to schools to arrest children for calling one another ‘racist’ names? Or when a schoolmaster at Eton loses his job for attempting to discuss the impact of feminism on public morality? Or when to shout ‘Black lives matter’ is virtuous orthodoxy while to declare ‘White lives matter’ is a crime? Or when J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books are in effect banned because she dared to criticise the sex-change industry? Or when you can arrange a so- called Gay Pride march, but another march in protest against this will not be permitted? Or when police in London removed the barbed wire which residents had put up over the roof of a block of flats after a series of burglaries? It was to be understood that the barbed wire presented a danger to the burglar in the course of his occupation – as if it were a form of the restriction of trade.
The concept of free speech has become laughable.
The precursors and originators of the Frankfurt School included Georg Lukacs (1885-1971) who declared, ‘I saw the revolutionary destruction of society as the one and only solution’ – where the solution was the overthrow of Western capitalism. But, as Buchanan points out, it was not economic capitalism which stood in the way of the revolutionaries’ ambitions but the ancient order that underlay it:
‘Marx had been wrong. Capitalism was not impoverishing the workers. Indeed, their lot was improving and they had not risen in revolution because their souls had been saturated in two thousand years of Christianity. Unless and until Christianity and Western culture, the immune system of capitalism, were uprooted from the soul of Western man, Marxism could not take root. In biblical terms, the word of Marx had fallen on rock-hard Christian soil and died.’
Lukacs saw the necessity for the destruction of Christian civilisation and he advocated ‘demonic ideas’ in the spread of ‘cultural terrorism’. Lukacs was Hungarian, an agent of the Comintern, and he set up a schools programme in which children were instructed in free love and sexual intercourse, while being taught that the family was an outdated institution along with monogamy and all manifestations of religion. His aim was to undermine the family by promoting licentiousness among women and children and so weaken the basis of Christian living.
Buchanan prophesied accurately the means by which the new order would become established: ‘Contraception, sterilisation, abortion and euthanasia – the four horsemen of the culture of death.’
Another of these cultural revolutionaries and nihilistic iconoclasts was the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), who noticed that the Russian people had not been converted to Communism: rather, they hated it. Gramsci called for ‘a long march through the institutions’ – the arts, the cinema, education, theological seminaries, the mass media and the new medium of radio.
All this has come to pass.
Gramsci became fashionable among the radical chic revolutionaries of the 1960s and 70s, among them Charles Reich, who revealed Gramsci’s influence on him in his best-selling book The Greening of America:
‘There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual and with culture, and it will change the political structure only as its final act. It will not require violence to succeed and it cannot be successfully resisted with violence. It is now spreading with amazing rapidity and already our laws, institutions and social structures are changing in consequence.’
Victory in the culture wars was guaranteed once Christianity had died in the soul of Western man. This happened at a speed which the revolutionaries could hardly have imagined in their most optimistic moments. I described the conflict as ‘culture wars’. In fact there was only a phoney war, as Christian civilisation surrendered immediately the first shots were fired. For example, the Church of England is now thoroughly secularised. The new crusades are for Diversity, Inclusivity, Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion, Abortion mimicking the Holocaust and the normalisation of homosexuality. Coming in a matter of eighteen months: homosexual marriages solemnised in our parish churches.
The method of the revolutionaries was an ideology of perpetual change, the human spirit the subject and victim of endless malleability. This method found its rationale in the doctrine of ‘absolute historicism’, which meant that all morals, values and standards were products of the age. There are no absolute moral standards and morality itself should be seen as something which is ‘socially constructed’.
The leading light – one is tempted to say misleading darkness – of the 1960s revolution was Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) who invented Critical Theory whose supporters repeated over and again the slogans that Western societies are racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-Semitic, fascist and Nazi. The fundamental ambition of Critical Theory was the mass inculcation of ‘cultural pessimism’ and ‘alienation’ wherein a people, though prosperous and free, comes to see its society and country as oppressive, evil and unworthy of affection and love.
Marcuse knew that past revolutions had prospered by the use of rallying oratory and persuasive books, but he believed drugs and sex were better weapons. In his book Eros and Civilisation he called for the universal embrace of the Pleasure Principle – derived of course from Freud – and the creation of a world of ‘polymorphous perversity’. It was like the trumpet call of the pagans and bacchanalians who stirred the Israelites to the licentiousness of the Golden Calf while Moses was up the mountain talking with God. His famous slogan caught on worldwide: ‘Make love, not war.’
Marcuse’s colleague, Wilhelm Reich was the subject of a hugely successful 1971 movie WR: Mysteries of the Organism. He argued that ‘there is no political revolution without first a sexual revolution’. The sexual revolution was simply the abolition of traditional Christian morality and the family.
So here we are, living in a world constantly attacked by terrorists with their guns and bombs. But Islamic terrorism is a mere fleabite compared with the secular terrorism which has utterly revolutionised Western societies. But surely, you will say, there are many outposts of resistance? There are, if you look long and hard enough, conservative politicians. There are writers and journalists; I hope it will not be seen as invidious if I mention a few known to me: Melanie Philipps, Charles Moore, Douglas Murray and – of blessed memory – Jonathan Sachs and Roger Scruton. There are valiant websites such as The Conservative Woman.
There are many more of us in the opposition. How many? Five hundred, say? A thousand? Many thousands? We scribble, scribble, scribble every minute of every day, just as Edward Gibbon scribbled. And it makes no difference. Conservatives know very well the pervasiveness of the secular revolution and they write about it cogently all the time. In my own small corner, I have been doing this for thirty years and more. I have written thousands of articles about it. I have warned against it from the pulpit. I have given countless public lectures. It is eleven years since the publication of my book The Secular Terrorist.
None of this sane, critical opposition makes any difference. Not one revolutionary innovation has been reversed. Our enemies are laughing at us.
The genie is out of the bottle: we have lost.