JOHN Gray, former Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, warns that what we are witnessing in the West today ‘is strikingly reminiscent of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, which convulsed communist China from 1966-1976 and wrecked much of what remained of the country’s ancient civilisation’.
Parallels between one historical epoch and today can go only so far – ‘history rhymes but does not repeat itself’ – but parallels do exist and should act as warnings. The cultural revolution the West is undergoing today has many parallels with China’s decade of destruction. This should be of concern to Christians.
Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution to draw attention from the disaster he had created in the ‘Great Leap Forward’ which resulted in the deaths of untold millions. In an attempt to destroy the past, the Red Guards were instructed to destroy the ‘Four Olds’: old culture, old ideas, old customs and old habits. Only by abolishing ties with the past could the new China develop.
The Red Guards were the children mobilised by the communist elite to do the work of destruction. They were often students from privileged backgrounds educated in the high schools and universities of Beijing. Born immediately after the communist takeover in 1949, they had been brought up on stories of revolutionary heroism and were disappointed they had missed their chance to display their revolutionary ardour. When for reasons of power play Mao claimed the Communist Party was infested with bourgeois counter-revolutionaries, these young people grabbed their chance to achieve revolutionary greatness. They marched forward to root out imaginary class enemies from within.
Today’s woke SJWs likewise are largely young and ‘well-educated’, a disproportionate number emerging from elite educational institutions. Growing up amidst unprecedented progress in race relations meant the main action was already over before they were old enough. Yet force-fed in university by tenured revolutionaries with the preposterous idea that elite institutions are filled with closet racists and fascists, this became an article of faith overnight. Whether in newsrooms, universities or pressure groups, the hunt for closet oppressors gives these would-be Civil Rights marchers a sense of purpose. They don’t have Selma Bridge and the KKK but they do have micro-aggressions and hurty words.
In China no institution or individual could refuse to make public statements supporting the Red Guards. Every book, even if about sewage or sewing, had an introduction containing fulsome praise for Chairman Mao, complete with quotations from his works. Similarly, today businesses selling anything from teabags to maths degrees feel the need to bend the knee to the protesters. Politicians and sportsmen have quite literally bent the knee to SJWs.
Like their predecessors in the Red Guards, today’s SJWs demand complete control. Speech control, press control, thought control, and the power to ‘cancel’ anyone who questions their ever-changing narrative. From innocent jokes to accurately reporting racial disparities in IQ, SJWs virulently attack anyone who dissents and expresses free thought. As J K Rowling and Germaine Greer have discovered, SJWs, like Red Guards, have a zero tolerance policy for dissent.
In the world of the woke, reality is subjected to ideology. In the midst of our global pandemic 1,200 epidemiologists and health scientists signed an open letter claiming that BLM protests should take precedence over disease control. This follows the Red Guard playbook. During the Cultural Revolution, Red Guards by their constant movement within China created a cerebrospinal meningitis pandemic which killed 160,000. Then as now, making revolution was more important than public health.
True numbers have never been established, but the damage caused by the Cultural Revolution to China’s literature, scrolls and other classics was massive. Antiques were destroyed or confiscated, and in many cases stolen by the Red Guards as they ransacked homes of those they considered to be ‘bourgeois’. Temples were destroyed, statues torn down and streets renamed. According to Mao’s Last Revolution, by the end of the Cultural Revolution 4,922 of the 6,843 officially designated ‘historical interest’ sites in Beijing had been destroyed. Visitors to China today may see ancient temples and statues but they are largely re-creations of what was demolished.
Today’s SJWs have the same passion for destruction of the past, with statues being torn down, schools being renamed and demands being made. Today’s SJWs go much further than the Red Guards: they want to rewrite reality.
The main thrust of today’s SJWs is to extinguish the standards and norms of the past. They anathematise whatever says ‘no’ to them. SJWs willingly destroy everything in order to have their way. Chella Man, ‘a 19-year-old, deaf, genderqueer, queer artist’ who has had her breasts removed but refuses surgery on her genitals writes, ‘In my opinion, normalcy should be discarded. It creates this mythical standard that forces individuals to compare themselves to others.’
Yesterday’s Red Guards destroyed things; today’s SJWs destroy language. This should concern Christians. ‘Marriage’ is no longer the union of husband and wife, but can apply to same-sex couples. Now we are moving into an era where ‘marriage’ need not even be confined to couples. Cambridge, Massachusetts, has moved to legalise domestic partnerships between three or more people. A domestic partnership in Cambridge now ‘means the entity formed by two or more persons’ who are not related and file a registration declaring that they are ‘in a relationship of mutual support, caring and commitment and intend to remain in such a relationship’ and ‘consider themselves to be a family’. The next step is formalising such an arrangement as a marriage.
Revolutions are never comfortable times.