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Curiosity Is a Cult Killer
by Logan Lancing
May 28, 2024
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“What is culturally relevant teaching?” That is the question I set out to answer four years ago.

Back in 2020, my wife and I were preparing to be parents and I had started researching the state of our educational system. I quickly realized that I knew essentially nothing about what was happening in our schools, despite attending them for the first twenty-two years of my life.

The buzzwords were everywhere – “diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI),” “social-and-emotional learning (SEL),” “restorative justice (RJ),” and “culturally relevant teaching,” to name a few. I was completely lost, but I knew that some people on the TV were telling me that DEI, for example, meant teaching kids to respect others and treat people equally. Others were telling me that DEI was “brainwashing.” Clearly DEI was a point of contention, which confused me. How could anyone have a problem with diversity? How could anyone have a problem with equality? How could… wait. Does “equity” mean “equality”? What the hell is equity? I was curious.

After some quick google searches, I learned that “equity” meant “giving all kids an equal shot at the same outcome.” “Well,” I thought, “that’s insane!” I had recently read some Thomas Sowell, and he completely dismantled the “disparities equal discrimination” spell that I had fallen victim to in my early 20s. I knew that all children were different and, for various reasons, should be expected to reach different educational outcomes. The only way to produce equal outcomes between children is to artificially create unequal inputs between children. If you want all kids to cross the finish line at the same time, you must create a custom track for each child. Fast kids get weighted vests and obstacles. Slower kids get rollerblades and a slope.

How did schools get the idea that equality of outcomes was at all possible, let alone desirable? I was curious, so I started researching the “equity” pages of various school websites in my area. It was there that I kept running into “culturally relevant teaching” as an “equitable” practice for schools. Apparently “culturally relevant teaching” was a way to help schools produce equal outcomes between students.

“Ok,” I thought. “Let’s figure out what culturally relevant teaching is.” I was curious. I wanted to know what it was and how it was tied to “equity.” I wanted to know how I had never encountered the term in my early schooling, yet it was now ubiquitous on every district page I looked at. “It had to have come from somewhere,” I thought. Who created it?

I moseyed on over to Google Scholar for the first time in over a decade. I searched for “culturally relevant teaching,” and hit “enter.” I received over three million results in a tenth of a second. Whoa! The results overwhelmed me, so I set my eyes on the two most cited – Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy (over 12 thousand citations); and But that’s just good teaching! The case for culturally relevant pedagogy (over 6 thousand citations).

Both articles were authored by Gloria-Ladson Billings in the mid-1990s. I started with Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy, the most cited result. It was there that I first encountered the term “critical consciousness,” which Billings identifies as the central learning objective culturally relevant teaching. “Culturally relevant teaching must,” she wrote, “[lead to the] development of a sociopolitical or critical consciousness.” I now know that critical consciousness is the cult belief that everything in society is designed to oppress you, and the only way to come to know “the truth” of the world is to become a Marxist committed to the “prophetic vision of social justice,” to quote Henry Giroux (writing about Paulo Freire’s critical theory of education.) But, at the time, all I knew was that I needed to know more. “Wait… what? The central goal of education is the development of a *political* consciousness,” I thought. “What the hell is going on here?” I was curious.

In But that’s just good teaching, I encountered Paulo Freire’s name for the first time. I learned that culturally relevant teaching is an “approach similar to that advocated by noted critical pedagogue Paulo Freire.” I also learned that “critical consciousness” was something Ladson-Billings wasn’t mincing words about. “Students,” she said, echoing her statement in Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy, “must develop a critical consciousness through which they challenge the status quo of the current social order.”

“Excuse me?!” Culturally relevant teaching was all the rage in every school district I investigated. I now recognized Gloria’s name all over the source documents I found. Why on earth are all of the schools invested in a program that teaches kids to “challenge the status quo of the current social order?” Who is Paulo Freire? What are “inequities,” and why must students learn to “critique the cultural norms, values, mores, and institutions that produce and maintain” them? How did all of this become “good teaching”?

I tell you this story for a purpose, though. A purpose that starts with a question.

I have a nagging question, one that I haven’t been able to shake since the very early days of my research: what happened to curiosity?

I didn’t fall into the rabbit hole that is “woke.” I was dragged into it by my curiosity. I had no choice in the matter. What am I looking at? Where did this come from? Who decided this should be in schools, and what is the objective? These are the questions that broke the cult’s spell over me.

Ten years ago, I was fully immersed in the Woke “cult milieu.” I didn’t ask any questions, I just assumed that I was a “good person” on the “right side of history” because I supported anything and everything that sounded virtuous. It never occurred to me that the language I was using may hide contrived terms and radical agendas; never occurred to me that education today could be extremely different than the education I received 20 years ago; never occurred to me that there may be reasons why six-out-of-ten children in Wisconsin aren’t proficient in reading or math.

According to Robert J. Lifton, an American psychiatrist who has spent decades studying cult psychology, “the most basic feature of the thought reform environment…is the control of human communication.” Cults do everything they can to control what their disciples can see, read, think, hear, say, and write. One of their primary tools cults deploy for killing a bubbling curiosity that may lead someone to stray from cult doctrine is the “thought terminating cliché.”

“The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed.”

“But that’s just good teaching!” is a thought-terminating cliché that no longer works on me. It did prior to 2020, but after reading Gloria Ladson-Billings’ work, I now know that, for her, “good teaching” means practicing critical theories of race, sex, gender, and culture on children. That is to say, I now know the “good teaching” children receive in schools is actually systematized brainwashing.

If we’re going to break the spell the Woke cult has caste over our entire educational infrastructure in the United States, we’re going to need curiosity to make a massive comeback. People need to start asking basic questions – the “who, what, when, where, and why” – and follow their curiosity down the rabbit hole.

As I write this, our elite universities are in open revolt. The question of the day is, “How did U.S. universities become so antisemitic?”

Aren’t you curious?


  1. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 32(3), 465–491.
  2. Ladson‐Billings, G. (1995). But that's just good teaching! The case for culturally relevant pedagogy. Theory into practice34(3), 159-165.
  3. Lifton, R. J. (1989). Thought reform and the psychology of totalism: A study of "brainwashing" in China. University of North Carolina Press.
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The EVILution of Communism Workshop
An In-Depth Training Event with Dr. James Lindsay
August 9-10, 2024 | Dallas, TX

Click here for more information and to register:

This workshop, hosted by James Lindsay, aims to explain and document the evolutionary transformation of Marxist theory and Communism throughout its history. As Lindsay discussed in his ultra-viral presentation in the European Union Parliament in Brussels in Spring 2023, Communism has evolved over time to attack different host societies. In particular, it had to undertake significant theoretical and strategic leaps to begin to conquer the West. In this workshop, Lindsay will break this process down in four in-depth lectures. First, a discussion of Marxism and Communism in its early theoretical form (Communism 1.0) will provide an overview of their way of thinking about the world. Then, in two lectures, Lindsay will explain the developments of an Eastern Industrial ...

Over a century of dedicated, coordinated, and relentless subversion.

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How Woke Marxists Stole Reading: What is Critical Literacy?
by Logan Lancing
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Marx, the God. Marcuse, His Prophet. Mao, His Sword.
by Logan Lancing

I recently read a document released by the CIA in 2005 that describes the New Left and Herbert Marcuse's influence on college campuses. What it reveals is extremely relevant to what's happening on college campuses today.

"Marx, the god; Marcuse, his prophet; Mao, his sword."

In June of 1968, the Current Digest of the Soviet Press released a scathing article, calling University of California San Diego professor Herbert Marcuse a “false prophet.” As a Soviet entity, the Current Digest set out to annihilate Marcuse’s “decommunized Marxism,” for obvious reasons. Marcuse had abandoned “vulgar” Marxism and the USSR’s bureaucratic and administrative terror in favor of his personal flavor of faith: Identity Marxism.

The TL;DR version of Marcuse’s theory goes like this: Free market economies stabilize the working class. Marx predicted the working class would necessarily enter open revolt against the system once their economic and material conditions became too brutal to bear. This, Marx argued, was a scientific prediction, predicated on what activists now call the “immortal science of Marxism.” In other words, just as you can predict that the apple will fall if you let go of it, Marxists predicted “capitalism” would inevitably fall after running its course in advanced industrial societies—it was only a matter of time.

But free market economies adjusted, and by the 1950s and 60s it was clear that free market economies improved the lives of workers. Marxists admitted this, reluctantly. For them, it was a crisis of faith. The “immortal science of Marxism” was clearly wrong, both on a moral level, as revealed by all of the starving and dead people, and on an economic level, as revealed by workers buying nice cars and taking their families on nice holidays.

Marcuse theorized that the working class must mostly be abandoned as first movers in a Communist revolution. The working class was too stable, and revolutions require instability to work. So, he argued, Marxists must place their energy in college kids, “ghetto populations,” criminal aliens (illegal immigrants), and anyone else who might feel marginalized by society, such as gays and lesbians, the unemployed, and war veterans. If you can radicalize these groups and centralize their grievances, Marcuse thought, then you can build a coalition that can break the working class from the inside. As the New York Times would publish in the wake of Marcuse’s death in 79’:

Dr. Marcuse had little belief that the working class would, in affluent, highly technological societies, incite revolution. Rather, he believed, a new coalition of student radicals, small numbers of intellectuals, urban blacks and people from underdeveloped nations could overthrow forces that he saw as keeping workers from an awareness of their oppression.

(For more information on this important point, read “An Essay on Liberation” (Marcuse, 1969).)

The Current Digest was responding to the meteoric rise of Marcuse and his new theory of Marxism when it published “Marcuse: ‘False Prophet of Decommunized Marxism’” in June of 1968. Marcuse and his “vociferous disciples” scared the USSR because they had been converted to a new faith; a new interpretation of Marxism that “[has] special gods” and challenged the USSR’s stranglehold.

Marcuse, Marcuse, Marcuse-the name of this 70-year-old “German-American philosopher,” which has emerged form the darkness of obscurity, has been endlessly repeated in the Western press. In Bonn the name is pronounced Markoozeh; in New York, Markyooz; in Paris, Markyooss. The California resident who has undertaken to disprove Marxism is being publicized as if he were a movie star, and his books as if they were the latest brand of toothpaste or razor blades. A clever publicity formula has even been thought up: “the three M’s”—“Marx, the god; Marcuse, his prophet; and Mao, his sword.”

Marx remained “the god,” but Marcuse was his latest prophet, and the USSR hated his interpretations of their shared doctrine. If Marcuse spent his life in “dark obscurity,” his prophecy—identity-based Marxism rather than economic Marxism as the lever of revolution—wouldn’t have bothered the USSR. But Marcuse had reached astronomical popularity in the tumultuous 60s, and, worst of all, he had adopted the revolutionary strategies of Chairman Mao Tse-tung, founder of the People’s Republic of China.

Mao’s formula of Cultural Revolution proved to be incredibly successful in a gigantic, mostly agrarian society that was the last place Marx would have predicted Communist revolution to take hold. His strategy was straightforward: radicalize the easily brainwashed students and use them as a lever to bulldoze everything and consolidate his own power. Kids are extremely idealistic, and have few defense mechanisms for fighting off the “totalizing” nature of “thought reform,” as Robert Jay Lifton, expert on cult psychology broadly, and Mao’s system specifically, might describe it.

In an interview with Pierre Viansson-Ponte in Paris of 1969, Marcuse said that “certainly today every Marxist who is not a communist of strict obedience is a Maoist.” Marcuse was very familiar with Mao’s “Marxism-Leninism with Chinese characteristics,” and, according to the Current Digest, a central focus of Marcuse’s revolutionary strategy was precisely what Mao had accomplished in China with his Red Guards.

Marcuse replaces the class struggle in present-day society by the “generational conflict.” Flattering the students, he assures them that they are the chief revolutionary force, since, as Nouvel Observatuer wrote in summarizing his “doctrine,” “they are young and reject the society of their elders.” Therefore, “young people in general” must struggle against “adults in general.” Everywhere and anywhere!


It is characteristic that his “interpretation of prophetic revelation for the uninitiated” invariably coincides with the practice of Mao Tse-tung’s group. And what is of the greatest significance is that although this group does not stint on abusive language aimed at the imperialists, the governments of the capitalist states have very tolerant attitudes toward dissemination of its “ideas,” and at the same time toward the activities of Marcuse and his vociferous disciples as well.

What you are seeing on college campuses today is nothing new. If you are curious enough and take the initiative to investigate what’s happening, you will find that Karl Marx is still the god, Marcuse is still his prophet, and Mao is still his sword. There is a reason these kids and their enablers and directors all sound like Communists: they are.

The form of rebellion you are witnessing isn’t the “vulgar” kind you may be familiar with—a great Proletarian Revolution. It is a new kind, one that Marcuse said is, “Very different from the revolution at previous stages of history,” because, “this opposition is directed against the totality of a well-functioning, prosperous society—a protest against its Form—the commodity form of men and things, against the imposition of false values and a false morality.”

For today’s Communists, “the issue isn’t the issue; the issue is the revolution,” as David Horowitz reminded us. Make no mistake—the majority of the college kids revolting on campus have no idea what they are doing. They are in a cult, one with Marx at the top, the doctrinal revelation of Herbert Marcuse in the middle, and Mao’s revolutionary strategy at the ground level. This already happened in the 60s, but we put an end to it. The doctrine has now evolved, updating Marcuse’s prophecies through a “woke” lens (intersectionality, primarily), but it’s all the same strategy.


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Marxism is a Cult Religion
by James Lindsay

All Marxism is cult religious.

All Marxist “theory” begins by believing it uniquely knows what human beings really are (socio-spiritual beings), into what they have been thrown (a mundane world of property ownership, imposed identity, and suffering through scarcity), and to what we must return (a truly social society that transcends individualism). Because Marxists fundamentally believe they know the true and secret socio-spiritual nature of humans whereas (demonic, Demiurgic) social forces have conditioned everyone else not to know them, they feel uniquely entitled to power for the purpose of remaking man into who he is. This explains most of their behavior.

The ultimate goal of Marxism isn’t economic, political, or social control, as most would believe. Those are merely means to its end. Its ultimate goal isn’t even power, though it worships power as the constitutive force of reality. Its ultimate goal is to direct the socio-spiritual evolution of Man. Socio-spiritual in the sense that Man’s true spiritual nature manifests in his social relations. This is the idea of the “New Man” Marxists always speak of. He is Man spiritually evolved to remember who he truly is, a truly social and creative being that is one with all others in his species and, indeed, all of Nature. 

This means that Marxism is just a particularly nasty, vindictive, and deceptive form of Gnostic theosophy, a cult religion. Laid bare of all its details in whatever form, economic, racial, sexual, whatever, it is a drive to seize power to direct the spiritual evolution of Man. Everything else it argues is either rationalization or excuse, none of it is real or legitimate because none of it does anything but serve its actual purpose in whichever moment of resistance it finds itself in. 

What is meant by “direct the socio-spiritual evolution of Man”? In a word, eugenics. Marxism intrinsically practices eugenics, though not necessarily on the “crude” physical level (mundane) but on the more refined spiritual level they believe they uniquely understand. In practice, a lot of the crude part comes out by necessity. The goal is to prune out of mankind those unfit to evolve spiritually to the higher collectivist levels and to transform the rest into socio-spiritual Marxists.

In theosophical cults, Man is believed to have forgotten who he really is by virtue of some Fall. He is truly Spirit and One with God and thinks himself otherwise because of the distortions of his conditions: materialist, social, economic, or otherwise. He has forgotten this because he lacks “God’s wisdom” (theo-sophy) to know who—and what—he truly is, which is a spiritual being at one with the One. Since this is true for everyone all at once, no one is truly separate from anyone else. All is One; All are One. To be an individual in this circumstance is to reject Oneness in favor of individualism, which is Man’s Fall.

The goal of theosophical religious cults is to seize enough power over their adherents to remind them of who they “really are,” which brings them to “at-One-ment” (atonement for their false separation from God) by obliterating their allegedly false consciousness of themselves and Man. They misunderstand themselves and thus misunderstand the society and world around them. Theosophists aim to remind them of who they “truly are” and bring them back to Oneness of spirit and being. They can be kindly enough, but in the end, they are tyrannical because humanity can only evolve as a whole if their presumptions about the nature of reality and Man are true.

These cults are ultimately Gnostic. As the second-century Valentinian Gnostic Theodotus put it: “It is not, however, the bath [baptism] alone that makes free, but knowledge [gnosis] too: who we were, what we have become, where we were, where we have come to be placed, where we are tending, what birth is, and what rebirth.” Theosophists believe we were Spirit but have become mortal; we were in Paradise in perfect union with God but have been thrown into this mundane world; we are tending toward spiritual awakening or destruction; and birth is a Fall and rebirth is accepting their Gnostic cult beliefs and practices. It isn’t all just ancient heresy or New Age hippie nonsense. Marxism is cut from precisely this cloth.

The old Gnostic heresies place the Fall of Man in the Sin of Adam, obviously, blaming the wrath of God for flinging us out of Paradise and our inheritance into this world of work, pain, toil, and death—as individuals, separated from God and Eden. Their belief was that the Serpent in Genesis 3 told the truth, and the God in Genesis is not God but a demonic Demiurge, builder of the world, imprisoner of his spiritual brethren in Man. 

Marxism, qua Marx, places the Fall in the separation of private property (thus individualism) from communal property (thus collectivism). The bourgeoisie is Demiurgic, constructing a political economy in which the masses must labor, suffer, and die. The masses can awaken as a class-conscious proletariat that understands Man’s true nature is socialist, which means being transcendent of private property and the individualism that follows from it. This program goes on through the other forms of Western Marxism.

Critical Race Theory, which is Race Marxism, puts the Fall in the creation and imposition of power-laden racial categories (“whiteness” and “white supremacy”), which is a proxy for Western values including capitalist economics and their cultural hegemony. “White people” become Demiurgic, imprisoning “people of color” in a world not made for them but willing to use them. They can become race conscious, though, and understand Man’s true nature is transcendent of race while retaining consciousness of it.
Queer Theory, which is Queer Marxism and overtly an esoteric religion based on sex, puts the Fall in the assertion of any valid claim to normalcy and legitimacy. “Normativity” is a Demiurgic force that imprisons perverts, weirdos, deviants, and degenerates, in addition to sexual and “gender” minorities, in a world that demands they be normal. They can become consciously queer, however, and understand Man’s true nature is transcendent of any norms or expectations.

The framework is the same in every case, and the details only vary a little as needed. A demonic superpower—the Demiurge, the bourgeoisie, whites, "cis" straight people, or whatever—orders and rules the world for itself. It did this by illegitimately taking a step toward godhood, separating itself from the All, and locked out those who are truly innocent and knowing. It is the projection of Satan onto the godly and godliness onto Satan. On the first page of the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels say the whole of their program is put in a word: “oppressor versus oppressed.” The privileged establish themselves as separate and deserving while the innocent are excluded from “godlike” knowing and punished severely when they take a bit of the fruit of the tree of knowledge.

The Gnostic theosophical myth is that the innocent are excluded by powers who broke away from the unified totality of being to assert their individuality. Maybe they have done this through claiming deity themselves as Creator of the (mundane and Fallen) world, or in a socio-spiritual sense through private property, racial status, social status otherwise, etc. Because these deign to be God but are not, they are jealous and wrathful of anyone who might approach the “hidden truth” of gnosis, which would break their spell and end their illegitimate power. They hide and suppress the “truth” and punish anyone who seeks or stumbles upon it.

The theosophical gnostics know otherwise, though. They know the "gods" are false and that God as a unified totality is real and, in fact, not distinct from themselves. They are therefore spiritually or socio-spiritually advanced but oppressed and must shepherd Man to Liberation. This amounts to a revolution, either of Heaven and Earth or of society, depending on the locus of their beliefs, but it’s all the same. Marxism, Race Marxism, Queer Marxism, and the rest are identical in this form. They are all theosophical religious cults pretending not to be.

One way to put this is that theosophy, whether Marxist or otherwise, is Satan presenting himself as an Angel of Light until he creates a madness in those who follow him that way that possesses them with a spirit of enmity and false superiority presenting itself as righteousness and truth. You can know them by their fruits, it is said. What are their fruits? Entitlement. Narcissism. Self-aggrandizement. Accusation. Deception. Enmity. Sowing confusion, even in their own minds and hearts. Attempting to lead the little ones astray. Destruction, everywhere they go. It is Evil selling itself as uniquely Good.

Marxism cannot escape this cloth because Marxism is cut from this cloth. All Western Marxist “theories” are the same in this. They are destructive theosophical cults. All Marxism is cult religious.

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