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Reflexivity: Leftism in the 21st Century

New Discourses Bullets, Ep. 96

Dialectical Leftism doesn't just do the old Marxist thing anymore. There's a new dialectical game in town that allows Marxists worldwide to transcend classical Marxism, including in the Chinese Communist Party over the last few decades. That method is called "reflexivity," as it was outlined as a so-called "shoelace dialectic" by George Soros in his famous book The Alchemy of Finance (https://amzn.to/3XjXqJp). Host James Lindsay detailed the Soros method (https://newdiscourses.com/2024/04/the-reflexive-alchemy-of-george-soros/) recently in a long-form podcast on the New Discourses Podcast platform, and here, he summarizes the essential points in short form for the New Discourses Bullets. Join him for this important episode to learn how propaganda and driven feedback loops are misshaping the world.

Reflexivity: Leftism in the 21st Century
Do Your Homework!

New Discourses Bullets, Ep. 95

To be successful at pushing back at Woke Marxism, you have to know some Woke Marxism and know it pretty well. It's not enough to have a tacit sense of what "Woke" or its programs are about. You have to be somewhat knowledgeable. Leftists are extremely good at discrediting their opposition by making them look dumb (or ignorant, or uninformed), evil, or crazy, and they will spring questions on unsuspecting activists to create this image. Preventing them the easy entry against you, your work, and your message that is undermining your intellectual authority on these matters is as simple as one thing: doing your homework. In this episode of New Discourses Bullets, host James Lindsay talks about this Leftist strategy and the importance of doing your homework to countering them. Join him to up your game!

Do Your Homework!
The Political Definition of "Queer"

New Discourses Bullets, Ep. 94
Queer Theory is one of the most destructive ideas ever to have been loosed onto our society from the halls of academia, as we have documented in the recent book The Queering of the American Child (https://amzn.to/3K2HovQ ). But do you know the definition of "queer"? Do you know that it's not possible to be queer, only to act queer? Do you know it has almost nothing to do with gay people? Do you know it's virtually guaranteed by definition to encourage pedophilia? All this and more is available in the original definition of "queer" as it is used in Queer Theory. Join host James Lindsay in this episode of New Discourses Bullets, where he reads and explains the original definition of "queer" from David Halperin's 1995 book Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography (https://amzn.to/4bmHaM2 ).

The Political Definition of "Queer"
You're invited! Join us for this upcoming event with James Lindsay!

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: https://newdiscourses.com/evilution-of-communism-workshop/

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 ...

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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!

Additionally,

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.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZGWxkj7xlBw?si=8xCbEzx2FwYHfHJT

 

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Curiosity Is a Cult Killer
by Logan Lancing

“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?


Sources:

  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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