Student of Communism’s malign influence on the world are well aware of the “Cultural Revolution” that Red China’s founder and Chairman, Mao Zedong, conducted from 1966
until his death in 1976. The goal was to remake Communist China and the Chinese people by purging all “bourgeois” thought, attitudes, and people from Communist China. The result, Mao hoped, would be a new China grounded entirely in Mao’s version of Marxism.
In addition to thousands of years of Chinese history, what Mao considered to be “bourgeois” we would call the foundations of Western Civilization and culture. The ideas first propounded by the ancient Greeks before Greek became a written language in the 8th century BC, which found their first expression in the foundational document of Western culture, Homer’s epic poem The Iliad.
Democratic decision-making, the commitment to personal excellence, freedom of speech, meritocracy vs hierarchy, heroic ideals of self-sacrifice and loyalty, our Western ideas of masculine and feminine beauty and their place in our culture, and many more values and ideas all trace to the ancient Greeks and all these Western “bourgeois” influences were to be purged from Mao’s Red China, to be replaced with “pure” Maoist-Marxist ideals and values.
The decade-long Chinese Communist “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” is a vast subject impossible to treat in this short article, but it has its parallels in all Marxist societies. The Soviet Union had its great convulsions to purge “bourgeois” potential counterrevolutionaries, Fidel Castro’s Cuba murdered thousands of “gusanos” and Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge took the concept to its logical conclusion by murdering millions who even touched anything “bourgeois.”
The United States, without the fanfare of Mao’s August 1966 statement to the Eleventh Plenum of Red China’s Eighth Central Committee, has embarked on a similar purge of the “bourgeois” influences that have guided Western Civilization and culture for almost 3,000 years.
Most conservatives are aware of the Left’s assaults on free speech on college campuses, and have noted the similarities between the Red Chinese Cultural Revolution’s “struggle sessions” and the ritual defamation and apology cycles the Leftist media and academia impose on individuals who transgress the party-approved ideology on various issues; gender, man-made climate change and race being only the three most obvious.
However, there have been many other equally destructive assaults on the Homeric ideals underpinning Western Civilization, the attack on the ideal of striving for and rewarding personal excellence being one of the most notable.
The notion of a “participation trophy” would have been as laughable to the generation that survived the Great Depression and fought World War II as it would have been to the ancient Greeks. But, no more, the idea that merely showing-up should be rewarded has become so prevalent it has begun to seriously sap the productivity of America’s workforce. “It’s impossible to hire an entry-level worker who wants to work,” a Colorado businessowner told me recently. “They all show-up stoned and expect to get paid,” he observed.
The Left’s latest front in the American Cultural Revolution is a less obvious attack, and it is one on our ideas of feminine and masculine beauty and health being mounted not by government or academia, but by Maoist Red Guards in “woke” Marxist corporations and the media.
Who, or what, will replace the ideal beauty of Helen of Troy – the face that launched 1,000 ships, and the graceful beauty of Athena, or that of Aphrodite, infinitely desirable but infinitely out of reach? And who, or what, does the Left have in mind to replace the fierce physicality of Hercules and Achilles or the physical perfection of Apollo?
Trendsetting “Glamour” magazine has decided that the masculine ideal is no longer the healthy, muscular athlete that has been the Western ideal male for some 3,000 years – it is now the “pregnant male.”
Likewise trendsetting fashion brand Calvin Klein, previously noted for featuring acknowledged ideals of Western beauty, both male and female, has decided that the obese and the hairy and bearded “trans woman” should be the ideals to which we aspire.
No doubt some will criticize this as shallow – beauty, after all is only skin deep. But that misses the larger and deeper cultural point.
We all know that few will exactly mirror the ideal, but it is the aspiration to be our best, to strive to be as close to the ideal as we can become that is the point. As Pericles said in his famous Funeral Oration for the Athenian dead in the first year of the Peloponnesian War, “For where the prize is highest, there you will find the best and the bravest.”
So, for the past 3,000 years Western culture has told us if you are a skinny nerd or a plain Jane, look for something to distinguish yourself. Be the chess champion, the debate team captain, or the tiger of the field hockey team.
But why strive if there is no ideal, no “highest” in anything?
If everyone and everything is of equal value to society what’s the point in being the best, in looking your best or accomplishing anything?
There is no point, is the point, as the Soviets discovered. If there is a false hierarchy of not what you know, but who you know, and all work – even the sloppiest – is rewarded equally, then why strive for perfection? Or even competence.
The inevitable result is a society where nothing works, and nobody cares enough to fix even the most obvious civic failures.
Historian Thomas Cahill, chronicling the decline and eventual failure of the ancient Greek world in the final chapter of Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter, observed that in the arts idealism was succeeded by realism, realism by jaded desire for momentary stimulation, and flagging desire by crabbed pessimism.
Today the Left, through their cultural revolution, is pushing America ever closer to the abandonment of ideals in art, in personal grooming, conduct and values, in work, and in politics – in everything that has defined the West for the past 3,000 years. The end result – the intended result – is the kind of “crabbed pessimism” in which nothing matters, nothing is important, nothing is worth striving for, and nothing is worth defending.
And we’re closer than you think.
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