Cultural Marxism or Nietzschean Anarchism?
When critiquing the reigning ideology of the nations of the West, the term “cultural Marxism” comes most often to the fore. And understandably so: in essence, our ideology consists in the universalization of the original economic framework of Marxism, expanding it into all areas of life. Every aspect now has its own story of alienation, victimization, exploitation, and empowerment through overthrow. In this manner, Marxism has progressed far beyond the original boundaries of the economic. Ergo Cultural Marxism.
The basic mechanism by which this critique functions is to take the received wisdom, whatever it might be, and turn it on its head. This is how Marxism originally functioned. It took the basic framework established by classical liberalism — the primacy of private property — and turned it on its head. Property went from being the means to establishing freedom and justice to the means of establishing oppression and exploitation. In other words, property’s function was reversed. Nowadays, every received institution, not just property, is turned on its head. Even basic biological categories are being inverted into their opposite in the name of liberation and justice.
But we ought to be fair in our attributions. Marx never came up with such outlandish ideas and probably never imagined them. Someone else thought up the framework universalizing the Marxist economic paradigm. That would be Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s claim to fame is his method of Umwertung alle Werten — the reversal or inversion of all values. It is the basis of his radically anarchistic philosophy.
This philosophy has now become the reigning ideology of the West.
The best analysis of this phenomenon was provided in 1977 by the Dutch theologian W. A. Aalders in his book Theocratie of Ideologie (Theocracy or Ideology). It has yet to be translated. But the following excerpt will serve to show just how on the mark Aalders’ assessment was and is.
Finally, a few remarks on the ideology which developed from Nietzsche’s philosophy. We refer to modern existentialism and anarchism.
Nietzsche’s influence is great not only in Germany, but also in France, Italy, Spain, the Scandinavian countries and South America. France in particular has become the cradle of this ideology, thanks to writers such as Gide, Sartre, Camus, who revere Nietzsche as “le véritable prophéte des temps modernes, the true prophet of the modern world”.
How radically Nietzsche has been taken up by 20th-century man is shown by the fact that the powerful argument that has always been advanced against him, namely that his doctrine of absolute atheism caused him to sink into madness, no longer has persuasive power for modern man. Characteristic in this respect is André Gide’s statement that although Nietzsche lost his mind, he won the game. “Perhaps it takes madness to be the first to say such shocking things. But the most important thing is that it has now been said. Now it is no longer necessary to succumb to madness in devising such things.” Equally characteristic is the transformation by the same Gide of the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32). It is the history of him who will not be loved. The return to the father is not a plea for love, but he beseeches the father not to love him. Love hinders his freedom!
Anarchy is the ideology of absolute, atheistic freedom. Nietzsche taught man to completely and definitively renounce God, creation, and the law for the sake of his freedom. He led him out of the house of religion and morality, and with it from hypocrisy, duplicity, inauthenticity. He taught him that the recognition of a power above oneself is self-estrangement; loss of his identity. Man is only true, authentic, spontaneous, pure when he has put paid to such powers. Whoever does not dare to do that is a coward. Someone like Sartre does not have enough words to express his contempt for the hypocrites who do not dare to affirm themselves. And that, for him, are in the first place the Christians. He calls them: “le salaud, le tricheur, l’esprit de sérieux; mean fellow, cheater, scumbag.” An unashamedly indulgent criminal, voluptuary, lawbreaker, is much dearer to him than cowardly and mean moral animals.
For this atheistic existentialism, which is especially popular in the circles of intellectuals, writers, painters, journalists, everything that even hints of religion, morality, marriage, civil decency, parental care is simply inferior because it is an assault on the high good of freedom and because it stands in the way of man’s self-development. According to this ideology, the most urgent task of modern man is to demolish history and tradition! There is nothing that will promote human freedom and human happiness more than the rapid and violent demolition of all handed-down, objective, established truths and values. The anarchist person is therefore par excellence the revolutionary person: “l’homme révolté; man in revolt” (Camus).
This anarchist ideology has broken through like a tidal wave in the countries of the West and has caused a religious and moral chaos in which no laws and administration of justice can any longer withstand it. And it is so self-confident, so aggressive, so totalitarian, that it penetrates everywhere. Even in previously conservative and traditional Christian circles, the sensitivity of conscience and moral indignation regarding brazen, shameless and slanderous things is increasingly dulled and spiritual resistance to it is diminished. There is increasingly a climate of tolerance and understanding for this immorality (which presents itself as “new morality”), where people are prepared to adapt to everything like a chameleon and abhor nothing so much as polarization. The euphemistic name for this lack of character is: inclusive thinking (F. Boerwinkel).
Just as the destruction of religion and morality, of History and tradition, is taking place in the Eastern European countries through the ideology of Marxism, so it is in the Western world through the ideology of Nietzschean anarchism. And in between there are the hybrids of Maoism and Neo-Marxism. From Marxist ideology, a police state dominated by the Communist Party has emerged in the countries behind the Iron Curtain; in the Western world Nietzschean ideology has resulted in a permissive society led by anarchism, in which the state hardly functions anymore. The similarity of these two Europes is that they equally condemn anyone who still dares to stand up for Justice and Truth, as the sacred foundations of State and society, as dangerous to the state and as an enemy of the human race (as also the first Christians in the Roman Empire were condemned!). After all, from out of their ideological gaze they cannot see them other than as people who stand in the way of progress and who are accomplices for capitalism, colonialism and fascism.
The Western, ideologized world therefore no longer knows and recognizes Law and Truth in an objective sense. It therefore no longer tolerates apodictic norms and values. It no longer tolerates any “Thou shalt!” It hates what binds and obliges it from Above. On the other hand, it demands full opportunities of development for the free, emancipated person. It is clear that as a result all relationships, ties, connections are put in jeopardy. It dislocates not only State and society but also marriage and family, school and university, art and sports, economy and industry, traffic and communication. Good faith can no longer be counted on (la bonne foi!). And the first to suffer from this are, of course, those who depend the most on good faith for their well-being and safety: the child and the elderly. And most of all the unborn fruit of life!
Since what is happening in our immediate vicinity is often difficult to distinguish and to assess objectively, I would like to hold up to ourselves the mirror of another Western European country which is completely in the grip of this anarchist ideology. I refer to Sweden. A revealing book about this was published by Rob. Braun in 1967: Was geht in Schweden eigentlich vor? Analyse und Kritik einer Entchristlichung [What’s Really Going On in Sweden? Analysis and Criticism of a De-Christianization].
According to the author, the root of this process is modern Nietzschean freedom and plain-speaking which seeks to do away with the existence of an objective Truth. It only knows the need to be completely itself outwardly and inwardly. Nothing is more respected than the uninhibited expression of what one thinks without taking into account dogmas, conventions, authorities. Open-minded and blatant plain-speaking is more persuasive than circumspect wisdom. After all, everything comes down to creatively affirming and realizing oneself.
The person deriving from this aggressive ideology of freedom is sure that the new man he represents takes an essential step forward, and that step shows the past as obsolete and outlived. He expresses this by sayings such as: “Modern man doesn’t say anything like that anymore… I can’t abide something like that … shameful to even bring that up”. He renders everything from the past in worn, discriminatory or caricatural formulas. At every point in society, he demands a thorough reckoning with the past, and progressive reform. So in sex education, abortion, euthanasia, marriage, free love, homosexuality. This transformation means a further liberation of man.
The representatives of this ideology of freedom are in charge of the newspapers, radio, television, training institutes and consultation services, courses and training centers, in the artistic and academic world. Their weapons are jolting and wounding honesty (sensitivity training!), disclosures (Lockheed!), moral disqualification of the adversary, unmasking of those in authority, hollowing out of office, pillorying of authorities, and ridicule (“le ridicule qui tue [the ridicule that kills]”). Thus far R. Braun.
The permissive society of Nietzschean anarchist ideology is thus a form of life from which everything that was somehow still organically connected with the world system of historical, traditional, mystical Europe is systematically and deliberately removed. The permissive society no longer recognizes a foundation in creation, no Truth and Right, no History and tradition. There are no more supporting, predetermined, unchanging norms and values. There is not even a solidity in humanity anymore. All life has been detached from its roots, and as a result has become moving, flowing, progressing, plastic, formless and characterless. It is as flashy and meaningless as the images flying by on television: an absurd world!
That anarchist ideology permeates not only religion, morality, and politics. For a long time it has manifested itself in art as the shattering and dissolution of the predetermined and unchanging norms and values of creation justice. Painters like Picasso, Dali, Karel Appel, Paul Klee wade through the chaos. The same goes for writers like Rimbaud, Sartre, James Joyce. What they bring to the canvas or to paper is a distorted and fragmented existence. There is no more “Being.” Man no longer “is,” nature no longer “is,” God no longer “is.” There is only “becoming” as a swirling stream which destroys all that has “become” and in which puny man clings convulsively to the wreckage in order to escape the suction power of Nothingness. [pp. 147–152]