I am now about to commit the cardinal sin for a Conservative, and discuss philosophy. Cultural Marxism: a philosophy which Conservatism has frequently opposed, but rarely understood.
Cultural Marxism as a term was apparently coined by the American military theoretician William S Lind. Its roots lie in the First World War, and it must be recognised as the most successful political movement of the twentieth century. From at least the 1960s onwards it has succeeded in an amazing transformation of Western society, and this transformation is still ongoing. Its most widely recognised manifestation is the phenomenon known as Political Correctness.
When the Great War broke out in 1914, revolutionary Marxists believed that the oppressed Proletariats of the combatant nations would join together in revolution against their national governments. Instead those Proletariats marched to their deaths in their millions in the cause of national patriotism. While the Great War did ultimately destroy many conservative national governments and pave the way for totalitarian dictatorships in nations including Russia, Italy and Germany, it did not destroy patriotism. In the 1920s the Marxists of the Frankfurt School identified the problem – the culturally inculcated values of the Proletariat, notably attachment to homeland and to family, were the main barrier to revolution. This meant (in a major break from classical Marxism’s economic-determinist approach) that to achieve revolution you first had to change the culture, by destroying the perceived legitimacy of the institutions which underpinned that culture. Thus cultural Marxism was born.