Saturday, November 08, 2014

The Political Significance of Knowing the Left's Philosophers

I've long had an interest in promoting self-education in the Everyday Conservatives (that is, people who almost instinctively support Conservative Principles, but haven't studied the philosophical underpinnings of it).  As the Leftist Philosophers are HEAVILY entrenched in the educational establishment - first, in higher education, and, now, moving fast into secondary and elementary education, as well.

When your kid or grandkids come home, confidently spewing the Leftist crap they've been taught by their teachers, you want to know enough about the philosophy to refute its conclusions.

That's where I come in.

When I first graduated from high school, the Leftist professors were just beginning their Long March into the Ed Establishment.  They were the Assistant and Associate professors (along with some grad students) who promoted the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 1970s.  They wormed their way into classes, institutes, student organizations, and conferences.  Over time, they not only got themselves tenure, but they used their positions to bring in like-minded hires.

As a result, the entire college and university establishment is heavily soaked in the Leftist Philosophy Bible, which includes the Leftist Prophets:

  • Antonio Gramsci - his work is revered by Leftist "scholars" (I put that word in quotes, as too many of them sacrifice their claim to scholarship by the bias they bring to it).  A fuller treatment of his thinking on education is here.  A quote about his thinking on Cultural Hegemony (a term that had been often used in grad school classes, without ever explaining just what it was - below I'm quoting from Wikipedia, which has the best explanation of CH that I've ever read):



Orthodox Marxism had predicted that socialist revolution was inevitable in capitalist societies. By the early 20th century, no such revolution had occurred in the most advanced nations. Capitalism, it seemed, was even more entrenched than ever. Capitalism, Gramsci suggested, maintained control not just through violence and political and economic coercion, but also through ideology. The bourgeoisie developed a hegemonic culture, which propagated its own values and norms so that they became the "common sense" values of all. People in the working-class (and other classes) identified their own good with the good of the bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the status quo rather than revolting.


To counter the notion that bourgeois values represented "natural" or "normal" values for society, the working class needed to develop a culture of its own. Lenin held that culture was "ancillary" to political objectives, but for Gramsci it was fundamental to the attainment of power that cultural hegemony be achieved first. In Gramsci's view, a class cannot dominate in modern conditions by merely advancing its own narrow economic interests. Neither can it dominate purely through force and coercion. Rather, it must exert intellectual and moral leadership, and make alliances and compromises with a variety of forces. Gramsci calls this union of social forces a "historic bloc", taking a term from Georges Sorel. This bloc forms the basis of consent to a certain social order, which produces and re-produces the hegemony of the dominant class through a nexus of institutions, social relations, and ideas. In this manner, Gramsci developed a theory that emphasized the importance of the political and ideological superstructure in both maintaining and fracturing relations of the economic base.


Gramsci stated that bourgeois cultural values were tied to folklore, popular culture and religion, and therefore much of his analysis of hegemonic culture is aimed at these. He was also impressed by the influence Roman Catholicism had and the care the Church had taken to prevent an excessive gap developing between the religion of the learned and that of the less educated. Gramsci saw Marxism as a marriage of the purely intellectual critique of religion found in Renaissance humanism and the elements of the Reformationthat had appealed to the masses. For Gramsci, Marxism could supersede religion only if it met people's spiritual needs, and to do so people would have to think of it as an expression of their own experience.


For Gramsci, hegemonic dominance ultimately relied on a "consented" coercion, and in a "crisis of authority" the "masks of consent" slip away, revealing the fist of force.


If you'd like to learn more, here's a link to The Gramsci Reader - translations from his work.


  • Paulo Freire - again, I'm  linking to Wikipedia as a starting point - yes, they are generally biased in their articles on politics and culture, but it's a good primer on Leftist Thinking.


Freire's thinking permeates the Educational Establishment at most colleges and universities.  He is even more revered than Dewey.  The core of his philosophy is that education HAS to be revolutionary, or it will support "the system".  For him, there is no such thing as a "neutral" education.




Fanon was a political radical, and an existentialist humanist concerning the psychopathology of colonization, and the human, social, and cultural consequences of decolonization.


In the course of his work as a physician and psychiatrist, Fanon supported the Algerian War of Independence from France, and was a member of the Algerian National Liberation Front. For more than four decades, the life and works of Frantz Fanon have inspired movements in Palestine, Sri Lanka, the U.S. and South Africa.


Fanon was a supporter of the revolutionary liberation movement in Algeria.  He believed that ALL colonial governments were inherently violent, and that, therefore, violence was totally justified against those governments.  That viewpoint provided the basis for much of the 1960s revolutionary movements, in Viet Nam, Burma, Cuba, and other locations.


I'll be adding more information about prominent "Progressive" and Leftist thinkers.  We need to become familiar with their work, to be able to effectively argue against their agenda.  Look for this Continuing Conservative Self-Education in the Tab at the top of the blog.

No comments: