Culture at the Heart: Western Civilisation is in crisis, and at the heart of the crisis is culture. And yet (with the honourable exception of Quadrant and, to a lesser extent the IPA and CIS) the cultural field has largely been vacated by liberals and conservatives, or at least by their political representatives. The latter seem content to focus on winning elections and retaining office (along with their substantial salaries, promising post-parliamentary careers, and lucrative superannuation schemes) as if power is an end in itself. Meanwhile, all around us the forces of barbarism continue their relentless ‘long march through the institutions’ of Western Civilisation, corrupting and degrading them as they go.
Levers of Cultural Power: An excellent topical example of the grip of the Left over the levers of cultural power in our society is the HSC Modern History subject. One of the most popular HSC subjects, taken by 50 percent of all students, it is their best chance to gain some perspective on the world in which they will soon be building their adult lives. Its exam was conducted on Friday, 12/11, and one question in particular highlights the Far Left orientation of the senior history teachers and academics who decide what our HSC students need to be know about Modern History and set the questions accordingly.
That question focused on Chinese Marxism, and asked students to explain
To what extent did competing versions of Marxism affect Chinese politics from 1966 to 1989?
Of all the things that happened in that period, why would students be required to focus on the arcane and murderous disputes within the Chinese Communist Party? Why should they need to understand Communist ideology to the level required to distinguish between the many varieties of Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, Mao Zedong tThought, etc? The examiners clearly thought such knowledge is relevant, presumably because they believe (and hope?) that the world is heading towards Communism and the insanity of Marxist economics. But what do our elected representatives do to prevent, regulate, or even just balance such outlandish propaganda? Nothing! Their focus is entirely on themselves and their hold on office, apparently convinced that there are ‘no votes in Culture Wars’.
Jeremiad: Consequently, because of this scandalous desertion in the face of the cultural enemy the long-term political trend in the West will be towards the Left, as Greg Sheridan points out in a timely jeremiad (‘Democracy in crisis’, The Weekend Australian, 13/11). Indeed, the ongoing victories of the Left in the realm of culture (and above all, in education) means that our civilisation will be delivered into the hands of the fanatics of the extreme Left where lunacy, delusion, and even treason reign supreme, as the US Democrats and their media sycophants are presently demonstrating. Citing Karl Schmude “The Animating Force of Religious Faith” (Quadrant, November, 2021), Sheridan emphasizes not only that ‘politics is downstream of culture’ and that the latter must be fiercely contested by liberals and conservatives and their representatives, but that ‘culture is downstream of faith’ and that the contemporary denigration of faith and the West’s general loss of belief in the transcendent are proving to be culturally crippling.
Historical Propaganda: None of this is accidental, of course. It is the contemporary outcome of the systematic atheistic propaganda that has been a core component of the Leftist agenda for a quarter of a millennium, as even a basic familiarity with history reveals, i.e., an historical understanding not derived from the bogus narrative of Western mendacity imposed on the minds of students in NSW schools and reinforced in crucial HSC exams.
Denying the Transcendent: Indeed, the Left has long recognised that its program for comprehensive human transformation cannot be anchored in the transcendent, as Christianity has been able to do for nearly two millennia. Instead, because it rejects the transcendent, Leftism is by necessity relativist, anchored if at all merely in history, conceived as a supra-human but immanent entity as Karl Marx proclaimed, or Nature, as contemporary Gaia-worshipers insist. Ideologically, it continues to be essential for the Left to destroy all notions of faith and belief in the transcendent realm to which faith is directed. Only then can the Left compete on level terms with religion, or so it believes.
Re-building the World: Originating in the 18th Century Enlightenment, the Left had its first great victory in the French Revolution; French society was to be re-built from the ground up. This involved fundamental changes to all social institutions and everyday life, from religion, politics and language to women’s fashions, and even the calendar (i.e., 1792 became Year 1, and the 12 new 30-day months were each divided into three 10-day weeks, with the 10th day replacing Sunday as the day of rest. Each day was divided into 10 hours, each hour into 100 decimal minutes, and each decimal minute into 100 decimal seconds, etc).
Destruction & Desecration: At the core of this totalitarian compulsion was a messianic fanaticism, proclaiming the birth of a new, militantly secular ‘political religion’, the prototype of Communism, Fascism, Nazism, and Islamism of the 20th Century. Christianity was to be jettisoned and replaced by the properly organized worship of Nature, with new non-Christian services being held in ‘de-Christianised’ churches, celebrating the ‘Festival of the Supreme Being’. As a great symbolic gesture, Chartres Cathedral was to be pulled down and a ‘Temple of Wisdom’ built in its place. The Basilica of Saint-Denis, the most important church in France, was devastated, its treasury looted, its reliquaries and liturgical objects melted down for their metals, and the royal tombs desecrated. Cluny Abbey was wiped off the map. Founded in 910, Cluny had been the largest church in Christendom until the completion of St. Peter’s 700 years later. It was renowned as the leading institution of Western monasticism. The revolutionary mobs destroyed it in 1793. Its massive and irreplaceable library and archives were burned, everything of value plundered, and its immense walls quarried for stone. Virtually nothing remained.
Descent into Terror: Events then descended into an orgy of violence as the Revolution turned on itself. The ruling Committee of Public Safety proclaimed that its revolutionary regime was in peril and that there were traitors everywhere. Civil war threatened, and amidst widespread panic and violence the infamous ‘Great Terror’ was unleashed. In institutionalizing terror as an official program, the ruling elite, led by Robespierre, saw itself as implementing a revolutionary type of virtue that made normal morality obsolete. As the radical St Just declared about those who resisted:
In a republic which can only be based on virtue, any pity shown towards crime is a flagrant proof of treason.
At least 300,000, mainly common people, were arrested, 17,000 executed, and some 10,000 died in prison. Meanwhile, the devout Catholics in the Vendée region rebelled against the imposition of the new religion and compulsory conscription into the Republican army. And so the order was given to the troops:
‘I order you to deliver to flames everything that can be burnt and to bayonet any locals you meet. I know there might be a few patriots but never mind, we must sacrifice them all.’
Some 250,000 Catholic rebels were slaughtered in what has been called the first modern genocide, and a harbinger of what was to come under other political religions in the 20th Century. Why isn’t this pivotal and very revealing event the subject of an HSC Modern History question when room can be found for the intricacies of Marxism-Leninism-Mao-Zedong Thought and bogus accounts of the mendacity of the West?
Militant Atheism: Militant atheism developed through the 19th Century, when it was inextricably linked to the Socialist, Communist, Anarchist, and Nihilist movements. Iconic advocates included the Communist, Karl Marx (“Religion is the opiate of the people”), and the Nihilist, Friedrich Nietzsche (“God is dead”). It then flourished in the 20th Century, with, e.g., Bertrand Russell proclaiming “Why I Am Not a Christian” (1927) and Sigmund Freud issuing his brutal atheistic polemic, The Future of an Illusion (1927). It increasingly dominated politics and culture and found vigorous expression in Communism, Psychoanalysis, Existentialism, Nihilism, Anarchism, Logical Positivism, Randian Objectivism, Secular Humanism, Structuralism, Post-structuralism, Postmodernism, and most contemporary social and cultural movements, all of which see the destruction of religion as essential if they are to successfully impose their own ideology on the masses (cf. Pater Watson, The Age of Atheists, 2014).
Soviet Atheism: In a repeat of the French experience, systematic atheism took an extreme form in the Soviet Union after the 1917 Russian Revolution. There the Bolsheviks established a repressive template that was then applied, with varying levels of restraint, and at the cost of tens of millions of lives, in Nazi Germany, the Eastern European Communist states, Communist China, North Korea, Cuba, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and in other totalitarian regimes. Once again, one wonders why this very revealing aspect of modern history is not taught in schools or made the subject of an HSC question.
Brutal Suppression Indeed, in accordance with the Leftist program, one of the first steps taken by Lenin and the Bolsheviks was the brutal suppression of all forms of religion, e.g., Christianity and Judaism especially, Islam to a lesser extent, but also shamanism, folk mysticism, and any other form of faith in the supernatural realm. The Soviet regime was based on a ramshackle foreign ideology that had little to offer the rural Russian masses, and so the Bolsheviks focused on destroying all competition for the hearts and minds of the people.
Targeted: In particular, they targeted the Russian Orthodox Church, with its 100 million adherents, 200,000 priests and monks, 75,000 churches and chapels, 37,000 primary schools, 1100 monasteries, 61 seminaries and academies, thousands of hospitals, old people’s homes and orphanages. This enormous traditional institution had long provided the cultural foundations of Russian Civilisation. Indeed, for the masses of the Russian people
culture meant religion – religious belief, but especially religious rituals and festivals: baptism, circumcision, confirmation, confession, and burial, Christmas, Easter, Passover, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan. Their lives revolved around the ceremonies of the religious calendar, because these not only glorified their hard and humdrum existences but gave even the humblest of them a sense of dignity in the eyes of God.” — Richard Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime 1919-1924
It was this great foundational cultural dimension of life that the Bolsheviks set out to liquidate.
‘New Soviet Man’: As committed Marxists, the Bolsheviks knew that Communist ideology and the Christian religion could not co-exist, as they both made comprehensive psychological demands for belief and commitment. Like all terror-based regimes, the Soviets set out to create ‘Year Zero’ from which all history would subsequently begin. Consequently, the traditional Russian Christian had to disappear, so that ‘the New Soviet Man’ could be born, a worker bee in a hive. This collectivist creature would be .
a rational, disciplined and collective being who lived only for the interests of the greater good, like a cell in a living organism. — Orlando Figes, A People’s Tragedy
Therefore, Russia’s centuries-old, all-encompassing world of faith had to be eradicated if the new totalitarian Soviet system was to be erected in its place. As Lenin explained,
if the Revolution was fully to liquidate the Old Regime it had to settle accounts with the Church. It could not rest content with toppling the Tsar, the supreme symbol of worldly authority: first and foremost, it had to seek to undermine the foundations on which the Russian world had hitherto reposed”, i.e., Orthodox Christianity — Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime
Scientific Atheism: All religion was to be relentlessly ridiculed and systematically repressed, to be replaced with a specially designed ‘Scientific Atheism’. There were even ‘God Builders’ – Bolshevik fanatics determined to create a formal religion out of Communism and for whom ‘Man is god to Man’. And so, within months of the October Revolution, ten Hierarchs (archbishops) were summarily executed, and ‘the People’s Commissariat for Enlightenment’ was established, soon followed by ‘the All-Russian Union of Teachers-Internationalists’, and ‘the League of the Militant Godless’. These organizations were tasked with eliminating every last shred of religious material from the school curricula, and replacing it with ‘scientific atheism’, which evolved eventually into ‘Dialectical Materialism’, designed by Stalin and offering a complete materialist cosmology meant to serve as a secular substitute religion. This bureaucratic and ideological onslaught was joined in November 1920 by ‘the Chief Administration for Political Enlightenment’. The Bolsheviks were determined to closely regulate, suppress, and ultimately eliminate all religion.
Persecution: They therefore mounted a campaign of religious persecution on a scale not seen since the persecution of the Christians in the early centuries of the Roman Empire. In a series of decrees beginning in 1918, the Bolsheviks severed all links between the Church and the State, eliminated the Church’s status as a legal entity, ended all financial support, denied it the right to acquire or own property, denounced all miracles, confiscated all liturgical instruments, shut down all religious festivals, and prohibited the teaching of religion in all schools or to any youth group. More senior clergy and priests were arrested and executed. Party members and the public were encouraged to openly ridicule, harass and beat up priests, and many were simply killed. Overall,
The clergy was made destitute … Churches and monasteries were despoiled and converted to secular use, [as] were synagogues and mosques. Clergy of all faiths (except for Muslims) were deprived of civil rights and subjected to violent harassment and sham trials, which ended for many in imprisonment or execution. Religious instruction [was] replaced by atheistic propaganda [while] religious holidays gave way to Communist festivals.” — Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime
Public Reaction: As the Socialist Left regime under Dan Andrews in Victoria is discovering, these campaigns of State repression often have unexpected results, even when the regime can rely on the abject loyalty of the security and police forces. The Soviet campaign certainly intimidated many people who stopped attending church, but others attended just to silently protest their opposition to the new regime and its extreme demands. In some towns, when the security forces arrived to loot and destroy the local churches, the people pelted them with stones and even beat them up, prompting vicious retaliation. In one infamous case, when Alexandra Kollontai, the Commissar for Social Welfare (and pioneering Radical Feminist), sent troops to Petrograd to ‘confiscate’ a famous monastery, huge crowds turned out to defend it. The troops opened fire, but the crowd refused to disperse and soon a massive religious procession of several hundred thousand faithful swept through the city in support. However, such resistance only strengthened the Soviet regimes’ determination to crush religion “with such brutality that they will not forget it for decades to come,” as an official direction to the police dictated. Consequently, hideous torture and murder were inflicted across the country on all religious folk who resisted the suppression of their faith.
Impact: This campaign eventually had a cataclysmic impact on national morale. Indeed,
The aggressive atheism [of the Bolsheviks] affected the mass of citizens far more painfully than the suppression of political dissent or the imposition of censorship. Next to Economic hardships, no action of Lenin’s government brought greater suffering to the population than the profanation of their religious beliefs, the closing of the houses of worship, and the mistreatment of the clergy. — Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime
Death Toll: The death toll of this anti-religion terror campaign is difficult to estimate. However, between June 1918 and January 1919 in the Moscow region alone, official church figures record that one metropolitan, 18 bishops, 102 priests, 154 deacons, and 94 monks and nuns were murdered by the security forces. In addition, across the country, 579 monasteries and convents were liquidated, accompanied by the mass execution of many more monks and nuns. In the longer term, at least 106,000 Russian clergymen were executed during the Great Purge in the 1930s, while the total number of Christians killed under the Soviet regime is estimated at some 12-20 million. Across the Communist world tens of millions more were murdered or sent to die in concentration and ‘re-education’ camps.
Evangelical Atheists: It is to this dark heritage that contemporary atheists belong and owe their ideological allegiance. The most prominent of these present-day propagandists are Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion, 2007), Sam Harris (The End of Faith, 2006), Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, 2007), Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell, 2006), and A.C. Grayling (The God Argument, 2013). Described as ‘evangelical atheists’, they serve as the vanguard of the New Atheism. The titles of their books reveal the arrogance with which they approach their mission.
The New Atheism: Their highly publicised iconoclasm promotes a belligerent oppositional stance towards religion, particularly Christianity, which proponents portray as mere superstition, bigotry, and irrationalism. Grayling, for example, is explicitly an anti-Christian polemicist, pursuing his mission on three fronts in a manner reminiscent of the Bolshevik strategy: (1) A determined philosophical attack on all notions of the supernatural or transcendent; (2) The replacement of the Judeo-Christian foundations of the Western ethical system by secular, humanist values; (3) The demotion or removal of all religious organizations from the public sphere beyond the status allowed secular groups, e.g., trade unions.
Ultimate Objective: Grayling’s ultimate objective is the same as that of the Bolsheviks, i.e., the construction of an atheistic state religion (although one hopes he would resist implementing mass terror and murder to achieve this). Consequently, he has produced The Good Book: A Secular Bible, a self-help book that mirrors The Bible, being divided up into Genesis, Parables, Lamentations, Songs, Proverbs, Acts, Epistles, and The Good), with each of these being divided into chapters and verses, so that people can properly cite the wisdom and teachings of A.C. Grayling. For example, ‘The Good’, provides his ‘Ten Commandments’, e.g., Love Well, Harm No-one, Respect Nature, Be Informed, etc. Adherence to all this, he insists, will deliver humanity into a secular Golden Age. This campaign has been very influential, especially amongst intellectuals, academics, teachers and others who welcome the ‘cancellation’ of a field of scholarship about which they know little or nothing and for which they have no aptitude.
Different Gods: Ultimately, the atheist attack on Christianity is fundamental to the Leftist project to remake humanity on Progressivist terms. And at the heart of the contest there are two fundamentally different conceptions of God. Targeted by the Left for ridicule and the scrap-heap is the traditional Judeo-Christian God, who is transcendent and other-worldly; while being promoted is the Progressivist/Communist ideal of a god-like mega-State, which is entirely immanent and this-worldly. Instead of salvation being sought through a transcendent God, it will be sought from an all-powerful and omnipresent state apparatus that seeks to control every aspect of individual and social life in order to deliver a secular paradise to the previously benighted masses (whether they want it or not).
Dereliction: Something of this dystopian nature seems to be under construction in Victoria, while in NSW schools students are being ideologically prepared to embrace such a future. Consequently, the dereliction of duty by the NSW and federal governments in this sphere is absolutely reprehensible (with the possible exception of the federal Education Minister Alan Tudge, who is contesting the new National Curriculum). As Sir Winston Churchill declared to the House of Commons in 1948 as the Cold War with Communism set in: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
But how can people learn from history if they are never taught history, but instead are fed bogus Leftist propaganda? This is why the Culture Wars are so important and why those who care about Western Civilisation must insist that their elected representatives properly exercise their responsibilities in contesting the forces of collectivist barbarism.