Instinctively they reject them and wonder how they came to gain such prominence. If you are doing your job you are not interested in terms such as Cultural Marxism and you can't be blamed. It's not a theme for common sense people but it has infected the American universities and found its way into societal mores and public policy. That is why you should know something about it.
We will try to give you a succinct review of several decades of the history of this movement because one of its tenets is to go slow and unnoticed until the proper time arrives.
It started with Antonio Gramsci an Italian communist who in the 1920s returned from a visit to Stalin's Russia convinced of two things. The proletarian revolution had never taken hold in the west or in Russia for that matter, and that soviet methods were not going to succeed in Italy.
Why? Because the proletarian class believed in patriotism, religion and the family. Patriotism defended the concept of nation state while communism wanted a world without frontiers united under one idea and one rule. Religion posited the concept of an after life and opposed communism's atheistic earthly paradise. The family was the cradle where children learned patriotism, religion and respect for paternal authority. Communism wanted control of the children's minds. They were the future new men and women.
For Gramsci these institutions produce "hegemony". It is in this way, said Gramsci, that the ruling class maintains societal control. Marxist success requires a radical change of ideas and values.
Mussolini put Gramsci in jail where he died in 1937 but not before he had written 3,000 pages of essays and developed his theory of cultural hegemony. To turn the culture around he proposed several things the most important being:
a) The organic intellectual who would grow and work with the neighborhood and indoctrinate It. The community organizer of Saul Alinsky is simply its American version.
b) University intellectuals were to be recruited.
c) Figures of influence such as sportsmen, artists, scientists were to be gained for the cause even if they did not fully comprehend the doctrine and its political ramifications. A simple spousal of some of the ideas would be sufficient. That is why you see so many Hollywood figures and the like talking with great pomposity about topics way beyond their sphere of competence.
d) Infiltrate the churches and get them to support selected causes.
e) Infiltrate the judiciary through ideas planted at the university level and through peer review papers. Eventually some of the professionals so formed would gain access to judgeships.
All of this must be done with patience and as subtly as possible because otherwise a counter revolution would be provoked. When the time comes and power centers fall under Marxist control then the clenched fist can be shown.
Gramsci planted the seed but a group of German intellectuals known as the Frankfurt School watered it and made it grow and flourish.
They accepted Gramsci's ideas but expanded them by developing what they called the critical theory wherein they applied an interdisciplinary approach bringing in psychology, the law, psychiatry, music, history, visual arts and any specialization that might affect the existing social structures.
The idea was to destroy the extant form of social organization and substitute it by the Marxist society.
Thus any methodology that attacked the pillars of that society was welcome.
For the Marxist way of thinking historicism is paramount. Marxism is a historical social process, it is inevitable. Destruction of a society merely accelerates the process and thus is perfectly legitimate.
With the advent of Nazism many of the Frankfurt School theoreticians emigrated to the United States and were accepted by universities, foundations and think tanks. Names like Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Erich Fromm, Herbert Marcuse and several others became ensconced in the American teaching institutions and the Frankfurt School Institute for Social Research gained new life in America.
Slowly, ideas that dissolve and divide were introduced under the guise of social studies. Fully aware that the Marxist principle of expropriation of private means of production by the state, and of the property of the bourgeoisie was not going to gain much traction in the United States they came up with a brilliant innovation much more subtle and destructive.
Instead of centering class warfare on the issue of ownership of property, class warfare is centered in the culture of the social classes to which people belong. And this propaganda was directed not to the downtrodden but to the children of the high bourgeoisie and the middle class.
With classical Marxism, culture was a product of the means of production ownership and relations between classes were founded on that fact.
Cultural Marxism does not abandon the statism of Marxism but since its objective is to destroy society it produces imaginary hostile interactions based on cultural not economic classes. Thus a white blue collar construction worker belonging to the Christian occidental culture is an exploiter and a black African millionaire entrepreneur is an exploited person that escaped.
What they did in their daily activities is immaterial, if you are in a group you acquire the characteristics of such a group and by definition you are against another group.
And in this way you create artificial divisions in society and organize endless victim groups based on critical theory "studies" about social problems that are either vastly exaggerated or non existent. And when they exist the idea is to exacerbate them to the point of creating hatred and violence.
Herbert Marcuse who became the Guru of the hippie generation with his book Eros and Civilization defined the objectives quite clearly:
"One can rightfully speak of a cultural revolution, since the protest is directed toward the whole cultural establishment, including the morality of existing society. The traditional idea of revolution and the traditional strategy of revolution have ended. These ideas are old fashioned...what we must understand is a type of diffused and dispersed disintegration of the system".
His main "contribution" was to postulate that sexual liberation was the path to social liberation. Sex it is, it must be poliform, all of its manifestations are valid and spiritual love is a fantasy. For Marcuse the so called patriarchal family was a means of sexual exploitation and slavery of women. Thus the base for a form of radical feminism was laid which evolved into abortion on demand and in the view of its most extreme advocates pregnancy was the equivalent of a disease.
Marcuse thought that sex was exclusively for pleasure and for procreation only in selected cases.
The result has been a marked decrease in live births in the United States and Europe which plays into the substitution of culture by population substitution through (as has happened in Europe) the importation of masses of third world workers estranged from occidental values who are frequently hostile to the values of their host countries.
The attack has been relentless. Adorno postulated the use of atonic music and modern art as a means to separate people's from their classic occidental values, Fromm posited legal positivism where the law is removed from all considerations of justice or natural law.
The critical race theory presented the European white man as the summa of all evil, a colonialist exploiter from whom nothing good could originate. Applied to the founders of nations Washington and his peers became simply old white men. A very useful epithet if the objective is to destroy patriotism and the nation state.
Add to this the myriad ONGs created or infiltrated by cultural marxists which in turn have created armies of people that have lost their identity by acquiring that of the cause they spouse. Nothing wrong with defending a cause passionately, but when this degenerates into considering any fellow citizen that differs as an enemy that must be insulted and harshly dealt with, cultural Marxism has scored another victory: Divide, seed hate and confuse.
Substitution of population has then been complemented by substitution of identity making a country much more manageable for their purposes.
And what about the right? Much of it has lived in la la land concerned only with economic issues while swallowing much of cultural Marxism's propaganda and in not a few cases supporting it through lack of intellectual curiosity and plain laziness. Because nothing except that, explains why they have passively funded the lavish life styles of the corrupters of their children at expensive universities.
In spite of all the above a reaction is taking place. Instinctively people have begun to react against blatant absurdities as the gender theory wherein by a simple act of will one changes his or her sex. The problem cultural Marxism now has is that they became arrogant due to their contempt for the average citizen whom they consider lumpen proletariat. They showed the fist too soon and dictated many of their ideas by decree. Thus they have generated the counter revolution that Gramsci with great vision foresaw.
There is an awakening in Europe and the United States. Let us pray God that it continue!