To the rector of Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland:
Dear Sir, it has been brought to my attention that your university and office have seen fit to reprimand Professor Ryszard Legutko for not supporting your efforts to introduce feminist ideology into your curriculum. Although I do not know all the details of this daring experiment, Professor Legutko is entirely correct to resist it.
Political correctness is a dangerous totalitarian concept that I have addressed in multiple books and articles. It is one that has sowed havoc and disunity in every Western country that once could be truly considered democracies. The result of this venture—inflicted on us by public administrators, the media, and the educational establishment—has been to render our countries less free and more open to ideological manipulation.
Professor Legutko is an eminent scholar in political theory, from whose study on the pitfalls of our religion of democracy I have learned a great deal. His grim warnings about the anti-liberal potential of modern democracy (and here I am using liberal in its true, 19th-century sense, as I do in my book After Liberalism) are clearly on the mark. What the good professor is now undergoing at your venerable institution witnesses to the truth of his predictions.
In the name of an elusive goal of total equality, including special rights for designated victims, Western civilization is destroying itself. I was hoping that Poland and other relatively traditional Western countries would be spared this fate that is now overwhelming the United States, the Anglosphere, and other parts of Europe. Perhaps I was overly optimistic.
—Paul Gottfried Editor, Chronicles
You are to be commended for printing Ian Dowbiggin’s essay on American Psychiatry (“American Psychology Has a Lot to Apologize for” July 2021 Chronicles). Saying psychology has “a lot to apologize for” could rightly be called an understatement.
The June 8 issue of the American Medical Association Journal contained an essay by a Stanford psychiatrist. He concludes that “legislation to criminalize gender- affirming medical care” highlights the cries of parents who say, “This could mean death for my child.” He urges physicians to contact their state representatives with “evidence-based information” from the American Psychiatric Association to defeat such “harmful” legislation.
Without the concept of mental illness, diagnoses such as gender dysphoria would not exist. Until we are willing to eliminate the subjective in medical science, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will continue to grow, and we will continue to live (or die) in a divided America.
It takes true courage to publish what Dowbiggin wrote; I’m grateful for you.
—Dr. Carol Tharp Winnetka, Ill.
Defining the Opponent
Paul Gottfried and William Lind’s debate over “cultural Marxism” (November 2020 Chronicles) revealed a greater problem than terminology. There’s a lack of clarity over the real nature of the modern left. Granted, one cannot call something “Marxist” when it is championed by billionaires.
Indeed, the modern American left seems incoherent and irrational. How can they be centralizing globalists yet unleash centrifugal forces of racial/sexual tribalism through identity politics? How can monopolistic corporations support “socialists” (or vice versa)? How can elites support street mobs yet use the pandemic to impose a police state? Old Marxists also never questioned marriage, borders, or biological sex.
Thus Gottfried has a point, but he has not convincingly provided an alternative explanation or terminology to replace “cultural Marxism.”
These trends seem incongruous unless one realizes the true nature of the conflict is a class struggle. There are three classes in modern America: managers (institutional elites), producers (taxpaying small business-owners, the middle and working classes), and dependents (non-taxpaying dependents of government). We are living in Sam Francis’ concept of “anarcho-tyranny,” wherein managerial elites and their allies the dependents are trying to squeeze the producers out of existence.
My lament is that often the Old Right is better at diagnosing problems than prescribing cures. We must recognize that we are engaged in a class rather than ideological conflict, and adapt accordingly. We need a Producer Revolution that will dismantle the sources of anarcho-tyranny and the artificial classes of manager and dependent: the permanent bureaucracy and political class, the welfare state, mass migration, and even, yes, corporations.
It is not “socialist” to recognize that corporations are monopolistic and that free markets existed long before the 17th century corporation. Corporate power, money and propagandistic advertising overwhelms the influence of church, family, and community. It is these autonomous, local institutions that must shape culture again instead of the state and corporation.
—S. D. Parks Manhattan, Kansas
Prof. Gottfried replies
There is nothing in Mr. Parks’ description of how today’s left behaves that I could possibly disagree with. Indeed, my new book, Antifascism: The Course of a Crusade, makes many of the points that Mr. Parks states in his letter. He does express a valid concern about an alternative reference for our shameless totalitarians and their legions of rioting troublemakers rather than the inaccurate “Marxist” label. I think we have held on to that admittedly deficient term for lack of something better, and I’m not sure I can come up with a better label that will catch on.
Our ruling class most certainly does not consist of real Marxists, even if they push the radical egalitarian rhetoric of the traditional left and its call for revolution. They are the wielders of power who have financed and set loose paid mobs targeting the real working class, declared war on biblical morality and white males, and utterly corrupted both journalism and academic learning throughout the Western world.
My own candidate for a replacement designation for this group is “the Post- Marxist Left,” but despite my best efforts, I have not been able to get others to adopt it.