Freedom of speech & “repressive tolerance”

The United States is in the midst of a cultural war that has been building for decades. It is a war of worldviews: a Judeo-Christian one on which Western civilization is built versus a Marxist worldview that seeks to transform America. Why is this happening?

In the early 1930’s The Frankfort School’s Marxist professors moved to Columbia University in New York. There they spread the Neo-Marxist interpretation of West called “Critical Theory.” This theory spread to other universities across America.

Critical Theory is an unrelenting attack on the West alone. It does not criticize Eastern culture or Muslim countries. All Western institutions (Christianity, capitalism, the nuclear family, etc.) must be torn down according to Critical Theory. There is nothing redeemable about any of them. 

Simply stated, Critical Theory states the dominant culture or those in power oppress marginal groups. The dominant culture/powerful would be whites, the wealthy, males, Christians, English-speakers, and so on. By advocating for the oppressed (non-whites, poor, females, non-Christians, non-English speakers, etc.), people can gain power and find meaning in life. In Marxism, there is no afterlife, so improving life here and now is the only goal.

Critical Theory gave birth to two related concepts: Critical Legal Theory and Critical Race Theory. Critical Legal Theory states the law has biases for oppressors (whites) who created the laws. The wealthy and powerful use the law as an instrument of oppression to maintain their position in society. For the advocate of CLT, the goal is to overturn this unjust society from a legal perspective. This is why you see people losing freedom of speech today.

One of the advocates of Critical Theory was Herbert Marcuse. His collegiate teaching resume included work at Columbia, Harvard, Brandeis, and UC-San Diego. In 1970 Marcuse wrote an essay called “Repressive Tolerance.” It called for “the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, Social Security, medical care, etc.”  This approach “may necessitate new and rigid restrictions on teaching,” including the suppression of certain types of “scientific research.”

Marcuse also called for “intolerance against movements from the right, and toleration of movements from the left.”  He admits his goal is one of “shifting the balance between left and right by restraining the liberty of the right,” and in this way “strengthening the oppressed against the oppressors.” Decades later, the legacy of “repressive tolerance” is seen everywhere as people lose their freedom of speech. This loss is manifest by shaming, bullying, destruction and violence. All of these are morally justified because the “oppressors” should not have the right to speak because they are the reason for human suffering.

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