How the Left Has Sabotaged Marriage and Family

The Daily Journal October 15, 2015

Commentary By

Portrait of Paul Kengor

Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. He writes about Margaret Sanger in his latest book, “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage.”

On June 26, 2015, four of the Supreme Court’s liberals joined Justice Anthony Kennedy in discovering a new right to same-sex marriage in the U.S. Constitution, one thereby imposed upon all 50 states.

In response, of course, liberals were jubilant. Their leader, the one who promised to fundamentally transform America, responded by literally illuminating the nation’s house in rainbow colors.

Americans saw all of that. They saw the pictures of their fundamentally transformed White House; they saw other culture-transformers dancing in the streets joyously rejecting what a great country once called the laws of nature and nature’s God.

What they had just achieved was, obviously, something utterly untried and unprecedented. And yet, if you suggested even a slight pause before redefining something as fundamental as the 2,000-year, unquestioned, Judeo-Christian/Western standard for marriage, which has only ever meant a male-female bond—well, then you were nothing more than a homophobe exuding a noxious stream of hate. You couldn’t possibly have any rational reason for your rancid, puzzling position.

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The Push to Alter Marriage

But one thing that very few Americans saw, including the millions of same-sex marriage supporters who aren’t especially political or ideological, was the quite revealing celebration among some really radical quarters.

Among them, Communist Party USA and its publication, People’s World—successor to the Soviet-funded and directed Daily Worker—were thrilled with what Anthony Kennedy and friends had done.

For communists, this was a stunning victory, the securing of a long-elusive effort to vanquish the fixed marriage model set forth long ago by nature and the Creator. Indeed, if you thought the White House seemed eager to hoist the rainbow colors, you should have seen the American Communist Party.

In fact, the party of the red flag had been waving the rainbow flag before June 26, 2015. Communist Party USA has been pumping the full “LGBT” agenda for several years now.

The day before Kennedy’s landmark opinion came two pieces in People’s World, one titled “Today in Pride Month history: Homosexuals in Holocaust first publicly recognized” and the other titled, “Today in LGBTQ history: Stonewall Inn made historic landmark.” The actual day of the high court’s decision was marked by a lead article titled “Three in a row: SCOTUS upholds marriage equality, Obamacare, Fair Housing Act.” People’s World was grateful for the court’s work across the board.

This intriguing appreciation from American communists is no surprise to those of us who study communism for a living and thus are forced to read websites like People’s World (as well as the homepage of Communist Party USA) as an occupational hazard. We know that one is far more likely to see the rainbow flag at People’s World nowadays than a red flag with a hammer and sickle.

>>> For more on this, see Paul Kengor’s new book, “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage.

Really, though, the two flags are, in limited but meaningful ways, fighting for certain shared objectives. For today’s communists, the “LGBT” agenda, especially on marriage, is the hammer and sickle to take down the natural, traditional, biblical, Western/Judeo-Christian model for marriage and family that they have long despised. I’ll here very briefly summarize some of the history.

A History of Subverting Family and Religion

Efforts to fundamentally transform marriage and family have been long at work, but never (until now) accepted and pushed by the mainstream. In the past, these efforts were spearheaded by the most dangerous radicals. For two centuries, leftist extremists made their arguments, from the 1800s to the 1960s, characterized by the Communist Manifesto, where Marx and Engels wrote of the “abolition of the family!” Even then, in 1848, Marx and Engels could call “abolition of the family” an “infamous proposal of the communists.”

“Blessed is he who has no family,” Marx wrote to Engels, at best only partly in jest. Marx’s partner in crime detested family and marriage so much that he refused both. The ideological duo fulminated against the “bourgeois claptrap” of marriage, which was merely a “system of housewives held in common.” Engels was carrying the banner to smash monogamy a century before the 1960s New Left adopted the credo.

Efforts to revolutionize family and marriage continued, from socialist utopians like Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, and Albert Brisbane to cultural Marxists in the Frankfurt School such as Herbert Marcuse and Wilhelm Reich to 20th-century leftists and progressives ranging from the Bolsheviks—Lenin, Trotsky, Alexandra Kollontai—to Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan, Kate Millett, and ’60s radicals Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and Mark Rudd.

When Tom Hayden and Robert Scheer ran a “Red Family” colony in near Berkeley in the 1960s, they were merely following the footsteps of socialist-utopian colonies in the 1800s in places like Oneida, New York and New Harmony, Indiana.

Were these “ideological colonists” (to borrow an apt description by Pope Francis) supporting same-sex marriage? Of course, not.

No group of radicals, no matter how unhinged, ever contemplated that. The mere fleeting contemplation, the mere momentary notion, the slightest passing fancy of a man legally marrying another man in the 1850s or 1950s would have been scoffed at as incomprehensible. Such proponents would have been deemed certifiably insane.

And yet, that said, among these far-left elements, the cultural Marxists in particular—the Frankfurt School, Georg Lukacs, Willi Munzenberg, Marcuse, Reich, and allies—and their 1960s New Left inheritors, from Kate Millett to Dohrn, Ayers, Rudd, Hayden, Sheer, and others, sought to fundamentally transform the culture through a new kind of (initially) Freudian-based Marxism that obliterated traditional-religious understandings of sexuality, gender, marriage, and family. For them, their cultural revolution would be achieved through a long march through the institutions, especially academia.

It would take a while, but they were enormously patient, diligent, and ultimately successful. This is where the tectonic shift on marriage and family has taken place. Ask anyone who has lived through it and watched it carefully, and he will tell you that same-sex marriage is a product of our modern universities, which educated today’s culture shapers and fundamental transformers in Hollywood, New York, TV, movies, the media, Google, Facebook, the White House, and on and on.

For the far left, same-sex marriage is the Trojan Horse to secure the takedown of marriage it has long wanted, and countless everyday Americans are oblivious to the older, deeper forces at work. And even more delicious for the left, same-sex marriage is serving as a powerful tool in attacking what the extreme left has always hated most: religion.

Today’s advocates of same-sex marriage need to be aware of the quite insidious deeper historical-ideological forces they are unwittingly allied with and aiding and abetting. Sure, that knowledge still will likely not change their minds, and it isn’t going to reverse the Supreme Court decision, but it’s something that a well-informed, thoughtful person should at least be willing to learn about.

Alas, does this mean that same-sex marriage is a communist plot? Is that what I’m saying here? Of course not. Please, liberals, don’t be simpletons. Add some nuance to the discussion. Don’t caricature something that should be taken seriously. It would be logically ridiculous and historically simplistic to say that the commies have given us same-sex marriage. But what I am saying is that a people do not wake up one morning, head to Starbucks, and then walk to the office and casually dismiss multi-millennia’s worth of prior wisdom, experience, and opinion—what G. K. Chesterton called “the democracy of the dead”—without some busy work by some factions in the years before.

Ground had been plowed to ready this soil. The current state is the end-road of a steady evolution that should not be viewed entirely separate from or totally unrelated to early attacks by the far left. That ideological history matters.

A Historic Shift

A people does not rise up one day in June 2015 and ditch the sacred and natural character of the male-female marital union that served their parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents, great-great-great grandparents, etc. (perhaps I do indeed need to belabor this point, eh?) and the ongoing long line of ancient ancestors who preceded them. All of these relations of ours surely were not mere wild “hate-mongers.”

Yet, if there is one source of clear commonality, from the early 19th to early 21st centuries, it is this: As modern liberalism/progressivism and the Democratic Party have become increasingly secular, often anti-religious, or certainly dismissive of traditional notions of morality, the embrace of same-sex marriage has become possible.

For communists, two centuries ago and still today, that requisite anti-religious secularism has been there all along. Much of the wider American culture, outside of the far left, has also become secular and dismissive of traditional religious teaching on matters like family and marriage. That disregard if not outright rejection of Christian ethics has brought all of these forces full circle in a joint willingness to permanently alter the historic Western/Christian understanding of male-female matrimony.

Take this, for instance, as an illustration: Let’s imagine four people who support redefining marriage via same-sex marriage: The hardcore cultural Marxist professor at “Secular U,” the apolitical soccer mom on Facebook, the gay Episcopal pastor, and the sitcom addict.

They may all come to the “marriage equality” position from entirely different motivations, and otherwise hold little in common ideologically, but they all share one crucial component: Each of them rejects the idea that there is a single, absolute, eternal standard for male-female marriage ordained by nature and nature’s God, and each believes that he can render unto himself the right to abolish any such standard and create his own definitions.

As for communists, they couldn’t care less whatever tags or hashtags or slogans or colors the majority culture uses to redefine marriage and family. To them, the larger objective remains the same: to reject and abolish a traditional Judeo-Christian understanding of marriage and family. They are getting what they’ve long wanted, and they could not have done it without the support of mainstream Americans.

The radical left could never have achieved this ultimate takedown of marriage without the larger public’s acquiescence and assistance. The wider same-sex-marriage-supporting public has been the indispensable handmaiden to the radical left’s ability to at long last alter marriage and family. It has been quite a coup.

Please join us at The Heritage Foundation on Oct. 16, 2015, from 11am to 12pm, for a discussion with author Paul Kengor on his newly released book “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage.”

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