The Infiltration of Marxism Into Higher Education (Part 1 of 2)

December 3, 2018 Updated: December 19, 2018

A perusal of just about any American newspaper or network news program leaves a large portion of the country with the sour taste of liberal politics that for decades has been forced down their gullets.

Much of the American public is finally coming to the realization that the basic institutions of our Western heritage, both economic and cultural, are under assault: capitalism, our Judeo-Christian foundations, marriage, the family, our legal system, our Constitution, our representative democracy, and our basic civility—all of the institutions that have given us so much security and prosperity for 250 years.

The biggest engine driving this train has been the steady transformation of the majority of our colleges and universities from institutions that foster open debate and the exchange of ideas into incubators of left-leaning socialism, cultural Marxism, and political activism, shaping generations of young people.

Many reports have shown the leftist tilt among our institutions of higher learning, one being an extensive study published by Mitchell Langbert on the National Association of Scholars website on Apr. 24.

Langbert found that political registration by doctorate-holding professors in top-tier liberal arts colleges is overwhelmingly Democratic, with 39 percent of the colleges in his study being Republican-free.

Aside from actual political party registration, the study found that political affiliation skewed heavily Democratic, with more than 78 percent of academic departments having no politically conservative representation. While exceptions do exist, among liberal arts institutions they are few.

The skewed figures are “most notable in the humanities and social science fields, where the battle of ideas is most important,” Carson Holloway, an associate professor of political science at the University of Nebraska–Omaha, told The Daily Signal.

These numbers beg the question: What has produced this dubious imbalance, especially when the figures do not reflect the composition of the American public? A 2014 Gallup survey showed 38 percent of Americans identify as conservative, versus 24 percent who identify as liberal. As we will see, the ancestors of modern liberal academia come from the highest levels of the radical left.

The Enlightenment

Perhaps surprisingly, the journey’s beginnings can largely be traced to the Enlightenment, or the Age of Reason, dating roughly from 1685 to 1815. This era saw many positive scientific advances; however, in terms of social reformation, changing social and political philosophies fundamentally impacted Western populations, with one example being the upheaval of the French Revolution and its Reign of Terror.

In her essay “Pascal in the Post-Christian World,” published in the journal Modern Age, Ann Hartle quotes Vincenzo Ferrone regarding the intellectual and revolutionary environment of the mid-1600s through 1800s.

“The Enlightenment was an ’emancipation project’ intended to create a ‘new civilization’ grounded in the autonomy of human reason and the centrality of man. First and foremost, then, the Enlightenment means emancipation from tradition, especially religious tradition, and the elimination of the transcendence of the divine in favor of an ‘entirely immanent [human] standpoint,'” Hartle writes.

In 1848, imbued with Enlightenment ideals, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels penned “The Communist Manifesto,” an idealist imagining of the oppressed workers of the world uniting in bloody revolution to overthrow their oppressors, namely the oligarchs and capitalists of the world. From the rubble, they would form a new and perfect society governed by a benevolent “dictatorship of the proletariat,” after which the scourges of crime and poverty, the need for jails and armies and, indeed, government itself, would melt away.

Marx’s political thinking moved powerfully into the idealistic European intellectual strata of writers and artists, subsequently spreading its toxic message into the universities. One eager student was Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the Bolshevik who went on to lead the Russian revolution. Indeed, many of the educated elite in Europe, Great Britain, and the United States became enthralled with the socialist/communist promises of Lenin and Stalin, of a new paradise on earth.

The Fabian Society

In England, in 1884, the Fabian Society was formed to clandestinely interject socialism into British institutions and bring about the demise of capitalism. By the early 20th century, the leaders of the society included H. G. Wells, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, and the outspoken playwright George Bernard Shaw.

The Fabians were socialist-Marxist imbued; however, they differed from Marx regarding the need for violent class warfare and revolution. Instead, they targeted established institutions for spreading their influence, utilizing the tools of “stealth, intrigue, subversion, and the deception of never calling socialism by its right name” in order to achieve their goals. Their mascot was a tortoise, representing this slow, grinding methodology.

Bernard Shaw, the undisputed leader of the Fabians, showered praise on Benito Mussolini (“the right kind of tyrant”), Josef Stalin (“a Georgian gentleman” with “no malice in him”), and even Adolf Hitler (“a very remarkable man”). His vision was for a worldwide socialist government headed by a Fabian dictator.

Further penetrating into the educational structure of Britain, the Fabians founded the London School of Economics to promote their socialist economic principles. As an educational institution, it became the foundation of the British Labour Party. Against the backdrop of the Great Depression of the 1930s, they also found sympathetic interest from their socialist counterparts in the United States.

Beyond the economics and social institutions in Great Britain during the 1930s and 1940s, the scientific arena saw the establishment of the radical science movement. Its members closely associated with the communist scientific communities in the Soviet Union and China.

Among this group were some of the highest-ranking scientists and professors of Britain’s university system, such as J.B.S. Haldane (editor of Great Britain’s communist newspaper, the Daily Worker), Hyman Levy (Communist Party member into the 1950s), Joseph Needham (pitilessly duped by Chinese spymasters and agents), Lancelot Hogben (Marxist socialist and evangelical atheist), and J.D. Bernal (Marxist and militant atheist with blind allegiance to Stalin).

These figures spearheaded communist intrusion into British academia in their research, writings, and teaching, which would soon after overlap with scientific research in American universities.

Part II will discuss the German Frankfurt School, its Marxist philosophies, and the transplantation of their most influential leaders to the United States prior to World War II, carrying with them their blueprint for the destruction of American capitalism, our educational institutions, religion, and Western civilization, in favor of Marxist rule.  

Mike Shotwell was raised in a Marxist home and is intimately familiar with American communist history and its effects on the 20th century. He is the author of “Immersed in Red: My Formative Years in a Marxist Household.” He is also a lecturer, a Civil War scholar, and a retired forensic architect who lives with his wife in Atlanta, Georgia.

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