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By Paul Kengor
“Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.”
– Karl Marx, “The Communist Manifesto”
That quotation from Karl Marx appears in his 1848 “Communist Manifesto.” Yes, even way back then, the extreme left was looking to abolish the family, with marriage (the center of the family) specifically in its sights. Really, it’s a battle that goes back to the Garden of Eden, where a sinister force first tried tear asunder the male-female union the Creator had ordained. Fortunately, better angels prevailed, including Natural Law and common sense, which, by tradition and experience, enabled civilization to keep male-female marriage and the traditional family together.
Nonetheless, that hasn’t deterred the far left, which has long been hell-bent on taking down the family. Leftists have made their arguments and tried different tactics, but they at long last seem to have found the vehicle to make it happen: gay marriage. Once advocates of gay marriage succeed in redefining marriage as anything but one man and one woman, there will be no end to the redefinition. The current liberal/progressive standard that consulting adults who love each other ought to be entitled to “marriage rights” cannot, by logical consistency, prohibit polygamous marriages, group marriages and even inter-family marriages (mother married to son or daughter or stepson or stepdaughter, dad to son or daughter or stepson or stepdaughter). By the left’s new insistent standard for what rises to the level of “marriage,” any and all of these are fair game. Liberals in their hearts know this; it’s undeniable. It will be a mess – a mess of marriage.
And what will have initiated this fundamental transformation of this onetime pillar of human civilization? Again, the answer is this altogether entirely new 21st century phenomenon called “gay marriage.”
This is an exciting time for extreme leftists. They are genuinely transforming human nature. (That, by the way, is the textbook definition of totalitarianism: to transform human nature.) And they’re doing it with the unwitting support of a huge swath of clueless citizens and voters.
I recently got an email from a Townhall reader responding to one of my articles on gay marriage. He was once part of the “gay left.” He told me that most gay people, who are either not political at all or nowhere near as political as the far left, have no idea how their gay-marriage advocacy fits and fuels the far left’s anti-family agenda, and specifically the far left’s longtime take-down strategy aimed at the nuclear family.
The emailer is exactly right. Most of the gay people I have known are Republicans, not leftists. Generally, I’ve always had no problem easily dialoguing with gay people, though it’s now getting more difficult, as liberals are doing their usual bang-up job convincing a certain group (this time gays) that I as a conservative Republican hate them. Even when socially liberal – and, even then, mainly on matters like gay rights – the gay people I’ve met have been economic conservatives. But in signing on the dotted line for gay marriage, they have also, whether they realize it or not (actually, they don’t), enlisted in the radical left’s unyielding centuries-old attempt to undermine the family. They are being used, duped, by a deeper, sinister force. For that matter, so are Republicans and “conservatives” who support gay marriage, so are libertarians, and so are the independents/”moderates” swimming (as they usually do) with the cultural tide.
Speaking of whom, here’s a quick news flash: There’s nothing conservative or moderate about suddenly redefining the oldest institution in the history of humanity, especially with an idea not even as old as my Windows phone. Sorry, folks, but that’s radical, extreme; that’s the kind of thing radicals and extremists do.
What kind of radicals and extremists? That brings me back to our pal Karl Marx and his loyal followers.
“Abolition of the family!” yelped Marx. “Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.”
Marx and his comrades scoffed at what they dismissed as the “bourgeois family.” He hoped and predicted that “the bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course,” as would “bourgeois marriage.” These should be abolished, averred Marx, along with all morality, eternal truths and religion, which was the “opiate of the masses.” “Communism begins where atheism begins,” explained Marx. They’re all interconnected: communism, atheism, abolition of marriage, abolition of the family.
Overall, stated Marx, “The communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.”
Marx’s apostles embraced his philosophy on the family and forcibly implemented it into practice. His most passionate practitioners, the Bolsheviks, followed his philosophy with gusto. Through the radical liberalization of divorce laws, through the institution of secular/godless “red weddings” and through numerous other actions, Vladimir Lenin and his allies dealt a severe blow to marriage in traditionally religious Russia, with hopes of exporting the message and spreading the effects worldwide. (Marx and the Soviet Comintern both demanded a global revolution.) Soon, in the Soviet Union and other communist countries, the divorce rate skyrocketed to levels unseen in human history.
One of the most influential Bolshevik theorists on the family was the revolutionary novelist Aleksandra Kollontai. In her 1920 Marxist classic, “Communism and the Family,” Kollontai wrote: “There is no escaping the fact: the old type of family has had its day. The family is withering away not because it is being forcibly destroyed by the state, but because the family is ceasing to be a necessity.” She blasted “the old family,” “the typical family,” which, she ruefully celebrated, “is changing before our very eyes.” Kollontai asked: “Will the family remain in the same form? These questions are troubling many women of the working class and worrying their menfolk as well. Life is changing before our very eyes; old habits and customs are dying out, and the whole life of the proletarian family is developing in a way that is new and unfamiliar and, in the eyes of some, ‘bizarre.'”
Of course, even the communists (especially in Russia) would have seen same-sex marriage as bizarre – actually, beyond bizarre. But that’s where progressivism, secularism and the sexual revolution entered the picture, dealing an even more devastating blow to the family, even as religion largely allowed the Western family to hang on.
Progressives believe that things are always in a state of flux, of evolution. An ongoing and unending and unceasing process of forward “change” is the only absolute progressives really agree on. These changes are societal, cultural, political – whatever it takes to advance the always advancing and ever evolving progressive agenda. The changes are also sexual and, thus, intimately involve human relations and the human family. Progressives/liberals heartily embraced the sexual revolution and secularism – two things utterly sacred to the modern progressive left. What has been the impact? In short order, with these forces working in tandem, the West began seeing divorce rates and family disintegration comparable to early Soviet levels.
The 1960s were a huge boost to the destruction of traditional marriage in the West. In radical circles in the ’60s (and into the ’70s), “smashing monogamy” was the buzzword; it was all the rage. For an enlightening and sickening read on this, get a copy of the late Larry Grathwohl’s classic “Bringing Down America: An FBI Informer with the Weathermen.” Grathwohl, who just died last summer, had penetrated the Weathermen in the 1970s. Day after day for month upon month, this Vietnam vet and war hero had to buddy around with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn and crew. His horrible task meant doing what they did, living like they lived. A thread throughout Grathwohl’s account is how the Weathermen – who, of course, were communists – were hell-bent on abolishing monogamous marriage, which they viewed as a repressive remnant of male and white supremacy.
How ironic that Ayers and Dohrn would come to know and work with Barack Obama, serving on boards with him in Chicago and infamously giving him their political blessing from their Hyde Park living room in 1995. And even more ironic, Obama, who today is a dupe for what Ayers and Dohrn once recklessly pursued, is, by all accounts, a good husband committed to monogamous marriage.
And yet, even then, having survived the ’60s radicals, the communists, the Soviets, Karl Marx and all else, the core notion of marriage as being between one man and one woman remained intact in America. It was the ideal. It was the standard. It was the definition of marriage. It hung on. It prevailed. Battered and beaten, it was not defeated.
Could anything break it? Could anything cut it down?
Alas, yes. The answer is finally upon us. The left, in the West generally and America specifically, has found its hammer and its sickle to smash and undercut marriage. Under the banner of “gay rights” and feel-good slogans like “tolerance,” “freedom,” “marriage rights” and “equality,” and, on the flip side, accusations of intolerance, bigotry, “hatred” and “homophobia” slung at opponents, the left has seized upon gay marriage with a downright stunning and relentless abandon. The left has its wrecking ball.
The far left has finally found its Trojan horse for its longtime goal of destroying traditional marriage and the traditional family. Advocates of gay marriage are now dupes in that deeper process, whether they know it or not.
And sadly, it’s all so damned unnecessary. As one thoughtful liberal told me, if gays and their supporters had simply pushed for some form of civil unions or partnerships, rather than insisting on literally redefining marriage – smashing and changing its very meaning – none of this acrimony we’re seeing now would be occurring. This is all so unnecessarily divisive. Yet, that’s what the Marxists and the radicals have always done: divide and destroy. And now, they have gay-rights supporters unwittingly enlisting in their mission.
Alas, I must ask: Who or what is truly the ultimate source of the duping? Is it the communist left? Is it what we can only generally call the extreme or far left? Is it liberals, socialists, or “progressives”? Or is it something even darker, deeper, older, roots as old as the Garden of Eden, and more sinister? Is it really anything new?
The October 2013 edition of Whistleblower magazine explains the dangerous effects of America opening wide the door to the normalization of perversion: “The New Sexual Revolution: How the ‘gay’ rights movement has become a Trojan horse for totalitarianism”
Dr. Paul Kengor is an author whose most recent book is “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.” His other books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”