Clarifying The Fog
The expression “fog of war” was coined in the nineteenth century by Carl von Clausewitz who was a member of the Prussian military. It is used to specify the lack of certainty commands face in the blitz of commotion that marks warfare. Of course, the more one can keep their enemies off balance by driving uncertainty the more likely their chance of success. This reality is clearly seen in sporting events. I remember the absolute shock when Nick Saban called an onside kick with ten minutes to go in the fourth quarter of the national championship game. The score was a dead tie with Clemson 24-24 so nobody expected an onside kick as a remote possibility with that much time left in the game. However, the surprising call not only stunned everyone, it also changed momentum leading to the Tide’s win of another national title.
Possessing the ability to utilize surprise to one’s advantage is enjoyable in a game like football, but it is quite a sobering matter in cultural warfare. Marxists have historically been known for their attempts to redefine the dictionary, utilizing terms with hidden meanings, and bearing their thoughts beneath piles of academic language. James Lindsay testifies to this reality in a paragraph worthy of our attention:
“Over the past two years, tens of millions of Americans have awakened to the fact that the ‘Dialectical Left,’ which includes Communism, achieves its agendas most effectively by strategically changing the meanings of words. This is a tactic that is very effective until it is recognized, at which point it rapidly becomes counterproductive because it is so obviously manipulative and so easily resisted by demanding clear definitions, especially in policy documents. The challenge is that there are a lot of words that our society depends upon, which allows Communist activists to move on from one word to another, then to another, as their language games get exposed.”1
Put simply, Communists have become quite proficient at keeping their opponents off balance through the use of language games. Just like Bama’s onside kick changed the landscape of a championship game, so also the Marxist’s redefinitions at key moments can have just as profound an impact. One such example is seen in the use of the term “critical theory” which is a deep academically steeped subject unstudied by few amongst the population. Let’s be honest, not everyone wants the accompanying migraine which comes from reading Marxist literature to understand their terminology. Therefore, I want to helpfully set forth some foundational aspects of critical theory in an effort to make this plain to others.
A Brief History Lesson
Keep in mind that modern-day Marxism is no doubt linked back to the nineteenth-century figure Karl Marx. Marxism sought to define the “oppressed” and the “oppressor” on the basis of economic lines. This explains why it always encouraged the bloody revolution amongst the everyday man who was viewed as “oppressed.” Dr. Owen Strachan helps us comprehend this old form of Marxism:
“But Marx reframed our fundamental categories along economic lines—’class struggles,’ to be precise. He saw history playing out as a great conflict between oppressors (those who control the means of production) and the oppressed (those who are not economically privileged).”2
As a basic illustration, let’s say that you owned a sewing machine and hired someone to operate it so you could sell materials from their labor. According to Marxist theory, the person you hired would be oppressed in such a scenario while you were seen as the oppressor. Coming to the twentieth century, Marxists propelled by the Frankfurt school took this framework and began to apply it to society at large bringing us to what is known as Critical Theory or Critical Marxism.3 They sought to see how the oppressed and the oppressor dynamic driven by Marx is at work in matters like race, gender, and other cultural or societal arenas. In an article demonstrating the tie between critical theory and perverse sexuality, Carl Trueman makes the point clear:
“The basic assumptions about the social construction of categories, whether racial, gender, or generational, are the same, as is the conviction that power and manipulation lie at the heart of existence.”4
Indeed, the basic point here is that Marxism believes “power and manipulation” lie at the heart of everything in society. One group of people must always have a desire to oppress another. Whether it be the rich against the poor, men against women, or black against white critical theorists believe societies have constructed these concepts to advantage those in positions of power. I agree that modern-day concepts like race are merely constructed by society because there is one race of humans with differing ethnicities (Acts 17:26). However, gender was created by God with men and women having unique roles before Him that are equally glorifying to His name (Genesis 1:26-28). Yet, the mere belief that there is a difference between men and women with each possessing distinct roles is precisely the sort of notion Marxists find to be “oppressive.”
A Plain Example
Now, that we have our history lesson completed, let’s consider the illustration of something men cannot do and that is namely to serve in the capacity of a mother. Would it really be oppressive to say that women have a “mothering instinct” given to them by God? However much we might elaborate on the subject of gender roles, God clearly did not create men with the capacity to get pregnant! He did make women as the only ones capable of doing so and no doubt gives the female gender both the physical and instinctual capacities to carry out that role. Yet, according to modern-day Marxists, the idea that women have some sort of a mothering instinct is merely a notion propelled to sustain male dominance in society.5 Am I going to make the claim that every single woman is called to be a mother? Well, obviously in God’s providence, not all women are mothers nor does every single female enter into the covenant of marriage. With that being said, it is clear that women do have a “mothering instinct” for they are the only ones capable of such a capacity! Whatever instincts men might have they most certainly do not possess an ability to be a mother.
This illustration shows us the tools in the belt of critical theory hard at work. Motherhood, or the instinct to it, is not an oppressive scourge to be removed from the land. Rather, children are a blessing from the Lord which means we can rightly say that the capacity for both fatherhood and motherhood are by extension gifts from God (Psalm 127:3). Critical theory and Marxist thought seek to turn the world upside down by running the “onside kick” which catches everyone off-guard. By redefining terms like “justice” “equality” or “inclusion” it seeks to make women feel oppressed by the role of serving as a mother. Such an illustration surely demonstrates how Marxist thought seeks the perversion of God’s good design.
Putting The Playbook On The Jumbotron
Imagine if Clemson could have seen all of Alabama’s play calls each step along the way in the 2016 national championship game. That shocker of an onside kick would not have worked out so well if the Tigers would have been prepared to know it was coming, would it? So also, once we arm ourselves to see the Marxist redefinition of terms with clarity, it makes it much more difficult for them to engage in revolutionary activity. I pray this article has helped you to visualize the playbook of the Critical Theorist Marxists placing that hidden sheet right on the jumbotron for everyone to see. May God help us to see such dangerous beliefs and hold fast to the truth for His glory and the good of others!
2 Owen Strachan, Christianity and Wokeness, p. 19.