How American Anarchy Parallels China’s Cultural Revolution

How American Anarchy Parallels China’s Cultural Revolution, by Helen Raleigh.

America is clearly undergoing a Cultural Revolution that is eerily similar to Mao’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which took place in China in the 1960s. Maybe Karl Marx was right after all when he declared that “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

In China, it started at the universities:

China’s Cultural Revolution was triggered by a group of students at Beijing University, the most elitist college in China. They called themselves the Red Guards because they worshiped China’s communist dictator Mao and his socialist/communist ideology feverishly. In their manifesto, they questioned the usefulness of knowledge, and condemned their professors and university administrators for harboring “intellectual elitism and bourgeois tendencies” and for stalling China’s progress towards a communist utopia.

Mao immediately realized that he could use these over-zealous and ignorant teenagers as a political tool to purge his enemies and shape society to his own liking. He elevated the Red Guards’ status by appearing at a massive Red Guard rally on August 18, 1966 at Tiananmen Square. This event lent Red Guards political legitimacy, and officially kicked off the Cultural Revolution. The Red Guards’ ideas quickly spread from colleges to high schools.

No one on campus dared challenge the Red Guards. Capitulations from school authorities only emboldened them. They led students to strike, refusing to take classes from people who were deemed less than ideologically pure. Professors, teachers, and school administrators were paraded and forced to make numerous public self-criticisms about “transgressions” against government-sanctioned orthodoxy. Soon, college entrance exams were suspended and many schools, from universities to high schools, were closed. The entire education system was paralyzed.

Without schools to go to, the Red Guards traveled all over China to spread their ideas and tactics to the “real world.” Other people, such as factory workers unhappy with the shortages, organized their own groups to challenge leadership of their own work units. Since no one was working, businesses, factories, and many government agencies were shut down. The entire country fell into lawlessness and chaos.

Something similar is now happening at US universities. Will the “PC crew” be the new “red guards”?

Like Mao’s Red Guards, some American college students and their supporters have been shouting down anyone who dares to disagree with them. These modern-day Red Guards demand that college campuses be an inclusive and safe place, but are bent on making sure the campus is an unwelcoming and unsafe place for anyone who doesn’t show unconditional support for students’ sanctioned orthodoxy. From Yale to Middlebury, college professors and administrators have caved to these students mobs’ preposterous demands. Exhibit A is Nicholas Christakis, the Silliman master at the center of Yale’s debate over Halloween costumes. His very public self-criticism probably would have won over Maoist Red Guards in China, but failed to gain sympathy from privileged Yale students.

Now that kind of zealous demand for thought conformity has expanded outside campuses to the “real world.” When James Damore, a Google employee, raised questions about Google’s diversity training in a memo, he was fired by Google. As Sumantra Maitra wrote, “Nothing could be more dystopian than the largest information, communication, and documentation hub controlling your thoughts and punishing you for wrong think.”

Eradicating history:

The Red Guards firmly believed that in order to build a new world, they had to wipe out the old one. So they traveled around the country, eradicating anything representing China’s feudalistic past: old customs, old cultures, old habits, and old ideas. Museums, temples, shrines, heritage sites, including Confucius’ tomb, were defaced, ransacked, or even totally destroyed. …

Eradicating opposition:

The Red Guards were fanatic about social classes and political identity. They believed they were the rightful heir to Mao’s socialist revolution and that only they and their chairman were on the right side of the history. Thus, they shouted down anyone who dared to show the slightest disagreement with slogans, such as “a complete confession is the only road to survival. Anything less will lead to death!”

The Red Guards were sources of terror. Professors, writers, scientists, artists, and even government officials were publicly paraded, denounced, humiliated, and tortured in public by the Red Guards and their supporters. Suicides among the persecuted were very common. …

hat-tip Stephen Neil