'Folk Marxism' is Not Exactly Peter, Paul and Mary · 02 April 2006

By Peter Bronson--Cincinnati Enquirer--04/02/06

Marxists ain't what they used to be. Once upon a time they would climb on the nearest orange crate and yell, "Workers of the world unite!" Now they don't even return calls.

I phoned the top Marxist at the University of Cincinnati to ask why he still believes in the most discredited political faith of the 20th century. No response.

I wanted to ask why anyone still teaches and preaches Marxism 20 years after it was hauled away to the ash heap of history. It's like having courses advocating Flat Earth Theory or lectures promoting slavery: Yes, it's still practiced in backward, remote corners of the planet, but nearly everyone now knows Marxism has caused as much misery and murder as Hitler.

But there it is on the UC Web site: Professor Marvin Berlowitz, director of the Urban Center for Peace Education and a "Marxist scholar."

He also made Page 61 of "The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America" by David Horowitz.

The Peace Center at UC is "a collective of left-wing professors who are intent on indoctrinating students in Marxist ideology," Horowitz wrote.

For all I know Berlowitz is a nice man who still drives the unsafe, obsolete Corvair of economic theories, and thinks Junior ROTC is a militaristic tool of capitalist imperialism. Whatever.

He doesn't sound as dangerous as the kooks, humbugs, ossified hippies and former Weather Underground bombers listed by Horowitz, who cling to campuses like tenured aphids on ivy.

The Peace Center promotes anti-war protests and offers a UC certificate in Peace Studies, which sounds as teddy-bear huggable as a Ph.D. in kindness or a master's in generosity.

But I also wanted to ask UC's top Marxist (is that an oxymoron?) about "The Retreat of Reason," by British writer Anthony Browne (www.civitas.org.uk). Browne says old economic Marxism has evolved into cultural or "folk Marxism," a "dogmatic, conformist and even bullying ideology" unpopularly known as political correctness.

Redistribution of wealth became redistribution of power, with a new dialectic: power is evil; powerlessness is virtue. "The PC analytical process enjoys the beauty of simplicity," Browne writes. "1. Identify the victim. 2. Support them and their interests irrespective of any other factors."

Oppressors can be police, corporations, the wealthy, Wal-Mart, white males and especially the U.S. military.

Victims are criminals, minorities, women, gays and even a Taliban leader who got a scholarship to Yale, because even though the Taliban abused women and gays, any "victim" of the U.S. military is a folk hero to cultural Marxists.

"People who transgress politically correct beliefs are seen not just as wrong, to be debated with," Browne writes, "but evil, to be condemned, silenced and spurned." Such as Harvard President Lawrence Summers, who was lynched by a PC faculty for wondering if women and men are different.

"Moral cowardice has led to intellectual dishonesty permeating and corrupting our public debates." So it's OK to print shocking photos of Abu Ghraib, but newspapers won't even print cartoons that offend Muslims.

What started out as "consideration to the more vulnerable members of society," Browne writes, became a new brand of bigotry - censorship in the name of mandatory groupthink: "You can't say that."

"There is a kind of soft totalitarianism," says Browne.

Marxism ain't what it used to be. It's only popular in North Korea, China, Cuba and on a campus near you. But why bother teaching it when it's a way of life?

E-mail pbronson@enquirer.com or call (513) 768-8301.