September 2, 2020
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
Our Musical Heritage and the Revolution
Since late 2018 I have published seven original pieces in The New English Review, an international monthly magazine of literature and cultural criticism. These usually are longer essays not directly related to our specific current political and social issues, although I suppose everything I write these days has at least some connection to what is occurring in and to our culture. But generally my pieces for NER address broader questions of music, philosophy, satire, even poetry.
Once again I’ve had an essay published, and this one bears the title: “Our Musical Heritage and the Revolution.” And although it takes a deeper view of what is occurring in our Western musical heritage, it also has relevance to the real and at times violent revolution around us…and how the development and use of “critical theory” and specifically the theorizations of Theodor Adorno and the post-Marxists have effectively transformed the ground rules of nearly everything, from our “progressive” politics to how we define and talk about things, and, significantly, to the very culture that surrounds us and how it affects us.
We are living now in a civilization that through the unceasing labors and zealous work of our educational, academic and cultural elites is having its very bases and foundations, its very way of thinking, radically altered and redefined. And those of us who profess to be guardians and champions of our traditions and inherited Western and Christian culture, our two millennia-old civilization, have been slow to react…too slow to actually understand what is actually happening to us and to our society. Most conservatives, so-called, have literally been caught, as it were, “with their pants down.” Indeed, perhaps the major complaint and criticism that I have, along with others far more significant like Paul Gottfried, Pat Buchanan, and the late Sam Francis, is that too many “conservatives” have accepted the linguistic and cultural superstructure and template of the progressivists, on everything from “civil rights” (which now for many include transgenderism and same sex marriage) to radical ideas about equality and racism.
Of course, in this process the role of the self-denominated Neoconservatives as controlling elites in the present-day Conservative Movement has been critical. For just as these (mostly) ex-Marxists/Trotskyites brought their welcomed anti-Communism and intelligence when they made their pilgrimage into the older rightist movement in the late 1960s and 1970s—“came in from the cold,” as it were—they also took with them revolutionary concepts, a globalist egalitarian vision that inherently could not and would not produce real opposition to the actual destruction of our civilization, because that vision was and remains essentially one of progressive change and revolution…despite its slower pace and the sometime agreement with the older traditional conservatives on specific issues. And thus, because of this seeming concordance, it is easier to deceive well-meaning traditional conservatives into thinking that “they are like us…they are defending us” against the revolutionaries.
But, effectively, over the long haul the Neocons only make the gains of the post-Marxist progressivists more palatable and acceptable. No doubt many examples can be adduced how over just short amounts of time the “official conservative position” on various critical issues has changed, even dramatically.
The progressivist revolution began some time ago in music, perhaps a century ago in some respects. But the full force of what has occurred and has been happening only gained real momentum with the triumph of post-Marxism and critical theory in our universities and among the intellectual class. That is what my essay explores. I hope you’ll take a look and read it:
“Our Musical Heritage and the Revolution,” The New English Review, September 2020:
Our Musical Heritage and the Revolution