Source: The Federalist
August 23, 2017
I’ve been avoiding the news lately because it pains me to see my beloved country so divided, with people so bitterly angry at each other. All the shouting, violence, and destruction of historical monuments have only brought up a feeling of déjà vu.
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.”
Both Movements Started On Campuses, And Spread
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.
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