Chinese Infiltration, the Culture Wars, and the Attack on Democracy
In my previous article, I noted how mainstream publications from The Nation to Teen Vogue have advocated radical policies, grounded in Marxism. This is not an exaggeration — when we read, in these authors’ own words, a desire to abolish the family, capitalism, the police, and private property, there’s no need to be hyperbolic.
On the right, much has been made of the decades-long infiltration of Western society by the Soviets — and much of it is true. More recently, in a truly disturbing turn, the CCP has gained a real financial foothold in American universities.
Some of America’s most prestigious universities have cashed lucrative checks from Chinese institutions that directly threatened national security. Duke University operates a joint-campus in China with Wuhan University, a public university that repeatedly carried out cyber attacks on behalf of the Chinese military. Northwestern University and the University of California Irvine have together received more than $4 million in research funding from an entity controlled by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, a Chinese defense contractor that used stolen designs of American F-35 fighters to build planes for the Chinese military.
Institutions controlled by the Chinese government — state-owned enterprises, state-controlled public universities, government-controlled nonprofits, and other sources — collectively donated at least $315 million to American colleges between 2014 and 2019.
If the above is alarming — and it should be — the following could well invoke panic. Below, we see that, among foreign donors to our most prestigious academic institutions, China plays an outsized role:
- Harvard (34.7%, at $196.6 million)
- Yale (51.2%, at $189.2 million)
- Stanford (39.2%, at $122.2 million)
- Penn (47.4%, at $95 million)
- MIT (13.6%, at $76.7 million)
- Columbia (33.1%, at $62.3 million)
- NYU (35.5%, $56.7 million)
- University of Chicago (31.9%, at $46.6 million)
- University of Southern California (43%, at $43.6 million)
- Cornell University (26.3%, at $42.8 million)
- Caltech (44.7%, at $37.6 million)
- Princeton University (36.4%, at $37.4 million)
- University of California Berkeley (25.8%, at $32.3 million)
But communism, at least for now, has yet to subvert American democracy. Where it has found purchase is among the poor, the marginalized — the very “least among us” that, as a nation identifying as Christian, you’d think we’d prioritize.
But we don’t. Those we’ve treated as wretched refuse have heard a song of welcome from other shores. So what if it’s from Sirens — was the national anthem, for the wretched refuse, any less deceptive?
Millenials, the largest generation, are also the poorest. They are apparently the first generation to have a lower standard of living than their parents. There are a great many reasons for this sad change — enough to fill several articles, or a book. If young folks are increasingly drawn to socialism, we can’t simply blame their professors.
Whether you call it progress or decay, our culture is enduring a self-doubt symptomatic, perhaps, of an impending collapse. Any national identity is contingent upon an image — however warped, however false — shared by the majority of its citizens and perpetuated by its leaders. A robust people does not apologize for itself: it conquers, it expands, it colonizes, it builds.
A robust people — at least by the above standards— is not a virtuous one. It is fortunate then, that, as Christians, we are reminded often that our King’s kingdom is not of this world. But, if we are enjoined to care for the widow, the orphan, and the stranger — to ameliorate the suffering of the least among us — we cannot look upon the undoing of the American empire with indifference.
The revolutionary, with few exceptions, is a brigand, a murderer, and a scoundrel. If America has been a scandal, then her enemies have been a scourge. And they are not apologizing.
Much has been made of the deep and seemingly irreconcilable divisions within our culture. American culture has never been homogeneous, but the rancor with which opposing sides hurl invective is a sign of crisis. What makes this moment perhaps unique in our history is that so much of the media and political establishment seem to be running point for an ideology designed to dismantle the very systems on which the country was founded.
Those with real political power, of course, don’t have a true revolution as their goal, but rather the establishment of a bureaucracy (like in the Soviet Union, or CHina) that claims to represent and perpetuate the revolutionary politics against which it is, in fact, a bulwark.
This has happened before, and frequently. Radicals have a tendency to hide their hand. Just take a look at Castro assuring us that he’s no communist:
The main weapon of any revolutionary isn’t guns, and it isn’t acts of terrorism — it’s propaganda. Lenin, well aware of this truth, established the Third International, or Comintern, to disseminate communist ideology throughout the world, and lay the groundwork for a global revolution. While it was officially dissolved in 1943, the extensive soviet infiltration into Western countries continued, and is well documented.
Of course, it doesn’t need to be some wild conspiracy theory. It’s not as if professors and pundits and schoolteachers are scheming in underground meetings to bring about the revolution. Many of the most effective propagandists are unaware of their role as advocates for Marxist doctrine. According to the testimony of one Soviet defector:
The KGB […] used only 15 percent of its resources for traditional espionage […] and 85 percent for ideological and psychological warfare (cultural subversion), through the use of “active measures” to interfere in, and degrade, the affairs of enemy states. […] These “active measures” were designed to corrupt a targeted free, self-governing country (and its elections) to the point where the people acted in the interests of the USSR, though not aware that they were doing so. Those affected people were referred to by the Soviet dictators as “useful idiots” and included prominent figures from Hollywood, authors and others.
In summary, they advocated nice-sounding goals like “equality” (group poverty, as in the USSR) and “social justice” (which is never quite defined, but is always against capitalism, America and Western civilization, in general), while accepting, or not realizing, that they were being used to advance murderous communist propaganda.
This technique is hardly a relic of the Cold War Past. According to The Washington Free Beacon, “China routinely broke federal law by not disclosing how much it spent to publish regime propaganda in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other newspapers.” And the CCP’s Confucius Institutes — ostensibly designed to teach Chinese language, history, and culture — have found over 100 branches in the United States alone.
Supposedly designed to foster understanding between the West and China, the Confucius Institutes present a decidedly pro-China view to students, glossing over the nation’s dreadful human rights abuses. Liu Yunshan, Chinese minister of propaganda, said, “With regard to key issues that influence our sovereignty and safety, we should actively carry out international propaganda battles against issuers such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, human rights and Falun Gong. … We should do well in establishing and operating overseas cultural centers and Confucius Institutes.”
The Heritage Foundation — a right-leaning outlet —reported on a financial connection between Black Lives Matter and the Chinese Progressive Association. According to the article:
Black Futures Lab, a venture of Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza, has on its website a “Donate” button that, when clicked, explains that “Black Futures Lab is a fiscally sponsored project of the Chinese Progressive Association.”
The Heritage Foundation’s source is a The Daily Signal, whose article stirred widespread controversy among more established media outlets, including The New York Times. In my next article, we’ll look into the claims made by this article, and determine whether or not they’re fake news.
If it can be confirmed that Black Lives Matter — as well as other organizations championing progressive causes — are in collusion with the Chinese Communist Party, our present cultural divisions will become much clearer.
Our division, and our lack of confidence in ourselves and in our culture — however justified, and whether it emanates from our own discontent or foreign subversion — is doubtless a boon for our enemies. If America has been unjust (and it often has), communist regimes have been positively barbaric.
If we are to survive, to have the opportunity to work toward a more perfect union, we’d better start paying attention.