Paul Weyrich and the Culture War

Roots of the Right-Wing “Political Correctness” Conspiracy Theory

Paul Weyrich’s letter as posted on the Free Congress Foundation’s Web site
February 16, 1999
Dear Friend:

Late last year, I had the opportunity of speaking to the Conservative
Leadership Conference on the state of the conservative movement. I’ve given similar talks in the past, and usually they have focused on the most recent election or our situation in Congress or something similar. This time, the thoughts I offered were very different, and frankly rather radical. The
strong, positive response they brought forth – which came as something of a
surprise to me – has led me to think that I should share them more widely.
That is the purpose of this letter.

What many of us have been trying to do for many years has been based upon a
couple of premises. First of all, we have assumed that a majority of
Americans basically agrees with our point of view. That has been the premise
upon which we have tried to build any number of institutions, and indeed our
whole strategy. It is I who suggested to Jerry Falwell that he call his
organization the “Moral Majority.” The second premise has been that if we
could just elect enough conservatives, we could get our people in as
Congressional leaders and they would fight to implement our agenda.

In looking at the long history of conservative politics, from the defeat of
Robert Taft in 1952, to the nomination of Barry Goldwater, to the takeover
of the Republican Party in 1994, I think it is fair to say that
conservatives have learned to succeed in politics. That is, we got our
people elected.

But that did not result in the adoption of our agenda. The reason, I think,
is that politics itself has failed. And politics has failed because of the
collapse of the culture. The culture we are living in becomes an ever-wider
sewer. In truth, I think we are caught up in a cultural collapse of historic
proportions, a collapse so great that it simply overwhelms politics.

That’s why I am in the process of rethinking what it is that we, who still
believe in our traditional, Western, Judeo-Christian culture, can and should
do under the circumstances. Please understand that I am not quarreling with
anybody who pursues politics, because it is important to pursue politics, to
be involved in government. It is also important to try, as many people have,
to re-take the cultural institutions that have been captured by the other side.

But it is impossible to ignore the fact that the United States is becoming
an ideological state. The ideology of Political Correctness, which openly
calls for the destruction of our traditional culture, has so gripped the
body politic, has so gripped our institutions, that it is even affecting the
Church. It has completely taken over the academic community. It is now
pervasive in the entertainment industry, and it threatens to control
literally every aspect of our lives.

Those who came up with Political Correctness, which we more accurately call
“Cultural Marxism,” did so in a deliberate fashion. I’m not going to go into
the whole history of the Frankfurt School and Herbert Marcuse and the other
people responsible for this. Suffice it to say that the United States is
very close to becoming a state totally dominated by an alien ideology, an
ideology bitterly hostile to Western culture. Even now, for the first time
in their lives, people have to be afraid of what they say. This has never
been true in the history of our country. Yet today, if you say the “wrong
thing,” you suddenly have legal problems, political problems, you might even
lose your job or be expelled from college. Certain topics are forbidden. You
can’t approach the truth about a lot of different subjects. If you do, you
are immediately branded as “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobic”, “insensitive”,
or “judgmental.”

Cultural Marxism is succeeding in its war against our culture. The question
becomes, if we are unable to escape the cultural disintegration that is
gripping society, then what hope can we have? Let me be perfectly frank
about it. If there really were a moral majority out there, Bill Clinton
would have been driven out of office months ago. It is not only the lack of
political will on the part of Republicans, although that is part of the
problem. More powerful is the fact that what Americans would have found
absolutely intolerable only a few years ago, a majority now not only
tolerates but celebrates. Americans have adopted, in large measure, the MTV
culture that we so valiantly opposed just a few years ago, and it has
permeated the thinking of all but those who have separated themselves from
the contemporary culture.

If in Washington State and Colorado, after we have spent years talking
about partial birth abortion, we can’t by referendum pass a ban on it, we
have to face some unpleasant facts. I no longer believe that there is a
moral majority. I do not believe that a majority of Americans actually
shares our values.

So, I have contemplated the question of what we should do. If you saw my
predictions on the elections, you know that my views are far from
infallible. Therefore, I do not represent this as any sort of final truth.
It is merely my deduction based on a number of observations and a good deal
of soul-searching.

I believe that we probably have lost the culture war. That doesn’t mean the
war is not going to continue, and that it isn’t going to be fought on other
fronts. But in terms of society in general, we have lost. This is why, even
when we win in politics, our victories fail to translate into the kind of
policies we believe are important.

Therefore, what seems to me a legitimate strategy for us to follow is to
look at ways to separate ourselves from the institutions that have been
captured by the ideology of Political Correctness, or by other enemies of
our traditional culture. I would point out to you that the word “holy” means
“set apart”, and that it is not against our tradition to be, in fact, “set
apart”. You can look in the Old Testament, you can look at Christian
history. You will see that there were times when those who had our beliefs
were definitely in the minority and it was a band of hardy monks who
preserved the culture while the surrounding society disintegrated.

What I mean by separation is, for example, what the homeschoolers have
done. Faced with public school systems that no longer educate but instead
“condition” students with the attitudes demanded by Political Correctness,
they have seceded. They have separated themselves from public schools and
have created new institutions, new schools, in their homes.

The same thing is happening in other areas. Some people are getting rid of
their televisions. Others are setting up private courts, where they can hope
to find justice instead of ideology and greed.

I think that we have to look at a whole series of possibilities for
bypassing the institutions that are controlled by the enemy. If we expend
our energies on fighting on the “turf” they already control, we will
probably not accomplish what we hope, and we may spend ourselves to the
point of exhaustion. The promising thing about a strategy of separation is
that it has more to do with who we are, and what we become, than it does
with what the other side is doing and what we are going to do about it.

For example, the Southern Baptists, Dr. Dobson and some other people
started a boycott of Disney. We may regard this boycott in two ways. We
might say, “Well, look at how much higher Disney stock is than before. The
company made record profits, therefore the boycott has failed.” But the
strategy I’m suggesting would see it differently. Because of that boycott,
lots of people who otherwise would have been poisoned by the kind of
viciously anti-religious, and specifically anti-Christian, entertainment
that Disney is spewing out these days have been spared contact with it. They
separated themselves from some of the cultural rot, and to that extent we

I am very concerned, as I go around the country and speak and talk to young
people, when I find how much of the decadent culture they have absorbed
without even understanding that they are a part of it. And while I’m not
suggesting that we all become Amish or move to Idaho, I do think that we
have to look at what we can do to separate ourselves from this hostile
culture. What steps can we take to make sure that we and our children are
not infected? We need some sort of quarantine.

It is not only political conservatives who are troubled by the
disintegration of the culture. I gave a speech not long ago in which I was
very critical of what was on television. Several people who described
themselves as liberals came up to me and said “Well, I know I don’t agree
with your politics, but you are absolutely correct on this and we don’t
allow our children to watch television any more.”

Don’t be mislead by politicians who say that everything is great, that we
are on the verge of this wonderful, new era thanks to technology or the
stock market or whatever. These are lies. We are not in the dawn of a new
civilization, but the twilight of an old one. We will be lucky if we escape
with any remnants of the great Judeo-Christian civilization that we have
known down through the ages.

The radicals of the 1960s had three slogans: turn on, tune in, drop out. I
suggest that we adopt a modified version. First, turn off. Turn off the
television and video games and some of the garbage that’s on the computers.
Turn off the means by which you and your family are being infected with
cultural decadence.

Tune out. Create a little stillness. I was very struck by the fact that
when I traveled in the former Soviet Union, I couldn’t go to a restaurant or
any place else without hearing this incessant Western rock music pounding
away. There was no escape from it. No wonder some Russians are
anti-American. When they think of the United States, they think of the
culture that we exported to them.

Finally, we need to drop out of this culture, and find places, even if it
is where we physically are right now, where we can live godly, righteous and
sober lives.

Again, I don’t have all the answers or even all the questions. But I know
that what we have been doing for thirty years hasn’t worked, that while we
have been fighting and winning in politics, our culture has decayed into
something approaching barbarism. We need to take another tack, find a
different strategy. If you agree, and are willing to help wrestle with what
that strategy should be, let me know. If enough people are willing to do
something different, we will call a roundtable meeting here at Free Congress
this year to discuss it. I hope I will see you there.


Paul M. Weyrich

Click here to read the AP story covering this letter.

If you agree with Paul that we must try a new tactic in the culture war,
then the Free Congress Foundation wants to help you learn how to resist
Politically Correct indoctrination, how to live life

Against the Grain

Against the Grain is an on-going series of six essays aimed at telling
cultural conservatives how to secede from a Politically Correct society.
Alternatives to government courts, public schools, and other institutions
are all presented for the benefit of those who want to know how to guard
against a crumbling culture.

Issue 1: “Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop Out: A Cultural Conservative’s Survival
Strategy for the 21st Century” by William S. Lind, Director of the Free
Congress Foundation’s Center for Cultural Conservatism

Issue 2: “To Protect and Serve: Time for Sheriffs to Walk Tall” by Sheriff
Richard I. Mack

Issue 3: “Storming the Stronghold: Why the Government Education Monopoly
Will Come Tumbling Down” by Bradley P. Jacob, Provost and Dean of Patrick
Henry College

Issue 4: (February 26) Alternative Dispute Resolution & Avoiding Government
Courts by Timothy N. Tardibono, Deputy Director of the Free Congress
Foundation’s Center for Law & Democracy

Issue 5: (March 26) Avoiding Federal Entanglements by Paul A. Clark,
Director of the Coalition for Local Sovereignty

Issue 6: (April 30) The Empire Strikes Back by Michael P. Ferris,
President of the Home School Legal Defense Fund

To order, send $50 payable to: The Free Congress Foundation 717 Second St,
NE Washington, DC 20002 or call 1-800-638-0660 and use your Visa or Mastercard.