The “Takedown” of Family and Marriage

V&V Q&A with Dr. Paul Kengor on his latest book
As posted at The Center or Vision and Values

Editor’s note: The following is part one of a series of Q&As with Professor Paul Kengor about his new book, Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage. If you would like to interview Dr. Kengor on his book, please respond to this email or contact him directly at

V&V: Dr. Kengor, you’re an established bestselling author who has written over a dozen books on the Cold War, communism, socialism, conservatism, progressivism, as well as biographies of figures as diverse as Ronald Reagan and Hillary Clinton, why this topic in this book? Why wade into this Culture War issue?

Kengor: The answer is precisely because of my background in those areas. I know from decades of research, study, writing, and lecturing that the political left—first with communists, socialist utopians, and then on to secular “progressives”—have sought to reshape, redefine, and effectively take down natural-traditional-biblical family and marriage for two centuries. They’ve long looked to alter the so-called “nuclear family,” which they saw as an outright menace. I know that ideological past. I know how it fits into the present. Most people don’t, including those today who are willing to redefine the historic Western/Judeo-Christian conception of male-female marriage. The vast majority of those who are willing to do that have no idea of the deeper, darker ideological-historical forces long at work in this wider movement. They are signing on to something that, whether they know it or not—most do not—have important links to much older and more sinister attempts by the far left to redefine family and marriage.

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V&V: Could you expand upon your point on the lack of understanding by the “vast majority” advocating same-sex marriage today?

Kengor: Yes. The typical American who supports same-sex marriage has friendly motives, looking to extend what the current culture deems a new “right” or new “freedom” to a new group. I get that. I don’t agree, but I understand. Unfortunately, these Americans don’t realize that, for the far left, gay marriage is a vehicle, a kind of Trojan horse, to achieve what the earliest radicals on the far left, and specifically Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto, called the “abolition of the family.” Marx and Engels noted then, way back in 1848, that the abolition of the family—this bold ambition to redesign the original Designer’s conception of marriage—was already “an infamous proposal of the communists.” To many Americans, gay marriage is about “marriage equality,” but to the far left, it’s about the final takedown of the family that it has long desired.

By the way, I must underscore up front that gay people are absolutely correct in noting that heterosexuals—Christians included—have done an excellent job themselves in hurting marriage, which, for Christians, is supposed to be sacred. Through divorce, infidelity, abortion, men and women have pounded marriage and family mercilessly. But even with these self-inflicted wounds, which are recent on the historical-social radar, marriage as an institution survived, and was never redefined. Same-sex “marriage” will forever redefine marriage’s once-established boundaries. It’s the breach that changes everything. That’s the difference.

V&V: You state clearly and repeatedly at the start of your book that you’re not alleging that today’s gay-marriage advocates are part of a grand communist conspiracy. Why are you so sensitive about making that clear?

Kengor: Because I know how easily these things get caricatured by opponents. Yes, I very carefully state that this isn’t a conspiracy. I want to be clear on this. I implore people not to caricature me and this important reality that needs to be understood. We do a disservice to the truth when we boil down complex things to simple caricature.

However, just as we can easily overstate things, we can also easily understate them, and to do the latter likewise would be a mistake here.

What the left has steadfastly said and written and done to marriage and the family over the last two centuries cannot be ignored. Those actions have been undeniable contributing factors—along with many other factors—that in part help explain where we are today.

Same-sex marriage is not a Marxist plot. It is, however, a crucial blow to marriage—the only blow that will enable a formal, legal redefinition that will open the floodgates to all sorts of new configurations beyond our multi-millennia Western standard based on natural law and the laws of God. It has distinct origins traceable in part to the far left’s initial thrusts at this once unassailable monogamous, faithful male-female institution.

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