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A Review of Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture

What do communism, multiculturalism, naturalism, and the sexual liberation movements have in common? They all rely on out-and-out fraud to perpetuate their influence on our culture.

Lee Duigon
  • Lee Duigon,
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What do communism, multiculturalism, naturalism, and the sexual liberation movements have in common?

Several things, according to author Jack Cashill.

They all rely on out-and-out fraud to perpetuate their influence on our culture.

Not only have their “solutions” to the world’s problems consistently failed; they have also done very real harm, sometimes rising to the level of catastrophe.

Despite their main proponents being repeatedly caught lying and cheating, our media and academic establishments unwaveringly support these ideologies.

All have claimed the power to remold human society, creating an earthly paradise.

Finally, they are all detached from God and actively hostile to belief in Him.

The Word’s Getting Out

Cashill, who has a Ph.D. in American studies, writes regularly for He has also written documentaries for PBS and cable television, freelance articles for publications including the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, and two best-selling books, First Strike and Ron Brown’s Body. He is, in short, a conservative pundit.

There are many books in print today demolishing the pretensions of liberalism — many, many more than there were when Chalcedon’s founder, R.J. Rushdoony, was writing them in the 1960s and ’70s. The difference is that today there are publishing houses eager to publish them (Nelson, Regnery, and increasingly many of the mainstream houses) and alternative media (Internet, talk radio). Rushdoony had to found his own publishing house, Ross House Books. Ross House has kept Rushdoony’s books in print, and the reader who dips into them will soon discover that his observations are as true and penetrating today as they were thirty or forty years ago. Writers like Cashill are only beginning to catch up with him.

All of which is to say that the problem of rampant leftism has been with us for a long time, and finally the word is getting out.

Lies and More Lies

Cashill’s well-written book unmasks the chicanery practiced by such well-known icons of liberalism as Lillian Hellman and Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, and Michael Moore, Rachel Carson, Margaret Mead, and Alfred Kinsey, to name just a few in his comprehensive survey. By repeatedly lying about their research, about history, and even about their own life experiences, they created the ideological structure that forms today’s liberal worldview. After a few hours’ reading, one wonders if any of these people ever told the truth about anything.

Rather than simply accuse them of lying, Cashill painstakingly proves his case beyond a reasonable doubt.

But the amazing thing about these lies is their durability. No matter how often the curtain is pulled aside, the “intellectual hucksters” continue to get free passes from Big Media and the academic world. A few fall by the wayside — like Michael Bellesiles, whose fraudulent “history” of guns in America ultimately resulted in his being forced to resign his professorship and give back all the awards he’d won for his bogus research — but their ideology goes marching on.

Why do they lie?

For the most part, their lies are embraced as truth, and there are no consequences for lying. More often than not, the whistle-blowers are the ones who suffer. This is less true now than it was a few years ago.

The Left’s ideas — like communism, radical sexual “liberation,” etc. — are so patently wrong that they can only be supported by false advertising.

Cashill also provides abundant quotes that show the hucksters are aware that they’re lying, but justify it by saying that their lies “serve a higher truth.” As Dan Rather put it, “fake but accurate.”

Where Cashill comes up short is in advising us what to do about this sustained fraud that has become so powerful in our culture. Worse, these ideologies do real harm. Communism has killed tens of millions of people. Multiculturalism inspires and empowers self-hatred. Radical environmentalism abolished DDT and led to some 500 million people dying from malaria. And sexual liberation has shattered families and spread disease.

Cashill dances with the answer, but doesn’t go far enough in proclaiming it.

The New Idolatry

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.

They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:

They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:

They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.

They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.

Psalm 115:4–8 (emphasis added)

The answer is that leftism is a false religion. Instead of God, leftists worship man and man’s desires, especially their own. Out of these they have fashioned an idol; and it is not to be wondered at that they themselves are as impotent and wooden-headed as their idol.

As Christians, we make no claim to be able to perfect the human race or legislate utopia. Rather, we acknowledge the total depravity of man and the reality of a fallen world.

We make our appeal to the greatest power of them all, the only power that really counts for anything — the Living God. Jesus Christ, on the cross, has already accomplished our redemption.

Our program begins with each individual’s submission to God, so that God’s grace can change our personal lives. And we can produce millions of real-world examples of personal regeneration to prove that Christ’s power works in the real world. If Saul of Tarsus can be transformed from Christian-baiter (“to save sinners; of whom I am chief,” 1 Tim. 1:15) to Paul the Apostle, then it can transform us too.

Regenerated souls immediately begin to make things better around them, starting with their own families.

The Left proclaims salvation by man’s own efforts in this world, through legislation, coercion, and even lies and propaganda. “But we preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23), and proclaim salvation as the gift of God.

The durable power and influence of leftist idolatry should tell us that we have not carried out the Great Commission (“teach all nations … to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you,” Matt. 28:19–20) as well as we should have, not even in our own country. We have to pray harder, live better lives (so as to serve as examples), and offer up a better witness to the truth — not “our truth,” but the truth.

We can use books like Hoodwinked to show the bankruptcy of the liberal alternative. Which is not to say that we must simply settle, reflexively, for the conservative alternative. We reject “solutions” based on worldly wisdom, for God will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent (1 Cor. 1:19). Whether such solutions come from the Left or from the Right, we are committed exclusively to Biblically based solutions. Without presenting Jesus Christ as the only real alternative, we labor but in vain.

Lee Duigon
  • Lee Duigon

Lee is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels and a contributing editor for our Faith for All of Life magazine. Lee provides commentary on cultural trends and relevant issues to Christians, along with providing cogent book and media reviews.

Lee has his own blog at

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