It doesn't just happen.
Thom Nickels, “The Cultural Revolution in Philadelphia,” in City Journal (https://www.city-journal.org/article/the-cultural-revolution-in-philadelphia), Dec. 28, 2023.
Nickels provides a case study demonstrating how progressivist thinking has managed to take over the primary bully pulpits of the land in less than a generation.
He reports on the process whereby The Atheneum, a staid Philadelphia cultural institution preserving the history of American architecture and promoting a wide range of cultural interests, has today become a center of progressive and “woke” initiatives in the City of Brotherly Love.
The process began with the hiring of a new director, whose credentials were admirable and whose gender lined up with current hiring trends. Then the work began. A new mission statement was written, explicitly committing The Atheneum to a more diverse and inclusive cultural agenda. Memberships were made less expensive, to reach a targeted age and activist grouping, Programs were reduced and reading groups and other activities took up the diversity, equity, inclusion agenda of the day. The next step appears to be the replacing of existing board members with those more sympathetic to the institution’s new cultural mission.
Find leaders. Rewrite the history and mission of the organization. Retool all its programs and activities. Reach out to a sympathetic audience and clientele. Replace traditional board members with activist ones.
Sounds like a winning formula. One can’t help but wonder: Where was The Atheneum’s board as all this was taking place? Nickels suggests they adopted a go-along-to-get-along approach with their new director, and before anyone knew, the progressivist virus was in The Atheneum to stay.
At least for now.
The wave of progressive thinking that has washed over the major institutions and fills the bully pulpits of this land did not just happen. It was carefully planned and precisely executed, as Nickels demonstrates in his brief but important article.
Is there a lesson here for those charged with seeking first the Kingdom and righteousness of God?