Lessons From the Soviets about Sexual Morality

History is full of examples of societies that tamper with God’s design for marriage, sex, and the family. It’s no coincidence that en vogue progressive ideas today, ideas with distinct roots in cultural Marxism, also decry marriage and the family as oppressive institutions that should be reimagined and sexual morality as outdated and even harmful.  

The Soviet Union was well known for rejecting so-called “bourgeois” morality in ways that led to rejecting reality. Economically this meant squashing human self-interest in favor of state control.  So, basic modern commodities like cars and plumbing could take years for the average Russian to secure. Marxist-inspired agricultural science rejected “Western” science and led to the deaths of millions as crops were planted in the dead of winter, too close together, and without pesticides in the mistaken belief that they could be “educated” to take on more beneficial traits. 

In the 1920s, Revolutionary Russia rejected “bourgeois” sexual morality by attacking the institution of marriage and the nuclear family. 

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels believed the nuclear family was, like religion, just another means of keeping the working class oppressed. According to the Marxist dialectic version of history, prehistoric humanity lived in a state of free love, and the nuclear family only emerged to protect the property rights of the rich through inheritance, keep workers content with less, and enslave women to the home. 

Engels, who spent a lot of time in Manchester’s red-light district, was more specific than Marx in his condemnations of the family.  

He wrote, “[W]ith every great revolutionary movement the question of ‘free love’ comes to the foreground.” Together, Marx and Engels attacked “bourgeois claptrap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parent and child.” In their view, family was a social construct that stood in the way of revolutionary progress. 

When Lenin and the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, they put these anti-family theories into practice. In 1918, the Soviets issued decrees “on the abolition of marriage” and “on civil partnership, children and ownership.” Marriage could be declared without the involvement of the state, and divorce could be obtained just as easily. As one Russian journalist summarized, “Divorce was a matter of choice.” 

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