The truest moment of Curtis Bowers' documentary film Agenda: Grinding America Down comes just after the midway point when he says the Left is making war on God. While some Leftists still hide behind religious language, the prevalence of secular humanism has almost wholly edged the historic Christian faith from the public sphere. Bowers goes farther, and says it is the spread of Marxism with the express purpose of enslaving Americans that is to blame, not merely humanism. He makes interesting points.
Near the beginning he references a book by W. Cleon Skousen published in 1958 called The Naked Communist, in which Skousen outlines a number of objectives the Communist Party set in the United States to undermine the nation's moral and social structure. They included things like the promotion of homosexuality and the environmentalist agenda, the removal of prayer from school, and compulsory education. What's striking to a modern audience is the specificity of the goals....and the extent to which they've been carried out.
There's plenty of surprising content in Agenda. Most Americans are completely ignorant of the existence of an active Communist Party in the U.S., or the many politicians and activists directly linked to its ranks. Equally few understand that Marxism isn't simply anti-capitalist, it's anti-tradition and anti-family, believing the only answer to society's perceived ills is for the State to enjoy complete power. Bowers talks to a number of writers, government officials and lobbyists about these topics and the need to retain Christian values publicly and privately.
Which is kind of where his arguments start to break down. Despite a noted lack of referencing or documenting his sources (an odd choice for a documentary), Bowers is often compelling, until he falls back on mere patriotism as the answer to the Communist threat. There's nothing wrong with pride in one's country, especially in the good one's country is responsible for, but sweeping statements about America's Christian values, the Christianity of its Founding Fathers, or (and I quote) the fact that "America is the greatest nation the world has ever seen" are better suited for a polemic than a serious work of documentary journalism.
That's not to say Agenda should be thrown out. There is a lot (a lot) of eye-opening, even shocking information here, and plenty of it is true and can be proved to be true. But watch with caution—just because Bowers et al. are sometimes right doesn't mean their logic isn't faulty, or that they don't need to demonstrate where and how they came by their information. The benefit of this film is that it is useful for starting a discussion and for inspiring further research and greater knowledge. And its slightly sensational attitude simply makes it great fun to watch.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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