“A house divided against itself cannot stand, ” Abraham Lincoln
Political Correctness (PC) is cultural Marxism and it has taken over our college campuses. Americans now have to worry about what they say, how they say it, what they write and what they think.
PC arose out of cultural Marxism along with multiculturalism and the anti-racism movement, that has deteriorated into white privilege and white supremacy. It’s a totalitarian ideology that says this is fact and there is no alternative. Anything that conflicts with this ideology must be ignored or demonized.
It seems like it came upon us suddenly but it has been creeping into our culture for many decades.
Reason.com wrote last year:
…near the end of the 1990-91 academic year, which also happened to be the year the phrase had its national coming-out party. The December 24, 1990, Newsweek featured the words “THOUGHT POLICE” on its cover; inside, a Jerry Adler article argued that “where the PC reigns, one defies it at one’s peril.” A month later, John Taylor’s cover story “Are You Politically Correct?” appeared in New York magazine. The Wall Street Journal ran a series of pieces attacking political correctness. And around the same time that issue of P.C. Casualties appeared, President George Herbert Walker Bush warned the graduating class at Michigan that “the notion of political correctness” was replacing “old prejudices with new ones.”
It was then that PC entered the mainstream lexicon. The author contends it means so many things to so many people that it means nothing. Some see PC as politeness while to those on the political right, it means anything to the left of center.
American Thinker reviewed a book by Michael Walsh, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, which traces PC and cultural Marxism back to the Frankfort school.
Walsh explains that the leftists’ work was “grounded on an ideology that demanded … for philosophical reasons, an unremitting assault on Western values and institutions, including Christianity, the family, conventional sexual morality, nationalistic patriotism, and adherence in general to any institution or set of beliefs that blocked the path of revolution.” In his words, the Frankfurt School “hated the old narrative of a confident, muscular Christian West.” In its place, they created what he calls “the anti-Narrative,” which makes us begin to question our own history.
“Critical Theory was the notion, promulgated by the cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt School,” Walsh said in an interview with national Review Online, “that simply states there is nothing — no custom, institution, or moral precept — that is beyond criticizing, and destroying. “Who will save us from Western culture?” famously wondered Georg Lukács, one of the Frankfurters’ founding fathers. It is license to vandalize, and the fact that it was so swiftly embraced by American academe after the war remains a national disgrace.”
Herbert Marcuse, a leader of the Frankfort school of thought argued in A Critique of Pure Tolerance that true tolerance requires intolerance.
While “no government can be expected to foster its own subversion,” Marcuse writes, “a subversive majority” could topple a democracy with “apparently undemocratic means”:
“They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion…Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.”
Philip Atkinson defines PC in A Decline of Ideas as the communal tyranny that erupted in the 1980s. It was a spontaneous declaration that particular ideas, expressions and behaviour, which were then legal, should be forbidden by law, and people who transgressed should be punished. It started with a few voices but grew in popularity until it became unwritten and written law within the community. With those who were publicly declared as being not politically correct becoming the object of persecution by the mob, if not prosecution by the state.
Fred Siegel, writing for City-Journal, remembered the 25th anniversary of Arthur Schlesinger’s book, The Disuniting of America, the liberal historian’s worst fears are coming to pass. In it, Schlesinger, embraced by academia, lamented the rise of multiculturalism and political correctness which came out of the Black Power movement, feminism, anti-Enlightenment postmodernism, and the quota-driven academia of the late 1980s.
Before white supremacy, Siegel writes, there was multiculturalism. Multiculturalists were often “ethnocentric separatists” (in the manner of the recent Pulitzer Prize winner Ta-Nehesi Coates) who, in Schlesinger’s words, “see little in the Western heritage other than Western crimes.”
In classic Communist fashion, it judges an argument on the basis of the interests it serves. Schlesinger clung to a traditional notion of truth: “There is surely no reason for Western civilization to have guilt trips laid on it by champions of cultures based on despotism, superstition, tribalism, and fanaticism. In this regard the Afrocentrists are especially absurd. The West needs no lectures on the superiority of these ‘sun people’ who sustained slavery till Western imperialism abolished it (and sustain it to this day in Mauritania and the Sudan) . . . .”
Today this truth would be considered “hate speech.”
Siegel adds that Schlesinger saw the malign consequences of a black nationalism that strives to separate African-Americans from an increasingly colorblind mainstream. He wanly notes that, “If some Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan wanted to devise an educational curriculum for the specific purpose of handicapping and disabling black Americans, he would not be likely to come up with anything more diabolically effective than Afrocentrism.”
“I believe,” he wrote, that “the campaign against common sense would fail.”
Schlesinger’s optimism was based on universities righting itself. The left he believed could not base itself on identity groups.
Unfortunately, his optimism was misplaced.
Higher education in the humanities and social sciences devolved into politically correct attitudes and students with dissenting ideas were repelled or marginalized. Diversity classes replaced American History, group rights replaced free speech, men accused of rape were denied civil rights, and safe spaces became the norm.
Intellectual thought dissipated and students were able to get through college knowing nothing. In this environment, PC has been able to flourish.
Former Harvard president Larry Summers said that “there is a kind of creeping totalitarianism on college campuses.”
Trump succeeds in large part because of his anti-PC mantra. Obama, for his part, blames “greatly diminished racism” for inner-city turmoil.
Trump is seen as the anti-Obama and, for right or wrong, as someone who can reverse the damage done in the last seven years. In large part, Sanders is also part of the rebellion on the opposite end of the battle.
“Trump is a reaction to and expression of liberal delusions,” Siegel explains. Schlesinger’s fears have largely come to pass; we’ve become what he called a “quarrelsome spatter of enclaves.”
Siegel says finally, we are in a “soft civil war.” Indeed we are.