Most people have heard of political correctness (PC). The fad became institutionalized in academia and now permeates radio, TV, print journalism and advertising. How can anyone avoid the PC assault?
An early form of political correctness originated with Communism. A quiet joke spoken among American party members in the 1930s went like this. One Communist says to another, “Comrade, your statement is factually incorrect.” To which the other responds, “Yes, it is. But it is politically correct.”
Angelo M. Codevilla, Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Boston University wrote an excellent in-depth essay appearing in the Fall 2016 Claremont Review of Books. The quote above illustrates the vital reminder that in Stalin’s empire straying from the Party’s position could bring severe consequences. It mattered little that something was true. What mattered was what advanced the Party’s interests. Codevilla writes, “The notion of political correctness came into use among Communists in the 1930s as a semi-humorous reminder that the Party’s interest is to be treated as a reality that ranks above reality itself.”
That was then, but this is now. How has PC come to be applied in America today? Codevilla shows that progressives, like the Marxists before them, assume the task of fixing a broken American society, or as Codevilla says, “born tainted by Western Civilization’s original sins: racism, sexism, greed, genocide”, and so forth. The methods of the Communists and progressives may differ, but the goal is the same which is to achieve “cultural hegemony” or predominant influence. Progressives discovered that promoting hegemony by criminal punishment is difficult -- although it is becoming easier. Progressives found a better way. Political Correctness directed by a small class of activists in academia, government bureaucracies and the media offered an ideal way of achieving cultural hegemony. As Codevilla puts it, it is “forceful seduction” achieving “tacit collaboration by millions who bite their lip.” PC promotes obedience to the ruling class through a means of quiet subversion. The parallel between PC and Saul Alinsky’s principles in “Rules For Radicals” is unmistakable.
Codevilla continues, “If cultural hegemony merely meant achieving the progressive ruling class’s near monopoly of America’s cultural institutions, the conflict ended a generation ago: the rulers won. But because the ruling class acts as if the old culture’s recalcitrant remnants merit ever more intensive efforts to crush them, cultural hegemony by PC means an endless cycle of insult and resentment, guaranteeing the conflict’s permanence.”
“Nor is there any endpoint to what is politically correct, any more than there ever was to Communism. Here and now, as everywhere and always, it comes down to glorifying the party and humbling the rest….America’s progressives add insult to injury by imposing same-sex marriage, homosexuality, ‘global warming,’ and other fashions because they really have no priorities beyond themselves.”
There is no evident conclusion to the PC movement because the self gratification available to progressives is an addictive pleasure. A perverse satisfaction grows with each humiliation and hurt imposed. “The more fault I find in thee, the holier (or, at least, the trendier) I am than thou. The worse you are, the better I am and the more power I should have over you. America’s ruling class seems to have adopted the view that the rest of America should be treated as inmates in reeducation camps.”
Codevilla concludes, “The social justice people are always on the side of compassion and ‘victim’s rights,’ so objecting to anything they do makes you instantly a perpetrator. There’s no place you can stand without being vilified, and that’s why it keeps creeping forward….There’s no compassion at all. There is resentment, …”
How much of America’s political world is driven by resentment? Progressives choose not to acknowledge the resistance from the mass of Americans they consider racist, sexist, and above all stupid.
Enter Donald Trump. As Wall Street Journal writer William Galston puts it, “His critique of political correctness has destroyed many taboos and has given his followers license to say what they really think. Beliefs we mocked now command a majority in one of the world’s oldest political parties, and sometimes in the electorate as a whole.”
Hallelujah! Political correctness – take a hike!