Historical Origins of “Political Correctness”

Just wanted to post this excerpt from INTELLECTUAL TAKEOUT’S dealing with Political Correctness:

The Historical Origin of ‘Political Correctness’
A professor at Boston University recently touched on origins of the term ‘politically correct.’ And it’s revealing…

…“The formula is straightforward: the world is not as it should be because society’s basic, ‘structural’ feature is ordered badly….For Marx and his followers that feature is conflict over the means of production in present-day society…. For Freudians it’s sexual maladjustment, for followers of Rousseau it’s social constraint, for positivists it is the insufficient application of scientific method, for others it is oppression of one race by another. Once control of society passes exclusively into the hands of the proper set of progressives, each sect’s contradictions must disappear as the basic structural problem is straightened out.”

The methods of the Communists and progressives differ, but the goal is one and the same: achieve “cultural hegemony,” a political phrase popularized by Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937), an Italian Marxist and politician who became prominent in progressive circles decades after his death.

Progressives learned that achieving hegemony by criminal punishment is difficult. Intellectuals seeking to remake America—“born tainted by Western Civilization’s original sins: racism, sexism, greed, genocide”, etc.—found a more effective way.

There’s no longer “Good” or “Evil”,
Now it’s all just “right” or “wrong”…
And, of course, that’s always changing
As “correction” comes along.

Politics is now what’s reigning…
Power Principles of man.
There’s no Bottom Line to speak of,
No such thing as “God Commands”

It’s high time you learn this Lesson:
Man and Morals all “evolve”…
In this world of shifty-changers,
There’s no TRUE truth to resolve.

We’ve moved past that faulty “logic”…
What rules now is how we feel.
“Sin” we feel is now outdated.
Sin we feel just isn’t REAL.

HA!… “The Fall” has finally fallen…
Yes, indeed, we’re free at last!
Heaven’s wholly democratic…
GLORY!… Happy Votes we cast!

Son, Big Brother makes “The Call” now,
He decides what “truths” to pick.
He defines for us what’s kosher.
(AND He’s got the biggest stick.)

Tom Graffagnino ~

Political correctness, perpetuated by a small class of people ensconced at universities, bureaucracies, and major media, is the ideal tool for achieving cultural hegemony. It is “forceful seduction” in lieu of rape. It achieves “tacit collaboration by millions who bite their lip.”

As a political philosophy, political correctness might seem lifeless and aimless. But Codevilla noted the goal of Lenin and Stalin was not a state built on Marxist principles; it was always party control. The two philosophies are similarly empty.

“Like its European kin, all that American progressivism offers is obedience to the ruling class, enforced by political correctness….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.”

It’s not exactly light reading, but Codevilla’s article is a must-read for anyone serious about understanding the nature and origins of political correctness. I found it interesting that Codevilla made a point similar to one that Dr. Jordan Peterson made in an interview over the weekend. It’s the idea that political correctness is a movement 1) fundamentally political in nature; and 2) built on resentment.

Peterson said this is no accident. It comes right out of the Saul Alinsky playbook.

“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, fundamentally.”

It’s a simple point, but a very important one. Stop and think about it for a moment. How much of our politics today is driven by resentment?

  • “Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition….  If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity….  From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.

Mussolini, Diuturna (1924) pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999), by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.

Facebook Comments