Transcription

“Political Correctness:” A Short History of an IdeologyEdited by William S. LindA Product of the Free Congress FoundationNovember, 2004

IntroductionAs Russell Kirk wrote, one of conservatism’s most important insights is that allideologies are wrong. Ideology takes an intellectual system, a product of one or morephilosophers, and says, “This system must be true.” Inevitably, reality ends upcontradicting the system, usually on a growing number of points. But the ideology, by itsnature, cannot adjust to reality; to do so would be to abandon the system.Therefore, reality must be suppressed. If the ideology has power, it uses its powerto undertake this suppression. It forbids writing or speaking certain facts. Its goal is toprevent not only expression of thoughts that contradict what “must be true,” but thinkingsuch thoughts. In the end, the result is inevitably the concentration camp, the gulag andthe grave.While some Americans have believed in ideologies, America itself never had anofficial, state ideology – up until now. But what happens today to Americans who suggestthat there are differences among ethnic groups, or that the traditional social roles of menand women reflect their different natures, or that homosexuality is morally wrong? If theyare public figures, they must grovel in the dirt in endless, canting apologies. If they areuniversity students, they face star chamber courts and possible expulsion. If they areemployees of private corporations, they may face loss of their jobs. What was theircrime? Contradicting America’s new state ideology of “Political Correctness.”But what exactly is “Political Correctness?” Marxists have used the term for atleast 80 years, as a broad synonym for “the General Line of the Party.” It could be saidthat Political Correctness is the General Line of the Establishment in America today;2

certainly, no one who dares contradict it can be a member of that Establishment. But thatstill does not tell us what it really is.This short book, which Free Congress has decided to make available free over itswebsite, seeks to answer that question. It does so in the only way any ideology can beunderstood, by looking at its historical origins, its method of analysis and several keycomponents, including its place in higher education and its ties with the Feministmovement. Finally, it offers an annotated bibliography for those who wish to pursue thesubject in greater depth.Perhaps the most important question facing Americans today is, “Do we reallywant America to be an ideological state?” Because conservatives know where allideologies lead, our answer, resoundingly, is “NO!” But if we expect to prevail andrestore our country to full freedom of thought and expression, we need to know ourenemy. We need to understand what Political Correctness really is. As you will soon see,if we can expose the true origins and nature of Political Correctness, we will have taken agiant step to its overthrow.William S. Lind3

Chapter 1What is “Political Correctness”?byWilliam S. LindMost Americans look back on the 1950s as a good time. Our homes were safe, tothe point where many people did not bother to lock their doors. Public schools weregenerally excellent, and their problems were things like talking in class and running inthe halls. Most men treated women like ladies, and most ladies devoted their time andeffort to making good homes, rearing their children well and helping their communitiesthrough volunteer work. Children grew up in two–parent households, and the mother wasthere to meet the child when he came home from school. Entertainment was somethingthe whole family could enjoy.What happened?If a man from America of the 1950s were suddenly introduced into America in the2000s, he would hardly recognize it as the same country. He would be in immediatedanger of getting mugged, carjacked or worse, because he would not have learned to livein constant fear. He would not know that he shouldn’t go into certain parts of the city,that his car must not only be locked but equipped with an alarm, that he dare not go tosleep at night without locking the windows and bolting the doors – and setting theelectronic security system.If he brought his family with him, he and his wife would probably cheerfully packtheir children off to the nearest public school. When the children came home in theafternoon and told them they had to go through a metal detector to get in the building,had been given some funny white powder by another kid and learned that homosexualityis normal and good, the parents would be uncomprehending.In the office, the man might light up a cigarette, drop a reference to the “littlelady,” and say he was happy to see the firm employing some Negroes in importantpositions. Any of those acts would earn a swift reprimand, and together they might gethim fired.When she went into the city to shop, the wife would put on a nice suit, hat, andpossibly gloves. She would not understand why people stared, and mocked.And when the whole family sat down after dinner and turned on the television,they would not understand how pornography from some sleazy, blank-fronted “AdultsOnly” kiosk had gotten on their set.4

Were they able, our 1950s family would head back to the 1950s as fast as theycould, with a gripping horror story to tell. Their story would be of a nation that haddecayed and degenerated at a fantastic pace, moving in less than a half a century from thegreatest country on earth to a Third World nation, overrun by crime, noise, drugs and dirt.The fall of Rome was graceful by comparison.Why did it happen?Over the last forty years, America has been conquered by the same force thatearlier took over Russia, China, Germany and Italy. That force is ideology. Here, aselsewhere, ideology has inflicted enormous damage on the traditional culture it came todominate, fracturing it everywhere and sweeping much of it away. In its place came fear,and ruin. Russia will take a generation or more to recover from Communism, if it evercan.The ideology that has taken over America goes most commonly by the name of“Political Correctness.” Some people see it as a joke. It is not. It is deadly serious. Itseeks to alter virtually all the rules, formal and informal, that govern relations amongpeople and institutions. It wants to change behavior, thought, even the words we use. Toa significant extent, it already has. Whoever or whatever controls language also controlsthought. Who dares to speak of “ladies” now?Just what is “Political Correctness?” “Political Correctness” is in fact culturalMarxism – Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. The effort to translateMarxism from economics into culture did not begin with the student rebellion of the1960s. It goes back at least to the 1920s and the writings of the Italian CommunistAntonio Gramsci. In 1923, in Germany, a group of Marxists founded an institute devotedto making the translation, the Institute of Social Research (later known as the FrankfurtSchool). One of its founders, George Lukacs, stated its purpose as answering thequestion, “Who shall save us from Western Civilization?” The Frankfurt School gainedprofound influence in American universities after many of its leading lights fled to theUnited States in the 1930s to escape National Socialism in Germany.The Frankfurt School blended Marx with Freud, and later influences (someFascist as well as Marxist) added linguistics to create “Critical Theory” and“deconstruction.” These in turn greatly influenced education theory, and throughinstitutions of higher education gave birth to what we now call “Political Correctness.”The lineage is clear, and it is traceable right back to Karl Marx.The parallels between cultural Marxism and classical, economic Marxism areevident. Cultural Marxism, or Political Correctness, shares with classical Marxism thevision of a “classless society” i.e., a society not merely of equal opportunity, but equalcondition. Since that vision contradicts human nature – because people are different, theyend up unequal, regardless of the starting point – society will not accord with it unlessforced. So, under both variants of Marxism, it is forced. This is the first major parallel5

between classical and cultural Marxism: both are totalitarian ideologies. The totalitariannature of Political Correctness can be seen on campuses where “PC” has taken over thecollege: freedom of speech, of the press, and even of thought are all eliminated.The second major parallel is that both cultural Marxism and classical, economicMarxism have single-factor explanations of history. Classical Marxism argues that all ofhistory was determined by ownership of the means of production. Cultural Marxism saysthat history is wholly explained by which groups – defined by sex, race and sexualnormality or abnormality – have power over which other groups.The third parallel is that both varieties of Marxism declare certain groupsvirtuous and others evil a priori, that is, without regard for the actual behavior ofindividuals. Classical Marxism defines workers and peasants as virtuous and thebourgeoisie (the middle class) and other owners of capital as evil. Political Correctnessdefines blacks, Hispanics, Feminist women, homosexuals and some additional minoritygroups as virtuous and white men as evil. (Political Correctness does not recognize theexistence of non-Feminist women and defines blacks who reject Political Correctness aswhites).The fourth parallel is in means: expropriation. Economic Marxists, where theyobtained power, expropriated the property of the bourgeoisie and handed it to the state, asthe “representative” of the workers and the peasants. Cultural Marxists, when they gainpower (including through our own government), lay penalties on white men and otherswho disagree with them and give privileges to the groups they favor. Affirmative actionis an example.Finally, both varieties of Marxists employ a method of analysis designed to showthe correctness of their ideology in every situation. For classical Marxists, the analysis iseconomic. For cultural Marxists, the analysis is linguistic: deconstruction. Deconstruction“proves” that any “text,” past or present, illustrates the oppression of blacks, women,homosexuals, etc. by reading that meaning into words of the text (regardless of theiractual meaning). Both methods are, of course, phony analyses that twist the evidence tofit preordained conclusions, but they lend a “scientific” air to the ideology.These parallels are neither remarkable nor coincidental. They exist becausePolitical Correctness is directly derived from classical Marxism, and is in fact merely avariant of Marxism. Through most of the history of Marxism, cultural Marxists were“read out” of the movement by classical, economic Marxists. Today, with economicMarxism dead, cultural Marxism has filled its shoes. The medium has changed, but themessage is the same: a society of radical egalitarianism enforced by the power of thestate.Political Correctness now looms over American society like a colossus. It hastaken over both political parties – recent Republican conventions were choreographedaccording to its dictates, while cultural conservatives were shown the door – and isenforced by many laws and government regulations. It almost totally controls the most6

powerful element in our culture, the entertainment industry. It dominates both public andhigher education: many a college campus is a small, ivy-covered North Korea. It has evencaptured the clergy in many Christian churches. Anyone in the Establishment whodeparts from its dictates swiftly ceases to be a member of the Establishment.The remainder of this short book will explore the subject of Political Correctnessfurther: its history, its method of analysis (deconstruction), and the means by which it hasattained its influence, especially through education.But one more question must be addressed at the outset, the most vital question:how can Americans combat Political Correctness and retake their society from thecultural Marxists?To that end, it is not sufficient to criticize Political Correctness. It tolerates acertain amount of criticism, even gentle mocking. It does so through no genuine tolerancefor other points of view, but in order to disarm its opponents, to let itself seem lessmenacing than it is. The cultural Marxists do not yet have total power, and they are toowise to appear totalitarian until their victory is assured.Rather, those who would defeat cultural Marxism must defy it. They must usewords it forbids, and refuse to use the words it mandates; remember, sex is better thangender. They must shout from the housetops the realities it seeks to suppress, such as thefacts that violent crime is disproportionately committed by blacks and that most cases ofAIDS are voluntary, i.e., acquired from immoral sexual acts. They must refuse to turntheir children over to public schools.Above all, those who would defy Political Correctness must behave according tothe old rules of our culture, not the new rules the cultural Marxists lay down. Ladiesshould be wives and homemakers, not cops or soldiers, and men should still hold doorsopen for ladies. Children should not be born out of wedlock. Open homosexuals shouldbe shunned. Jurors should not accept race as an excuse for murder.Defiance spreads. When other Americans see one person defy PoliticalCorrectness and survive – and you still can, for now – they are emboldened. They aretempted to defy it, too, and some will. The ripples from a single act of defiance, of oneinstance of walking up to the clay idol and breaking off its nose, can range far. There isnothing the Politically Correct fear more than open defiance, and for good reason; it istheir chief vulnerability. That should lead cultural conservatives to defy cultural Marxismat every turn.While the hour is late, the battle is not decided. Very few Americans realize thatPolitical Correctness is in fact Marxism in a different set of clothes. As that realizationspreads, defiance will spread with it. At present, Political Correctness prospers bydisguising itself. Through defiance, and through education on our own part (which shouldbe part of every act of defiance), we can strip away its camouflage and reveal the7

Marxism beneath the window-dressing of “sensitivity,” “tolerance” and “multiculturalism.”Who dares, wins.8

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Chapter IIThe Historical Roots of “Political Correctness”byRaymond V. RaehnAmerica is today dominated by an alien system of beliefs, attitudes and valuesthat we have come to know as “Political Correctness.” Political Correctness seeks toimpose a uniformity of thought and behavior on all Americans and is thereforetotalitarian in nature. Its roots lie in a version of Marxism which seeks a radical inversionof the traditional culture in order to create a social revolution.Social revolution has a long history, conceivably going as far back as Plato’sRepublic. But it was the French Revolution of 1789 that inspired Karl Marx to develophis theories in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, the success of theBolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia set off a wave of optimistic expectation amongthe Marxist forces in Europe and America that the new proletarian world of equality wasfinally coming into being. Russia, as the first communist nation in the world, would leadthe revolutionary forces to victory.The Marxist revolutionary forces in Europe leaped at this opportunity. Followingthe end of World War I, there was a Communist “Spartacist uprising in Berlin, Germanylead by Rosa Luxemburg; the creation of a “Soviet” in Bavaria led by Kurt Eisner; and aHungarian communist republic established by Bela Kun in 1919. At the time, there wasgreat concern that all of Europe might fall under the banner of Bolshevism. This sense ofimpeding doom was given vivid life by Trotsky’s Red Army invasion of Poland in 1919.However, the Red Army was defeated by Polish forces at the battle of the Vistulain 1920. The Spartacist, Bavarian Soviet and Bela Kun governments all failed to gainwidespread support from the workers and after a brief time they were all overthrown.These events created a quandary for the Marxist revolutionaries in Europe. UnderMarxist economic theory, the oppressed workers were supposed to be the beneficiaries ofa social revolution that would place them on top of the power structure. When theserevolutionary opportunities presented themselves, however, the workers did not respond.The Marxist revolutionaries did not blame their theory for these failures. They blamed theworkers.One group of Marxist intellectuals resolved their quandary by an analysis thatfocused on society’s cultural “superstructure” rather than on the economic substructuresas Marx did. The Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci and Hungarian Marxist Georg Lukacscontributed the most to this new cultural Marxism.Antonio Gramsci worked for the Communist International during 1923-24 inMoscow and Vienna. He was later imprisoned in one of Mussolini’s jails where he wrote1

his famous “Prison Notebooks.” Among Marxists, Gramsci is noted for his theory ofcultural hegemony as the means to class dominance. In his view, a new “Communistman” had to be created before any political revolution was possible. This led to a focuson the efforts of intellectuals in the fields of education and culture. Gramsci envisioned along march through the society’s institutions, including the government, the judiciary, themilitary, the schools and the media. He also concluded that so long as the workers had aChristian soul, they would not respond to revolutionary appeals.Georg Lukacs was the son a wealthy Hungarian banker. Lukacs began hispolitical life as an agent of the Communist International. His book History and ClassConsciousness gained him recognition as the leading Marxist theorist since Karl Marx.Lukacs believed that for a new Marxist culture to emerge, the existing culture must bedestroyed. He said, “I saw the revolutionary destruction of society as the one and onlysolution to the cultural contradictions of the epoch,” and, “Such a worldwide overturningof values cannot take place without the annihilation of the old values and the creation ofnew ones by the revolutionaries.”When he became Deputy Commissar for Culture in the Bolshevik Bela Kunregime in Hungary in 1919, Lukacs launched what became known as “CulturalTerrorism.” As part of this terrorism he instituted a radical sex education program inHungarian schools. Hungarian children were instructed in free love, sexual intercourse,the archaic nature of middle-class family codes, the out-datedness of monogamy, and theirrelevance of religion, which deprives man of all pleasures. Women, too, were called torebel against the sexual mores of the time. Lukacs’s campaign of “Cultural Terrorism”was a precursor to what Political Correctness would later bring to American schools.In 1923, Lukacs and other Marxist intellectuals associated with the CommunistParty of Germany founded the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University inFrankfurt, Germany. The Institute, which became known as the Frankfurt School, wasmodeled after the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow. In 1933, when Nazis came to powerin Germany, the members of the Frankfurt School fled. Most came to the United States.The members of the Frankfurt School conducted numerous studies on the beliefs,attitudes and values they believed lay behind the rise of National Socialism in Germany.The Frankfurt School’s studies combined Marxist analysis with Freudian psychoanalysisto form the basis of what became known as “Critical Theory.” Critical Theory wasessentially destructive criticism of the main elements of Western culture, includingChristianity, capitalism, authority, the family, patriarchy, hierarchy, morality, tradition,sexual restraint, loyalty, patriotism, nationalism, heredity, ethnocentrism, conventio