The source of this diary is from this post at the Gates of Vienna website June 14, 2006. The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report as a guest-post at Gates of Vienna. I posted a comment with the link on gamecock's most recent North Carolina Face to Face blog. After a good night's sleep I decided to post in more detail about this topic of political correctness. Fjordman got opinions on this subject from a wide variety of sources, and no, gamecock, none of these are suffering from a Southern superiority complex. All but one believes political correctness is just an alias for cultural marxism. The one believes that political correctness is a geo-political result of a decadence in the West that will disappear with the rise of eastern powers, China and India. I think political correctness is an intellectual sickness that must be challenged.
Dr. Theodore Dalrymple:
The simple fact is that we never won the Cold War as decisively as we should have. Yes, the Berlin Wall fell, and the Soviet Union collapsed. This removed the military threat to the West, and the most hardcore, economic Marxism suffered a blow as a credible alternative. However, one of the really big mistakes we made after the Cold War ended was to declare that Socialism was now dead, and thus no longer anything to worry about.
We never had a thorough de-Marxification process after the Cold War, similar to the de-Nazification after WW2. We never fully confronted the ideology of Marxism, and demonstrated that the suffering it caused for hundreds of millions of people was a direct result of Marxist ideas. We just assumed that Marxism was dead and moved on, allowing many of its ideals to mutate into new forms and many of its champions to continue their work uninterrupted, sometimes filled with a vengeance and a renewed zeal for another assault on the capitalist West.
Although the viable economic alternative to capitalism didnt work out, their hatred for this system never subsided, it merely transformed into other forms. Multiculturalism is just a different word for divide and conquer, pitting various ethnic and cultural groups against each other and destroying the coherence of Western society from within.
Karl Marx said The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism, a sentiment that corresponds almost exactly to the Islamic idea that peace means the absence of opposition to Islamic rule. Cultural Marxism aka Political Correctness and Islam share the same totalitarian outlook and instinctively agree in their opposition to free discussion, and in the idea that freedom of speech must be curtailed when it is offensive to certain groups.
There is very little difference between the Left and Islam. What is lacking in both these creeds is the adherence to the Golden Rule. Just as for Muslims, everything Islamic is a priori right and good and everything un-Islamic is a priori wrong and evil, for the Left, everything leftist is a priori oppressed and good and everything rightist is a priori oppressor and evil. Facts dont matter. Justice is determined by who you are and not by what you have done. Political correctness is an intellectual sickness. It means expediently lying when telling the truth is not expedient. This practice is so widespread and so common that it is considered to be normal.
We can probably confidently say that its hard version communism is over. However, fifteen years after the collapse of communism I am afraid, more than at the beginning of its softer (or weaker) version, of social-democratism, which has become under different names, e.g. the welfare state the dominant model of the economic and social system of current Western civilization. It is based on big and patronizing government, on extensive regulating of human behavior, and on large-scale income redistribution. The explicit socialism has lost its appeal and we should not have it as the main rival to our ideas today. These ideas are, however, in many respects similar to it. There is always a limiting (or constraining) of human freedom, there is always ambitious social engineering, there is always an immodest enforcement of a good by those who are anointed on others against their will. The current threats to liberty may use different hats, they may better hide their real nature, they may be more sophisticated than before, but they are in principle the same as always.
There were no Nuremberg-type trials in Moscow. Why? Because while we won the Cold War in a military sense, we lost it in the context of ideas. The West stopped one day too soon, just like in Desert Storm. Just imagine the Allies in 1945 being satisfied with some kind of Perestroika in Nazi Germany instead of unconditional surrender. What would have been the situation in Europe then, to say nothing of Germany? All former Nazi collaborators would have remained in power, albeit under a new disguise. This is exactly what happened in the Soviet Union in 1991. Communism might have been dead, but the communists remained in power in most of the former Warsaw bloc countries, while their Western collaborators came to power all over the world (in Europe in particular). This is nothing short of a miracle: the defeat of the Nazis in 1945 quite logically brought a shift to the Left in world politics, while a defeat of communism in 1991 brought again a shift to the Left, this time quite illogically. It is no surprise, therefore, that despite the defeat of communism, the radical Left in the West still arrogates the moral high ground to itself.
When the Nazis lost the Second World War, racial hatred was discredited. When the Soviets lost the Cold War, the tenet of class hatred remained as popular as ever. Having failed to finish off conclusively the communist system, we are now in danger of integrating the resulting monster into our world. It may not be called communism anymore, but it retained many of its dangerous characteristics. . . .Until the Nuremberg-style tribunal passes its judgement on all the crimes committed by communism, it is not dead and the war is not over.
William S. Lind:
Political Correctness wants to change behavior, thought, even the words we use. To a significant extent, it already has. Whoever or whatever controls language also controls thought. Political Correctness is in fact cultural Marxism. There are major parallels between classical and cultural Marxism. Both are totalitarian ideologies. The totalitarian nature of Political Correctness can be seen on [University] campuses where PC has taken over the college: freedom of speech, of the press, and even of thought are all eliminated. Today, with economic Marxism dead, cultural Marxism has filled its shoes. The medium has changed, but the message is the same: a society of radical egalitarianism enforced by the power of the state.
While the hour is late, the battle is not decided. Very few Americans realize that Political Correctness is in fact Marxism in a different set of clothes. As that realization spreads, defiance will spread with it. At present, Political Correctness prospers by disguising itself. Through defiance, and through education on our own part (which should be part of every act of defiance), we can strip away its camouflage and reveal the Marxism beneath the window-dressing of sensitivity, tolerance and multiculturalism.
It was necessary first to delegitimize the dominant belief systems of the predominant groups and to create a counter-hegemony (i.e., a new system of values for the subordinate groups) before the marginalized could be empowered. Moreover, because hegemonic values permeate all spheres of civil society schools, churches, the media, voluntary associations civil society itself, is the great battleground in the struggle for hegemony, the war of position. all life is political. Thus, private life, the work place, religion, philosophy, art, and literature, and civil society, in general, are contested battlegrounds in the struggle to achieve societal transformation.
The primary resistance to the advance of cultural Marxism in the USA comes from an opposing quarter, contemporary Tocquevillianism. Its representatives take Alexis de Tocquevilles essentially empirical description of American exceptionalism and celebrate the traits of this exceptionalism as normative values to be embraced. Americans are much more individualistic, religious, and patriotic than the people of any other comparably advanced nation. Unlike other modernists, Americans combined strong religious and patriotic beliefs with dynamic, restless entrepreneurial energy that emphasized equality of individual opportunity and eschewed hierarchical and ascriptive group affiliations.
Tocquevillians and Gramscians clash on almost everything that matters. Tocquevillians believe that there are objective moral truths applicable to all people at all times. Gramscians believe that moral truths are subjective and depend upon historical circumstances. Tocquevillians believe in personal responsibility. Gramscians believe that the personal is political. In the final analysis, Tocquevillians favor the transmission of the American regime; Gramscians, its transformation.
While economic Marxism appears to be dead, the Hegelian variety articulated by Gramsci and others has not only survived the fall of the Berlin Wall, but also gone on to challenge the American republic at the level of its most cherished ideas. For more than two centuries America has been an exceptional nation, one whose restless entrepreneurial dynamism has been tempered by patriotism and a strong religious-cultural core. The ultimate triumph of Gramscianism would mean the end of this very exceptionalism. America would at last become Europeanized: statist, thoroughly secular, post-patriotic, and concerned with group hierarchies and group rights in which the idea of equality before the law as traditionally understood by Americans would finally be abandoned. Beneath the surface of our seemingly placid times, the ideological, political, and historical stakes are enormous.
The Politically Correct are more intolerant of dissent than traditional liberals or conservatives, since Liberals of earlier times accepted unorthodoxy as normal. Indeed the right to differ was a datum of classical liberalism. The Politically Correct do not give that right a high priority. It distresses their programmed minds. Those who do not conform should be ignored, silenced or vilified. There is a kind of soft totalitarianism about Political Correctness. Because the politically correct believe they are not just on the side of right, but of virtue, it follows that those they are opposed to are not just wrong, but malign. In the PC mind, the pursuit of virtue entitles them to curtail the malign views of those they disagree with. People who transgress politically correct beliefs are seen not just as wrong, to be debated with, but evil, to be condemned, silenced and spurned. The rise of political correctness represents an assault on both reason and liberal democracy. Political Correctness is an ideology that classifies certain groups of people as victims in need of protection from criticism, and which makes believers feel that no dissent should be tolerated.
Political correctness is essentially the product of a powerful but decadent civilisation which feels secure enough to forego reasoning for emoting, and to subjugate truth to goodness. However, the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001, and those that followed in Bali, Madrid and Beslan, have led to a sense of vulnerability that have made people far more hard-headed about the real benefits and drawbacks of Western civilisation.
To some extent, the rise of the eastern powers, China and India, will ensure in coming decades that western guilt will shrivel: finally having equal powers to compare ourselves to, the West will no longer feel inclined to indulge in self-loathing, but will seek to reaffirm its sense of identity. (
) in the long-run of history, political correctness will be seen as an aberration in Western thought. The product of the uniquely unchallenged position of the West and its unrivalled affluence, the comparative decline of the West compared to the East is likely to spell the demise of political correctness.
Multiculturalism has been bad for unity in Canada. It ghettoizes people, makes them believe, wrongly, that isolating themselves and not adapting to their new society is OK. It is not. Political correctness threatens us because we cant fight something we refuse to label and understand. The amount of political correctness during the arrests of 17 Muslims in the Toronto area was sickening. Political correctness has gone too far. Political correctness threatens our society. It is the responsibility of the minorities to adjust to the majority, not the other way around.