The ebb and flow of political correctness doctrine

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt:

What caused the P.C. movement to stall after the ‘90s? One theory is that it was due to two particular events. First, a Democratic president was impeached for his sexual conduct with an intern. That made the left (at least temporarily) less interested in rooting out and punishing all abuses of power. Second, the attacks of Sept. 11, and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, created a new and different focal point for activist energy: first anti-terror, then anti-war.

The history of political correctness also shows that ideas can have a long genesis, as this essay by Musa al-Gharbi illustrates. The idea of sensitivity training, for instance, was created by Kurt Lewin in 1946-47, and later popularized by Carl Rogers in 1961. The notion of “safe spaces” started in gay and lesbian bars in the mid-1960s. The term “microaggressions” comes from Chester Pierce in 1974. It is possible that the phrase “identity politics” comes from the Combahee River Collective Statement of 1977.

The lesson here is clear: If you are dealing in the world of ideas, play the long game — don’t be too discouraged by momentary setbacks. For all the talk of America having a throwaway culture that moves rapidly from one idea to the next, the history of political correctness does not support that vision. It is possible for people to promote and sustain ideas to give them resonance and influence.

Please note I am trying to learn from the history of the movement, and it is not the point of this column to condemn it excesses (which are very real).

Comments

The column equivalent of a popcorn movie, at least when reading what will likely be wonderfully entertaining comments here.

PC is a political toll that is trotted out whenever it will benefit a group who otherwise has no merit for their demands. If the left were to gain control over congress, the presidency and the Supreme Court they would abandon PC for fear that it could be used against them and simply pursue their lust for power through the normal channels.

The PC movement came from the right.

All the conservatives objected to such things as talking biology in real life. They were hyper offended by "My Body, Myself", which I remember in its earliest "mimeo" form, mimeograph being obsolete made it cheaper than Xerox if you were willing to trade labor and quality for cheap copying.

Classes on evolution and cosmology required for a degree were highly objectionable oppression of conservatives values.

The college I first attended, and then worked for, a religious founded school of liberal arts, accommodated conservatives by providing "trigger warnings" and other accommodations, in the late 60s early 70s.

The administration had long navigated such conflicts. The Quaker founders took a moral stance against smoking, so a canvas bag was put over the cigarette vending machines when Quakers held conferences on campus or the Quaker board met. Until someone, probably a student took the bag off. Scandal ensued and the cigarette machine was banned by the board, as was all smoking, previously allowed in the room with the machine and in dorm rooms if all agreed. A few places just off campus became hangouts for smokers, the most accessible was called camels corner.

I had many hours of conversation as student and staff with students, faculty, administration, staff, about hypocrisy as a needed institutional coping mechanism. Initially as idealist condemned hypocrisy until wise faculty/administrators led me to embrace institutional hypocrisy.

Conservatives seem prone to damn and demand an end to hypocrisy even as they secretly engage in the activities they attack others for. Eg, Newt attacking Clinton while doing the same thing, which then resulted in his being forced out in disgrace while Clinton exited later as a success.

As a liberal, I can admire Jefferson's idealism of liberty while pointing out in detail his hypocrisy of denying liberty to others.

Conservatives must argue slavery was liberty or else they must damn Jefferson., which would be an an attack on America. That is the definition of PC.

Wow! That was a convoluted reverse peristalsis of gobbledygook.
I will address one fairly crazy assertion though: "Conservatives must argue slavery was liberty or else they must damn Jefferson."
It was conservatives that ended slavery in the U.S. But some hundred and fifty years ago slavery was practiced almost everywhere and had been going back into the entire recorded history of man. One of the many disgusting things humans do to each other. It seems odd to censure anyone for being consistent with practices that are common in their times. I feel confident, for example, that in the future abortion will be considered the most disgusting form of murder. And yet you, based on what you have stated are probably in favor of abortion. But as a conservative, I forgive you and hope you repent soon. Thomas Jefferson was a great man. I don't know how he felt about abortion but I won't try to make PC hay out of it as you attempted to do with slavery. If that's all you got, please read more and get out once and awhile.

In politics, conservative can mean several things:
-A preference for keeping things the same/minimizing change.
-A preference for small government and/or minimal government involvement in the economy.
-A preference for minimal federal government power; when possible, states should have more power to make their own decisions.
-A preference for free market solutions.

Lincoln's strong opposition to slavery was the defining position and ideology that he acted upon as President when ending slavery, and this opposition was inconsistent with ANY of the above definitions of conservatism.

Lincoln's strong, ideological opposition to slavery was clearly not "conservative." Lincoln wanted slavery banned, which was a radical change given the political context of the 1860s. And it's important to note that the Union could have been preserved more easily and expediently if Lincoln had been willing to relax his anti-slavery position.

I find it hard to argue that conservatives (by contemporary definitions of the word) ended slavery. Would you mind backing up this assertion?

"Conservatives must argue slavery was liberty"

That doesn't leave us with very many conservatives then.

Up yer bum.

As a longtime computer programmer, I tend to look at things as [name:value] pairs. And as a really longtime programmer, I view naming as completely arbitrary. Value is all.

So with that background, I see names like "PC" or "woke" used to describe an evolving, changing, set of values. And clearly some of those changes in value have been "combative redefinition."

So on the column, I don't even know. But I suspect we should talk about what values (in two senses of the word) are being promoted or denied.

Place Your Bets!!

“Real” anonymous or the bot?

Make your vote below.

Here's a guy who couldn't parse that comment.

Naming is arbitrary.

Dammit!! I thought I knew which one this was. Now I’m not sure. Well played whoever this is. Bravo.

Just noticed something elsewhere about "Enlightenment values."

Same thing, people concentrate on the name, and have kind of a proxy war about what values it represents.

But it's really just naming.

Enlightenment is pretty fundamental, it was the basis for ending slavery in the most civilized part of the world. Of course the during enlightenment extant laws on buggery were not very enlightened. Except for some moral and or religious quirks, enlightenment was a clear move away from aristocracy towards libertarianism.

But "some people say" it birthed modern "scientific" racism and provided a framework for American slavery.

I guess if I stick to my guns on names being arbitrary, it doesn't matter so much if "the Enlightenment" is in conflict. It's just a name, and if we want to talk about the good parts, we can.

When you say "some people", you would be equally correct saying "morons that practice and believe in guilt by association".

The slate article makes up in length what it lacks in rigor, but the 2 line summary is:

Slavery existed during the enlightenment, therefore enlightenment fans must apologize on behalf of the enlightenment.

"..... and provided a framework for American slavery." Morons can prove that by a juxtaposition of John Locke and a slave buyer, indeed guilt by association. I understand they will use masks, bike locks, and the corrupt Californian legal system, when both their arguments and oratory skills are so weak.

Anti-anti-slavery now? Like I said, what values are being promoted or denied.

If you look around and you’re on the side of slavery and racism, and your erstwhile enemies are on the side of tolerance and inclusion, then you’re on the wrong side.

Maybe you believe Trump’s good people on both sides speech, but that’s on you.

Hint: this is a Democracy

Go away troll.

Let’s not do this again. Don’t make parody posts.

And the worst is the “go away” to my own comments. It’s muddying the waters and everyone can see it for what it is.

Pick a better name. I don't think anyone gives you credit for owning that one.

Remember, I chose this after a better name was impersonated.

With [name:value] pairs at MR, [name] is both arbitrary and insecure.

How can I remember something I never knew?

You are a very obnoxious poster, so I would have thought I would recognise you.

Let's get this straight: anonymous is calling anonymous obnoxious, because anonymous can tell who anonymous really is?

"Hint: this is a Democracy"

Hint: it's "a Republic, if you can keep it" - Benjamin Franklin

The "One Note Samba" is a good song, but you need to change your tune. It was getting old a long, long time ago.

I don't think there is reason to be sensitive, because it is not the only thing going on, but even back in 1994 people were drawing the connection:

"Blumenbach, one of the greatest and most honored scientists of the Enlightenment, spent his entire career as a professor at the University of Göttingen in Germany."

The Geometer of Race

Go away, troll.

The "Enlightenment Now!" stuff (mostly a would-be fad of the late '10s) is mostly silly, fairly historically shallow stuff that seemingly tries to set up a contrast between "The Good Enlightenment" and "The Bad Romantic + Postmodern" that tries to launder the positive connotations of "the Enlightenment" in service of a rather dubious brand of intellectually barren and vacuous contemporary liberal centrism.

The people who object to its use of "The Enlightenment" as simplifying a complex era which gave birth to many bad and dangerous ideas of its own, are largely sensible and studious historians of thought and philosophy who can't but point this out!

This had tended to anger folk who care less about the history and ideas more about having a banner of tradition to legitimize their MoR stance. (Who also tend to be the same rather politically un-engaged but careerist folk who make loud claims to care about defending democracy, while raising few objections to the transfer of power from the general populous to business, to the judiciary, and to national and international bureaucratic institutions with no significant democratic element.)

(And of course, "Enlightenment Values" have almost equally been used by the anti-immigration right in Europe as a symbol of what they want to protect, with almost as much of a dubious character, as much as I may in ways be more sympathetic to their project....).

"(And of course, "Enlightenment Values" have almost equally been used by the anti-immigration right in Europe as a symbol of what they want to protect, with almost as much of a dubious character"

Some are probably racist or xenophobic, while some (or many) may fear non- liberal Islamic values or Sharia law, justifiably IMHO.

Western liberal democracies and republics are worth protecting IMO.

Sure, I think we can agree with much of the sentiment from a conservative point of view, while admitting some of the difficulties that crop up when trying to frame defences of "Enlightenment Values" / "liberal values" / "Western values".

"Second, the attacks of Sept. 11, and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, created a new and different focal point for activist energy: first anti-terror, then anti-war."

I wasn't there, so don't know if the power and pervasiveness of the anti-Vietnam war movement was later overstated. In the cultural artifacts I pored over, frustrated at having just missed what seemed an exciting and more Technicolor time, the protesters were portrayed as almost a worthy match for the military establishment.

But I'm unable to remember much about the anti-war effort that was called up by the "Long War," beyond the woman who camped out at the president's home.

Not meaning to throw any shade on peace activists who may have done a great deal without gaining much traction. I don't have any opinion about it. Was it just harder in the aughts than in the sixties, to gain a pulpit?

The grievance/victimhood culture seems to require for its maintenance an ever-more-narrow, narcissistic fixation on the self. If its practitioners - paid or unpaid - took a long hiatus from, basically, themselves - to protest the war - that would surprise me.

Unless the cultish attitude toward voting is what now passes for membership in the counterculture.

I would say the 60’s were much more motivated by personal anti-draft concerns than real anti-war sentiment, although it was cloaked in anti-war terms. I recall watching draft numbers being drawn bingo style on live TV.

The post 9/11 was an all volunteer military, and anti-war sentiment was only really present when it was a politically useful tool. Few people actually cared.

"I would say the 60’s were much more motivated by personal anti-draft concerns than real anti-war sentiment": that certainly seemed to be the case among the American students I knew at the time. They were being cowardly - and, in that case, how very wise they were. Why should you risk your life in a war intended merely to save face for the Democratic Party? I'm sure it's not too late to dig up JFK and LBJ and hang the bastards.

Sure, but it was a bipartisan affair. Barry Goldwater probably wouldn't have had much more success if he had won in 1964. In the case of Nixon, he undermined peace talks that were underway between LBJ, South Vietnam, and North Vietnam by asking South Vietnam to walk away and await a better deal under a Nixon presidency. They walked away and it was only after 4 more years of war that the peace deal came.

I would say the 60’s were much more motivated by personal anti-draft concerns than real anti-war sentiment, although it was cloaked in anti-war terms. I recall watching draft numbers being drawn bingo style on live TV.

People who actually are 'anti-war' are Mennonites and Jehovah's Witnesses who are typically self-employed or employed as wage earners and of no interest to Selective Service. The Quakers and Brethren aren't so otherworldly, but they generally do their alternative service and don't make public nuisances out of themselves.

People who are vociferously 'anti-war' are typically contemptible political poseurs like Chris Hedges (whose an advocate for malicious Arab chauvinism, among other things). They add nothing of value to public life and we'd be better off if they just disappeared.

I can help you with the 'disappearing'

Yer but a pup, Pinochet

Oh yes, I was thinking about the draft maybe being part of the story. I do remember a few aughts pieces on the theme of unshared risk.

I lived in a blue place far from NYC, surrounded by people old enough to have been involved in 60s activism, a place where folks were inclined to be more upset at the idea we might go to war, than by the events of 9/11. I remember on the afternoon of 9/11 itself, running into a woman I knew (working for the McGovern campaign had been an important stage in her youth) who was already distraught at the thought of it. War hadn't occurred to me, but here was my very next fully-formed thought: he's in third grade, if there's a war it will be over before he's of age, and he'll be in that sweet spot, generationally - he won't even be blamed for not having served! This thought actually made me happy. I repeated it to myself more than once.

I recalled this, when the day the card arrived, alerting him to register for the Selective Service, and the war was still going on somewhere, though I seldom gave it any thought.

Political Correctness: the monocultural promotion of diversity, inclusion, and tolerance that displaces customary and traditional pieties while yielding fresh expectations of uniformity, exclusion, and intolerance.

Anti-anti-Trump and anti-anti-racism are two sides of the same coin.

When you expend most of your efforts fighting the anti-racists instead of promoting American values, you drift further and further towards white supremacy.

As Jesus said, “God judges men for his acquaintances, not for defending principles”

Look around. If all of your friends believe races exist and are white, you’re already deep into white nationalism.

"When you expend most of your efforts fighting the anti-racists instead of promoting American values, you drift further and further towards white supremacy."

But if you spend less than 20% of your time pointing out its self-serving hypocrisy, you are fine

>First, a Democratic president was impeached for his sexual conduct with an intern.

He was impeached and disbarred(!) for lying in a sexual harassment lawsuit... the bigger problem was that Team Clinton had just spent several long months arguing sexual harassment it wasn't a big deal ("it was just sex") to minimize the political (vs. legal) impact.

That said, I think actual reason was R.A.V. v. St. Paul. It made PC 1.0 speech code enforcement untenable. It took that movement awhile to refactor into PC 2.0 cancel culture.

:fake edit - I wish you would update the site:

That is, PC never went away. It just needed to find a new hammer to use.

I've thought about the timeline a lot. My impression is that feminism (rather than political correctness in general) faded over the course of the 1980s, but then was revived by the Democrats as a political tool during the Anita Hill brouhaha of October 1991 over Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas's purported sexual harassment, which led to the 1992 "Year of the Woman" in which the Democrats elected noted woman Bill Clinton. As I tried to point out in late 1992, the new orthodoxy over sexual harassment was likely to eventually ensnare the Clinton Administration in a huge scandal, which eventually happened with Clinton's perjury in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

I couldn't find any magazine at the time that understood the logic of defining sexual harassment as "unwanted sexual advance," but it played out in 1998 very much as I had predicted.

Organized feminism sided pretty monolithically with President Bill in 1998, which seemed to take the wind out of the sales of feminism for quite a number of years. During the 2012 election year, the Obama campaign/administration started to resuscitate feminism for get-out-the-vote reasons (single women vote heavily Democratic but they don't as often as married women, who are moderate in their voting).

On the actual PC topic, I have to echo people who don't see it having too much to do with Clinton or 9/11.

I think it was simply that PC was a lot easier to stop from it's excesses when:

1) the economic good times rolled in, and the Soviet Union lost, and left activism was less popular. Feminists and communists couldn't pretend they had the answers.

2) demographics were more favorable - you have more people today who can get more out of being a victim of offense than you did in the 90s, because they're members of protected classes. more ethnic minorities, more single, female graduates as a bloc.

3) as the overwhelmingly most important factor, the rise of real name internet media gives huge returns to online harassment, cancel culture, peer pressure.

So economics+politics, demographics, social media. Adding extra force such that PC isn't just something Dave Chappelle and South Park and Tarantino and the other dudes who the standard for what Gen X considered cool can casually murder with their wit. Today most people quite frankly want PC to end, but it's just much harder to shut up and shut down the Extremely Online left wing activist harassment people who drive PC.

Specific political events, as much as the Extremely Political like to analyze them, probably not that important in the mix.

Most of all, however, what they show is that ideas will always matter.

That's the kind of insight the editors at Bloomberg are looking for these days? Sheesh.

He's not just saying that as a platitude, it is more meaningful in context.

Tomislav Sunic goes into the history of political correctness in his Homo Americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age.

Here's a way to think of this: would the kind of thinkers who were on the most "politically correct" extremes of issues for which they subsequently turned out to be on the right side of history be the same kinds of thinkers who would now be at the most "politically correct" extreme on issues such as safe spaces, or approaches to affirmative action and gender/race paygaps? It seems to me that the costs of being in favor of gay marriage or speaking out about sexual harassment in the 70s and 80s were high, and therefore required an intellectual honesty that does not apply to those same issues today. The corresponding issues of today will by definition be those that we don't name as "PC" to the same degree, because they are (right now) perceived to be more radical. The people fighting for those issues will deserve the acclaim of history.

What would those issues be? Vegetarianism comes first to mind, I could see a far future looking back on our meat eating as barbaric. I love eating meat but I suspect in 100 years the meatless substitutes will be pretty much as good as the real thing.

And then someone will write an essay pointing out that the idea of vegetarianism had a long genesis. Tyler won't be around 100 years from now, but his clone Tyclone will write an article about it for Bloomberg.

It really depends.

Will we get to practical lab meat faster, or will we get to CRISPRd feed-lot adapted "cows" - no methane, little no higher brain function, fast maturing. Feedlot agriculture of the early 21st century has a bunch of downsides, but we might be able to engineer it out such that it surpasses complex lab based processes.

3D printed steaks, vs the Ameglian Major Cow without the complex moral problem.

Whichever happens (and why not both?), I'm pretty sure technology will allow the people of the distant future to look back on our meat eating with horror. And that's fine, that's how society advances.

Yeah I suppose, though when I look back an inhumane methods of slaughter in ancient times, for ex, I think "How sad that those people were limited in their tech and could do no better!"

Not exactly moral horror, which I would reserve for like, bear baiting by medievals or halal and kosher slaughter by moderns; needless acts of cruelty.

Fake fake Thiago. I'm the real fake. This is the impostor.

I am no Thiago, fake or otherwise. I am a regretful Republican.

Your article mentions Catharine MacKinnon in passing and says that she "has suggested that pornography should be subject to tougher regulation". That's an understatement.

Back in the day, she and Andrea Dworkin formed a strange-bedfellows alliance with the likes of the old Moral Majority movement. Their goal was essentially to abolish porn entirely, in the same way that one would seek to abolish racism or other civil rights violations. Although they would have redefined LGBT porn as "not porn" in the same way that bigotry by POCs get redefined as "not racism".

Alas, technology kept advancing. First there were VCRs, and later there were modems and color monitors, all laughably crude by today's standards of course. And then we had the heyday of downloading from BBSs and the beginnings of the modern Internet. And much was exposed to view, including the revealed preferences of the public.

The goals of the anti-pornography movement in the 1980s and early 1990s were far vaster than mere "tougher regulation". But no one talks about it today, because it would require acknowledging that overreach sometimes leads to a dead end. It's easier to move on than to acknowledge defeat, or to consider the implications for today's excesses.

In News of the Weird, Edwin Meese got some kinda medal the other day.

Take porn. It’s legitimate to have a debate about porn and its putative harms. There will be a spectrum of views.

What was horrible about PC back in the day was the smooth shift from let’s debate porn, to the inanity of saying “all men are rapists”. And then, when someone (male) demurred, insisting that they shut up.

Has “shut up because privilege” become more, or less, widespread? I think more.

It's interesting that the fringier "sex is rape" or "marriage is rape" stuff sort of lay dormant awhile and then got woke-d up; while the commercial industry those women attacked - in what seemed at the time their position with potentially wider resonance - was wholly untouched, or stronger than ever.*

But maybe not surprising, the purveyors are obviously pretty canny, what with foreseeing the backlash and coming up with their own normalizing words "soft-core" and "hard-core" - let's shift those mainstream goalposts slightly and get one foot in - so as to make it all seem a question of degree. I noticed Ross Douthat adopted them uncritically when he fecklessly crusaded against pornography for awhile.

*I wouldn't doubt their canniness extended to overstating the size of their business.

And to be fair to MacKinnon and Dworkin, I expect that had they been made to see that pornography could be a useful weapon against the institution of marriage, and disturb male/female relations in lots of ways - odd that they did not? - they would have come round to it in a heartbeat.

To be fair to MacKinnon, she made no exception for LGBT porn; she was for wiping out all sexually explicit representation. She was certainly cagey (or dishonest, depending on how you want to look at it) in neglecting to mention that her definition of pornography would encompass a good deal of mainstream and "art" cinema, and quite a bit of the western tradition of visual art as well. But for her LGBT porn was still porn, and she wanted it eradicated.

most americans do not like PC culture. It just seems like a good amount of us do becuase they are so obnoxiously loud.

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a70a7c3010027736a22740f/t/5bbcea6b7817f7bf7342b718/1539107467397/hidden_tribes_report-2.pdf

But what would we do all day here if we didn't have tiny issues that most people don't even think about to snarkily argue over?

Political correctness is just the residue of Soviet subversion:

Americans have never really understood ideological warfare. Our gut-level assumption is that everybody in the world really wants the same comfortable material success we have. We use “extremist” as a negative epithet. Even the few fanatics and revolutionary idealists we have, whatever their political flavor, expect everybody else to behave like a bourgeois.

We don’t expect ideas to matter — or, when they do, we expect them to matter only because people have been flipped into a vulnerable mode by repression or poverty. Thus all our divagation about the “root causes” of Islamic terrorism, as if the terrorists’ very clear and very ideological account of their own theory and motivations is somehow not to be believed.

By contrast, ideological and memetic warfare has been a favored tactic for all of America’s three great adversaries of the last hundred years — Nazis, Communists, and Islamists. All three put substantial effort into cultivating American proxies to influence U.S. domestic policy and foreign policy in favorable directions. Yes, the Nazis did this, through organizations like the “German-American Bund” that was outlawed when World War II went hot. Today, the Islamists are having some success at manipulating our politics through fairly transparent front organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

But it was the Soviet Union, in its day, that was the master of this game. They made dezinformatsiya (disinformation) a central weapon of their war against “the main adversary”, the U.S. They conducted memetic subversion against the U.S. on many levels at a scale that is only now becoming clear as historians burrow through their archives and ex-KGB officers sell their memoirs.

The Soviets had an entire “active measures” department devoted to churning out anti-American dezinformatsiya. A classic example is the rumor that AIDS was the result of research aimed at building a ‘race bomb’ that would selectively kill black people.

On a different level, in the 1930s members of CPUSA (the Communist Party of the USA) got instructions from Moscow to promote non-representational art so that the US’s public spaces would become arid and ugly.

Americans hearing that last one tend to laugh. But the Soviets, following the lead of Marxist theoreticians like Antonio Gramsci, took very seriously the idea that by blighting the U.S.’s intellectual and esthetic life, they could sap Americans’ will to resist Communist ideology and an eventual Communist takeover. The explicit goal was to erode the confidence of America’s ruling class and create an ideological vacuum to be filled by Marxism-Leninism.

Accordingly, the Soviet espionage apparat actually ran two different kinds of network: one of spies, and one of agents of influence. The agents of influence had the minor function of recruiting spies (as, for example, when Kim Philby was brought in by one of his tutors at Cambridge), but their major function was to spread dezinformatsiya, to launch memetic weapons that would damage and weaken the West.

In a previous post on Suicidalism, I identified some of the most important of the Soviet Union’s memetic weapons. Here is that list again:

There is no truth, only competing agendas.
All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.
There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.
The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.
Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)
For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.

As I previously observed, if you trace any of these back far enough, you’ll find a Stalinist intellectual at the bottom. (The last two items on the list, for example, came to us courtesy of Frantz Fanon. The fourth item is the Baran-Wallerstein “world system” thesis.) Most were staples of Soviet propaganda at the same time they were being promoted by “progressives” (read: Marxists and the dupes of Marxists) within the Western intelligentsia.

The Soviets consciously followed the Gramscian prescription; they pursued a war of position, subverting the “leading elements” of society through their agents of influence. (See, for example, Stephen Koch’s Double Lives: Stalin, Willi Munzenberg and the Seduction of the Intellectuals; summary by Koch here) This worked exactly as expected; their memes seeped into Western popular culture and are repeated endlessly in (for example) the products of Hollywood.

Indeed, the index of Soviet success is that most of us no longer think of these memes as Communist propaganda. It takes a significant amount of digging and rethinking and remembering, even for a lifelong anti-Communist like myself, to realize that there was a time (within the lifetime of my parents) when all of these ideas would have seemed alien, absurd, and repulsive to most people — at best, the beliefs of a nutty left-wing fringe, and at worst instruments of deliberate subversion intended to destroy the American way of life.

Koch shows us that the worst-case scenario was, as it turns out now, the correct one; these ideas, like the “race bomb” rumor, really were instruments deliberately designed to destroy the American way of life. Another index of their success is that most members of the bicoastal elite can no longer speak of “the American way of life” without deprecation, irony, or an automatic and half-conscious genuflection towards the altar of political correctness. In this and other ways, the corrosive effects of Stalin’s meme war have come to utterly pervade our culture.

The most paranoid and xenophobic conservatives of the Cold War were, painful though this is to admit, the closest to the truth in estimating the magnitude and subtlety of Soviet subversion. Liberal anticommunists (like myself in the 1970s) thought we were being judicious and fair-minded when we dismissed half of the Right’s complaint as crude blather. We were wrong; the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss really were guilty, the Hollywood Ten really were Stalinist tools, and all of Joseph McCarthy’s rants about “Communists in the State Department” were essentially true. The Venona transcripts and other new material leave no room for reasonable doubt on this score.

While the espionage apparatus of the Soviet Union didn’t outlast it, their memetic weapons did. These memes are now coming near to crippling our culture’s response to Islamic terrorism.

http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=260

Hahahaha. Treating people like human beings is a communist plot. I had forgotten how the far-righ used to say that the Civil Rights movement was a communist plot, too: http://bostonreview.net/race-politics/justin-gomer-christopher-petrella-reagan-used-mlk-day-undermine-racial-justice

"There is no truth, only competing agendas."
You mean, fake news and alternative facts?

Sure, being against racism is a Soviet meme. Do you guys even read your comments before you submit.

Islamic terrorism has killed fewer westerners since 2001 than falling vending machines. This is anti-anti-racism. Otherwise you would be talking about the real threat: white supremacy funded by Russia and pushed by Trump.

That’s where the violence is. Hundreds of dead a year.

Since the start of 2001, or the end of 2001?

But does it occur to you that if the Soviets (Russians) were so deeply involved in dezinformatsiya and subversion and espionage to influence the West, why wouldn't they still be?

I suspect you are in the tribe that refuses to believe that Russia continues these operations, especially in 2016.

Exactly. Russia is now at the height of her power. Putin has almost unlimited resources to spread dezinformatsiya, compared to the USSR.

$100,000 in Facebook ads swung an election. And he has tens of billions of dollars to spend on more Facebook and YouTube ads. It’s not a stretch to think most democratic governments in the world are handpicked by Putin’s henchmen.

We're just talking here.

I’m not triggered, but the focus should be on Moscow Mitch not allowing election security bills to come to the floor. This is happening now. We aren’t ready for a repeat of 2016, let alone an election in which the president is actively courting interference.

Hint: This is a democracy and you have a responsibility

You have won the exchange.

How am I triggered? The Senate majority leader is refusing, REFUSING, to pass bipartisan election security legislation. He is doing this while the president is actively soliciting election interference from Russia, Ukraine, and China.

This isn’t a laughing matter. And we are not opponents, we are Americans.

Impeach now, yes. But also ban private spending on elections and politics. We have months to prepare...

Hint: this is a democracy

Everyone's pretty tired of this character.

Why spread disinformation? What are these sock puppets up to?

Common Trump apologists, maybe. But maybe more than that. They sock puppet me to discredit the truth, then hide behind non-handles to mask their identity. Post under my name and these non-handles? Probably.

Who benefits?

Satire?

Well they had fertile ground and a lot of help. Consider The Dream & the Nightmare: The Sixties Legacy to the Underclass" by Magnet

The blithe assertion that PC culture has waned is laughable, it's simply the air, the sky, and the water around us now.

One can observe the rise of the professional racist in most of the institutions - government, educational, corporations, etc. - whose entire career is based on maximizing the systematic weight of skin color over individual character and merit. The old “one drop” amateur racists would by amazed at the intersectional precision claimed by today’s professionals.

Professor Cowen didn't assert PC culture has waned, he only asserted that it had a short hiatus, let's call it a sabbatical, just like the "pound me too" movement might ultimately diminish when it dawns on the left that they provide 80% of the witch hunt victims.

I just love your concluding line. You can't help but make it plain that you're just another faculty capon.

Here's a suggestion for the administrators at GMU: the Mercatus Center is occupying space you might redeploy to worthwhile activities.

Like, we could hold a cuckholdry convention there!

>president was impeached for his sexual conduct with an intern.

This is 100% false. You can't even make it through the first sentence of your excerpt without an outright lie.

>I am trying to learn from the history of the movement

You are not trying to learn anything, obviously.

For example, my code words express my hostility to Asians. As we saw with the Harvard lawsuit it is perfectly acceptable for whites like me to establish racial quotas, since we can demonstrably prove Asians have worse personalities.

Our racism is based on science, unlike the Trump supporter whose discrimination is based on hate.

This is a fake post claiming to be me, Bill.

Ignore.

Request that Tyler look into this.

To be clear, it is the post posted at 12:45 pm in reply to my original post at 9:45 am.

Too late, Bill. Your internet reputation has been seriously damaged. From now on all Bills on the internet will struggle to be taken seriously and suffer constant suspicions of latent anti-Asian bigotry. Best just to give up the fight, my good man, and take up origami or something.

Oh yeah. Thanks

It hadn't occurred to me someone else might be named Bill

Bill at 5:26 is also a disinformation post.

Anon is playing a game with a disinformation poster, and may be one himself.

How is the weather in St. Petersburg?

Request that Tyler email the persons who are assuming false identities or eliminate their posts.

I smell a mouse!

I think it should be recognized that political correctness is about enforcing taboos over not just what can be said, but what can be thought. Taboos are not always bad, and are always present in cultures. But it is the establishment ideology that tends to enforce taboos, since it controls the territory that must be defended from insurgents.

Since political correctness is about impeding speech and thought through taboo, it must be recognized that the very act of analyzing and demystifying political correctness is itself politically incorrect. Thus, in this column, Tyler does not need to emphasize that political correctness has excesses. By analyzing it, he desacralizes the speech boundaries of political correctness, which is itself politically incorrect, and sufficiently signals his opposition to it.

Political correctness inhibits opposition ideologies from developing, because speech is necessary for the creation and maturation of opposition ideologies. At the individual mind, expressing ideas concentrates those ideologies in the mind of the speaker, and allows her to receive novel criticisms and develop strong counterarguments to them. At a community level, speech allows thinkers to share thoughts, and collaborate on building out the ideology - speech allows intellectual economies of scale.

So, yes, political correctness is an ideology per se. But it is also a defense mechanism against challenger ideologies. Notice that oftentimes, even expressing agreement with the dominant ideology in a clear and precise way is politically incorrect (try saying: "white expression of ethnic solidarity is immoral, while non-white expression of ethnic solidarity is good and necessary" - political correctness prefers this sentiment is acted out, not expressed verbally). Political correctness deliberately discourages thought of any kind, because thought cannot do anything but harm the established ideology.

"white expression of ethnic solidarity is immoral, while non-white expression of ethnic solidarity is good and necessary"

True. The reason all of you anti-anti-racists have trouble parsing this truth is that you believe race is real. It’s not, and has been debunked through hundreds of peer reviewed sociology papers.

White isn’t an ethnicity, it’s not a race, it’s not anything. Americans of African descent express racial solidarity because it is a protective mechanism against white (and yellow) racism. White might not exist, but the inherent racism and privilege of white Americans exists.

For anyone who can walk and chew gum, this isn’t hard.

Case in point: You seem to agree with the sentiment, but are generally quite irate that the sentiment was expressed.

There's a fairly recent character who pretends he's the annoying TDS-riddled 'anonymous' by taking his style up an order of magnitude. It's subtle, but pretty pointless IMO.

Any sufficiently advanced troll is indistinguishable from the genuine thing...

Sadly, this place would be greatly improved with a simple way to protect your handle, but the moderators seem to like it the way it is.

It’s fairly trivial to differentiate them.

The real one has two modes: Trump comment or ambiguous moral platitude comment

The fake one sometimes drifts out of scope

But that isn't what this is about. It isn't someone getting societal disapproval for using the N word. It is about putting issues beyond discussion.

Are you ok with kids getting puberty blocking drugs? Maybe, maybe not. A serious issue that needs questioning, at least. But political correctness has resulted in people who work in this field getting fired.

Remember when opposition to obamacare was racist, then for a short while when it was very unpopular calling it obamacare was racist?

The impetus behind many of the ideas are not necessarily bad; discrimination exists and keeping a lid on open manifestations is probably a good thing. But when it is racist or sexist to criticize a politician, or an idea, then it is at best counter productive.

I have come to the conclusion that an accusation of racism is likely a cover for a crime or some egregious behavior.

I don't think "keeping a lid on manifestations" can be the goal, because violations are too important. The violations are treasured; fake ones must be conjured if a real one fails to appear.

This would seem to set it apart from the "bundle of beliefs and practices" that used to go under the heading of morality. But I guess a cynic would say that was all about the policing too.

In 'Since Yesterday', Frederick Lewis Allen's survey of the 1920s, he looks at the revolt of the "highbrows" to the migration of the WWI censorship and repressions on political radicals to personal conduct. This revolt waned after 1929, but returned after WWII and progressed to its own regulation of personal conduct by the 1990s and beyond with political correctness.

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/allen/ch9.html

Making broad generalizations about a purported trend without applying any data to determine whether that trend actually exists seems like economist malpractice.

You want PC?

Criticize Israel in Congress or some US states.

Tell any MSM journo to 'learn to code' - as they are quick to tell the flyover country people they never met - and get banned from Twitter.

And check out any notable Conservatives's bio on Wikipedia and their whole section on their divorce(s).

Political correctness is a bad idea...playing the long game won't make it a good idea...

except it does. we were less pc a hundred years ago...

My recollection is that 80s/90s PC faded well before 9/11, before Clinton's impeachment even. Maybe it was South Park that killed it.

I'm not sure $CURRENT_YEAR PC is even the same thing.

How does "identity politics" -- if that's the answer to "What's Wrong With Kansas?" -- get into this discussion?

The rise of PC coincides with the decline in overt racists or sexists statements. So, how is a racist or sexist supposed to speak in polite company...use the code words, so you can communicate with others like you without paying a price because you can always say: You're just being PC and it was not intended to be racist or sexist.

the implication that PC is strictly a leftwing phenomena is just silly.

the very term is just another right wing epithet in the framing war that has successfully associated the left with a practice that is notably conservative. i mean, freaking freedom fries ffs

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