Political Correctness Primer – Part 1 – History (draft)

This is the first of a 4-part series of postings dealing with political correctness.  There are a wide range of issues of concern in our culture, such as abortion, same-sex marriage, transgenderism, euthanasia, sex education, religion in the public square, and discrimination against Christians.  Clearly these issues have a common thread throughout: they all have anti-Christian and anti-Family components.  But there is another important commonality: they all deal with political correctness. The policies and desired outcomes of these issues in many governmental jurisdictions are “politically correct”, and the resistance and opposition by pro-family organizations, churches, and citizens is politically incorrect.

This begs the question: what does it mean to be politically correct?  What is “correct”, and whose “politics” are we talking about?  It is vital that we gain an understanding to the answers to these questions.  Otherwise we will see little pattern to the claims, pet issues, and stances of opponents; and we will find ourselves constantly asking, “What will they think of next?” It is, however, possible to know who the “they” is, and to anticipate further “what’s”.

To address these questions, there are several steps that need to be taken to understand political correctness, each in a separate posting:

Part 1 Historical background (this posting)
Part 2 Implementation
Part 3 Concepts and Actions
Part 4 Examples and Conclusions

 

Part 1: Historical Background

The Origins of Political Correctness

Political correctness as we know it today had its origins in the Frankfurt School in Germany in the 1920’s, whereby communist intellectuals re-cast Marxism from economic into cultural terms: the result is known as Cultural Marxism. This action was taken because classic Marxism had predicted that a great war in Europe would provide the opening for the workers of the world to overthrow their factory owners.  However, although World War I took place, an actual Marxist revolution only happened in one country: Russia. So after that war, Marxist intellectuals looked for a new paradigm, and the result was to focus on the culture instead of economics. Their intent was still revolutionary in that they desired to upend power relationships, but it was between “cultural” groups rather than traditional economic classes.

These individuals set out to undertake what has been termed as the “long march” through the various pillars of Western culture, with the ultimate goal of an “egalitarian” society (i.e., equal outcomes for all) with a central government controlling all aspects of life.  Their vision is fairly accurately rendered in the lyrics to John Lennon’s song, “Imagine”.

In the following sections, representative quotes or characterizations of some of the early Cultural Marxists are provided.

How they went about it

“Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity. … In the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society.”

Antonio Gramsci (1920s-1930s)

Cultural Marxism pioneer, “Prison Notebooks” author [1]

To accomplish their goals, the Frankfurt School knew it had to destroy the hold of Judeo-Christianity and the traditional family on the West, then create a revolutionary, post-Christian, morally relativistic, classless culture.  The goal of a classless society means that equal opportunity for everyone is no longer as important as equal outcomes for each endeavor.

In fact, an emphasis on equality of opportunity becomes a liability to Cultural Marxism.  Since individuals vary in their capabilities and their willingness to apply themselves for success, they are destined to achieve unequal outcomes in virtually all endeavors.  Equal outcomes can happen only via coercion implemented by a totalitarian government. Coercion is an integral part of this Marxist vision; thus, individual freedom must be eliminated for it to be fulfilled.

Replacement of Judeo-Christian Worldview

The anti-Christian animus that has been central to the Cultural Marxist ideology is exemplified by the thinking of the two pioneers of Cultural Marxism: Italian Antonio Gramsci (GRAM-SHE), and Hungarian Georg Lukacs (LU-KOSH).

Here are representative Gramsci thoughts:

 “For though Christianity appeared on the surface to be strong, it had for some time been debilitated by unceasing attacks against the failing remnant of Christianity. … Marxists must change the residually Christian mind… so that it would become not merely a non-Christian mind but an anti-Christian mind.” [1]

Gramsci stated that the West was dominated by a Judeo-Christian worldview; morality and ethics which he characterized as a hegemony of traditional thinking.  This was to be replaced with a hegemony of revolutionary thinking.

“…it is through winning hegemony over the minds of the people and in robbing enemy classes of their most gifted men that Marxism will triumph over all.”  [1]

He understood that the transition would take time, but in the end, it would take over the West culturally without a shot being fired or a need for any gulags.  He felt that the people of the West would ultimately desire the socialist utopia.

From Malachi Martin’s Keys of This Blood, speaking of Gramsci:

“…he needed to get individuals and groups in every class and station of life to think about life’s problems without reference to the Christian transcendent, without reference to God and the laws of God. He needed to get them to react with antipathy and positive opposition to any introduction of Christian ideals or the Christian transcendent into the treatment and solution of the problems of modern life.” [2]

For Lukacs, these vital human realities [i.e., Biblical values] that had served and undergirded Western civilization were repressive obstacles to the new society he and his comrades envisioned.

“Of these obstacles, …. the two greatest were God and the family … The family was not only a receptacle of the continuity in values, but the cement which held society together, and Lukacs hotly hated both God and the family.”[3]

“Woman is the enemy.  Healthy love dies in marriage, which is a business transaction….The bourgeois family gives off swamp vapors.”  “Politics is only the means.  Culture is the goal.” [4]

Note that the destruction of the influence of Western Civilization was the hallmark of all 20th century totalitarian Marxist regimes; the Soviets deriding traditional culture as “bourgeois”, the Maoists undertaking a murderous “cultural revolution” to eliminate Western influence, etc.

“Any political movement capable of bringing Bolshevism to the West would have to be ‘Demonic’.” [5]

Georg Lukacs (1910s-1930s)

Hungarian Bolshevik regime

The above thoughts of the two leading pioneers of Cultural Marxism speak for themselves, and represent an essentially uniform anti-Christian viewpoint within Cultural Marxism.

Non-procreative Sex as a weapon

An important emphasis for the Cultural Marxists to break down Christianity and the family was the introduction of as much sexual activity as possible; this essentially constituted a fusion of classic Marxism with Freudian thought.  Thus, we were given “make love, not war”, early sex indoctrination, and as Frankfurt School luminary Herbert Marcuse encouraged: “polymorphous perversity” which encouraged all manner of sexual expression, especially non-procreative activity, with both hetero- and homosexual behavior.

Marcuse proposed sexual liberation through the cultivation of “polymorphous perverse” sexuality …. that eschews a narrow focus on [normal sex.]  Marcuse believed that sexual liberation was achieved by exploring new permutations of sexual desires, sexual activities, and gender rules – what Freud called “perverse” sexual desires, that is, all non-reproductive forms of sexual behavior….. [6]

Marcuse himself was heterosexual, but he identified the homosexual as the radical standard bearer of sex for the sake of pleasure…..Marcuse, like other leading theorists of sexuality, such as Freud and Wilhelm Reich, argued that homosexuality was a form of sexuality of which everyone was capable – that in fact, everyone was fundamentally bisexual…  [7]

Herbert Marcuse (1920s-1960s)

Frankfurt School, New Left luminary   [8]

Consider the following description of “cultural terrorism” unleashed in 1919 by future Frankfurt School luminary Georg Lukacs, then the Deputy Commissar for Culture in the short-lived Bolshevik Bela Kun regime in Hungary:

He immediately set plans in motion to de-Christianize Hungary.  Reasoning that if Christian sexual ethics could be undermined among children, then both the hated patriarchal family and the Church would be dealt a crippling blow. Lukacs launched a radical sex education program in the schools.  Sex lectures were organized and literature handed out which graphically instructed youth in free love (promiscuity) and sexual intercourse while simultaneously encouraging them to deride and reject Christian moral ethics, monogamy, and parental and church authority.  All of this was accompanied by a reign of cultural terror perpetrated against parents, priests, and dissenters.  [9]

And there was Freudian Psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, who was one of the leaders of the sexual revolution that burst upon the US scene in the 1960s:

“A true political revolution would only be possible once sexual repression was overthrown, the one obstacle Reich felt had scuppered the efforts of the Bolsheviks.” Reich insisted – not incorrectly albeit prophetically early – that the sexual revolution was under way and that “no power in the world” would stop it.” [12]

“The truth of the matter is that sexuality changes in the course of the revolution,” [13]

In The Sexual Revolution, he argued that the pleasure life – which for him was the “free love” life – was incompatible with the moral life; it was, he said, “antithetical to nature.” [14]

“Reich saw the family, with its inevitable patriarchal authority, as the chief source of repression. Therefore, the family had to be dismantled.” [15]

Reich insisted that the children of marriage must be freed from the sway of “parental ideas.” This included (in Reich’s words) “defending children’s and teenagers’ right to natural love.” [16]

Wilhelm Reich: (1920s-1950s)

Freudian Psychoanalyst, Frankfurt School Collaborator

The above quotes are the tip of the iceberg concerning the obsession of Cultural Marxism with breaking down traditional, Biblical views of sexuality.

Critical Theory

Critical Theory became a centerpiece tool for Cultural Marxism, seeking to tear down Western Civilization via criticism of Judeo-Christian culture, capitalism, the family, and even language itself. Note that Critical Theory is not an actual “theory”; it is a weapon.  It offers no answers, no remedies – it just criticizes for the purpose of the destruction of Western civilization.

An important target of Critical Theory has been the family and sexual behavior.  Consider the following quote from Frankfurt School historian Ralph de Toledano:

All the guidelines that society had laid down to make sexuality an orderly part of existence were condemned as horrendous capitalist depravity. Their so-called “Critical Theory” would spout everything and anything from “compulsory promiscuity” to one-parent families, premarital sexual activity, and also homosexuality, since it struck at the family and child-bearing. [17]

Liberating/Repressive Tolerance

“The realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or oppressed…..    Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and tolerance of movements from the Left.”

Herbert Marcuse (1920s-1960s) [18]

According to Cultural Marxism, only Whites can be racist, there is such a thing as homophobia but not heterophobia, there is Islamophobia but not Christianophobia, etc.   Herbert Marcuse labeled this “repressive tolerance”: you must be tolerant of the permanently oppressed (i.e., Marxist victim groups), but can never be tolerant of the permanent oppressor. This is exactly how political correctness works today: tolerance of Leftist ideas, and intolerance of ideas from the Right.

Note therefore that with issues involving Christianity, it will always be assumed to be the oppressor, and the opposing party – for example, an atheistic organization that sues a school district from allowing a play based on the Bible – the oppressed.  We might label this “Marcusian tolerance.”

Focus Shifts from Germany to America

Because some of the Frankfurt School intellectuals were Jewish and ALL of them communists, the Frankfurt School had to flee Nazi Germany, and in 1934 came to the US with the help of Columbia University Leftist educator John Dewey.  They settled in and began to write books, give lectures, acquire students, and develop a following in academia.

The way for the widespread adoption of their ideology had been paved by the existing paleo-progressivism of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, plus the significant pro-Soviet infiltration [19] of the US government and entertainment media during the FDR years.  This included significant deception:  Roosevelt’s constant reference to one of the world’s most infamous murderers as “Uncle Joe”, and glowing reports on the “successes” of the Soviet Union from people such as John Dewey, John F. Kennedy, and Margaret Sanger who visited there in the 1930s.

Further, both before and during World War II, as the Cultural Marxists became established in academia and government, there was also the semi-occupation of the U.S. federal government by Soviet spies and fellow-travelers.

After the war, the influence of the Cultural Marxists continued to grow, but there began to be alarm over the Soviet influence in our government, leading to the investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee and the Army-McCarthy hearings during the late 1940s and 1950s; in a few cases there were also prosecutions of Soviet spies.

Cultural Marxism Goes Mainstream in US in the 60s

After WWII and Stalin’s death, when some of the Soviet atrocities became widely known, the former pro-Soviets combined with the paleo-progressives and Frankfurt School intellectuals to form the New Left, becoming anti-anti-communists: Cultural Marxism had come of age in the US.  The demonstrations and protests in the 1960s for “free speech” and against the war in Viet Nam, the “tune in, turn on, drop out” drug movement, and the great increase in sexual promiscuity especially among the youth: Cultural Marxists were the catalysts for all of this.   Herbert Marcuse became a Leftist celebrity (the chant was “Marx, Mao, and Marcuse”), and Saul Alinsky and his followers ascended to leadership roles.

By the end of the 1960s, the sexual revolution was expanding on all fronts, and the Feminist movement was in full swing:

Betty Friedman’s 1963 book, “The Feminine Mystique”, asserted that the suburban homesteads of American housewives were akin to “comfortable concentration camps.”

Betty Friedan: (1960s-1970s)

Founder of National Organization of Women (NOW) [20]

Concerning monogamy,

“We have to destroy that notion in order to build a collective….[We need] to destroy the notion that people can lean on one person and not be responsible to the entire collective.” 

Bill Ayers: (1960s-present)

Co-Founder of the Weather Underground [21]

And consider the following Feminist litany from a 1969 “consciousness raising” group:

“Why are we here today?” she asked.

“To make revolution” they answered.

“What kind of revolution?” she replied.

“The Cultural Revolution”, they chanted.

“And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” She demanded.

“By destroying the American family” they answered.

“How do we destroy the family?” She came back.

“By destroying the American Patriarch” they cried exuberantly.

“And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she replied.

“By taking away his power”

“How do we do that?”

“By destroying monogamy” they shouted.

“How can we destroy monogamy?”

“By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexuality” they resounded.[10]

Kate Millett: (1960s-1970s)

Second Wave Feminist leader

Millett is famous for the slogan: “Smash monogamy!”  [11]

However, Kate’s sister Mallory rejected Marxism, and observed the following:

I’ve known women who fell for this creed in their youth who now, in their fifties and sixties, cry themselves to sleep decades of countless nights grieving for the children they’ll never have and the ones they coldly murdered because they were protecting the empty loveless future they now live with no way of going back. “Where are my children?  Where are my grandchildren?” they cry to me. [11]

Mallory Millett (1960s-1980s)

Sister of Kate, and NOT a Marxist

In addition, Civil Rights leadership changed from the church to a hybrid of Black Power (e.g., Malcolm X) and Marxism in the guise of the Black Liberation Theology of James Cone.  Racial minorities became victim groups, and the New Left shielded them from constructive criticism, as seen in the infamous rejection of the 1965 US Labor Department “Moynihan Report”, which attributed Black underclass poverty to a breakdown in the family; the New Left labeled that as “blaming the victim”.

Note: Additional quotes from Cultural Marxists can be found on this page.

Postmodernism

However, by the 1970s, enough undeniable information from dissidents and similar concerning massive atrocities – at least 100 million deaths — in the Soviet Union and Red China were exposed that even the most hardcore Leftist intellectuals could no longer support 20th century Communism.  Most important perhaps was the book “Gulag Archipelago” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, which combined massive facts with profound expose of the ideology.

Something was needed to recapture the devotion and commitment to Marxism.  A group of French intellectuals created a new variant by the introduction of Postmodernism, which eschewed logic and objective truth and replaced it with power.  Among the leading intellectuals of this ideology were Jacque Derrida and Michel Foucault.  This new strand of Marxism spread quickly throughout western academia, including the US.

In postmodern thinking there are no absolutes, no objective truth, only subjectivity; each person has their own “truth,” and morality is relative.  Even science is considered to be an ideology, and not dealing with objective truth.

Postmodernism also deals with language deconstruction, which is used to twist the meaning of words to support the various false narratives fundamental to Marxism.

Postmodernism attacks Western Civilization as phallogocentric: that is, it is male-dominated, and uses logic and words as weapons to control the culture.  Thus, postmodernism is at its core, anti-logic; it impacts the culture negatively as follows:

Western Civ. Postmodernism Negative Fallout from Postmodernism
Objective truth Objective truth does not exist Interpretation — rather than facts — is what matters
Logic Logic is a device of the Patriarchy to maintain power Something is “true” if it gets desired results
Dialogue Debate is not acceptable Opposing points of view must be silenced, not debated

 

Examples of postmodernism include the absence of diversity of thought on our college and university campuses, and the intimidating and sometimes even violent demonstrations to block non-Leftist speakers.

Introduction of Identity Politics

An important application of postmodern thinking entailed the development of “Identity Politics”.  Postmodernists state that human categorization is power, and dialogue between people is only a power dialog; there’s no reality outside of interpretation.  We dialogue to achieve dominance and status, and we are separated into groups.   Furthermore, postmodernism states that individuals should be identified by their “group”, and each group is in competition with others for resources.

There was a pre-postmodern example of identity politics. In the 1930s, the Soviets were big on classes and class guilt: so in the Ukraine, they eliminated the “guilty”, defining successful peasants (i.e., the “Kulaks”) as guilty of oppression and theft; Soviets killed all the successful peasants in the 1920s, leading to the Ukrainian wheat famine.  Today’s “White privilege” is similar to the Soviet collective guilt in the 1930s.

The postmodernists – since they were Marxists – borrowed the oppressor/oppressed paradigm of the factory owners against the factory workers.  They created identity politics based upon presumed oppressor/oppressed groups such as White/Black, Male/Female, Straight/Gay, Christian/Islamic, etc.  The supposedly oppressed groups are sometimes referred to as “victim groups”.

Note that one of the features of this paradigm is the assumption that all people within a particular group think and experience life in identical fashion; individuality is not tolerated.  Thus for example, Black Conservatives are demonized, marginalized and rendered invisible because they do not think or behave as “victims”, and so from a political point of view are very dangerous to the Marxists, because they destroy the paradigm.

Multiculturalism

A related product of postmodern thinking is the concept of multiculturalism, which is an ideology that assumes (with no proof) that all cultures are equally valid and to be venerated, except with a bias against White European Christianity, which is to be shamed. Multiculturalism often asserts that the lack of accomplishment of a particular culture can be blamed on oppressor classes, sometimes identified by terms such as “racist”, “homophobic”, “misogynist”, “Islamophobic”, etc.

However, according to multiculturalism, a culture itself cannot be deemed to be deficient; at least not by oppressors such as White males.  Further, members of “oppressed” cultures who offer self-criticism of their culture are labeled “inauthentic” or worse, and are demonized and marginalized. Thus so-called “oppressed” cultures remain insulated from constructive criticism, whether external or internal.

Multiculturalism is essentially the application of Critical Theory and postmodernism to Western culture – characterizing it as essentially evil – and the assignment of all other cultures as oppressed by the West, and thus innocent victims.  Multiculturalism is fundamentally illogical, which is a characteristic of all postmodern thought.

Neo-Marxism Today

In the 21st century, the various streams of Marxism that have developed since the Communist revolutions of early and mid-20th century have essentially merged into a single entity, which might best be referred to as neo-Marxism.  It combines the following 20th-century entities:

  • Cultural Marxism – The Frankfurt School and its disciples
  • The New Left – The former pro-Soviet followers, disillusioned by atrocities
  • Postmodernism – Developed by French Marxists, and adopted throughout the West

Today neo-Marxism has become synonymous with the political Left and progressivism.  In the US, they essentially control the Democrat party, most of the media and entertainment industry, and nearly all of academia which has become increasingly devoid of free speech.  Many large businesses have adopted progressivism and egalitarian diversity as their cultural business model, and the Christian church and the traditional family have been greatly weakened by multicultural ideology and political correctness.  And identity politics of postmodernism has become the modus operandi of the Democrat party.

Note: the phrase, “politically correct” was first widely used in the Soviet Union to refer to adherence to the Communist party line, as well as in Maoist China, also referring to conformity to the party line.  The use of this phrase relative to neo-Marxism gained public exposure in the late 1980s by its use in Allan Bloom’s “The Closing of the American Mind”, and also by Dinesh D’Souza in his 1991 book, “Illiberal Education”.

 

This concludes Part 1.  Here are links to the other postings in this series:

Part 1 Historical background (this posting)
Part 2 Implementation
Part 3 Concepts and Actions
Part 4 Examples and Conclusions

 

 

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