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From Wikipedia: "In the early-to-mid 20th century, the phrase 'politically correct' was associated with the dogmatic application of Stalinist doctrine, debated between Communist Party members and American Socialists. This usage referred to the Communist party line, which provided 'correct' positions on many political matters. According to American educator Herbert Kohl, writing about debates in New York in the late 1940s and early 1950s, 'The term 'politically correct' was used disparagingly, to refer to someone whose loyalty to the Communist Party line overrode compassion, and led to bad politics. It was used by Socialists against Communists, and was meant to separate out Socialists who believed in egalitarian moral ideas from dogmatic Communists who would advocate and defend party positions regardless of their moral substance.' From 'Uncommon Differences', The Lion and the Unicorn Journal"
In that form, the use of the term "political correctness" was pejorative, while the Stalinists would have seen political correctness as a virtue and seen themselves as the keepers of the valid Marxist party line.
Upon Stalin's death, Mao Zedong came to think of himself as the natural leader of what should be the "correct" Marxist thought.
David Horowitz points out that "Political Correctness" was actually a phrase coined by Mao Zedong and referred to official line of the Chinese Communist Party - "the Party Line." This usage of the phrase "political correctness" is like what we see practiced by today’s American Progressives (and the by the Stalinists) – as the description of the party line that should be adhered to.
Speaking of Mao's China, Horowitz states, "Those who deviated from the party line, who expressed views that were politically incorrect were guilty of betraying the communist dream and therefore of betraying the oppressed. For their betrayal, they were subjected to disciplinary measures and expulsion, which meant the loss not only of their party affiliation but of their community of friends and comrades."
"Although progressives in America are not communists in the Maoist sense, being politically incorrect in their ranks also entails punishment and shaming. If the offense is great enough, it can mean expulsion from progressive communities that include virtually all of one's friends. This is a crucial reason why progressives don't break ranks the way conservatives do."
"The party line creates the solidarity, the lockstep, that is crucial to winning political battles and achieving the cherished goal: communism for Mao, 'Social justice' for progressives. Political correctness embodies and enforces the world view of the party which sees itself as the vanguard of the vulnerable and oppressed. Like their leftist predecessors, progressives see the world as divided into haves and the have-nots, the 1 percent and the 99 percent, the victimizers and the victims, the powerful and the rest."
"Maintaining the party line - being politically correct - puts one in the vanguard of social justice. Deviating from the party line is the betrayal of this trust and rightly risks expulsion from the progressive community. It means joining the ranks of the deplorables. It means being shunned. If you are a progressive, the last thing you want to be called is a racist, a sexist, an Islamophobe, or a Republican."
Horowitz goes on to discuss how modern progressives have embraced the principles put forth by Saul Alinsky. Horowitz writes: "Alinsky regarded himself as a revolutionary leftist and embraced the Marxist view that society was divided into haves and have-nots, oppressor and oppressed. To achieve equality and justice required Machiavellian means. 'The Prince’ was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power,” Alinsky explained, “'Rules for Radicals’ is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.” Horowitz explains how Alinsky was critical of the radicals of the sixties. His complaint was not that they wanted to burn the system down, but for being open about that goal. Alinsky wrote that being candid about their agenda would turn off potential recruits, create resistance, and make it impossible to achieve their goals - and went on to advise joining the system so as to destroy from it from within and to lie and deceive to achieve their goals, and that the end justifies the means, and the only end to be sought was power.
There is another aspect of political correctness. Horowitz correctly identified the origin of the concept with Mao Zedong, and with defining the Marxist party line, and he correctly identified that the progressives have shifted the "party line" from the defining the proper form of communism to their "social justice" agendas, and he identified the tactical methods Machiavelli and Alinsky brought to the battle. But what is not mentioned is the intellectual source of the content of today's progressives' political correctness. For example, the progressive's party line relating to things like gender or women's rights. Where has the specific content come from? It has flowed from ever evolving academic studies in today's universities. The origin of these studies can be traced back to the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory which moved from Germany in 1935 to Columbia University in New York, and that theory's antecedent can be traced back to an Italian communist academic in the 1920s who came up with the idea that the entire culture had to broken apart - or at least fractured - before it would be possible to destroy capitalism and be able to vote in socialism.
Summarizing the different dimensions of political correctness:
1. Long Term Purpose: Break Up and Transform the Culture
Over time all of the enduring aspects of a culture tend to knit together a bit at their edges, and especially so with capitalism which is the free exchange of goods and services – and makes up much of the medium in which we all live and work. It spans all areas and disciplines. Until a culture is broken apart, its peoples divided and dumbed down, its traditions relieved of any authority, its institutions painted as untrustworthy, its social structures rocked, its generations separated, and a sense of chaos replaces the sense of stability over time, it won’t be possible to vote out capitalism and vote in socialism. Capitalism touches too much of what we do and who we are to be easily replaced without this kind of cultural transformation. That is the theory. And that is the purpose.
2. Immediate Purpose: Intellectual Censoring and Enforcing Solidarity
The intellectual censoring on social/psychological/political levels that was intended to drive out any deviant (non-communist) thought and to bind together all supporters with extreme loyalty and solidarity was a powerful force for achieving communism. Replace “communism” with “social justice” and as a mechanism, political correctness works identically for progressivism.
3. Battlefield Methods
The Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals tell adherents to use deception, to infiltrate, to throw out morality in favor of the justification that any means is acceptable if it leads to the desired end, and to make sure the end is always power.
4. Party Line Contents
There must be specifics for the social justice warriors to get emotional over and to bond with each other over and to use to identify and attack their opponents. They have to know where to march, what to write on their signs, and what to chant. The progressive politician or pundit has to know what to use as talking points. This content has come from the universities who have applied critical theory to nearly everything in our culture. Particularly to anything traditional, to anything related to religion, race, gender, nationality, or ethics. The underlying idea is to transform the culture - to break up the existing culture into disconnected pieces - a kind of cultural anarchy... or more accurately: cultural Marxism.
Note: I'm going to be doing a rewrite of my little primer on progressivism - updating and expanding on some of the topics. Political correctness is one of the topics I will be rewriting in the book. This article foreshadows the direction that rewrite will take.
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