|More columns by William S. Lind can be found HERE|
by William S. Lind, Free Congress Foundation
Political Correctness is intellectual AIDS. Everything it touches it sickens and eventually kills. On America's college campuses it has diminished freedom of speech, warped curricula, politicized grading and replaced intellectual integrity with vapid sloganeering. In classroom after classroom, professors offer an ideological rant, which students are compelled to regurgitate to get a grade: the vomit returns to the dog. These places--and they are many--are no longer universities, but small, ivy-covered North Koreas.
Just what is Political Correctness? The "Politically Correct" people on your campus really, really don't want you to know the answer to that question. Why? Because Political Correctness is nothing less than Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms.
The parallels are obvious. First, both classical, economic Marxism and the Cultural Marxism that is Political Correctness are totalitarian ideologies. Both insist on "truths" that are contrary to human nature and experience. Contrary to economic Marxism, there is no such thing as a "classless society," and economic incentives matter. Contrary to Political Correctness, men and women are different, as are their natural roles in society; races and ethnic groups have specific characteristics; and homosexuality is abnormal. Since the only way people will accept the ideologues' "truths" is if they are forced to, they will be forced--by the full power of the state, if the Marxists of either stripe can control it.
The second parallel is that both classical Marxism and Cultural Marxism have single-factor explanations of history. Classical Marxism argues that all history was determined by ownership of the means of production. The Politically Correct Cultural Marxists say that history is explained by which groups--defined by sex, race and sexual normality or abnormality--have power over which other groups.
The third parallel is that both varieties of Marxism declare certain groups virtuous and other evil a priori, without regard for the actual behavior of individuals. Thus economic Marxism defined workers and peasants as good and the middle class as evil, and Cultural Marxism defines blacks, Hispanics, Feminist women, homosexuals and some other minorities as virtuous and white men as evil. Political Correctness does not recognize the existence of non-Feminist women and defines blacks who reject its ideology as whites.
The fourth parallel is in means: expropriation. Economic Marxists expropriated the property of the middle and upper classes and gave it to the state. Cultural Marxists, on campuses and in government, lay penalties on white men and give privileges to the groups they favor. Affirmative action is an example of this kind of expropriation.
Finally, both types of Marxism employ a method of analysis guaranteed to show the correctness of their ideology in every situation. For classical Marxists, the method is Marxist economics. For Cultural Marxists, the method is linguistic: deconstruction. Deconstruction first removes all meaning from "texts," then inserts new meaning: one way or another, the text illustrates the oppression of women, blacks, homosexuals etc. by white men and Western culture. The intended meaning of the author is irrelevant.
These parallels are not coincidental. They exist because the Cultural Marxism of Political Correctness is in fact derived from classical, economic Marxism, largely through the work of the Frankfurt School. Following World War I, European Marxists faced a difficult question: why did the proletariat throughout Europe not rise in revolution and establish a new, Marxist order, as their ideology said it would? Two prominent Marxist thinkers, Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary, came up with an answer: Western culture. Western culture so blinded the workers to their true, "class" interests that they could not act on them. So before socialism could come to power, Western culture had to be destroyed. Lukacs in 1919 posed the question, "Who will save us from Western civilization?" As Deputy Commissar for Culture in the Bolshevik Bela Kun government in Hungary that same year, the first thing he did was introduce sex education into Hungarian schools.
In 1923, Lukacs and a group of German Marxist intellectuals founded a "think tank" intended to translate Marxism from economic into cultural terms, the Institute for Social Research at Frankfurt University. The Institute quickly became known as the Frankfurt School. In 1933, when the National Socialists came to power in Germany, the Frankfurt School moved to New York City.
There, its key figures--Theodor Adano, Erich Fromm and Wilhelm Reich--developed critical theory," a crossing of Mark with Freud that labeled the key components of Western culture "prejudice," i.e., a psychological disease. The "critical theorists" argues that to eliminate "prejudice," Christianity, capitalism and the traditional "patriarchal" family all had to be destroyed.
The connection between the Frankfurt School and the student rebellion of the 1960s was made primarily by a key Frankfurt School member, Herbert Marcuse--the man who in the '60s coined the phrase, "Make love, not war." Marcuse's books "Eros" and "Civilization" argued that the tools with which to destroy Western culture were, in effect, sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. He popularized the Frankfurt School's ideas in ways the '60s student radicals could understand and absorb, and we now know his work Political Correctness.
So that is Political Correctness' dirty little secret: it is Marxism, Marxism translated from economics into culture. We know what economic Marxism did to the old Soviet Union. Are we going to permit Cultural Marxism to do the same thing to the United States?