If you’ve ever wondered “What the Hell Does ‘Politically Correct’ Mean?” and would like to hear the Marxist origins of the phrase, and how it mutated into one of the catchphrases of the 1990s until today, Jesse Walker has you covered at Reason. Everyone on the right knows what it’s like to argue with someone whose been infected by the PC virus, a “word fetish,” as novelist John C. Wright dubs it, in pungent terms. “What the Leftist does in debate is utter his idiot word fetishes and slogans with the sneering hauteur of a card player displaying his trump card, or a chessmaster a checkmate,” Wright notes. “And when his nonsense does not win the debate, or even address the debate, he realized you are the OTHER, and he blames you, and insults your character, your intelligence, your education, your moral stature, your maturity, et cetera”:
When you do not return the handshake, he knows you to be the dread and dreaded OTHER, those peoples of whom he has heard but dim rumor, the non-Leftists who use that horrible thing called reason, a lamp that he hates as dearly as Gollum hates the sun.
Leftists always resort to this shift because it is the only arrow in their quiver. They do not have any reasoning to give. If they could reason, they would not be Leftists.
The Leftist must attack you. Your very existence is an affront to him, proof positive that his worldview is wrong. He has nothing to say to support his position, and he cannot shut up.
Certainly we’re seeing that played out on a national scale this month, with the crude Vietnam-era attacks from Michael Moore, Seth Rogen, Howard Dean, Bill Maher and others on the far left on Chris Kyle’s legacy due to the blockbuster success of American Sniper. These double as thinly-veiled (often not-so-thinly veiled) slurs on the rest of Red State America as well, of course, with “soft America” seething at the resurgence of “hard America,” to use Michael Barone’s phraseology from his 2004 book. How angry is soft America these days? As John Nolte noted last night at Big Hollywood, the Onion’s otherwise often enjoyable A.V. Club film and TV Website took a nasty shot this week at the owner of a small restaurant chain in Michigan who symbolically “banned” Michael Moore and Seth Rogen after their submoronic anti-American remarks. “And how does the AV Club respond to this symbolic but righteous protest? By using no fewer than 7 paragraphs to relentlessly mock the Little Guy and his business,” Nolte writes, “the saddest piece of starf**king I’ve ever come across”:
Is anyone else old enough to remember when speaking truth to and defying power was the in-thing?
When the American Left reveals who they are really for and against, it is chilling.
Know your place and shut your mouth, little man.
In one post, The AV Club revealed itself to be nothing more than a bunch of elite snobbish frat boy starf**kers at the ready to protect the wealthy and powerful against … some guy in Michigan.
Palace Guarding: The New Edgy.
However, as the PC virus spreads and metastasizes, it’s begun to devour those who carry the disease within them as well. Or as Charles Cooke writes at NRO, “The Left Realizes Too Late that Political Correctness Is a Virus, and now it’s eating their movement from within”:
Once upon a time, “political correctness” was little more than a benign left-wing version of old-church-lady tut-tutting. Today, by contrast, the designation is used to describe what has become a sprawling, unhinged, and invariably unfalsifiable conspiracy theory that can be used to dismiss anybody who violates this morning’s edition of the progressive catechism. “Gosh,” one can almost hear DeBoer and Chait asking themselves, “have we unleashed a brigade of poorly educated, parodically self-indulgent, and chronically illiberal morons into our movement, the better to destroy it from within? And, if we have, will we ever be able to rid ourselves of them?”
The answer to the latter question, one suspects, may well be “No,” for as Hollywood has taught us repeatedly over the years, it does not pay to unleash unpredictable viruses into the ecosystem — even if one gains temporarily by doing so. And make no mistake, “political correctness” is a virus — a nasty, cynical, destructive sickness that is akin in both theory and in practice to the sort of irritating malware that pushes endless streams of nonsensical dialogue windows onto your grandmother’s computer and prevents her from e-mailing her friends.
This efforts by the left to remove all who are “not of the body” as they say on Star Trek have been going on for a while — recall the intramural struggles in 2006 when the Kos Kidz tossed earnest liberal Joe Lieberman from the Democrat Party, and the equally nasty scrum in 2007 and 2008 in which the Obama supporters accused everyone of racism — starting with Hillary and Bill Clinton and their supporters. But as John Madden used to say whenever a long-struggling NFL team temporarily thrilled its fan base and finally made it to the Super Bowl, “winning is the best deodorant.” Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 papered over a lot of the cracks in the century-old coalition of self-described “Progressives.”
But once Obama revealed himself to be the tyro politician that all of his critics from Bill and Hillary on the left to John McCain and Sarah Palin on the right warned that he was in 2008, and once it was obvious that Socialist Utopia wasn’t going to be immediately reached, the left resumed its slow crack-up. 2011 saw the rise of Occupy Wall Street, which was largely a far left versus center left battle. As Cooke notes in his article, this week saw Jonathan Chait of New York magazine finally noticing that the PC movement has gotten out of hand, when it began to devour him, and he’s been as loyal a foot soldier in the attack on the rest of America as can be imagined.
As James Antle of the Daily Caller writes regarding Chait’s dilemma, “Political correctness is to empathy, mutual respect and human decency as Marxism is to compassion. Both transform noble impulses into joyless acts of ideological coercion.”
And speaking of Marx, how crazy has today’s left gotten? Take it away Jonah Goldberg, whose latest G-File is titled “China Syndrome Liberalism”:
I am kind of excited, or at least entertained, by the spectacle of watching the Left eat itself. It’s like a terrible virus escaped from a lab at Brown University and is now spreading across the country, island hopping from campus to campus and beyond (I don’t merely mix metaphors, I put them in a salad spinner). My buddy James Lileks writes about how left-wing students at Berkeley (sort of redundant, I know) are starting to turn on Marx, not because of his potted theories of the dialectic, his crude reductionism of man to homo economicus, or even the fact that he set the foundation for turning the 20th century into an abattoir. No, Marx is bad because he’s just another dead white guy. The students write in the school paper:
We are calling for an occupation of syllabi in the social sciences and humanities. This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester as students in an upper-division course on classical social theory. Grades were based primarily on multiple-choice quizzes on assigned readings. The course syllabus employed a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to modern philosophers: Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men. The syllabus did not include a single woman or person of color.
First let me interject by noting that the moment anyone says to you “We are calling for an occupation of syllabi,” you can put your headphones back on and finish watching the latest episode of Gotham, because nothing that follows will be worth your time.
Anyway, they go on to gripe that Marx worked from the assumption that there are — or were — differences between men and women. The madman! The professor’s statement in defense of Marx, that “women give birth while men do not,” was enough to make some students flee the room, no doubt in search of a gender-neutral fainting couch. (“Don’t look at me! I’m all man” — The Couch).
This is like watching Godzilla stomp across Tokyo and your only complaint is he’s not wearing pants.
This is followed in Jonah’s G-File by the story of Mount Holyoke College cancelling their showing of Eve Ensler’s play “The Vagina Monologues” because “it is demeaning to ‘women’ who have penises,” as National Review on Dead Tree (accurately) deadpans. Meanwhile Reason spots even more campus PC madness as, “CUNY Tells Profs Not to Say ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms.’ Because That’s Offensive and Illegal-ish (It’s Not).”
Or as Jonah adds:
[W]hen you think about it, the really funny part is that we’re still hearing how we conservatives need to get control of our nutjobs and extremists before average Americans will take us seriously. I’ll tell you what: “What.” I’ll also tell you that the typical Joe on the street will find gun rights and the Tenth Amendment reasonable and mainstream long before he gets his head around the idea that The Vagina Monologues is sexist because it lacks wangs in the cast — and I don’t mean Asians.
Recently, Robert Tracinski asked at the Federalist, “Have We Already Reached Peak Leftism?” Certainly its efforts to consume itself are one sign of that, as is the recent implosion of the New Republic and the Andrew Sullivan’s self-imposed timeout announcement this week. And somewhat related to all of the above, there’s an understandable level of exhaustion among several of the left’s key components after having to defend the Obama administration’s insanities over the past six years (seven or eight actually, counting the time that Democrat operatives with bylines like Sullivan began to actively cheerlead for him.)
As Tracinski concludes:
What I mean to suggest is not that reversion to the mean is inevitable, but that this is an opportunity. The Left’s very strength, its nearly exclusive control of key cultural institutions, is also a weakness. Holding the line on a 95 percent groupthink in academia and the arts might end up being a lot harder than disrupting the leftist orthodoxy.
That disruption can happen only if a lot of people put forth a lot of effort to make it happen. But we have a powerful factor on our side: reversion to the mean.
I hope he’s right, but I fear the left’s century-long efforts bunkering deep into the media, academia and (of course) bureaucracies from the federal down to local governments throughout America means that it will be quite sometime before it’s even temporarily morning in America again, to coin a phrase.