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The Rise of Political Correctness

“Comrade, your statement is factually incorrect.”
“Yes, it is. But it is politically correct.”

Angelo M. Codevilla writes: The notion of political correctness came into use among Communists in the 1930s as a semi-humorous reminder that the Party’s interest is to be treated as a reality that ranks above reality itself. Because all progressives, Communists included, claim to be about creating new human realities, they are perpetually at war against nature’s laws and limits. But since reality does not yield, progressives end up pretending that they themselves embody those new realities. Hence, any progressive movement’s nominal goal eventually ends up being subordinated to the urgent, all-important question of the movement’s own power. Because that power is insecure as long as others are able to question the truth of what the progressives say about themselves and the world, progressive movements end up struggling not so much to create the promised new realities as to force people to speak and act as if these were real: as if what is correct politically—i.e., what thoughts serve the party’s interest—were correct factually.

Communist states furnish only the most prominent examples of such attempted groupthink. Progressive parties everywhere have sought to monopolize educational and cultural institutions in order to force those under their thumbs to sing their tunes or to shut up. But having brought about the opposite of the prosperity, health, wisdom, or happiness that their ideology advertised, they have been unable to force folks to ignore the gap between political correctness and reality.

Especially since the Soviet Empire’s implosion, leftists have argued that Communism failed to create utopia not because of any shortage of military or economic power but rather because it could not overcome this gap. Is the lesson for today’s progressives, therefore, to push P.C. even harder, to place even harsher penalties on dissenters? Many of today’s more discerning European and American progressives, in possession of government’s and society’s commanding heights, knowing that they cannot wield Soviet-style repression and yet intent on beating down increasing popular resistance to their projects, look for another approach to crushing cultural resistance. Increasingly they cite the name of Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937), a brilliant Communist theoretician for whom “cultural hegemony” is the very purpose of the struggle as well as its principal instrument. His writings envisage a totalitarianism that eliminates the very possibility of cultural resistance to progressivism. But owing more to Machiavelli than to Marx or Lenin, they are more than a little complex about the means and are far from identical with the raw sort of power over culture enforced by the Soviet Empire or, for that matter, that is rife among us today.

My purpose here is to explain how progressives have understood and conducted their cultural war from the days of Lenin, and how Gramsci’s own ambiguous writings illustrate the choices they face in conducting that war in our time and circumstances—especially with regard to political correctness in our present culture war.

Culture Wars

Every form of progressivism bases itself on the claim of a special, “scientific,” knowledge of what is wrong with humanity and how to fix it. The formula is straightforward: the world is not as it should be because society’s basic, “structural” feature is ordered badly. Everything else is “superstructural,” meaning that it merely reflects society’s fundamental feature. For Marx and his followers that feature is conflict over the means of production in “present-day society.” From the dawn of time, this class warfare has led to “contradictions”: between types of work, town and country, oppressors or oppressed, and so on. The proletariat’s victory in that conflict will establish a new reality by crushing all contradictions out of existence. Other branches of progressivism point to a different structural problem. For Freudians it’s sexual maladjustment, for followers of Rousseau it’s social constraint, for positivists it is the insufficient application of scientific method, for others it is oppression of one race by another. Once control of society passes exclusively into the hands of the proper set of progressives, each sect’s contradictions must disappear as the basic structural problem is straightened out.

But wherever progressives have gained power, all manner of contradictions have remained and new ones have arisen. Progressive movements have reacted to this failure by becoming their own reason for being. Theoretically, the Revolution is about the power and necessity to recreate mankind. In practice, for almost all progressive movements it is about gaining power for the revolutionaries and making war on those who stand in their way. For example, transcending private property, the division of labor, and political oppression was never Marxism-Leninism’s core motive any more than worker/peasant proletarians were ever its core protagonists. In fact, Communism is an ideology by, of, and for ideologues, that ends up empowering and celebrating those very ideologues. This is as true of progressivism’s other branches as it is of Marxism.

Lenin’s seminal contribution was explicitly to recognize the revolutionary party’s paramount primacy, and to turn the party’s power and prestige from a means to revolution into the Revolution’s candid end. Lenin’s writings, like Marx’s, contain no positive description of future economic arrangements. The Soviet economy, for all its inefficiencies, functioned with Swiss precision as an engine of privilege for some and of murderous deprivation for others. The Communist Party had transcended communism. The key to understanding what progressive parties in power do is the insight, emphasized by “elite theorists” like Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca, that any organization’s practical objectives turn out to be what serves the interests and proclivities of its leaders.

[Read the full story here, at claremont.org]

What serves progressive revolutionaries’ interests is not in doubt. Although each of progressivism’s branches differs in how it defines society’s “structural” fault, in its own name for the human reality that it seeks to overcome, and in the means by which to achieve its ends, progressives from the 19th century to our time are well nigh identical in their personal predilections—in what and whom they hate even more than in what they love. They see the culture of what Marxists call “bourgeois morality” as the negation of their identity and authority. That identity, their identity, is to be promoted, endlessly, by endless warfare against that culture. That is why the cultural campaigns of otherwise dissimilar progressives have been so similar. Leninist Russia no less than various Western democrats have tried to eradicate religion, to make it difficult for men, women, and children to exist as families, and to demand that their subjects join them in celebrating the new order that reflects their identity. Note well: cultural warfare’s substantive goal is less important than the affirmation of the warriors’ own identity. This is what explains the animus with which progressives have waged their culture wars.

Yet, notwithstanding progressivism’s premise that individual minds merely reflect society’s basic structure and hence are incapable of reasoning independently about true and false, better and worse, reality forces progressives to admit that individuals often choose how they think or act despite lacking the “structural” basis for doing so, or that they act contrary to the economic, social, or racial “classes” into which progressive theories divide mankind. They call this freedom of the human mind “false consciousness.”

Fighting against false consciousness is one reason why Communists and other progressives end up treating cultural matters supposedly “superstructural” as if they were structural and basic. They do so by pressuring people constantly to validate progressivism’s theories, to concelebrate victories over those on the “wrong” side of history by exerting control over who says what to whom. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Left Goes All In On Open Borders

airport-protest

‘No borders. No nations. F**k deportations!’ sends a clear message to America.

greerScott Greer writes: That was the rallying cry of protesters demonstrating at San Francisco International Airport Saturday against President Donald Trump restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations.

All across America, protests have erupted at airports — already notorious centers for human misery — to show disgust for Trump’s executive order, which has earned the false title of a Muslim ban. Whether 516wwnq6xcl-_sl250_in New York or in Chicago, demonstrators made it clear that they thought Trump’s move to temporarily block migration from these nations went against American principles and laws.

[Order Scott Greer’s book “No Campus for White Men: The Transformation of Higher Education into Hateful Indoctrination” from Amazon.com]

According to these demonstrators, preventing anyone from coming to this country based on their nation of origin or their religion was prohibited by both the Constitution and “our American values.”

Obviously, there are issues that arise with Trump’s order. Travelers with citizenship in one of the seven banned nations but permanent green cards in the U.S. were detained, which was one of the reasons a New York judge halted the president’s action. That measure may be beyond the original intent of the executive order and the White House has already indicated that they are changing course on stopping green card holders from entering the country.

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Caller]

There’s also the perception that the law unfairly targets an entire religion and bans its adherents from America. However, the order only affects — temporarily to boot — a small percentage of the world’s Muslims and is based on national origin, not religion. In many ways, it’s only an expansion of Barack Obama’s 2011 executive order banning Iraqi refugees from the U.S. for six months over terror concerns.

(RELATED: Majority Of World’s Muslims Untouched By Trump Visa Ban)

Shockingly, there were no hysterical airport protests then.

While concerns over green card holders and targeting a religion were aired amid the demonstrations, the San Francisco protesters took it a step further by explicitly calling for open borders, the eradication of the nation-state and, needless to say, the total non-enforcement of immigration law. (On Sunday, they had toned down “fuck deportations” to “stop the deportations.”)

It seems that the West Coast demonstrators were more blunt in expressing the moral thrust of those gathering at America’s transportation hubs. Rather than a squabble over the semantics of immigration law, the guiding principles of the protest apparently see open borders as morally desirable and that no person should be refused entry to the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] American Fascists

Left/right, Progressive/Conservative, Democrat/Republican… The names change and evolve but the core difference remains constant: The Collectivists vs. The Individualists. In his latest FIREWALL, but shows how violence, disruption and intimidation have always been the tools of the Collectivists. This is not about Donald Trump, no matter how much they want you to believe it.

[ALSO SEE: Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning”  at Amazon]


Amherst: D’Souza Engages Leftist College Students’ Social Justice Arguments

D’Souza gets accosted by a freshman, and a reasonably intelligent one, with a pair of questions about white privilege and Islamic militancy arising as a reaction to American imperialism. You won’t believe his response…


John Tierney in NY Times: Recycling was ‘Garbage’ in 1996, it’s Still That Way Today, and the Future Looks Even Worse

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Recycling was Bullshit Then, and it’s Bullshit Now.

 writes: In 1996, New York Times science columnist John Tierney wrote an article that appeared in the New York Times Magazine about compulsory recycling titled “Recycling is Garbage.” Tierney’s controversial argument in that article can be summarized as follows: Recycling may be the most wasteful activity in modern America. Tierney wrote, “Rinsing out tuna cans and tying up eye-roll-onewspapers may make you feel virtuous, but it’s a waste of time and money, a waste of human and natural resources. Americans have embraced recycling as a transcendental experience, an act of moral redemption. We’re not just reusing our garbage; we’re performing a rite of atonement for the sin of excess.” Now you can understand why Tierney’s recycling article set the all-time record for the greatest volume of hate mail ever recorded in the history of the New York Times Magazine.

Because it was one of the first and most effective challenges to the naive, pro-recycling propaganda that has been used to successfully brainwash millions of American school children for the last quarter century, I’ve featured John Tierney’s classic recycling article on CD many times over the years (especially around the “green holy days” known as “Earth Day” and “America Recycles Day”), including hereherehere, and here.

Bonus Video. In the Penn and Teller video below on recycling, they refer to John Tierney’s 1996 NYT article, and further explain why recycling is an activity that involves “feeling good for no reason.”

It’s been almost 20 years since John Tierney taught us that “recycling is garbage.” Fortunately, he has just provided a recycling update in today’s New York Times with a new article titled “The Reign of Recycling.” So, what has happened over the last two decades? According to Tierney, “While it’s true that the recyclingliberal-huh message religion has reached more people converts than ever, when it comes to the bottom line, both economically and environmentally, not much has changed at all.” And what about recycling’s future? It “looks even worse,” says Tierney.

Here’s a condensed version of Tierney’s new article on recycling, with my section titles and emphasis:

1. Background. In 1996, I wrote a long article for The New York Times Magazine (“Recycling is Garbage”) arguing that the recycling process as we carried it out was wasteful. I presented plenty of evidence that recycling was costly and ineffectual, but its defenders said that it was unfair to rush to judgment. Noting that the modern recycling movement had really just begun just a few years earlier, they predicted it would flourish as the industry matured and the public learned how to recycle properly. So, what’s happened since then? While it’s true that the recycling message has reached more people than ever, when it comes to the bottom line, both economically and environmentally, not much has changed at all.

[Read the full text here, at AEIdeas]

Despite decades of exhortations and mandates, it’s still typically more expensive for municipalities to recycle household waste than to send it to a landfill. Prices for recyclable materials have plummeted because of lower oil prices and reduced demand for them overseas. The slump has forced some recycling companies to shut plants and cancel plans for new technologies. The future for recycling looks even worse. As cities move beyond recycling paper and metals, and into glass, food scraps and assorted plastics, the costs rise sharply while the environmental benefits decline and sometimes vanish. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REWIND 2011: Andrew Breitbart: Illiberal Democrat Collectivism Vilifies Individualism, Independence, Part 2

http://democracybroadcasting.com Hollywood blacklisting silences dissent against Obama. Filmed at BlogWorld NYC June, 2011.


Seattle’s Socialist Experiment: When it Comes to the Impacts of a High Minimum Wage, a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

erinblog

Erin ShannonErin-S-web-103cropw writes: This sign in a Seattle nail salon is a perfect illustration of the unintended consequences of forcing employers to pay an aritificially high minimum wage.

Contrary to the claim that employers can afford to pay their workers more and will just absorb the higher labor costs, Madison Avenue Nail Spa shows what really happens–employers find ways to mitigate those costs.  This business owner has decided to pass the extra costs to consumers.

“All of these employers are doing what they must in order to deal with a mandated wage that is higher than the value of the job.”

They aren’t alone. Ivars Salmon House is also raising prices.  Ivars is also implementing a 17% service charge in lieu of tips.  The Icon Grill in Seattle is taking a different strategy; they aren’t increasing prices, but instead eliminating three weeks of paid vacation. All employees will now only earn one week of paid vacation time; before Seattle’s new minimum wage law went into effect on April 1, some long-time employees of the restaurant received four weeks of paid vacation per year.

From the dustbin of history, the zombie socialists

From the dustbin of history, the zombie socialists

“All employees will now only earn one week of paid vacation time; before Seattle’s new minimum wage law went into effect on April 1, some long-time employees of the restaurant received four weeks of paid vacation per year.”

Then there is Z Pizza–that business is closing in August, leaving 12 workers without jobs.  And long-time Seattle manufacturer Cascade Designs will move 100 of its lowest-skilled manufacturing jobs from Seattle to Nevada. Read the rest of this entry »


[BOOKS] Ayn Rand’s Early Novel ‘Ideal’ To Be Published After 80 Years

ayn-rand

Jennifer Maloney writes: Ayn Rand fans, here’s something to whet your appetites: New American Libraryhas released the cover image for “Ideal,” the first Ayn Rand novel to be published in more than 50 years.BN-FV694_ideal_HV_20141203122439

“I’ve heard wishful comments over many years from readers wondering if there were other novels in Ayn Rand’s papers.”

— Richard Ralston, publishing manager at the Ayn Rand Institute

Ayn Rand, author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead,” invented the philosophy of Objectivism. More than 25 million copies of her novels have been sold around the world.

[Order Ayn Rand’s book Ideal from Amazon]

Ideal” tells the story of a screen actress who is accused of murder and visits six of her most devoted fans to ask for help. In 1934, when she was in her late 20s, Rand first wrote “Ideal” as a work of fiction.

But Rand was dissatisfied with it and set it aside. The same year, she rewrote it as a play. The play didn’t have its New York premiere until 2010 – 66 years after she wrote it. Read the rest of this entry »