Left and Right

Keith Preston on the Roots of Political Correctness

By Keith Preston

The Libertarian Alliance

I think we can interpret this stuff with either a grand narrative or a focused narrative, depending on what direction we want to go.

I would agree that the fanatical political correctness we see coming from the cultural Left today is traceable to puritanism, but only in the sense that puritanism emerges due to certain strands in the human personality or human psychology. There’s been a great deal of discussion of to what degree modern totalitarianism is an outgrowth of puritan forms of Christianity. I’ve seen some on this site argue that the lineage of PC can be traced directly to old fashioned Calvinist puritanism, and it’s possible to outline a historical trajectory of that kind with a broad brush.

The way it seems to have happened is that puritanism emerged in the UK countries and then migrated to North America where it became the basis of the founding New England settlements. Over time, the Enlightenment overruns orthodox Calvinism but the puritan spirit remains and finds its way into neo-Protestant movements like Unitarianism and Progressive Christianity. (If you want to know what this spirit is like, just read the lyrics to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” the anthem of the Yankees during the American Civil War).

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