Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Political Correctness Is Destroying America! (Just Not How You Think.)

A critique of right-wing PC from a leftist writer at The Intercept. When it comes to the question of ideological dominance in American institutions, this is how I think it breaks down (more or less).

What is commonly called “conservatism” (the points of view described in this article) dominates the Republican Party, the right-wing of the corporate class (.e.g. fossil fuels), sectors of the military/intelligence services, traditionalist or fundamentalist religious sectors, FOX News, talk-radio, religious TV, and a minority of the print media. Its main constituents are older people in the South, Midwest, rural areas, middle-class sectors concerned about taxes, small to medium-sized business interests, and working-class social conservatives.

The dominant sectors of the ruling class are “centrist” neoliberals that typically fit the stereotype of being “economically conservative” but “socially liberal.” They are a “liberal” on abortion, gay marriage, environmentalism, gun control, religion, and most contentious “social issues.” But they favor neoliberal economic policies and a technocratic managerial state that is pro-military, pro-imperialist, pro-police, pro-corporate, and pro-bankster. Culturally, they embrace a pragmatic cosmopolitanism as a matter of economic and political necessity, convenience, and personal taste. But they fear actual socialism, lower-class crime, and oppose genuine radicalism or extremism whether left or right. Nearly all “moderate” Republicans and centrist Democrats are in this category.

There is a comparatively further “left” sector that believes in “wokeness” as a matter of quasi-religious conviction, not merely convenience, taste, or ulterior motives. This tendency is found in sectors of academia, the media and entertainment, mainline religion, the ideas industries, the furthest left-wing of the corporate class, a subset of organized labor, the margins of the Democratic Party, left-liberal political interest groups, and some NGO-types. The most cultic SJW types are a subset of these.

Actual left-wing “extremists” are small in number and fairly marginal culturally and socially. The same is true of right-wing “extremists.” Actual neo-Nazis and white supremacists are a relatively small subset of right-wing extremists (who are more likely to be “Americanists,” constitutionalists, patriots, right-wing libertarians, gun enthusiasts, Christian fundamentalists, generic conspiracy theorists, sovereign citizens, militiamen, three percenters, etc. than actual racist terrorists or ideological fascists).  Both the ruling class proper and the technocratic managerial class fears these elements and considers them to be dangerous. Taken in sum total, right-wing extremists are probably a larger group than left-wing extremists like literal communists, anarchists, serious socialists, Antifa, eco-terrorists, black separatists, etc. But left-wing extremists are probably closer to the social and cultural values of the dominant sectors of the ruling class though not the economic ones. For example, left-wing extremists and technocrats would share a common concern about climate change and a general moral opposition to racism and sexism (with varying degrees of enthusiasm) but would part ways on the nationalization of the means of production or a general strike. The ruling/managerial classes would share the far right’s opposition to socialism but are horrified by the rest of their views.

By Jon Schwarz

America today faces a terrifying danger: political correctness. It is an existential threat not just to the United States, but all of human civilization.

By this, obviously, I mean right-wing political correctness.

Maybe you’re surprised to hear this. In the U.S. media, there’s no shortage of lamentations about political correctness and how it chills debate — but they’re almost always about the threat of left-wing PC.

In reality, political correctness, or cancel culture, or whatever it’s called, is not a phenomenon of the left, right, or center. It’s a phenomenon of human nature. All humanity’s infinite tribes are prone to groupthink and punishing heretics. That’s why the principle of free thought has to be defended: It is, unfortunately, a weird and unnatural fit for humans.

There absolutely are examples of ugly political correctness from the U.S. “left,” whatever that means in a country that, by historical standards, doesn’t have a left. But the vast, vast majority of political correctness in America is conservative. Conservative PC is so powerful in the U.S. that much of it is adopted by both political parties and all of the corporate media. Indeed, right-wing political correctness is so dominant that it’s politically incorrect to refer to it as political correctness. Instead, we call it things like “patriotism,” or simply don’t notice its existence.

A full examination of America’s conservative PC culture would take the rest of your life to read. So let’s limit this to four areas where the right’s PC causes some of the most harm: religion, foreign policy, the Republican Party, and police.


Leave a Reply