Political Correctness/Totalitarian Humanism

Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom enemy

This article (from 2016) illustrates the limitations of conventional leftist class analysis. The left always seems to assume that the right-wing of the ruling class is the entirety of the ruling class. Yes, there are right-wing sectors in the ruling class that fund “anti-PC” movements. Yes, there are critics of PC that exaggerate or overstate their case or who have ulterior motives. But the sectors of the ruling class that back the anti-PC movement are largely rooted in the Sunbelt industries located in the South, Midwest, and West, which have traditionally been the primary backers of “movement conservatism” since the Sunbelt sectors of the capitalist class launched an insurgency against the traditionally dominant northeastern sector of the capitalist class in the mid-20th century. Nowadays, the northeastern establishment has launched a largely successful counterattack due to its ability to forge an alliance with “new capital” rooted in the digital revolution, the tech-oligarchy, the new class insurgency within managerial capitalism and the public sector, the professional-managerial class, the “bourgeois bohemians,” upwardly mobile sectors of traditional outgroups, and others. This sector of the ruling class, which is increasingly hegemonic, has adopted the collection of ideas normally labeled as “political correctness” as part of its self-legitimating ideological superstructure.

By Moira Weigel, The Guardian

For 25 years, invoking this vague and ever-shifting nemesis has been a favourite tactic of the right – and Donald Trump’s victory is its greatest triumph.

hree weeks ago, around a quarter of the American population elected a demagogue with no prior experience in public service to the presidency. In the eyes of many of his supporters, this lack of preparation was not a liability, but a strength. Donald Trump had run as a candidate whose primary qualification was that he was not “a politician”. Depicting yourself as a “maverick” or an “outsider” crusading against a corrupt Washington establishment is the oldest trick in American politics – but Trump took things further. He broke countless unspoken rules regarding what public figures can or cannot do and say.

Every demagogue needs an enemy. Trump’s was the ruling elite, and his charge was that they were not only failing to solve the greatest problems facing Americans, they were trying to stop anyone from even talking about those problems. “The special interests, the arrogant media, and the political insiders, don’t want me to talk about the crime that is happening in our country,” Trump said in one late September speech. “They want me to just go along with the same failed policies that have caused so much needless suffering.”

Trump claimed that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were willing to let ordinary Americans suffer because their first priority was political correctness. “They have put political correctness above common sense, above your safety, and above all else,” Trump declared after a Muslim gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. “I refuse to be politically correct.” What liberals might have seen as language changing to reflect an increasingly diverse society – in which citizens attempt to avoid giving needless offence to one another – Trump saw a conspiracy.

Throughout an erratic campaign, Trump consistently blasted political correctness, blaming it for an extraordinary range of ills and using the phrase to deflect any and every criticism. During the first debate of the Republican primaries, Fox News host Megyn Kelly asked Trump how he would answer the charge that he was “part of the war on women”.


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