Mike Pence and The Roots of the Right-Wing "Political Correctness" Conspiracy Theory
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jul 21, 2016 at 12:43:56 AM EST
The term "Political Correctness" was hijacked by right-wing ideologues in the late 1980s to trivialize and disparage concern for basic human rights for people whose race, gender, ability, size, or other attributes were inconsistent with the norms established by straight, White, Christian men.

Before then the term was seldom used other than among Leftist to discuss political ideology.

The idea of claiming there was a Culture War by liberals and leftists against America was formulated over several years by right-wing ideologues Patrick Buchanan, William Lind, and Paul Weyrich.

Of these it is William Lind's development of the idea of a Culture War led by "Cultural Marxists" using "Political Correctness" that incorporated antisemitic conspiracy theories and made of Lind an hero to Norway mass murder terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. Breivik not only cited and quoted Lind on the subject, but plagiarized whole section of a Lind manifesto.

It is Weyrich, however, who lays out the case in clear prose:

Paul Weyrich:
February 16, 1999

 ..."I am in the process of rethinking what it is that we, who still believe in our traditional, Western, Judeo-Christian culture, can and should do under the circumstances. Please understand that I am not quarreling with anybody who pursues politics, because it is important to pursue politics, to be involved in government. It is also important to try, as many people have,  to re-take the cultural institutions that have been captured by the other side.
But it is impossible to ignore the fact that the United States is becoming  an ideological state. The ideology of Political Correctness, which openly  calls for the destruction of our traditional culture, has so gripped the  body politic, has so gripped our institutions, that it is even affecting the  Church. It has completely taken over the academic community. It is now  pervasive in the entertainment industry, and it threatens to control  literally every aspect of our lives.

Those who came up with Political Correctness, which we more accurately call  "Cultural Marxism," did so in a deliberate fashion. I'm not going to go into  the whole history of the Frankfurt School and Herbert Marcuse and the other  people responsible for this. Suffice it to say that the United States is  very close to becoming a state totally dominated by an alien ideology, an  ideology bitterly hostile to Western culture. Even now, for the first time  in their lives, people have to be afraid of what they say.

This has never  been true in the history of our country. Yet today, if you say the "wrong  thing," you suddenly have legal problems, political problems, you might even  lose your job or be expelled from college. Certain topics are forbidden. You  can't approach the truth about a lot of different subjects. If you do, you  are immediately branded as "racist", "sexist", "homophobic", "insensitive",  or "judgmental."

 Cultural Marxism is succeeding in its war against our culture.


See also:

+Breivik 2011 Manifesto Echoes Weyrich 1999 Manifesto - Chip Berlet
+Norway's Nightmare & The Christian Fundamentalist - Bill Berkowitz
+When is Terrorism 'Christian'? - Frederick Clarkson
+Author Cited by Anders Behring Breivik Regrets Original Essay
Breivik cited William S. Lind, Free Congress Foundation, & the LaRouchites
+Anders Behring Breivik: Soldier in the Christian Right Culture Wars

Old Christian Right:

Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles: Noebel, David A. (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Christian Crusade Publications, 1965).

New Christian Right

Cultural Conservatism: Toward a New National Agenda. The Institute for Cultural Conservatism. (Washington: Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, 1987).

Cultural Conservatism: Theory and Practice. Lind, William S. and Marshner, William H., eds. (Washington: Free Congress Foundation, 1991).

Politically correct is a term for a method based in valid scientific research and knowledge that tried to make things better in this country.  By changing the language about a group, the connection between language and thought would start having an effect on the thinking about that group (there is a solid connection between language use and thought).  Changing the thinking would then help to eradicate evils like racism, homophobia, and other ills that have plagued this nation, because as peoples' thinking about the Other changed, their attitudes and treatment of that Other would also change.

The sad fact is that the Right discovered what was going on and started using euphemisms on top of denunciations of "Politically Correct" to demonize a valid and science-based attempt to improve things.  Now we have this cr*p... it's sad to see people going to such lengths to hold onto their cherished false stereotypes and hate (which I could argue are introduced from outside and not something 'natural' or springing up from within the individuals themselves).

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Jul 23, 2016 at 02:22:59 PM EST

As far as I am aware, the people who created what is now commonly called "political correctness" did not call it "political correctness" -- they called it "inclusive language."  I think the latter is a much better term for it.  "Political correctness" has had various different meanings over the years.

The term "politically correct" was originally used in the mid-20th century, by the Communist Party, to indicate (non-sarcastically) whether something fit in with their belief system.

Subsequently it was used by other leftists in a sarcastic way to refer to attitudes held by the more extreme, dogmatic, or self-righteous people within their own ranks.  For example, back in the 1970s, a lot of lesbian feminists had the idea that you had to be a lesbian to be a true feminist, which led a lot of bisexual and heterosexual feminists to refer to themselves as "politically incorrect" feminists.  Also in the late 1970's and early 1980's, I remember various lifestyle choices being described by feminists as being "politically correct" or not.  For example, it was PC to be a vegetarian.

Then, at some point in the 1980s, the term "political correctness" was hijacked by right wingers as a way to complain about inclusive language "speech codes" on college campuses, which is how "PC" got its current meaning.

On another subject, I disagree with you that bigotry is "not something 'natural' or springing up from within the individuals themselves."  I think humans do have a natural tendency to be racist and otherwise bigoted against people different from themselves -- but it's not such a strong tendency that it can't be overcome.  One recent study that seems to show this is discussed here: SCIENCE: Babies Are Racist (original press release here).

by Diane Vera on Sat Apr 15, 2017 at 09:15:21 PM EST

I don't remember the terms originally used, but I do believe that the PC term came along much later than the original theorizing and attempt to use language to change society.  The use by the Communists makes sense, and I do think I remember reading that at one time.  I didn't read about the term being sarcastic from feminists and leftists, that's something new.  My memory of the chapter (or section) was that the attempt to change language in order to change thinking resulted in conservatives using the term "political correctness" in a pejorative way of denouncing any attempt to (for instance) fight against racism.

I just found and checked one of my Linguistic Anthro books, but it's not in there, although the book did have a couple of pages on Sapir-Whorf and Volosinov (the Soviet and American scholars developed similar thinking about language and thought).

One of my textbooks has how the whole PC thing started, and I think it's in pretty good detail (more than a couple of paragraphs).  I'll keep my eyes open for the other books on Linguistic Anthropology (they're on our shelves somewhere) and take a look in them when I find them.

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Apr 17, 2017 at 10:44:49 PM EST

Those who followed the bad politics of the govt. Then later to mean cordiality. But the Reich Wing both used it and abused it to cover their own hatreds behind euphemisms. So that people like David Duke could join without changing his meaning. Just the words to use in place of the obvious. Even so such a flaming Conservative as Donald J. Trump wearing racism and classicism and any other negativism loud and proud gets some support.

And as we have seen today they want to believe in him regardless of his many lies and yet.

"Men willingly believe what they wish." - Julius Caesar

Is true today to a disturbing degree.

by Nightgaunt on Sun Jul 24, 2016 at 03:06:55 PM EST

I can't argue with a word of this, or the "read more here" link - but where's the connection to Gov. Pence?

by Pierce R Butler on Tue Jul 26, 2016 at 09:39:52 PM EST
I should've said "the Pence Connection" to match the acronymic allusion to the topic at hand.

by Pierce R Butler on Tue Jul 26, 2016 at 09:42:38 PM EST

The article provides a detailed analysis of the origins and misuse of the term "Political Correctness" by right-wing ideologues.  systemic lupus erythematosus symptoms It sheds light on the deliberate attempt to trivialize and undermine concerns for human rights. Understanding the historical context helps expose the conspiracy theories associated with the term.

by isabelladom on Sat Jun 10, 2023 at 02:22:24 PM EST

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