Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Arc of Political Correctness

I remember the dawn of Political Correctness. In the early seventies I was a member of the International Marxist Group, dedicated to world revolution (yes, it seemed to make sense in those days). The IMG, like all marxist organisations, needed to have a political line on events such as Government policies, wars and the struggles of the oppressed. The Party intellectuals developed positions through the leading institutions (Political Committee, National Committee). If you deviated, you were not 'politically correct'.

Revolutionary Politics withered away, and PC moved from the NT Rationals to its new owner, the NF Idealists. Now it became the touchstone of 'rights', focusing on identity politics and oppressed minorities. The broadening of the concept from revolutionary-left discipline to bien-pensant opinion made the term woollier, fuzzier but still often a force for good.

The final arc of PC was its institutionalisation. Once the ideological battle for tolerance and empathy had been largely won, PC transformed into rules and regulations.

PC had moved home again and now lived with the SJ Guardians, who were happy to act as 'little Hitler' enforcers. And so PC became perverse and oppressive, a killer of spontaneity and a rigid and sterile ideology of censorship.

What a shame.