The Origin of Political Correctness

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

If you wonder where the politically correct malady that afflicts America came from, Boston University professor emeritus Angelo M. Codevilla has the answer.

“The notion of political correctness came into use among Communists in the 1930s as a semi-humorous reminder that the Party’s interest is to be treated as a reality that ranks above reality itself,” Dr. Codevilla writes in the Fall 2016 issue of the Claremont Review of Books.

Dr. Codevilla indicates that the politically correct directive began word-of-mouth as a running joke that communists told each other that went like this:

“Comrade, your statement is factually incorrect.”

“Yes, it is. But it is politically correct.”

(Really, communist party meetings must have been every bit as riotous and fun-filled as Modern Language Association (MLA) conventions are today. Come to think of it….)

Indeed, Dr. Codevilla may be the premier scholar of our age. In his masterful treatise, he traces the evolution of political correctness from Communist Party inside joke to ruling doctrine in the United States. It is an ominous chronology.

“Why does the American Left demand ever-new P.C. obeisances?,” Dr. Codevilla asks. “In 2012 no one would have thought that defining marriage between one man and one woman, as enshrined in U.S. law, would brand those who do so as motivated by a culpable psychopathology called ‘homophobia,’ subject to fines and near outlaw status.”

“Not until 2015-16 did it occur to anyone that requiring persons with male personal plumbing to use public bathrooms reserved for men was a sign of the same pathology. Why had not these become part of the P.C. demands previously? Why is there no canon of P.C. that, once filled, would require no further additions? Because the point of P.C. is not and has never been merely about any of the items that it imposes, but about the imposition itself.”

My old boss and mentor–the late author M. Stanton Evans, who was a friend and colleague of Dr. Codevilla’s–used to joke, “Liberals don’t care what you do as long as it’s compulsory.” Stan, who passed away in 2015, also used to note that current events were moving beyond satire.

Photo by agitprop