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Old May 8th, 2013 #21
Alex Linder
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Lenin, Partiinost' and Political Correctness

In fashioning an elite revolutionary party, Lenin was obsessed, perhaps tormented, with questions of ideological purity and orthodoxy. For Lenin, theoretical considerations were paramount: 'Without a revolutionary theory', wrote Lenin in What is to be Done?, 'there can be no revolutionary movement' (Lenin, 1946, 341).[4] Only a specifically revolutionary theory, Lenin believed, would prevent the incipient revolutionary movement from abandoning 'the correct path' (Lenin, 1946, 341). Despising the exemplar of liberal democracy represented by England, Lenin believed that if a small revolutionary party was to maintain its sense of purpose and seize power, then it had to avoid becoming just a forum for discussion, with all the in-fighting and factionalism that involved. Party discipline and the sense of purpose could only be maintained, according to Lenin, if there was a rigidly enforced party line on all questions: from the materialist explanation of knowledge and reality, the supposed crisis of imperialism which led to World War One, to a free press or the role of women in the future communist utopia, there was, if the party theoretician knew his seminal and patristic texts, a politically correct answer.

Commentary: You can see this at work among the leftists in the Gawker ring. Leftists hunt heretics. They hunt deviationists like dogs after foxes. Either you're with them or you're nothing. It does work.

Lenin himself, as in so many things Soviet, set the precedent and the standard for dealing with deviations from the party line. His tone varies according to the status of the addressee. Lenin can be the teacher, impatient with some skeptic who lacks his commitment to ideology or, fearing his criticism of his peers, he shows himself to be the master of the ad hominem attack. In an article first published in 1906, in response to a draft resolution of a party congress, demanding freedom to criticise, Lenin accused the resolution's drafters 'of totally, incorrectly understanding the relation between freedom of criticism within the party and the party's unity of action' (Lenin, 1947, 408, emphasis in the original). 'The Central Committee's resolution', argued Lenin, 'is incorrect in essence and contradicts the party's statutes' (Lenin, 1947, 409, emphasis in the original). Even Plekhanov, one of Russia's foremost interpreters of Marx, was attacked by Lenin for, inter alia, 'incorrectly assessing the real relationship of the proletariat towards both the government and the bourgeoisie' (Lenin, 1947, 412, emphasis added). In his ferocious polemic Lenin asks 'whether comrade Plekhanov has acted correctly' and answers his own question: 'No, he has behaved completely incorrectly' (Lenin, 1947, 412, emphasis added). In a later article, also published in 1906, Plekhanov came in for another bout of Leninist invective: 'He [Plekhanov] is profoundly mistaken. "Treachery" is not "a strong word" but the sole correct expression from a scientific and political point of view to describe the actual facts and the actual aspirations of the bourgeoisie' (Lenin, 1947, 437-438, emphasis added). One can note here, in passing, that Lenin conflates political and scientific correctness in his riposte to Plekhanov. Karl Kautsky, another prominent interpreter of Marx, received the same treatment when in The Dictatorship of the Proletariat (1918) he warned of the violence that would ensue from the Bolshevik dictatorship. As a counter attack Lenin rote The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky (1918), consigning Kautsky to the ranks of the ideologically damned. Lenin's manner of dealing with politically incorrect deviations justifies Grossman's observation that: 'In an argument Lenin did not seek the truth [istina], Lenin sought victory' (Grossman, 1974, 169).

________________________________
[3] Tat'yana Tolstaya's essay identifies the various themes of political correctness in the West - racism, sexism, lookism - yet understates or largely ignores the repressive legal and intellectual infrastructure that supports political correctness and the corrupting effects on the university, though the Soviet maxim cited by her points to precisely that: 'if you don't know then we'll teach you, if you don't want to know then we'll force you' (Tolstaya, 1998, 131). She also fails to identify the Leninist contributions. Her use of korrektnost', which is a literal translation of the English, instead of pravil'nost' is misleading since it implies non-Soviet origins. The same error can be found in The Concise Oxford Russian Dictionary where political correctness is translated as politicheskaya korrektnost' (1998, 816).

[4] The section from which this is taken is entitled "Engels concerning the significance of the theoretical struggle".



To assist his drive for ideological paramountcy Lenin invented partiinost', which in English translation can mean party membership, party-mindedness or party spirit. To this list one could also add party truth (see Berger below). According to Kunitsyn, partiinost' was first used by Lenin in 1894 in a dispute with opponents concerning the objective state of knowledge (Kunitsyn, 1971, 45). Knowledge and truth, argued Lenin, are a product of one's class. In fact, what is called objective knowledge is a part of the bourgeois conspiracy to retain power and control so that the working classes can be exploited. In non-Marxist thought truth and knowledge are merely bourgeois biases. This dispute features prominently in all Marxist-Leninist polemics and adumbrates the intellectual relativism of postmodernism, specifically that truth is a matter of perspective. The idea that knowledge and truth (and latterly perspective) are class-specific (or in Neo-Marxism community-specific) defines the Leninist notion of partiinost', as can be seen from the following:

Quote:
If, having examined the origins of this question, one tries to formulate the concept of partiinost' which emerges from Leninist assumptions, then it may be looked at in the following manner: the partiinost' of ideology (in particular journalism, literature and art and so on) is then the conscious struggle of the ideologue, theoretician, publicist, artist (of each using his own specific means) for asserting the interest of one or another social class (Kunitsyn, 1971, 55-56, emphasis in the original).
A later Soviet study reaffirmed the basic thrust of what we are to understand by partiinost':

Quote:
Partiinost' in communist propaganda is fidelity to the higher, class interests of the working class and its mission of the revolutionary transformation of the nature of social relations. The principle of partiinost' rejects the pretensions of bourgeois ideology and propaganda to "non-partiinost'", "objectivity" and "pluralism" as masking the bourgeois mechanism of social control (Beglov, 1984, 362).
Taking his lead from Lenin, Kunitsyn, in his analysis of partiinost', repeatedly emphasizes the correctness of Leninist teachings. Thus, he refers to 'the correctness of the chosen path' (Kunitsyn, 1971, 99, emphasis added). Various supporters of the Bolsheviks are upbraided for being 'unable correctly to understand Bolshevism' (Kunitsyn, 1971, 99, emphasis added). Of another party member we are told that he 'lost the correct orientation and was even ready to accuse Lenin of "factional tendentiousness" (Kunitsyn, 1971, 166, emphasis added). Certain individuals, who though willing to sacrifice their lives for the cause, 'did not always think and act correctly' (Kunitsyn, 1971, 166, emphasis added). Colleagues who make ideological mistakes need to be the focus of 'correct work' (Kunitsyn, 1971, 180, emphasis added) and problems of culture are to be resolved in 'a correct Leninist way' (Kunitsyn, 1971, 183, emphasis added). Then we are instructed as to the need for 'the foundation of the correct relations of the proletariat and the revolutionary intelligentsia' (Kunitsyn 1971, 224, emphasis added). Even science must submit to the dictates of partiinost': 'Lenin's solution of the problem of the interrelationship of gnosiological and political partiinost' enables us correctly to understand the problem of the partiinost' of science, correctly to set about the practical selection of authors writing in the press on scientific questions' (Kunitsyn, 1971, 134, emphasis added). The frequency with which Kunitsyn and other Soviet interpreters of Lenin - and later, Mao - identify Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy with correctness and ideological absolutism reveals much about the state of Soviet scholarship in this field, and elsewhere. We are confronted here not so much with a study of a serious subject but rather a sustained panegyric, even a hagiography, of Lenin, the father of all theoreticians, in which the hagiographers are more concerned to demonstrate their own political correctness than intellectual rigour.

Lenin's concept of partiinost' is, I believe, the most likely progenitor of political correctness.

[onto page 57, three more Thur.]

Last edited by Alex Linder; May 8th, 2013 at 09:17 PM.
 
Old May 8th, 2013 #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
No. They feel quite free to make genocidal statements openly, in public, per the woman who spoke about diversifying Europe; I forget her name, but a jewess.
That confident, carefree Summer's Eve feeling needs to come to an end.

To quote noted political theorist Billy Idol:

"You don't need a gun..."
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Old May 9th, 2013 #23
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[picking up on page 57, we're past the halfway point, right in the guts of what matters most, the origins and meaning of political correctness, and our tutor has traced it to Lenin, the leader of the communists]

Lenin's concept of partiinost' is, I believe, the most likely progenitor of political correctness. For it is partiinost' that accounts for the unusual ferocity of all communism's ideological disputes whether they are being carried on among various intra-party factions or directed at external enemies. Lenin is quite clear that non-partiinost' separated the socialist from the bourgeoisie: 'Non-partiinost' is a bourgeois idea. Partiinost' is a socialist one' (Lenin, 1947, 61). Partiinost' is the hallmark of ideological purity: non-partiinost' identifies the ideologically deviant. Kunitsyn identifies three main types: revolyutsionnaya partiinost' (revolutionary party spirit); kommunisticheskaya partiinost' (communist party spirit); politicheskaya partiinost' (political party spirit, Kunitsyn, 80 & 126). Given the various meanings that can be attributed to partiinost', and the fact that the theory of partiinost' was still being ideologically modified in the years before 1917, the mutation of politicheskaya partiinost' (political party spirit/truth) into politicheskaya pravil'nost' (political correctness), was not an unpredictable outcome. Certainly, there existed a need for such a formulation. In the Manichean mindset created by Leninism a term was required, which, unlike partiinost', contained an explicit reference to right/wrong, correct/incorrect from a political or ideological point of view, one that could be used to indict those deviating from the party line in an authoritative manner. Politicheskaya pravil'nost', that assertive, impressive sounding and approving criterion of orthodoxy, satisfies this requirement very well indeed. We might see political correctness as a practical solution arising from the theoretical discussions surrounding partiinost'.

Lenin refined his position on partiinost' in What is to be Done? and the influential article "Party Organisation and Party Literature". In its revolutionary, communist or political forms partiinost' went beyond being merely politically correct, and was elevated to the realm of science (see, for example the response to Plekhanov above). Now, this should not be taken as an appeal to discredited bourgeois notions of objectivity but should instead be seen as being based on a higher form of rational thinking, that of class consciousness or soznanie. The ideology of class makes possible a new powerful mechanism for interpreting the world, scientific socialism no less.[5] Science and scientific method, as it had evolved since Newton, could not escape the need for a correct understanding of the world, one that was congenial to Marxism-Leninism.[6] Where science clashed with Marxist-Leninist ideology, as it frequently did in the course of the twentieth century, then scientists were expected to confess to "errors" and recant or were arrested. Lysenkoism was one of the better known communist witch hunts against scientists who presented or implied conclusions contrary to Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy (Counts & Lodge, 1949, Medvedev, 1969). Liberated from the burden of proof, Lenin and his successors were allowed to claim superior insight. The consequences were profound. By insisting on party unity at all costs and instilling fear of factionalism, Lenin made serious intellectual discussion impossible. Absolute theoretical certainty or rather the belief that the party had uncovered the laws of historical progress justified all means necessary to bring about the new society. To quote Valery Turchin: [...] 'society is either structured "correctly" (i.e., in accordance with the laws of Nature) or "incorrectly" (i.e., in contravention of them). In the latter case, society must be ruthlessly destroyed and then rebuilt' (Turchin, 1981, 164).

__________________________
[5] In an article first published in 1906 ("Kadety, trudoviki, i rabochaya partiya"), Lenin congratulates himself on the 'correctness' (pravil'nost') of dividing the main bourgeois parties into three main types (Lenin, 1947, 420).

[6] As Françoise Thom has pointed out: 'The phrase 'the correctness of Leninist theses' implies that the proposition 'Leninist theses are correct' is true' (Thom, 1989, 83)

Last edited by Alex Linder; May 14th, 2013 at 08:43 PM.
 
Old May 10th, 2013 #24
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Academic Cesspools and Cultural Marxists (Or Do I Repeat Myself?)
Posted by Thomas DiLorenzo on May 9, 2013 07:44 AM

The insightful article by Walter Williams today pinpoints how cultural Marxists have essentially destroyed academic freedom at most American universities while pursuing an agenda of the infantilization of college students. In the old days the Marxists rarely, if ever, debated their intellectual opponents. Instead, they simply resorted to name calling and personal attacks ("Capitalist Tool!!"). After the worldwide collapse of socialism the academic Marxists gave up on the capitalist-working class exploitation story and reinvented themselves by inventing a new class of alleged exploiters: white heterosexual males. All other groups are, by definition, "oppressed" by what they call "white male privilege." The poorest, least educated white redneck living in an old bus down by the river in Mississippi is said to be, by definition, an "oppressor" of Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, all women, gays, lesbians, the transgendered, and all the other mascot groups of the academic left.

Like the old Marxists, the cultural Marxists do not debate their intellectual opponents; they simply call them vile names. As the Walter Williams article pointed out, a potential donor to Bowdoin College was publicly labeled a "racist" by the college president because he suggested that Bowdoin should teach courses about American history and cool it with the obsession with "diversity" (a.k.a. institutionalized discrimination against white heterosexual males) as the sole purpose of higher education. This is why we observe such spectacles as when Walter Block gave a state-of-the-art public lecture at Loyola University Maryland on the economics of discrimination, a field pioneered by Professor Block's Columbia University dissertation advisor, the Nobel laureate Gary Becker, he was libeled by the university president, Brian Linnane, as a racist and a sexist. (Linnane wasn't even at the lecture; it was enough for him to hear that someone had criticized one of the superstitions of academic feminism, that sex discrimination is the one-and-only-cause of male/female wage differences). There are dozens -- probably hundreds -- of other similar examples in academe, which is why it has indeed become an academic cesspool, as Walter Williams describes.

Walter Williams: Academic Cesspools
http://lewrockwell.com/williams-w/w-williams166.html

Over the past 10 years, I have written columns variously titled "Academic Cesspools," "Academic Dishonesty," "The Shame of Higher Education," "Academic Rot" and "Indoctrination of Our Youth." Therefore, I was not surprised by David Feith's April 5th Wall Street Journal article, "The Golf Shot Heard Round the Academic World." In it, Feith tells of a golf course conversation between Barry Mills, the president of Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, Maine, and philanthropist Thomas Klingenstein. Klingenstein voiced disapproval of campus celebration of diversity and ethnic differences while there's "not enough celebration of our common American identity."

Because Klingenstein wouldn't help finance the college's diversity craze, Mills insinuated, in remarks to the student body, that Klingenstein is a racist. Mills also told students: "We must be willing to entertain diverse perspectives throughout our community. ... Diversity of ideas at all levels of the college is crucial for our credibility and for our educational mission."


Klingenstein decided to check out Mills' commitment to diverse perspectives by commissioning the National Association of Scholars to examine Bowdoin's intellectual diversity, rigorous academics and civic identity. Its report – "What Does Bowdoin Teach?" – isn't pretty. There are "no curricular requirements that center on the American founding or the history of the nation." Even history majors aren't required to take a single course in American history. In the history department, no course is devoted to American political, military, diplomatic or intellectual history; the only ones available are organized around some aspect of race, class, gender or sexuality.

Some of the 37 seminars designated for freshmen are "Affirmative Action and U.S. Society," "Fictions of Freedom," "Racism," "Queer Gardens," "Sexual Life of Colonialism" and "Modern Western Prostitutes." As for political diversity, the report estimates that "four or five out of approximately 182 full-time faculty members might be described as politically conservative." During the 2012 presidential campaign, 100 percent of faculty donations went to President Barack Obama. Despite political bias and mediocrity, in 2012, Bowdoin was ranked sixth among the nation's liberal arts colleges in U.S. News & World Report and was ranked 14th on Forbes magazine's list of America's top colleges. That ought to tell us how much faith should be put in college rankings.

I applaud Klingenstein for not making a contribution to a college agenda that is so common today. Wealthy donors are generous but tend to be lazy and uninformed in their giving. They give large sums of money that winds up supporting college agendas that are contemptuous of donors' values, such as enlightened racism, anti-capitalism and Marxism. A rough rule of thumb to discover modern-day racism is to search a college's website to see whether it has vice presidents or deans of diversity and diversity programs. If so, keep your money.

Recent evidence has emerged that some colleges have become bold enough to hire former terrorists to teach and possibly indoctrinate our young people. That's the case with Columbia University in the hiring of convicted Weather Underground terrorist Kathy Boudin, who spent 22 years in prison for the murder of two policemen and a Brink's guard. She now holds a professorship at Columbia's School of Social Work. Her Weather Underground comrade William Ayers is a professor of education on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Unrepentant, in the wake of 9/11, Ayers told us: ''I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough.'' Bernardine Dohrn, his wife, is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Her stated mission is to overthrow capitalism. Ayers and Dohrn, as well as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, are people who hate our nation and are longtime associates of President Obama's. That might help in explaining our president's vision.

What we see on college campuses represents a dereliction of duty by boards of trustees, which bear the ultimate responsibility. Wealthy donors who care about the fraud of higher education should recognize that there's nothing like the sound of pocketbooks snapping shut to open the closed minds of college administrators.
 
Old May 10th, 2013 #25
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Despite political bias and mediocrity, in 2012, Bowdoin was ranked sixth among the nation's liberal arts colleges in U.S. News & World Report and was ranked 14th on Forbes magazine's list of America's top colleges.
It's all snob cachet, like wearing expensive designer clothes that have the labels prominently displayed. Nothing to do with the actual quality of learning.

Quote:
Recent evidence has emerged that some colleges have become bold enough to hire former terrorists to teach and possibly indoctrinate our young people. That's the case with Columbia University in the hiring of convicted Weather Underground terrorist Kathy Boudin, who spent 22 years in prison for the murder of two policemen and a Brink's guard. She now holds a professorship at Columbia's School of Social Work. Her Weather Underground comrade William Ayers is a professor of education on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Unrepentant, in the wake of 9/11, Ayers told us: ''I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough.'' Bernardine Dohrn, his wife, is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Her stated mission is to overthrow capitalism. Ayers and Dohrn, as well as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, are people who hate our nation and are longtime associates of President Obama's. That might help in explaining our president's vision.
If a presidential candidate palled around with Dr. Pierce or David Duke - men who never set off a single bomb or killed anyone - the judenpresse would scream in mock horror until he was at the bottom of the political shitcan with the lid screwed down tight. But their Magic Nigger gets off scot-free.....
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Old May 14th, 2013 #26
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[onto page 59]

Consistent with the creation of a revolutionary elite to guide the masses, great emphasis in Lenin's writings is attached to ensuring that the right people work in the party press, that they be thoroughly well versed in Leninist thought and they have an intuitive understanding of what is politically/ideologically correct.

Pravil'nost' informs all aspects of publishing and the dissemination of ideas, particularly translations of foreign literature which carries a heightened risk of ideological deviation. To this end, notes Kunitsyn, 'our party supports among the flood of publications that which helps the correct understanding of life' (Kunitsyn, 1971, 100, emphasis added).[7] We are warned that not all authors can be relied on to provide a 'correct understanding' of class character (Kunitsyn, 1971, 131, emphasis added) and 'In the long term', writes Kunitsyn, 'the correct education of authors acquired a much bigger role' (Kunitsyn, 1971, 232, emphasis added). Lenin, we are also assured, believed that 'the workers, confronted with a Marxist explanation of any complicated situation, would correctly understand' and 'he [Lenin] showed such boundless punctiliousness in correcting errors which had been made in the party press' (Kunitsyn, 1971, 160, emphasis added). Lenin was also concerned 'about the correct implementation of revolutionary principles in the press' (Kunitsyn, 1971, 194, emphasis added), and revolutionary struggle and its interests required a 'correct, fundamentally scientific reflection of them in the press' (Kunitsyn, 1971, 191, emphasis added). In other words, censorship of all writing is fully justified.

This insistence on the link between correct thinking and writing means that journalism and writing become the collective responsibility of the party. It is expressed in one of Lenin's most oft-quoted lines: 'The newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and collective agitator, it is also a collective organizer' (Lenin, 1946, 10). The paper was intended to educate the masses politically, preparing them under the guidance of the party for the day of revolution. With this end in mind Lenin insisted on 'the correct supply' of material for the paper and 'on its correct dissemination' (Lenin, 1946, 11). As a later official Soviet source makes clear, one of the tasks of party propaganda is 'to elucidate for the benefit of the working masses the correctness of the party's policy [pravil'nost' politiki partii] and the need to implement it' (Malaya Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya, 1959, column 628).

__________________________
[7] Under conditions of Maoism, as Michael Schoenhals points out, the problem is especially fraught with dangers for Chinese translators of Western books: 'Translators and others professionally engaged in the systematic introduction of foreign thought in China have always been in a precarious situation when it comes to formulations' (Schoenhals, 1992, 117).

Last edited by Alex Linder; May 14th, 2013 at 09:03 PM.
 
Old May 14th, 2013 #27
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Free and open discussion, which existed in the West, represented the greatest threat to Lenin's arrogation of intellectual infallibility. Two points can be noted. First, a free press protected in law cannot be easily manipulated, and Lenin can, of course, be attacked with impunity. Journalists will resist control by a small group of individuals - Lenin's party for example. Second, the very lack of centralised control means that the concentrated essence of ideology, deemed by Lenin to be a precondition for the pursuit and consolidation of power will not be achieved. This leads to heterodoxy, ideological deviation and debasement of the medium for less serious purposes (entertainment, sensationalism, tabloid journalism, for example). Nevertheless, Lenin argues that within the party: 'Free speech and the freedom of the press must be total' (Lenin, 1947, 29), subject to the caveat that the party reserves the rigth to expel those who propagate anti-party views. Regarding the prcedure to be adopted for ascertaining 'anti-party views', Lenin makes the following point:

Quote:
The party's programme, the party's tactical resolutions and its code and finally the entire experience of international social-democracy, of international voluntary alliances of the proletariat, which while constantly incorporating into their parties individual elements or trends, which are not entirely consistent, Marxist, or correct, but additionally, constantly initiating periodic "purges" of their party, shall serve to determine the line separating party views from anti-party ones (Lenin, 1947, 29).
So the party, in order that it preserve orthodoxy, must resort to periodic purges of incorrect elements whose incorrect status shall be determined by the party elite in accordance with the doctrine of democratic centralism. Lenin provides an ideological justification for terror against the party itself and against any opposition to the party from outside. In such apparently innocuous, theoretical beginnings we find the genesis of communist terror which has had truly catastrophic consequences in the twentieth century. Terror itself is politically correct.
 
Old May 14th, 2013 #28
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Harsh administrative measures to eradicate factionalism from party ranks were stepped up after 1917. Demonstration of ideological orthodoxy become crucial for survival. Evidence of the party's determination to root out factionalism and other heresies can be seen at the 10th Party Congress in 1921. The resolution 'Concerning Syndicalist and Anarchistic Deviation in Our Party' (16th March 1921) is particularly important:

Quote:
Apart from theoretical disloyalty and a fundamentally incorrect [nepravil'nyi] attitude towards the practical expertise initiated by Soviet power in the field of economic construction, the congress of the RKP, in the views of the aforementioned group and analogous groups and persons, sees colossal political incorrectness [gromadnaya politicheskaya nepravil'nost'] and an immediate political danger for the preservation of power on behalf of the proletariat (Resheniya, 1967, paragraph 5, 205, emphasis added).
Returning to ideas first expressed in How to Begin?[8], Lenin in a letter to Kurskii dated 17th May 1922, submitted an amendment to the Soviet Criminal Code. Free of all practical restraints, the theoretical struggle now gives way to physical extermination of class enemies. Terror reaches its politically correct apotheosis:

Quote:
Despite all the shortcomings of the draft, the fundamental idea is, I hope, clear: that is openly to bring forward a principled and politically correct[9] (and not merely narrowly juridical) statute, which sets out the essence and justification of terror, its necessity and limits.

The court must not eliminate terror -- to promise that would be self-deceit or a trick but is to put it on a sound principled foundation, to legitimise it, clearly, without any lies or evasions. It must be formulated as widely as possible, since only a revolutionary feel for justice and a revolutionary conscience will stipulate the terms of use as widely or as not (Lenin, 1964, 190, emphasis in the original).
________________________
[8] 'From a point of principle we have never renounced and cannot renounce the use of terror' (Lenin, 1946, 7).

[9] Richard Pipes translates the Russian original - politicheski pravdivoe - as politically correct (Pipes, 1994, 401) which I have retained since it is consistent with the ideological justification for the use of terror demanded by Lenin.

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Old May 14th, 2013 #29
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By the time of Lenin's death in 1924, and certainly no later than the end of the 1920s, the concept of correctness was pervasive in ideology, politics, psychiatry, education, literature, history, jurisprudence, culture and economics. To be politically correct meant to be consistent with, not deviating from, the party line or any given issue. To be politically incorrect was to run the risk of being denounced as engaging in 'revisionism', 'factionalism', being a 'wrecker' or an 'enemy of the people'.[10] Even the choice of children's names was affected,[11] and a recent study of early Soviet reading habits also shows the astonishing lengths to which the Soviet state was prepared to go to ensure that the correct opinions were formed and internalised by readers (Dobrenko, 1997). The withdrawal of books published in Tsarist times, as part of a systematic policy of ideological indoctrination, clearly anticipates the contemporary feminist and multicultural approach to education at all levels. By the late Soviet period dissent or deviation was not just politically incorrect but regarded as symptomatic of some profound mental disturbance. Khrushchev, in a major policy speech to writers, whom he called 'engineers of human souls', (Khrushchev, 1959, 1) set the tone:

Quote:
Crime is a deviation from the accepted norms of behaviour in society, which is not infrequently caused by confusion in a person's psyche. Can there be illnesses, psychic disorders among individuals in a communist society? Apparently there can be. And if there are, they will be misdemeanors, which are peculiar to people with an abnormal state of mind. So one will not judge a communist society by lunatics such as these. To those, who on a similar "foundation" might start to call for a fight against communism, one can say that there are indeed people who are fighting against communism, with its noble ideals, but, evidently, such people are manifestly not in a normal state of mind (Khrushchev, 1959, 2).
Dissent went on to become a factor in determining whether an individual should be incarcerated and is a recurrign theme in the well documented abuses of dissidents in Soviet psychiatric institutions in the 1970s and 1980s (Bloch & Reddaway, 1977, Shalin, 1996).

_______________________
[10] Antony Beevor cites an NKVD [Soviet Secret Police] report, written in 1945, in which it is noted with some alarm that Soviet soldiers are talking about the obvious confort of German civilians and forming 'politically incorrect conclusions' (Beevor, 2002 34).

[11] In a letter published in The Times in 1970, Dr Nina Szamuely a specialist working on the Oxford Russian Dictionary wrote that: '[...] the craze for ideologically correct, artificial "revolutionary names was extremely widespread in the twenties and early thirties'. Girls were given names such as Lenina and Stalina or Russian acronyms such as Revdit - revolyutsionnoe ditya - revolutionary child (The Last Cuckoo, 1987, 109).

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Old May 14th, 2013 #30
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Political Correctness and Socialist Realism

With its tradition of realism and social criticism, Russian literature had attracted the attention of the party well before 1917. Lenin's essay, "Party Organization and Party Literature" can rightly be seen as a foretaste of the sort of controls and expectations that would be imposed on journalists and writers. In the one-party state artistic endeavor would not be permitted to exist and function independently of the party. It would serve the ideological goals of the state. Initially, in the years before 1917, Lenin made some effort to appeal to his non-Marxist audience by arguing that writers and journalists who wrote for money were merely slaves of capital, whereas the writer who placed his talent at the disposal of the party was engaged in some noble activity. After 1917, with power seized and the free press banned, and the censorship apparatus initiated by decree, the pose of reasonableness could be dropped. Thereafter, authorial freedom was defined purely in terms of a willingness to commit oneself to the party and its goals.

Stalin's rise in the party coincided with a greater prescriptiveness regarding literary policy and led ultimately to the promulgation of the literary doctrine of socialist realism in 1934. Henceforth, art for art's sake was condemned. One of a number of notorious examples of socialist realism is Nikolai Pogodin's The Aristocrats (1934), which portrays former thieves and peasants undergoing perekovka (reform through labor) while building the White Sea canal. The reality was something else. Prisoners were not "reformed" through labor at all but merely worked to death in appalling conditions in order to build a canal which, architecturally and practically, was of little value. A recent study, in which the author applies a postmodernist approach to the history of the canal, does to the memory of the victims what Soviet propaganda did as well: denies their suffering by relativizing and burying it under spurious theories (Ruder, 1998). Ruder argues that: 'Pogodin acted politically correctly, in contemporary parlance, and was rewarded for it with success and publication' (Ruder, 1998, 157). In both the context of the 1930s and that of the 1990s, one could say that Pogodin acted 'politically correctly'.[12]

Socialist realism demanded that artists depict the world as it ought to be not as it was. Again, this principle has been thoroughly grasped by feminists and appears to be the holy of holies among practitioners in our contemporary broadcast and print media. It is, too, as any interested American parent can confirm, crucial in the production and marketing of contemporary school textbooks, many abandoning any pretence of historical accuracy in the name of "balance" and "fairness". Likewise, affirmative action and equal opportunities programs and legislation are predicated on a theoretical template that owes little to empirical data and human behavior.

An important point here and one that explains a great deal about Marxism-Leninism and Neo-Marxism is the distinction made in Russian between pravda (truth which is socially, morally or ethically just) and istina (the truth, the empirical state of affairs, that what nature makes possible or impossible). For the Marxist-Leninist, and more recently the multiculturalist and feminist, empirical reality (istina) is the enemy, since the Soviet ideologue and his current imitators are pursuing a socially and morally higher truth (pravda). This somewhat arcane difference between the two types of truth in Russia was thoroughly understood by the former communist, Joseph Berger:

Quote:
[Istina] denotes the correspondence between the notion and the objective reality. Pravda is a unique and specifically Russian concept: it means the highest concept of truth, a truth elevated to the rank of an idea. It is etymologically linked with pravo ['right' or 'law'] and with pravosudie ['process of justice']. A Russian who 'stands for pravda' or who 'struggles for pravda', does not stand or struggle for the sum of all kinds of truth, big and small, but for the truth which needs to be attained, truth in action, the ideal of conduct, the correspondence between acts and the demands of ethics. Perhaps in English one would have to say 'the right truth' or 'knowledge plus righteousness', but this splits the concept - and in the thirties this split created an abyss.

In the rooms of the NKVD [Soviet Secret Police] and at Party meetings, istina was nothing - it was relative and it could easily be changed: only pravda was absolute. It seemed to me, as it must do to millions of others who have not been through this school, hard to understand how a philological distinction could have such an effect on the lives of so many. But in fact this small difference - this tyranny of pravda over istina - was the lever by which white was turned into black; no such dialectic had existed since the Inquisition. The notion of pravda was the basis of power (Berger, 1971, 52-53).
Berger illuminates not just the deadly split in Soviet ideological thinking but, equally, the intellectual schizophrenia, the intellectual and moral relativism and the dishonesty that characterises so much of the multicultural agenda. His use of 'the right truth' is, in essence, what feminists and postmodernists wish us to understand by the term politically correct. Biological differences between men and women -- an insignificant istina as far as feminists are concerned -- must not be permitted to undermine the struggle for pravda, the great truth, in this case, the absolute equality of all outcomes.[13]

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[12] For a detailed discussion of Ruder's book see Frank Ellis, 'The Decline and Fall of History', Salisbury Review, vol 20, No 2, 2001, pp.28-32.

[13] Martin Dewhirst has also made the connection between socialist realism and political correctness: 'I would therefore suggest that pravdivyy and pravdivost' as used in the official definition of Socialist realism mean not so much 'truthful' and 'truthfulness' (when Russians want to insist that some pravda really does correspond to the Western concept of truth they talk about istinnaia pravda) as pravednyi and pravdenost' ('righteous' and 'righteousness' and pravil'nyi and pravil'nost' ('correct' and 'correctness', in other words 'morally and ideologically right' or, as we might say these days, 'politically correct'. See 'Soviet Socialist Realism and the Soviet Censorship System' (Chung et al, 1996, 26). The Russian word for government (pravitel'stvo) and the verb to govern (pravit') are also etymologically linked to the notion of pravda: those who know this 'higher truth' are those fit to govern.

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Czeslaw Milosz has written at length on the excruciating moral and intellectual damage done to Polish writers who, accustomed to writing before the imposition of Soviet rule, now had to adapt to socialist realism. Of one colleague who fell foul of the new method, Milosz writes that 'a politically correct theme would not have saved him from the critics' attack had they wanted to apply orthodox criteria, because he had described the concentration camp as he personally had seen it, not as one was supposed to see it' (Milosz, 1985, 126, emphasis in the original).[14] To the insights of Berger and Milosz in this area can be added those of Arthur Koestler (Darkness at Noon, 1940) George Orwell (1984, 1949) and Alain Besançon (The Falsification of the Good: Soloviev and Orwell, 1994).

One writer of exceptional importance for this theme in twentieth-century Russian literature is Andrei Platonov whose novel, The Foundation Pit (1929-1930), is a study of alienation brought on by the ideological corruption of language. As the slogans, bureaucratese, jargon and a never-ending flood of acronyms overwhelm the language, Platonov's characters lose the ability to communicate with one another. Crushed by the weight of ideology (and anticipating the distinction made by Berger between istina and pravda), one character ponders whether 'truth [istina] is a class enemy' (Platonov, 1998, 332). Words there are aplenty in this politically correct cacophony but their meaning has been appropriated by the party. Language is a series of ideological rituals. Denied the means to express their hopes and fears, Platonov's characters regress to a state of fearful isolation. Silence becomes the only effective form of communication. Corrupting language, communism destroys community, the very thing that communists purport to be creating. Well before Orwell, Berger and Milosz, Platonov identified and satirized the attempt made by the party to change reality by a conscious policy of making certain words and ideas redundant, or politically incorrect, and replacing them with appropriate or politically correct ones. In both manifestations -- that depicted in Platonov's novels, or that favored by postmodernists -- the intention is to use language as a weapon. In this scenario language is not primarily used to communicate ideas but rather to signal the speaker's willingness to submit to the politically correct register (gay, for example, in place of homosexual or gender in place of sex). Language is power not for the masses but for the party intellectuals who are to instruct us on correct usage. Contemporary political correctness pursues the same policy by dominating public discourse and creating a climate of fear such that "incorrect" opinion is declared illegitimate or racist and so on.

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[14] Valentin Turchin records what happened to Grigory Pomerants, a Soviet dissident writer: 'Someone complained to the Party Bureau about an "incorrect ideological line" at the seminar, and I was summoned to give an explanation' (Turchin, 1981, 12).

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Introjection [edit]

In an influential 1981 article "Some Clinical Consequences of Introjection: Gaslighting", Calef and Weinshel argue that gaslighting involves the projection and introjection of psychic conflicts from the perpetrator to the victim: 'this imposition is based on a very special kind of "transfer"...of painful and potentially painful mental conflicts'.[10]

The authors explore a variety of reasons why the victims may have 'a tendency to incorporate and assimilate what others externalize and project onto them', and conclude that gaslighting can be 'a very complex, highly structured configuration which encompasses contributions from many elements of the psychic apparatus'.[10]
Resisting [edit]

With respect to women in particular, Hilde Lindemann argued that "in gaslighting cases...ability to resist depends on her ability to trust her own judgements."[11] Establishing "counterstories" to that of the gaslighter may help the victim re-acquire or even for the first time "acquire ordinary levels of free agency".[11]
 
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The Sino-Soviet Schism Mao and the Cultural Revolution

Correct thinking in Chinese communism owes much to Mao's political personality and ambitions and, as in the case of Lenin in the Soviet variant, arises in part from the need to impose a general line on the party cadres and the population as the party attempted to modernise the country. Factors peculari to China would be the role of face and the leagacy of Confucianism (Lin, 1991, Lipman & Harrell, 1990). From Confucianism comes the custom in Chineses culture whereby disciplies of some revered master, in the firs instance Confucius, would collect the master's sayings (yu-lu) for posterity (Chuang, 1968, 7-8). The Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (Mao chu-hsi yu-lu) have been put together with the Confucian tradition in mind.

The Soviet precedent also helps to explain why Mao wanted to launch the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.[15] In Dr Zhivago, one of Pasternak's characters, looking back at the 1930s, argues that collectivization was such a calamity that the party could not acknowledge it and so in order to hide the failure all means were used to force people to lose the habit of independent thought and judgment (Pasternak, 1957, 519). Precisely the same problem confronted Mao after his policies caused a massive famine which in terms of human suffering, misery and the numbers of dead, has no parallel in human history. Objective reality, that is the deaths of millions by starvation, had to be forced from people's minds by terror. So the stage was set for this great and ancient nation to descend into self-inflicted madness goaded on by Mao and his teenage thugs. The masses, that category of amorphous, docile worker ants so beloved of Marxist theorists everywhere, had to be kept in a state of permanent frenzy and suicidal enthusiasm. Acting not thinking was the requirement of the time.[16] Scepticism was a heresy, and so by one of those paradoxes in which communism abounds, correct thinking meant in essence not thinking at all.

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[size=1][15] Note the changes fromt he original "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" in the 1960s to "Cultural Revolution" in the 1970s & 1980s to, currently, "cultural revolution" (Schoenhals, 1992, 109).

[16] Jung Chang, the author of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, who lived through the cultural revolution, admitted that on hearing of Mao's death she had to hide the lack of 'correct emotion' (1993, 658). The expectation that every Chinese was supposed to be stricken with grief on hearing of Mao's death has a parallel with the capricious blood-letting inflicted by the Zulu king Chaka on his people after his mother died. Hundreds, possibly thousands, were executed for failing to make appropriate and prolonged displays of grief. (Baker, 1974, 389-390).

[17] Lin provides confirmation of the broad definition of Soviet political correctness given above. She notes that: '[...] there is in any given situation just one "correct line" of policy, all others tend to lead to ruin, and so on' (Lin, 1991, 70). Michael Schoenhals's study is a painstaking analysis of the extreme importance attached by Chinese Communist Party theoreticians to the use of correct formulations (tifa) andconfirms the fundamental approach to language and power shared by both the former Soviet Union and Communist China (Schoenhals, 1992). Thom (1989) in her study of Soviet Newspeak anticipates many of the points made by Schoenhals.

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Jing Lin's study of the political, psychological and eduational factors which prepared the Red Guards for the violence they inflicted on their fellow Chinese durign the "ten-year calamity" (shinian haojie), as the cultural revolution is now referred to, confirms the extreme emphasis on all types of correct behavior and thought in Maoism. Communist ideology was sancrosanct, 'the only correct official ideology' (Lin, 1991, 40)[17] As in the case of its Soviet counterpart, the Chinese mass media's main task was to indoctrinate the masses with "correct attitudes, ideas and beliefs" (Lin, 1991, 57). And the main task of the highly centralised education system was to inculcate 'the correct political orientation' (Lin, 1991, 79). Another parallel with Soviet Russia (and National Socialist Germany) was the party propaganda machine's use of young role models specifically aimed at the Red Guards (see, for example, Pavlik Morozov in the Soviet Union and Horst Wessel in Nazi Germany). The Chinese exemplar was Lei Feng, a young communist whose diary inspired the learn-from-Lei-Feng movement in which the Red Guards would keep diaries and hand them in to teachers 'for help in correcting possible deviations' (Lin, 1991, 122). Attitudes among the Red Guards were comparable to those identified by Berger regarding istina/pravda: 'While being absolutely obedient to Mao and aggressive against the "class enemies", the Red Guards treated the proletariat as embodying a concept of "justice", and idea that represented correctness' (Lin, 1991, 156).

Extracts from Important Documents on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which was published in 1970 at the peak of the cultural revolution, as well as those from other official Chinese sources, confirm Lin's conslusiosn and, again, the absolutely central role of correctness in all fields of Maoist thought and Chinese communism.[18] If anything centrality understates the emphasis. We are dealing here with a fanatical faith which is impervious to reasoned argument and evidence. The following citations -- many more could be cited -- require no explanation. They demonstrate an even greater obsession with correctness than that found in Lenin and his interpreters:

[...] 'our Party will always forge ahead victoriously along the correct course charted by Chairman Mao' (FLP, 1970, 75);

'Under the guidance of Chairman Mao's correct line' [...] (FLP, 1970, 65);

[...] 'the great, glorious and correct Party' (FLP, 1970, 66);

'Long live the great, glorious and correct Communist Party of China!' (FLP, 1970, 106);

[...] 'the correct kind of leadership' (FLP, 1970, 134);

'Without correct literary and art criticism it is impossible for creative work to flourish' (FLP, 1970, 230);

'China is a great socialist state of the dictatorship of the proletariat and has a population of 700 million. It needs a unifying thought, revolutionary thought, correct thought. That is Mao Tsetung Thought. Only with this thought can we maintain vigorous revolutionary drive and keep firmly to the correct political orientation' (FLP, 1970, 240);

'Red Guard fighters, revolutionary students, the general orientation of your struggle has always been correct' (FLP, 1970, 257);

[...] 'the correct line of Chairman Mao and the bankruptcy of the bourgeois reactionary line' (FLP, 1970, 274);

'Only by thoroughly criticizing and repudiating the bourgeois reacionary line and eradicating its influence can the line of Chairman Mao be carried out correctly, completely and thoroughly' (FLP, 1970, 276);

teachers are to understand the 'correct line' of Chairman Mao (FLP, 1970, 279);

'Long live the great, glorious and correct Communist Party of China' (FLP, 1970, 290);

'Not to have a correct political orientation is like not having a soul' (FLP, 1977, 405);

'Mao Tse-Tung's thought is the life-line of our Party, the sole correct supreme guiding thought of our Party, also the sole correct supreme guiding thought of the international communist movement' (Union Research Service, 1968, 121);

'Incorrect expressions must be eliminated from newspapers and journals', Editor's and Writer's Friend, 1984 (cited in Schoenhals, 1992, 76).[19]

Political correctness in Chinese communist ideology must also be interpreted against the background of the Sino-Soviet split. Chinese communists found it unforgivable that Khrushchev could denounce Stalin and promulgate a doctrine of peaceful coexistence with the West which implied either a suspension of, or a retreat from, the class struggle. Scandalised by such ideological revisionism -- though this did not prevent China from welcoming President Nixon in 1972 -- the Chinese communist party saw itself as the one true bastion of ideological purity. Khrushchev was a dire warning of where incorrect thinking would lead. Extreme ideological vigilance was needed if China was not to lapse
into revisionism as well. Some sense of what Soviet revisionism meant for communist China can be understood in the Communique of the 11th Plenary Session of the Chinese Communist Party 8th Central Committee (August 12th 1966). According to the communique, 'the CPSU [Communist Party of the Soviet Union] has betrayed Marxism-Leninism, betrayed the great Lenin, betrayed the road tot he great October Revolution, betrayed proletarian internationalism, betrayed the cause of the international proletariat and of the oppressed peoples and oppressed nations, and betrayed the interests of the great Soviet people and the people of the socialist countries' (Documents, 1971, 223). So concerned was the Chinese Communist Party leadership with the Soviet line that in the 1960s it established an Anti-Revisionist Writing Team whose specific task was 'to compose authoritative denunciations of Soviet-style "revisionism" in the name of the CCP Central Committee' (Schoenhals, 1992, 63).

________________________________
[18] Note, for example, the title of Mao's work published in 1957, On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People. We are told that the Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art gave artists the 'correct orientation' (FLP, 1970, 235).

[19] An example of incorrect formulation among a majority of Western scholars would be the use of "totalitarian" to refer to the Soviet Union. To quote Martin Malia: 'In the introduction to each new monograph, the totalitarian model was ritually excoriated, and the "T-word" was banished from polite academic discourse, its use viewed as virtual incitement to Cold War hostility towards the "Evil Empire". By the onset of perestroika in 1985, a pall of political correctness had settled over the field' (Malia, 1994, 12).

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Internal dissenters, or those deemed to be traitors and revisionists, were subjected to brutal treatment by the state media -- literally trial-by-media -- especially where the victim was a high profile member of the party. Thus, in a report of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee, Liu Shao-Chi, who had disagreed with Mao, was referred to as a 'renegade', 'traitor' and 'scab' (Documents, 1971, 243). Lesser figures would be attacked at local level and those deemed to be guilty of serious deviations from the party line could face the dreadful pressure of a struggl session in which they were subjeted to prolonged physical and psychological abuse often in front of large audiences and were called upon to repent their crimes (Chang, 1993, Lifton, 1961, Lin, 1991, Saunders, 1996, Thurston, 1988, Wu, 1994). Other methods were rectification campaigns designed to correct 'bad thoughts', and a variation on the struggle session known as unity-criticism-unity, which involved breaking the victim down, "deconstructing" him, as it were, and then putting him back together again.

Worse still was the thought reform, si xiang gai zao, that was practised in the Chinese concentration camp system, the laogai, or 'Auschwitz of the mind' in Harry Wu's startling expression (Saunders, 1996, 73). 'For the Chinese communist', notes Wu, 'the aim is not to destroy him [the prisoner], a hostile element, physically through violence, but to destroy him mentally and ideologically, while threatening him with violence' (Saunders, 1996, vii).[20] Certain forms of physical abuse are used in conjunction with thought reform, as in the degrading ritual of bai lao men ('paying respects to the cell-god'), which involves a new prisoner's being made to suck up excrement from a bucket through straws and then say that the excrement tasted delicious (Saunders, 1996, 41).

Compelling prisoners to act out their roles in what to the Westerner appears to be a theatre of the absurd plays a major role in breaking the prisoner's mental resistance. The more grotesquely at odds with the truth, the more blatant the distortion and accusation, the more powerful the intellectual violence done to the victim. Agreeing to some blatant fabrication, the victim damages and eventually destroys his ability to think for himself, which is consistent with the Maoist view that: "Self" is the origin of all evil' (Union Research Service, 1968, 225). His inner self destroyed or broken, the victim ceases, finally, to be an independent thinking human being.

[onto page 72, more wednesday]

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Political Correctness and the New Left

Mao's Great Leap Forward inspired and encouraged a new generation of 'political pilgrims' to suspend their critical faculties in much the same way that an earlier generation of Western communists and fellow travelers had embraced Stalinism (Hollander, 1981). Mao's cultural revolution also provided a convenient backdrop to the Vietnam war protest and the wave of student rebellion and resentment directed at white middle class society.

The New Left itself was a product of the 1960s. Its message was simple: 'All power in the world is oppressive, and all power is usurped. Abolish that power and we achieve justice and liberation together' (Scruton, 1985, 7). 'Impatient for doctrine' (Scruton, 1985, 7), this was a generation ripe for the teachings of Lenin and Mao and much in Althusser, Derrida, Foucault, Gramsci, Galbraith and Marcuse. Yet, for all the pose of rebellion, the break with the existing order and hierarchy, this was a movement that craved submission to authority, and the more hostile the New Left was to bourgeois mores and behavior, the more outrageous its claims, the more tightly it controlled the minds of its youthful followers.

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[20] In their study of psychiatric abuse in the Soviet Union, Bloch and Reddaway considered the possibility of such abuses occurring in other communist states. Of China, they noted: 'As for China, no reliable evidence of psychiatric abuse is available to us. But the apparently widespread practice of trying to cure mental illness by inculcating Maoism into patients so that they should think "correctly" arouses the suspicion that psychiatrists may also be involved in the "thought reform" practised on dissenters in labour camps' (Bloch & Reddaway, 1977, 466). Twenty five years later, the evidence for such psychiatric abuse is detailed and abundant.

Althusser can lay claim to being the master sorcerer of the New Left, whose manipulation of language entices the unwary, leading to intellectual confusion and oblivion. From Foucault, the radical derives his obligatory paranoia and the belief that the boundary between the deviant and the natural is a monstrous bourgeois fiction designed to perpetuate bourgeois rule (an echo here perhaps of Lenin on the free press). Derrida teaches him the need to deconstruct language and literature (the hegemonic discourse of the white, heterosexual ruling class). Gramsci stressed the importance of revolutionary theory: 'Gramsci did for the sixties what Lenin and Stalin had done for the thirties and forties: he convinced his following that revolutionary practice and theoretical correctness are identical concerns' [...] (Scruton, 1985, 77). And while attacking the economic practices of the West, the author of The Affluent Society comments that: 'In the communist countries, stability of ideas and social purpose is achieved by formal adherence to an officially proclaimed doctrine. Deviation is stigmatised as "incorrect". In our society, a similar stability is enforced far more informally by the conventional wisdom' (Galbraith, 1969, 17, emphasis added).[21] Galbraith's concluding sentence is a precise example of the intellectual relativism that did so much to create and to perpetuate the view that Western societies and the Soviet Union were one and the same, even indeed, that they were converging (Whereupon the Soviet Union in a fit of curmudgeonly ingratitude towards its Western friends and fellow travelers collapsed). Marcuse was probably the most influential of all the New Left thinkers. His manipulation of language -- one better known example being "repressive tolerance" -- continues the assault on empirical reality pioneered by Lenin.
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[21] This is taken from the 1969 revised edition. In the 1963 edition of Galbraith's book, the underlined text is absent.

These thinkers and others

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These thinkers and others have contributed in various ways to what is probably the striking feature of the New Left, and one that sets it apart from conventional Marxists[22]: the extraordinary emphasis placed on culture and language; the belief that language is the essential lever of power. Mao, whose influence was by no means confined to mainland China, has, one suspects, been hugely influential in this respect. To quote Chuang:

Quote:
Ever since the Communists came to power nineteen years ago, every political campaign in China has been simultaneously a semantic campaign as well, introducing or reviving a plethora of shibboleths and slogans with such determination and concentration that it sometimes borders on verbomania or graphomania. Mao strikes one as a true believer of word-magic... (Chuang, 1968, 47).
"Word magic" explains why the contemporary notion of political correctness exert such a beguiling influence on so many discrete groups and factions. For, if money is power, then some will have more power than others. If, however, language is power, then anyone can partake of power and groups and factions who otherwise might have very little to say to one another, now find that they are united in their desire to impose new linguistic norms on mainstream bourgeois society which, it is alleged, has traditionally marginalized them. This new alliance, or rainbow coalition, has a ready ally in the universities, print and broadcast media and public sector bureaucracies. The universities in particularly are uniquely placed to be the new brokers of language and culture, since it has been New Left ideology ensconced in our universities and on its fringes that has turned the world into language.[23] In particular, the universities are crucial to the New Censorship Paradigm (Ellis, 2000). No longer the guardian of our cultural heritage, they actively seek to "deconstruct" it.

Instructed by Ne Left theoreticians that they are victims, that language is power and better still that it has been "constructed" to serve the hegemony of the white heterosexual male, blacks and women now feel that they have the moral authority to impose cultural and linguistic change, that is "the correct orientation". For the "repressed and their allies, this is an intoxicating message. Instead of resistance, they have all too often found a willingness on the part of mainstream culture to submit to their linguistic and relativist demands. Concessions of any kind earn no good will at all. On the contrary, they tend to confirm the radical in his contempt for the society around him, reinforcing his suspicion that society was rotten all along (why else do they make concessions?) and encouraging him to make ever greater demands for institutional and cultural change.

______________________________
[22] Though, as Etkind points out, the belief that human beings can be remoulded is fundamental to Soviet Marxism: 'Man is seen as plastic material which is suitable for creation. He has no natural qualities, he is totally immersed in culture and is formed by the purposeful influences of milieu, society and science. In other words, man's nature is no longer seen as nature. It is seen as culture, the result of mankind's efforts or those of its best representatives. Nature-as-culture loses its inherent qualities - primacy, innateness and sense of detachment from others, the fundamental independence of its efforts. What is made by people, can be remade. Man's nature becomes an object of purposeful manipulations' (Etkind, 1993, 184, emphasis in the original).

[23] I have borrowed Thom's remark about the effect of Marxism-Leninism on language: 'Ideology turns the world into language' (Thom, 1989, 87),

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Comparative Summary

The main features which Western political correctness derives from as Soviet and Maoist variants can now be summarised as follows:

Quote:
i. No limits to the competence of politicians and activists to remould human societies are recognized. There is no area of human endeavour which cannot be "deconstructed" and improved. All versions of political correctness are genuine manifestations of ideology in the definitions provided by Apter, Arendt, Francis, Heller, Kirk and Lin (Apter, 1964, Arendt 1973, Francis, 1999, Heller, 1988, Kirk, 1984, Lin, 1991);

ii. Political correctness denies objective truth, or something close to it. See the istina/pravda split identified and discussed by Berger.

iii. Only certain types of art, literature, scientific research and thinking are permissible. Soviet ideologues believed mistakenly, that they could co-opt the tradition of nineteenth century Russian literature for their own ends. Rather than acknowledging the grandeur of the great canon, postmodernists have chosen to attack the canon with the aim of destruction through leveling. Both Western and Soviet/Maoist versions accept the need for truth and facts to be censored if this conflicts with politically correct aims. When harvard professor, Barbara Johnson, as part of the AWARE campaign (Actively Working Against Racism and Ethnocentrism), declared that 'professors should have less freedom of expression than writers and artists, because professors are supposed to be createing a better world' (Beard & Cerf, 1992, 97), she reveals her full commitment to the spirit of Soviet socialist realism and Leninist partiinost'. Whereas the Soviet communist party was brutal in regard to censoring forbidden manuscripts, killing and imprisoning writers without hesitation, more diverse approaches are favoured in the West. The following can be noted: outright suppression of manuscripts by a publisher, even hen teh author has been earlier informed that publication will proceed (as in the case of Chris Brand's book on the g factor); intimidation of publishers by left-wing extremists who often adopt a guise of "anti-racism" or "anti-fascism"; failure or refusal on the part of university librarians to consider certain titles for collection development (a very effective long-term form of censorship); refusal to review certain books; ignoring a book even when it sells well; organising a discussion panel to attack an author or publication, ensuring that the author under attack or advocate of certain views has minimal time to respond. This is a favourite technique of the British Broadcasting Corporation, Britain's state-owned television station, when a politically incorrect opinion or book cannot be ignored since to do so merely draws attention to the silence of the state media; ideological and political attacks on the institution of free speech frequently based on the straw man fallacy that free speech is not absolute (no man-made institution is);

iv: Use of the print and broadcast media to vilify and to demonise those who break any taboos prescribed in paragraph iii. This is important in the Western version since the totalitarian violence used by the Soviet Union is not currently an option;

v. We find exceptional importance attached to the need to establish and to maintain correct theoretical approaches (Chuang, 1968, Chung et al, 1996, FLP, 1970, Khrushchev, 1959, Lenin, 1901, 1902, 1905 & 1906, Resheniya, 1967, Schoenhals, 1992, Thom, 1989). For contemporary political correctness domination of political discourse -- symbols, words and usage -- is all important (Goldberg, 2002, Stein, 2000);

vi. The role of a demon figure either the class enemy or currently the white, heterosexual male;

vii. Political correctness has, to paraphrase Thom, turned the world into language. And strives for absolute control over the dictionary;

viii. Envy is exploited to an unusual degree;

ix. Freedoms guaranteed in Western societies are exploited in an attempt to destroy those freedoms while arguing that these freedoms are a sham (free speech, equality before the law, freedom of assembly);

x. The Soviet and Chinese Communist Parties seized power and proceeded on the basis of the tabula rasa or Year Zero. In the West, we are experiencing a process of slow and incremental Sovietization.
Conclusion

Emerging into the wider public domain at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s, the term political correctness, much to the surprise and chagrin of those who used it, rapidly became associated with the Phrarisee and the tyrant. As early as 1992, the compilers of The Official Politically Correct Dictionary & Handbook were quick to spot the danger and tried to blunt the attack, warning their readers that: "The term "politically correct", co-opted by the white power elite as a tool for attacking multiculturalism, is no longer "politically correct" (Bear & Cerf, 1992, 87). Attacking political correctness with some vigor in Culture of Complaint, Robert Hughes nevertheless felt obliged to balance his criticisms wtih the invention of "patriotic correctness", which, he assured us, was as bad as political correctness (Hughes, 1993, 28).

[onto page 78, more thur.]

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Old May 18th, 2013 #39
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Richard Burt's explanation of the origins of political correctness as something that was 'used ironically against other leftists as a critique of moralism and preachiness' (Jones, 2001, 1901) also shows a certain lack of imagination and understanding of what is at stake. For, if political correctness were simply a question of ridiculing "preachiness" or adopting poses then one could just ignore it. On the basis of the material cited and discussed here political correctness goes way beyond mere finger-wagging. In its Maoist variant it represents an extreme form of intellectual violence designed to break an individual's will and compel him to submit to the will of the collective (community). Harry Wu's insight into his own ordeal in the laogai recognises the brutal simplicity of what his tormentors were trying to achieve:

Quote:
Suddenly the traditional practice of footbinding came to mind. We have switched to headbinding, I thought. It's no longer the fashion to bind a woman's feet, but they bind a person's thoughts instead. That way the mind can't move freely. That way ideas all take on the same size and shape, and thinking becomes impossible. That's why they arrested me. That's why they want to change me, that's why they force me to reform.

(Wu, 1994, 87).
Western versions lack concentration camps for re-education and reform through labor, yet they indisputably involve wholly unacceptable levels of censorship and intellectual violence to those who dissent from multicultural orthodoxy. Race awareness courses in American universities are just one example (Kors, 2000).

Moreover, the threat and use of physical violence is always there is the left feels that some recalcitrant academic needs to be taught a lesson. Orchestrated mob rule which ws used to intimidate professors Michael Levin, J. Phillipe Rushton, Chris Brand, Arthur Jensen and Hans Eysenck, is straight out of the Maoist canon of street thuggery deployed against Chinese intellectuals during the cultural revolution. Burr's citing others to the effect that no academics have been prevented from teaching or dismissed by any administration is disingenuous, and demonstrably wrong (Pearson, 1997). In the United Kingdom, Ray Honeyford, the headmaster of a school in Bradford -- an inner-city area with a large concentration of schoolchildren from the Indian sub-continent -- was subjected to a sustained campaign of physical violence and bureaucratic intimidation because he highlighted the failures of multicultural education (Honeyford, 1984 & 2001). Some twenty years later, he has been thoroughly vindicated, as some of his erstwhile critics and the government now admit.[24] Yet, this is small comfort to a decent man whose career was destroyed in its prime. The most recent example was the death of Pim Fortuyn, a former Dutch university professor, who was murdered by an extremist because of his views.

_________________________________
[24] The article in which Ray Honeyford drew attention to what was happening in his school was first published in The Salisbury Review in 1984. The race riots in Oldham, Burnley and Leeds in 2001 were a direct consequence of trends which Honeyford had earlier identified. The article was reprinted in 2001 ('Education and Race - an Alternative View', The Salisbury Review, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2001, pp.9-12).


Furthermore, anyone who has taught at an American university can testify that enormous psychological pressure is brought to bear on academics and students to submit to the general line on all issues dealing with multiculturalism, race and feminism. The atmosphere is not one which is conducive to asking awkward questions. It is one of coercion. As Robert Lifton has noted in his pioneering study of thought reform: 'The message of coercion is: you must change and become what we tell you to become - or else. The threat embodied in the "or else" may be anything from death to social ostracism, any form of physical or emotional pain' (Lifton, 1961, 438, emphasis in the original). Nor, given the way tenure is awarded in American universities, are we likely to encounter many dismissal cases. Any academic who publicly or privately dissented on issues relating to multiculturalism would be placing his chances of securing tenure in grave jeopardy. Dissent would lead to negative reviews in the tenure process, the result being the denial of tenure, an administrative pre-emptive strike, in effect de facto dismissal. Most academics, even with tenure, prefer to stay silent. In the strict sense of the term, the question of dismissal does not therefore arise.

That said, attempts have been made to get university administrations to fire tenured faculty for expressing politically incorrect opinions (Pearson, 1997). So far these attempts appear to have failed but they have caused a great deal of stress to the victims and resulted in much emotional and intellectual energy being wasted. In view of the legal security that tenure affords in American and Canadian universities, one is tempted to conclude that university administrations that attempt to fire faculty, do so not in the hope that they will succeed - though that would be a desirable outcome - but rather with the express intention of causing the victims as much misery as possible. If true, and one suspects that this would be difficult to prove in a court of law, then it amounts to a university administration's abandoning the presumption of innocence, a vital feature of Western jurisprudence. The mere fact of your criticising multiculturalism renders you "guilty" and liable to punishment.

Nor were the debates over political correctness in the early 1990s something peripheral to the future of higher education, as Burt has also suggested, but something fundamental. Whatever cause the left-wing radical supports in the rainbow coalition -- and these days he need not be very left or very radical -- his relativist approach to knowledge, his commitment to the 'truth that ought to be' rather than the one that is, his barely concealed loathing of individual excellence, the belief that in the collective or community resides superior wisdom, his loathing of free speech (which he, naturally, exploits to the full) and his ready acceptance of a completely politicised education system, are demonstrably the offspring of communist systems. Political correctness provides the deep structure, the base on which the superstructure of multiculturalism et al can be raised. Political correctness, in other words, is something serious.

Some of Burt's points have been taken up by Helena Kennedy, a well known left-wing Scottish lawyer and supporter of things multicultural and feminist. As recently as May 2002, she restated views made in the mid-1990s, namely that: 'Political correctness is an invention of the right' (Robinson, 2002, 34). There is plenty of evidence, as I have tried to demonstrate in this article, that by the time the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and in any case well before the vast majority of Westerners, whatever their political allegiances, had heard of it, political correctness was established as an indispensable element in the theoretical struggle of Marxism-Leninism, Maoism and the New Left. Correctness, after all, that is the "correct" analysis of Western, bourgeois societies and the "correct" solutions to their ills, has always been the basis of which the Left, new or old, has staked its claim to order our lives and rebuild our societies in the name of "social justice". Kennedy's assertion was made either out of ignorance or, more probably, because she understands only too well that the demonstrable and verifiable debt owed by multiculturalism and feminism to Lenin and Mao does nothing to make the public congenial towards the whole multicultural experiment and its oppressive legislation.

Responses other than direct denial can also be noted. The frequency with which we encounter terms such as "correct orientation", "correctness", as well as the use of the adjective and adverb "correct" and "correctly" in official Chinese sources underlines the extraordinary efforts made by the Chinese communist party to control people's thoughts and feelings. Yet the studies consulted for this article betray a marked reluctance to draw conclusions about the communist origins of political correctness and the manner in which it has migrated to the West. Not a single work cited in this article and which was published after 1990, that is, at the time when the debate over political correctness in the West was raging, has actually discussed the connection between Maoist notions of correctness and the American campus, even if only to deny or to attack any connection. With the exception of Lin (1991) and Schoenhals (1992)[25] -- Lin leaving us in no doubt about the importance of correct thinking in the ideological preparation of the Red Guards -- Lipman & Farrell (1990) and Saunders (1996) have tended to avoid using "correct" and "correctness" in their discussion of the ideological pressures applied to Chinese during "the ten year calamity". Where references to "correctness" are made, as in Chung et al (1996), then the authors conspicuously refrain from making any connection with the West (Bichler, 30-43, Chung, xvi, Chung & McClellan, 1-22, Wallace, 78-87, Lan, 88-105, Chung et al, 1996). Only Dewhirst comes close to making a connection in a brief footnote (Dewhirst, Chung et al, 1996, 26). Chung herself in the introduction clearly identifies the problem of political/ideological correctness in communism yet studiously avoids making any parallels with its contemporary use by Western leftists. However, she does permit herself a parallel with China's past as in 'Confucian correctness' (Chung, et al, 1996, xvi). Now it is somewhat odd that she can make a parallel with a sage who lived five centuries before the birth of Christ yet not make the more obvious and immediate one with the 1990s. "Confucian correctness" misleads in the same way that "patriotic correctness" does, since it implies that one form of "correctness", be it "Confucian", "patriotic" or "political", is no better or worse than any other. This is the relativism of political correctness itself at work here. To blur these distinctions is to destroy them, or to weaken them to the extent that one can argue, as Galbraith does, that Western 'conventional wisdom' and communist political correctness are the same thing. If we proceed from this leftist assumption, then we could argue that there is no "connection" to be made since both systems are not separated but constitute one giant politicised whole. On this basis, not to highlight the evolution of Soviet political correctness, via Maoism to the West's universities and from there to other institutions, is not to ignore the problem, for there is no problem to be ignored. Political systems and empires from Rome to American democracy, the leftist tells us, have always imposed conformity and insisted on correct behavior. True enough. And what of conservatives, do they not tell us that liberty and 'right reason' go together? (Kirk, 1996, 3-4, Weaver, 1948, 138). Why, then, asks the leftist, should communism and the left be singled out for opprobrium? The answer is that Marxism-Leninism, from which political correctness is derived, manifests a completely different order of correctness and application from any other political system. The danger arises from the totalitarian aspirations of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. All human existence is politicised and everything is judged according to political/ideological criteria and corrected or destroyed accordingly. If a man's mind cannot be "rectified" or freed from "incorrect" thoughts, then he ceases to be a man. He becomes an "enemy of the people". Extermination is justified, demanded, in fact, by the logic of ideology of class war, as is absolutely clear from the abominations of the Gulag and the laogai. The role of ideology -- Marxism-Leninism -- is crucial, as has been fully explained by Solzhenitsyn:

Quote:
Macbeth's self-justifications were feeble -- and his conscience devoured him. Yes even Iago was a little lamb too. The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare's evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology. Ideology -- that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others' eyes, so that he won't hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honours (Solzhenitsyn, 1991, 173-174).
Another anomaly is that none of the works consulted includes any references to political correctness in the indexes. This squeamishness explicitly to highlight the connection is perhaps an indirect acknowledgement that political correctness on the American campus and elsewhere does indeed owe a great deal to Mao and his antecedents. It is perhaps born of the fear that any discussion of the connection will provide ammunition for conservative opponents of multiculturalism. Whatever the reason, the lack of any discussion at a time when arguments over political correctness were taking place in the US and Britain, and when some of the authors were working on books about communist China's cultural revolution, is highly unusual to say the least.[26] In the Russian context, the same is true of Ruder and Tolstaya (Ruder, 1998, Tolstaya, 1998).

__________________________
[25] Marred in places by a failure to recognise some fundamental differences between the USA and the two communist superpowers (the former Soviet Union and Communist China), Schoenhals' book, in spite of the author's best efforts to avoid making any parallels with feminism and multiculturalism, is essential reading for understanding the debt owed by Western versions of political correctness to Mao and his successors.

[26] In The Falsification of the Good, Besançon comments on Orwell's term crimestop: 'it [crimestop] includes the ability not to perceive logical errors and not to comprehend the simplest of arguments if they are against Ingsoc, and, inversely, to have an aversion to any train of thought capable of leading in an undesirable direction. It is "protective stupidity" (Besançon, 1994, 119). Is this an explanation?)

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Old May 18th, 2013 #40
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A more recent trend, and one more effective than Kennedy's denials, is to treat political correctness with a certain disdain or even silence without actually denying its left-wing credentials, and without renouncing the methods and goals of political correctness and multiculturalism. The BBC, Britain's state television and radio network, is especially adept at this sort of Orwellian deceit, appearing to state one thing but encouraging behavior and attitudes which are entirely consistent with politically correct objectives even if not referred to as such. Many Russians, Poles, Czechs, Bulgarians and East Germans who revered the BBC as a surrogate domestic broadcasting service during the Cold War will balk at such apparently harsh comments. Yet when it comes to the ugly side of multiculturalism in Britain today, and much of it is very ugly indeed, the BBC lacks that commitment to objectivity and truth, which once made it so feared by the men in the Kremlin. When Greg Dyke, who is appropriately known as the BBC's Director-General, apologises for the fact that the BBC is 'hideously white', one realises the degree to which politically correct ideas now control and shape the BBC. To paraphrase one of its first Director-Generals, the BBC has become a social menace of the first magnitude.

Despite the determined efforts of liberals and left-wingers to counter the association of political correctness with their favoured causes, the perception remains among the public that political correctness is essentially a creation of the left. The historical evidence, some of which I have marshaled here, supports that association, though evennow few seem to realise just how strong the Soviet legacy is. Enriched by his successors -- Soviet, Maoist, feminist, postmodernist and most recently multiculturalist -- political correctness still bears the stamp of Lenin, the founder of twentieth-century totalitarianism. The empire Lenin helped to build is, thankfully, no more. Yet one hundred years after his tract in revolutionary subversion, What is to be Done?, was first published, his ideas still command a great deal of loyalty. Ideas do indeed have consequences, as Richard Weaver has argued (Weaver, 1948). Contemporary versions of political correctness are Lenin's revenge.

To conclude I offer an allegory. It is pessimistic and belongs to the genre of low-budget horror films. Imagine a giant arachnid, defeated and mortally wounded, which, in its death throes, manages to ejaculate a stream of spores. The victor, savoring his hard-won triumph, fails to see that the spores have landed on his body. If not decontaminated they will begin the process of his metamorphosis into the very monster he has just vanquished.

References

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