Tuesday 7 June 2022

Origins of political correctness: I wrote this on October 14, 2020


The term “political correctness” was coined by Anton Semyonovich Makarenko, Soviet educationalist and NKVD officer, in the 1920s. He was hailed by Unesco in the 1980s as one of the four most influential educationalists of the twentieth century.

Its principles were part of Leninism from the start. In the short-lived Communist dictatorship in Hungary in 1919, Georg Lukacs, the Commissar for Culture introduced pornographic sex education in schools, forced nuns to watch pornographic films and demonised the family.

The Russian Revolution was not supposed to happen in Russia. It was supposed to happen in Germany, and possibly Austria and Hungary.

When the revolutions in those countries quickly failed, Communists asked why and for Marxists there could only be one explanation: false consciousness on the part of the workers.

After the Romanian army marched into Budapest to get rid of the Bolsheviks (whom they knew wanted to recapture Transylvania and other lost Hungarian territories) Lukacs set up the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt to marry the ideas of Marx, Lenin and Freud, from which emerged the Frankfurt School of Marxism.

Lukacs famously asked: “Who will save us from Western Civilisation?” and tried to do the best he could to do so.

He was considered a great literary critic in England in the 1970s and 1980s and his books continue to be published by Penguin Books, that arbiter of literary fashion.

Now we have Black Lives Matter (BLM) saying on its website that it specifically targets “the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement” and Rebecca Futo of Kennedy of Denison University argues that Western civilization and study of the classics only provides cover for racism and sexism. 

Ancient Greece was “an imperialist, anti-immigrant society convinced of its own superiority because of its ethnic purity.” Aristotle “tells his readers that women are naturally subordinate to men.” If men, sorry people, of good will do not denounce Western civilisation, we “give sanction by our silence to the classical past’s uglier tendencies and embolden those who would use it as justification for present racism and misogyny.”

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