Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Origins of Political Correctness, a.k.a. Totalitarian Humanism

Keith Preston suggests it began as "a manifestation of the sense of Calvinist guilt that has been woven into the cultural fabric and historical memories of Protestant societies" with "the fascination of some of the more extreme New Left radicals of the era with the Chinese Cultural Revolution" mixed in — Where Calvin Meets Mao.

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

That was a great article. It is interesting to me that the parts of the country most resistant to the pc dogma are the South and the mid-west, where the traditional religiosity was for the most part not Calvinistic (Baptist, Methodist and Anglican in the South, Lutheran & Catholic in the mid-west). That in my mind tends to support the author's thesis.

PC certainly is a substitute for religion -- but as Kirk pointed out, all ideologies are. An attempt to create a heaven on earth, a world without trade offs and unhindered by custom, tradition and all the things that make utopias unobtainable.

Thanks also for linking to that blog -- I hadn't run across it before. Looks like it is full of very interesting reading.

2:16 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Good observations about the South and Midwest. I was reading a bit about Prohibition the other day, and was struck by the fact that it was the liturgical Christians, i.e. the Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans, who opposed it. Instrestingly for me, it was the Geramn Lutherans (my stock), who opposed it, but not so much the Swedes.

Altentaive Right is an interesting site, although of a somewhat Nietzchean bent, so take that caveat along. Traditionalist conservative James Kalb writes there.

9:57 PM  
OpenID Robert said...

Actually, Baptists are Calvinists (see http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/seminars/tulip-part-1 as an example), and Baptists can be extremely legalistic, so this tends to PC...just a different politic...one based off of random passages from the Bible.

Calvinists tend not to feel guilt when compared with to Methodists, Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans since "they believe they are already saved and nothing can separate us from God and no matter what we do we will never measure up but God loves us anyway". Daily examens or confessions are not a part of the Calvinist ethos.

But I agree, PC is a substitute of religion which, unlike humanism, assumes the depravity of man (but no grace from God) so that depravity must be kept in check with external legalisms.

10:18 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Thanks for the comments. Didn't Baptists add Calvinism on late in the day in America?

I, too, thought the idea of "Calvinist guilt" a bit far-fetched. The writer may be a Nietzchean with a sketchy understanding of religion (it's all about guilt!), which may account for his error.

Still, his tracing of PC orthodoxy back to the Puritans is right on. It's really part of the same, joyless mindset.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

There is little question that as a question of pedigree, Puritanism stands as the forefather of PC. As for the Baptists, most Baptists that I know are emphatically not Calvinists, but standard "born again" evangelicals. The vast majority (and maybe this is just a Pacific Northwest thing) are not Calvinistic at all. Most Baptists, at least as far as I understand it, trace their roots either to the continental anabaptist reformers or to the Roger Williams split from the Puritans. There are some to claim to be Reformed Baptists (Calvinists), but I haven't ever run across any of them...

1:45 AM  

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