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Archive for September 19th, 2009

Guest Commentary

Signs of an Incipient Totalitarianism

By Peter Cooper

When I first became aware of the term “political correctness” and observed its negative impact on American culture during the early 1970’s, I was struck by its similarity to the attitude of the New Left, SDS-Maoist radicals I had met at the University of Michigan in the late 60’s.  Basically, their attitude conveyed not merely disapproval, but displayed an intolerance for those who discriminate or who disapprove of the intolerable.

In words betraying their own cultural narrow-mindedness, these Leftists characterized “rednecks” as evil agents of intolerance, who deserved to be not only the objects of their ridicule and vitriol, but also deserved to be silenced and marginalized.  The inconsistency, irrationality, and absurdity of this Leftist intolerance in the name of toleration was all too obvious to me at the time.

Years later, I discovered this illogic replayed in the notion of “affirmative action” which promotes discrimination in the name of ending discrimination, and in the notion that the victims of racism and oppression necessarily cannot, ipso facto, themselves be racist or oppressive.

Through the years I reflected often on the philosophical link between Leftist intolerance and “political correctness” and wondered where it could be found.  Having read Bill Lind’s speech, “The Origins of Political Correctness,” I now know. 

In May of this year, I read an editorial at the American Daughter website by Jerry Kane titled “Making Free Speech a Hate Crime.” Kane’s piece referenced “‘Dirty Hetero’, An Example Of ‘Partisan Tolerance’,” which in turn referenced “Repressive Tolerance,” a 1965 essay by Herbert Marcuse.  Marcuse’s essay, dedicated to his students at Brandeis University, was that philosophical connection between Leftist intolerance and “political correctness,” for which I had been looking.

In the essay, Marcuse advocates that “progressives” practice “liberating tolerance” rather than “pure tolerance.”  What Marcuse means by liberating tolerance is “intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration for movements from the Left.” The last paragraph, which serves as a postscript for his 1968 essay, encompasses Marcuse’s notion of toleration in the “progressive” struggle:

“Part of this struggle is the fight against an ideology of tolerance which, in reality, favors and fortifies the conservation of the status quo of inequality and discrimination. … The tolerance which is the life element, the token of a free society, will never be the gift of the powers that be; it can, under the prevailing conditions of tyranny by the majority, only be won in the sustained effort of radical minorities, willing to break this tyranny and to work for the emergence of a free and sovereign majority—minorities intolerant, militantly intolerant and disobedient to the rules of behavior which tolerate destruction and suppression.”

The portent of this 60’s radicalism and its totalitarian mindset is accurately described by Don Feder in his 1968 article, “Herbert Marcuse: Prophet of Violence.” Also of note is the informative overview “Hate Crime Legislation – Back Door to Censorship” by James Simpson at the American Thinker website. Simpson points out that both present-day “political correctness” and “hate crimes” legislation have their roots in the movement known as Cultural Marxism. A must read article about the insidious nature of Cultural Marxism is Timothy Mathews’ “The Frankfurt School: Conspiracy to corrupt.”  

It is long past due for average Americans to wake up and recognize the real agenda of the illiberal Cultural Marxists who now occupy some of the most prominent and powerful positions in America’s media, academia, and government. The liberty of every American depends on it.

“Political correctness” and “hate crimes legislation” are only the most visible signs of an incipient totalitarianism which is at the heart of so-called “progressivism.”

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”—Edmund Burke

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