Hey folks, Spend any amount of time on the internet, and you’ll see the term political correctness. It’s part of the common lexicon, but seems rather vague in its meaning. We know it’s supposed to mean something that’s bad. Donald Trump and South Park don’t like it, and it has a vaguely 90’s feel to it. As when most things seem to come out of nowhere, the term political correctness has a history, and you know what we do here at Step Back with history. Let’s take a dive. The term political correctness has been used as far back at the 1700s, but the lineage to modern use comes from the early 20th century. During the reign of Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union, Socialists around the world, but in our case the United States were divided. Some socialists thought Stalin was a brutal dictator and undermined socialist ideals of egalitarianism. However, hard-line partisan Communists stood by whatever the Soviet Union did, as if this country was the reference point for ‘correct’ socialism. Socialists criticized these communists and used the term politically correct to stand for when they disagreed with the party line. I’ll let American educator Herbert Kohl describe his own experience: “The term “politically correct” was used disparagingly, to refer to someone whose loyalty to the Communist Party line overrode compassion, and led to bad politics. It was used by Socialists against Communists, and was meant to separate out Socialists who believed in egalitarian moral ideas from dogmatic Communists who would advocate and defend party positions regardless of their moral substance.” The term seemed to die out for a few decades, until the 1970s, when new liberals trying to make huge changes to American culture brought it back. This group, which were collectively called the New Left, used the term politically correct as a sort of self-critical satire. It was a term for when you realized some beliefs you hold might anger your fellow activists. It was an ironic term to guard against becoming too rigid in social change efforts. Moving forward to to the 80s, a lot of those socialists from the early 20th century grew up to become the intellectual fathers of the Neo-conservative movement, a story for another time. At this time, the term political correctness came into the dictionary of American conservatives. It began with Allan Bloom’s 1987 book the Closing of the American Mind. The book was a criticism of the idea that a rigid liberal ideology was permeating the American university, and that academia was being suppressed by political correctness. The term gained popularity in conservative circles and converged into a generalized critique of the academy. The critics insinuated that liberal egalitarianism is actually an authoritarian orthodoxy inspired by communist ideology. Liberals who defended the rights of neo-Nazis to speak in the 1960s, were now shutting down discussions they determined racist, sexist, or homophobic. The turning point for the term was in the 90s, when George Bush Sr. did a 1991 commencement speech, in which he said, “The notion of political correctness has ignited controversy across the land. And although the movement arises from the laudable desire to sweep away the debris of racism and sexism and hatred, it replaces old prejudice with new ones. It declares certain topics off-limits, certain expressions off-limits, even certain gestures off-limits.” After that speech, the term political correctness became part of the American Conservative arsenal, used to express their concerns about the left’s influence in culture and political debate. Use of the term expanded at universities not just to incorporate a limited academic freedom, but also to include the rhetoric of victimization, support of multiculturalism using affirmative action, sanctions against hate speech, revisionist history, and the rise of identity politics. It was the bread and butter of the culture wars. Liberals argued then and today, that language has an impact on how we think. Inclusive and gender neutral language can alter thought and lead to cultural reforms. Some liberals also criticized the term political correctness as an empty right wing smear word. They called it a coded cover for those who wanted to call people words I do not think are appropriate for this video. Today, all of these definitions of political correctness, except maybe the defending Stalin part, seem to be meeting in a slurry. Some people use the term to criticize a liberal bias in the media. Some still use it as a critique of universities, with emphasis on their issues with speech codes and protests against controversial speakers. Others use it against scientists for suppressing alternative views on evolution, climate change, second hand smoke, and biological race. Liberals even take up the term now, such as when they used it to criticize the conservative backlash against the Dixie Chicks and their criticism of the US president and the Iraq War. (Gross Singing) And most recently, presidential candidate Donald Trump proudly proclaims that he’s not politically correct, and we are all very confused as to what it means, whether it’s good or bad, and what we should do about it. Would make the subject for a great debate. Let’s all take a deep breath in… 1…2…3… and out, and let’s all comment down below talking about this debate, in a cool, calm manner, in good faith. If you liked this video, give it the old thumbs up and tell a buddy about it or put some money in the tip jar via a contribution on Patreon. I’d like to thank these Patrons and if you want to see your name on here, click on that orange P. And of course, subscribe to make sure you don’t miss the next episode of Step Back. I love yo faces, and I’ll see you for the next video.