It is starting to sink in

The media are starting to take seriously the attempts of the political left to shut off all discussion of essentially whatever they want to shut off. For the moment the forbidden topics are race and sex, but the list of topics will inevitably expand. This excerpt comes from an article in New York Magazine by Jonathan Chait, and is worth reading.

The upsurge of political correctness is not just greasy-kid stuff, and it’s not just a bunch of weird, unfortunate events that somehow keep happening over and over. It’s the expression of a political culture with consistent norms, and philosophical premises that happen to be incompatible with liberalism. The reason every Marxist government in the history of the world turned massively repressive is not because they all had the misfortune of being hijacked by murderous thugs. It’s that the ideology itself prioritizes class justice over individual rights and makes no allowance for legitimate disagreement. (For those inclined to defend p.c. on the grounds that racism and sexism are important, bear in mind that the forms of repression Marxist government set out to eradicate were hardly imaginary.)

American political correctness has obviously never perpetrated the brutality of a communist government, but it has also never acquired the powers that come with full control of the machinery of the state. The continuous stream of small-scale outrages it generates is a testament to an illiberalism that runs deep down to its core….

The scene in Columbia and the recent scene in New Haven share a similar structure: jeering student mobs expressing incredulity at the idea of political democracy. As far as the students are concerned, they represent the cause of anti-racism, a fact that renders the need for debate irrelevant. Defenses of p.c. tactics simply sweep aside objections to the tactics as self-interested whining. “It’s not about creating an intellectual space,” shouts one Yalie. Notably, the events at Yale have redounded in New Haven to the benefit of the protesters, who have renewed their demands, and Nicholas Christakis, the Yale administrator seen pleading futilely for reason, issuing apologies for his behavior. Likewise, at Wesleyan, the student newspaper that sparked outrage by publishing the op-ed of a student (cautiously) questioning elements of the Black Lives Matter movement has been harshly sanctioned.

That these activists have been able to prevail, even in the face of frequently harsh national publicity highlighting the blunt illiberalism of their methods, confirms that these incidents reflect something deeper than a series of one-off episodes. They are carrying out the ideals of a movement that regards the delegitimization of dissent as a first-order goal. People on the left need to stop evading the question of political correctness — by laughing it off as college goofs, or interrogating the motives of p.c. critics, or ignoring it — and make a decision on whether they agree with it.

No bad idea of the Marxist period of the 1960s and 70s has died; on the contrary, every loonie and repressive, freedom-hating idea of the Left has only gone from strength to strength. I will believe  a genuinely conservative government has arrived when  Mark Steyn or an intellectual combatant of that calibre is made the Minister responsible for funding higher education. Or perhaps we can begin by systematically defunding faculties and even entire universities on an explicitly  political basis. I do not mean in this case conservative versus liberal. No, I mean totalitarian versus everyone else.