Paglia on PC’s Origins

In her own inimitable and highly erudite style, Camille Paglia opines on the P.C. menace across campuses, focusing on the decades-long complacency of the professoriate as a contributing factor (“Free Speech & The Modern Campus”).

What is political correctness? As I see it, it is a predictable feature of the life cycle of modern revolutions, beginning with the French Revolution of 1789, which was inspired by the American Revolution of the prior decade but turned far more violent. A first generation of daring rebels overthrows a fossilized establishment and leaves the landscape littered with ruins. In the post-revolutionary era, the rebels begin to fight among themselves, which may lead to persecutions and assassinations. The victorious survivor then rules like the tyrants who were toppled in the first place. This is the phase of political correctness — when the vitality of the founding revolution is gone and when revolutionary principles have become merely slogans, verbal formulas enforced by apparatchiks, that is, party functionaries or administrators who kill great ideas by institutionalizing them.

What I have just sketched is the political psychobiography of the past 45 years of American university life…

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