In the July, 2016, edition of Quadrant I agreed with the notion that for many Americans their country now felt like an express train speeding toward the abyss. Donald J. Trump was the fellow bold enough to propose pushing the Emergency Stop button in a carriage full of frightened and cowed passengers. Trump was the anti-PC candidate in a nation ruled over by a P.C. Establishment.
The concept of Political Correctness is something weightier than mere annoyance or absurdity. It is the ideology of a Left Power Elite (LPE) – to echo sociologist C. Wright Mills’ 1956 critique of the United States – and has long held sway over the American people. The LPE itself is a caste of notable families, CEOs, celebrities, mainstream media operators, state mandarins, “progressive” lobby groups, academics, key members of the federal government and so on. PC ideology reflects the worldview and self-interest of members of the LPE and also serves to obscure or disguise their positions of advantage relative to ordinary people (or “the deplorables” as Hillary Clinton would say).
The 2016 US election cycle exposed the LPE as never before. The case of the pop music celebrity Beyoncé might seem trivial and yet it is far from that. During the 2016 NFL Super Bowl halftime show, for instance, the 36-year-old African-American singer-songwriter celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party. Beyoncé, perhaps the highest profile celebrity – amongst a plethora of high profile celebrities – to lend their glamour to the Clinton campaign, later claimed her halftime show had not been “political” (and against NFL guidelines) but instead “cultural”. In a year that would see the rise and rise of the Malcolm X-inspired Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, not to mention the New Black Panther Party, Beyoncé’s rationalisation should be considered disingenuous at best.
Hillary Clinton and Beyoncé share more than an antipathy to Donald Trump. PC Identarianism allows Beyoncé, one of the more dazzling and venerated celebrities on the planet, to play the victim card. This no-expense-spared woman, who inhabits the rarefied air of global superstardom, might have been listed by Time magazine in 2013 and 2014 as one of the most influential women in the world and by Forbes in 2015 as the most powerful female in entertainment, she might even possess a net wealth of as much as $US450 million, and yet Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter self-identifies as a victim. The melanin in her skin allows this revered idol to pose as a member of the modern-day Left’s rainbow of discontents. It is not so much a matter of “white skin privilege” holding Beyoncé back as “black skin privilege” shielding her from accusations of extreme privilege.
The story of Hillary Clinton is a parallel one. She, too, enjoys a privileged life. Politics and public life have been rewarding – in every sense of that word – for Hillary and Bill Clinton. Public financial disclosure reports put her net worth at $31.3 million and Bill’s at $80 million, not bad for a couple in serious debt at the conclusion of their time in White House. Much of that debt, we should mention, was the cost of the legal team – organised by Hillary – to keep Bill at arm’s length from the law during the Monica Lewinsky scandal in the latter stages of his presidency. Hillary Clinton was subsequently rewarded with a seat in the Senate (2001-09) and the role of secretary of state in the Obama administration (2009-03).
According to WikiLeaks, the DNC subsequently colluded with the Clinton campaign to undermine Democratic rival Bernie Sander and ensure that Hillary Clinton was the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential candidate, after failing to secure it in 2008 when inexperienced Congressman Barack Obama outmanoeuvred her with his version of identity politics. Undeterred, Hillary Clinton pushed her take on PC rectitude to the forefront of the 2015-16 campaign. Jillian Gutowitz, writing for the Huffington Post in December, 2015, summed it up perfectly with this line: “I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman.” Beyoncé, an Obama campaigner in 2008 and 2012 and now, in 2016, spruiking for Hillary Clinton, encapsulated the twenty-first century PC Identarianism of the Democratic Party with these four words: “Let’s make history again!”
From a progressive point-of-view, at least, Clinton’s failure to “make history” might be explained in terms of sexism. If Hillary Clinton had been a man – or so the logic goes – she would have won the election. The fact she lost, in this Alice-in-Wonderland narrative, is proof that America remains a sexist nation in the grip of the omnipresent patriarchy. For this to possess any meaningful explanatory power requires discounting all the other aspects of Hillary Clinton’s character, not the least being her non-record as New York senator, catastrophic decisions as secretary of state, Emailgate, the accusations of corruption in Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash (2015) and the evidence of systematic duplicity as revealed by WikiLeaks in the months leading up to Decision Day on November 8. Hillary Clinton’s gender, in other words, ought to have erased from the mind of the American voter her deeply problematic candidature.
And here we arrive at the civilisation-destroying aspect of PC ideology. Martin Luther King put the case for liberal empathy as well as anyone: “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” PC dogma subtly – but with critical consequences – altered King’s enlightened humanist creed into judging people not in spite of their colour, gender, religion, ethnicity and sexual preference but because of their colour, gender, religion, ethnicity and sexual preference. This successfully served as the redemptive aspect of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and the not so successful legitimising feature of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 ill-fated quest. Voting for a candidate on the basis of colour or gender is what Beyoncé would call “making history”. Should we be surprised, then, that she chose the most public space possible to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party?
After all, PC ideology is the radicalism of the 1960’s New Left reconfigured as progressive politics for our new millennium. The most effective agent in its resurgence has been the presidency of Barack Obama. Stanley Kurtz’s Radical-in-Chief (2008) was one of the investigative works to warn of Obama’s radical roots in the lead up to the 2008 election. Few listened. It seemed impolite to question the agenda of an African-American candidate who had come to heal America and not divide it – even though the 44th President has made an art form of promoting racial haters, such as BLM. For an African-American to support the GOP, let alone Donald Trump, is to risk the condemnation of the Thought Police and stand accused of being an identity traitor. Nonetheless, a post-election report in the New York Times appears to suggest that an increased number (relative to 2012) of African-Americans – as well as Hispanics, women and the poor – liberated themselves from the constraints of political correctness to vote for Donald J. Trump. Deplorables, apparently, are not just white and male but come in all shapes, sizes – and colours.
PC rectitude not only stipulates how designated victim groups should think and vote, it also cordons off from serious outside scrutiny the leadership of those same groups. The most notorious example, throughout President’s Obama’s tenure in the White House, has been the hands-off approach to Islamic activists and serial apologists, such as Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Not all Muslims, of course, are intent on advancing the course of sharia in the United States. Not all Muslims associate themselves with CAIR. Nobody in a free country, of course, should be singled out because of their religion, as no one should be victimised on account of colour, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference and so on. However, such a philosophy echoes the creed of Martin Luther King’s enlightened humanism – and, let’s face it, the American constitution – but not, as has been argued the dogma of the PC brigade.
Most of the organisations and programs of Islamic revivalism in the United States, including CAIR, are not only associated with the conspiratorial and totalitarian-minded Muslim Brotherhood as “brothers in doctrine”, they are sub-units of the Muslim Brotherhood. For eight long years, by all accounts, President Obama has ordered the Department of Justice and other instruments of the state to ignore the subversive activities of groups such as CAIR. A combination of PC sensitivity and the absurd belief that activist Salafism (civilisation jihadism) could serve as a corrective. Salafi jihadism (violent jihadism) has placed America – and the world – in great peril. Donald Trump, for all his flaws, called Barack on it. Meanwhile, we learned from WikiLeaks the Muslim Brotherhood-supporting government of Qatar donated $1 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation as a celebration of Bill Clinton’s birthday.
American law professor Khaled A Beydoun, writing for Al Jazeera, the Muslim Brotherhood-loving media company owned by the Emir of Qatar, declared that Donald Trump’s “Islamophobia” mobilised not only “a fringe or rabid demographic” to his cause but a “sizeable segment of the American polity”. We might point out that in Qatar apostasy is a crime punished by death, as is homosexuality. Stoning and flogging are all legal in the oil-rich emirate, while blasphemy will get you seven years in jail, a woman’s testimony in court is worth half a man’s, and so on and so forth. We might further point out that Qatar and Saudi Arabia not only support “moderate terrorists” in the Syrian civil war but also pump untold millions into the global expansion of their respective militant anti-Western interpretations of Islam. Law-abiding and patriotic Muslims living in the United State have every right to be embraced by the American mainstream and judged, as Martin Luther King would insist, “by the content of their character”. At the same time, the pernicious influence of Salafism and Sharia in the West must be thwarted at every turn. The previous two sentences, contraire Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, are far from incompatible.
A Trump presidency was not how most conservatives imagined we would escape the soft-totalitarianism of our PC jail. I imagined the liberation movement as an eagle soaring over prison walls. Trump’s populist insurrection, as it happens, is a dump truck that has smashed our prison gate off its hinges. It might be a Second American Revolution. From a modern-day leftist point of view it is a xenophobic fascist counter-revolution. From an anti-PC perspective, conversely, we can only hope it turns out to be a revolution in the spirit of 1776.
Daryl McCann blogs at darylmccann.blogspot