"Political Correctness" Is About Control, Not Etiquette

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jeff Deist via The Mises Institute,

I’d like to speak today about what political correctness is, at least in its modern version, what it is not, and what we might do to fight against it.

To begin, we need to understand that political correctness is not about being nice. It’s not simply a social issue, or a subset of the culture wars.

It’s not about politeness, or inclusiveness, or good manners. It’s not about being respectful toward your fellow humans, and it’s not about being sensitive or caring or avoiding hurt feelings and unpleasant slurs.

But you’ve heard this argument, I’m sure. PC is about simple respect and inclusiveness, they tell us. As though we need progressives, the cultural enforcers, to help us understand that we shouldn’t call someone retarded, or use the “N” word, make hurtful comments about someone’s appearance, or tolerate bullies.

If PC truly was about kindness and respect, it wouldn’t need to be imposed on us. After all, we already have a mechanism for the social cohesion PC is said to represent: it’s called manners. And we already have specific individuals charged with insuring that good manners are instilled and upheld: they’re called parents.

Political Correctness Defined

But what exactly is PC? Let me take a stab at defining it: Political correctness is the conscious, designed manipulation of language intended to change the way people speak, write, think, feel, and act, in furtherance of an agenda.

PC is best understood as propaganda, which is how I suggest we approach it. But unlike propaganda, which historically has been used by governments to win favor for a particular campaign or effort, PC is all-encompassing. It seeks nothing less than to mold us into modern versions of Marx’s un-alienated society man, freed of all his bourgeois pretensions and humdrum social conventions.

Like all propaganda, PC fundamentally is a lie. It is about refusing to deal with the underlying nature of reality, in fact attempting to alter that reality by legislative and social fiat. A is no longer A.

To quote Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

[T]he masters … stipulate that aggression, invasion, murder and war are actually self-defense, whereas self-defense is aggression, invasion, murder and war. Freedom is coercion, and coercion is freedom. … Taxes are voluntary payments, and voluntarily paid prices are exploitative taxes. In a PC world, metaphysics is diverted and rerouted. Truth becomes malleable, to serve a bigger purpose determined by our superiors.

But where did all this come from? Surely PC, in all its various forms, is nothing new under the sun. I think we can safely assume that feudal chiefs, kings, emperors, and politicians have ever and always attempted to control the language, thoughts, and thus the actions of their subjects. Thought police have always existed.

To understand the origins of political correctness, we might look to the aforementioned Marx, and later the Frankfurt school. We might consider the work of Leo Strauss for its impact on the war-hungry think tank world. We might study the deceptive sloganeering of Saul Alinsky. We might mention the French philosopher Foucault, who used the term “political correctness” in the 1960s as a criticism of unscientific dogma.

But if you really want to understand the black art of PC propaganda, let me suggest reading one of its foremost practitioners, Edward Bernays.

Bernays was a remarkable man, someone who literally wrote the book on propaganda and its softer guise of public relations. He is little discussed in the West today, despite being the godfather of modern spin.

He was the nephew of Sigmund Freud, and like Mises was born in Austria in the late nineteenth century. Unlike Mises, however, he fortuitously came to New York City as an infant and then proceeded to live an astonishing 103 years.

One of his first jobs was as a press agent for President Woodrow Wilson’s Committee on Public Information, an agency designed to gin up popular support for US entry into WW1 (German Americans and Irish Americans especially were opposed). It was Bernays who coined the infamous phrase “Make the World Safe for Democracy” used by the committee.

After the war, he asked himself whether one could “apply a similar technique to the problems of peace.” And by “problems,” Bernays meant selling stuff. He directed very successful campaigns promoting Ivory Soap, for bacon and eggs as a healthy breakfast, and ballet. He directed several very successful advertising campaigns, most notably for Lucky Strike in its efforts to make smoking socially acceptable for women.

The Role of “Herd Psychology”

Bernays was quite open and even proud of engaging in the “manufacturing of consent,” a term used by British surgeon and psychologist Wilfred Trotter in his seminal Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War published in 1919.

Bernays took the concept of herd psychology to heart. The herd instinct entails the deep seated psychological need to win approval of one’s social group. The herd overwhelms any other influence; as social humans, our need to fit in is paramount.

But however ingrained, in Bernays’s view the herd instinct cannot be trusted. The herd is irrational and dangerous, and must be steered by wiser men in a thousand imperceptible ways — and this is key. They must not know they are being steered.

The techniques Bernays employed are still very much being used to shape political correctness today.

First, he understood how all-powerful the herd mind and herd instinct really is. We are not the special snowflakes we imagine, according to Bernays. Instead we are timorous and malleable creatures who desperately want to fit in and win acceptance of the group.


Second, he understood the critical importance of using third party authorities to promote causes or products. Celebrities, athletes, models, politicians, and wealthy elites are the people from whom the herd takes its cues, whether they’re endorsing transgender awareness or selling luxury cars. So when George Clooney or Kim Kardashian endorses Hillary Clinton, it resonates with the herd.


Third, he understood the role that emotions play in our tastes and preferences. It’s not a particular candidate or cigarette or a watch or a handbag we really want, it’s the emotional component of the ad that affects us, however subconsciously. 

What We Can Do About It

So the question we might ask ourselves is this: how do we fight back against PC? What can we do, as individuals with finite amounts of time and resources, with serious obligations to our families, loved ones, and careers, to reverse the growing tide of darkness?

First, we must understand that we’re in a fight. PC represents a war for our very hearts, minds, and souls. The other side understands this, and so should you. The fight is taking place on multiple fronts: the state-linguistic complex operates not only within government, but also academia, media, the business world, churches and synagogues, nonprofits, and NGOs. So understand the forces aligned against you.

Understand that the PC enforcers are not asking you, they’re not debating you, and they don’t care about your vote. They don’t care whether they can win at the ballot box, or whether they use extralegal means. There are millions of progressives in the US who absolutely would criminalize speech that does not comport with their sense of social justice.

One poll suggests 51 percent of Democrats and 1/3 of all Americans would do just that.

The other side is fighting deliberately and tactically. So realize you’re in a fight, and fight back. Culturally, this really is a matter of life and death.

We Still Have Freedom to Act

As bad as PC contamination may be at this point, we are not like Mises, fleeing a few days ahead of the Nazis. We have tremendous resources at our disposal in a digital age. We can still communicate globally and create communities of outspoken, anti-PC voices. We can still read and share anti-state books and articles. We can still read real history and the great un-PC literary classics. We can still homeschool our kids. We can still hold events like this one today.

This is not to say that bucking PC can’t hurt you: the possible loss of one’s job, reputation, friends, and even family is very serious. But defeatism is never called for, and it makes us unworthy of our ancestors.

Use humor to ridicule PC. PC is absurd, and most people sense it. And its practitioners suffer from a comical lack of self-awareness and irony. Use every tool at your disposal to mock, ridicule, and expose PC for what it is.

Never forget that society can change very rapidly in the wake of certain precipitating events. We certainly all hope that no great calamity strikes America, in the form of an economic collapse, a currency collapse, an inability to provide entitlements and welfare, energy shortages, food and water shortages, natural disasters, or civil unrest. But we can’t discount the possibility of these things happening.

And if they do, I suggest that PC language and PC thinking will be the first ornament of the state to go. Only rich, modern, societies can afford the luxury of a mindset that does not comport with reality, and that mindset will be swiftly swept aside as the “rich” part of America frays.

Men and women might start to rediscover that they need and complement each other if the welfare state breaks down. Endless hours spent on social media might give way to rebuilding social connections that really matter when the chips are down.

More traditional family structures might suddenly seem less oppressive in the face of great economic uncertainty. Schools and universities might rediscover the value of teaching practical skills, instead of whitewashed history and grievance studies. One’s sexual preferences might not loom as large in the scheme of things, certainly not as a source of rights. The rule of law might become something more than an abstraction to be discarded in order to further social justice and deny privilege.

Play the Long Game

I’m afraid it might not be popular to say so, but we have to be prepared for a long and hard campaign. Let’s leave the empty promises of quick fixes to the politicians. Progressives play the long game masterfully. They’ve taken 100 years to ransack our institutions inch by inch. I’m not suggesting incrementalism to reclaim those foregone institutions, which are by all account too far gone — but to create our own.

PC enforcers seek to divide and atomize us, by class, race, sex, and sexuality. So let’s take them up on it. Let’s bypass the institutions controlled by them in favor of our own. Who says we can’t create our own schools, our own churches, our own media, our own literature, and our own civic and social organizations? Starting from scratch certainly is less daunting than fighting PC on its own turf.


PC is a virus that puts us — liberty loving people — on our heels. When we allow progressives to frame the debate and control the narrative, we lose power over our lives. If we don’t address what the state and its agents are doing to control us, we might honestly wonder how much longer organizations like the Mises Institute are going to be free to hold events like this one today.

Is it really that unimaginable that you might wake up one day and find sites with anti-state and anti-egalitarian content blocked — sites like mises.org and lewrockwell.com?

Or that social media outlets like Facebook might simply eliminate opinions not deemed acceptable in the new America?

In fact, head Facebook creep Mark Zuckerberg recently was overheard at a UN summit telling Angela Merkel that he would get to work on suppressing Facebook comments by Germans who have the audacity to object to the government’s handling of migrants.

Here’s the Facebook statement:

We are committed to working closely with the German government on this important issue. We think the best solutions to dealing with people who make racist and xenophobic comments can be found when service providers, government, and civil society all work together to address this common challenge.

Chilling, isn’t it? And coming soon to a server near you, unless we all get busy.

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SMG's picture

Orwell saw it coming over 70 years ago.  Finally some are waking up.


KesselRunin12Parsecs's picture
KesselRunin12Parsecs (not verified) SMG Dec 28, 2015 9:26 PM

^^says the ZH zealot who is the first one to jump on every thread and 're-label' every criticism as 'Luciferian' ~ lol

SMG's picture

Newspeak is the fictional language in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, written by George Orwell. It is a controlled language created by the totalitarian state Oceania as a tool to limit freedom of thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, and peace. Any form of thought alternative to the party’s construct is classified as "thoughtcrime".

nmewn's picture

Just shut up! Mommy make the bad man stop!

Manthong's picture

These Soros-funded clowns seem to have accidentally reported something accurately, but they think it is somehow denigrating. But then again they likely think the word “denigrate” is racist and not politically correct.



Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Manthong Dec 28, 2015 10:15 PM

It's about getting white people to shut up while they mug us.

Right now it's white men because they still think they need women

to vote for them.

But we are next, bet on it.

Saw a youtube today where the black dude is pushing the idea that whites are not human, they are

aliens and blacks were the original europeans, until tall whites showed up.



conscious being's picture

The Donald in the near future will be the new name for Trojan Horse.

DownWithYogaPants's picture

What would you call a race that is so much more intelligent and creative than you if you were the black dude on youtube?  Well your ego would leave you only with aliens.

Dayum you be too smart. You gotta be a aleum.

drendebe10's picture

Fuk da progressive liberal democraps & their bullsht agenda. I will buy a VW TDI, paint a confederate flag on the roof and drive all around Portland & Seattle. Fukem all.

Never One Roach's picture

Not PC = Infidels = Non-beleivers = heathens = renegades = rogues


Anyone who does not conform is ostracized or worse, beheaded.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Never One Roach Dec 29, 2015 12:45 AM

Quentin Tarantino has a new film that has a white man giving oral sex on his knees at gun point to a black man as revenge for the civil war. Is that politically correct?

The film produced by Harvey Weinstein. 

Tarantino is a Jew, Italians have family names, not names of cities, Tony Roma from Miami I'm sure was a Jew.


He is named after the city in Puglia, Italy - Taranto which  has a long Jewish history.

In Lecce and Bari the Italians burned the Jewish areas to the ground. Gee, I wonder why?


This is what they are pushing in the name of political correctness.

Wasn't the Barry bathhouse rumor that he wanted older white men on their knees in front of him.

buy a gun, buy two guns.

Bad Attitude's picture

In case you haven't noticed, political correctness only applies to whites. "Victims of white oppression" are free to express themselves in very un-PC ways without criticism. Whites are beginning to catch on to the true nature of the PC game, and are developing their own euphemisms. Some of the euphemisms are a product of finding work-arounds for comment filters that filter obvious politically incorrect words, and other euphemisms are intended to ridicule the PC language.

I am encouraged to see a recent noticeable increase in non-PC statements in the comment sections of formerly polite web sites. People are sick of political correctness, the racism of Obama, the BLM antics, and the perpetual grievance mongering of the moon god worshipers.

Forward (over the cliff)!

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Bad Attitude Dec 29, 2015 2:09 AM

people should say what they think

in  a country that actually encouraged that from its founding.

Bananamerican's picture

It's stunning, the sheer number of people willing to pay lip service to PC, until you realize that it's being enforced at the point of a paycheck. One .gov drone, one cubicle, one lesson-plan, one columns editor, one syllabus at a time.

It's a wicked kinky mind-virus as, after all, who wants to be called a 'meanie' by a 'Pussy' (whoops, see what I did wrong there?)or lose one's job?

The dissemination of PC comes from on high...whence did it commence and WHO funds it? Cui Fundo?

PS I've been blackballed/permanently censored from commenting by the very Left-wing, PC LA Times and if it's been done to me it's been done to how many dozens, hundreds of others? I make up for it by cutting and pasting mini-essays on any number of topics into as many MSM comment sections as possible.

yes, PC MUST be actively fought

CheapBastard's picture

Anything other then PC speech is considered rayciss or tearrism.

Johnny Horscaulk's picture
Johnny Horscaulk (not verified) Chris Dakota Dec 29, 2015 5:59 AM

""Priest" has been under fire, mostly from Roman Catholics, since Miramax initially announced that it would open the film nationally on April 14, Good Friday, when Christians commemorate the death of Jesus. That decision was viewed by many as insensitive and almost deliberately provocative....Disney officials referred all questions on the film to Miramax, whose normally talkative co-owner Harvey Weinstein was unavailable for comment."



Down to Earth Thinking's picture

I have actually gotten such replies at times. Many Americans are so completely mind fucked they refuse to consider much less fully recognize they are in fact living in a sort of matrix. a giant control mechanism. They cannot accept or fathom that what we used to call journalism is now simply a duplicate of PRAVDA/TASS from the soviet era circa 1950s, 60s,70s. Our supposed PRAVDA/MSM can create any narrative or dialogue they deem necessary to control the masses and take them in any direction they desire. It is a very powerful form of mind control and has worked very well. This is how Obamacare got passed and many of the grand illusions before us today were created.  

I agree that many are waking up, although it remains to be seen if this happens soon enough or to what degree we will all suffer from the control freaks we call government and the corporatocracy they have created ? Complete with coercion and various harrasements from gov agencies. When I look at BHOs face these days I see a guy that is majorly stressed out because many of his illusions are failing. Enough time has passed for this to come to fruition as the illlusions were all based on lies, manipulations, distortions and time does break them down as a sort of proof of their original fallacy. What concerns me now is that the full fall out of the last 10 years has never been fully realized. As many here know, it has only been forstalled with masssive creation of cyber dollars. The full monty or complete fall out simply is not known or recognized as such and it is already in motion !  We have no idea what these maniacs we call government have fully created or any of its full impact going forward. We can identifiy some of the issues that will come to pass but not even close to all of them. Unfortunately we will find out more each day because it has already started and is in motion. The illusions are collapsing a bit at a time. As well the republicans have no idea how to resolve any of it and will be worthless as tits on a hog since they helped create many of the illusions and BHO simply put it all on steroids ! Bottom line we are all on our own merits or demerits as the case may be. There is a much better way !


rapetrain's picture

Lucifer was the most beautiful of all the angels. A true hero of liberty and critical thought.

SMG's picture

And the Father of Lies....

PhoQ's picture

That's why God loved him.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) rapetrain Dec 28, 2015 11:52 PM

Take your El Diablo somewhere else ya evil clown.

Bananamerican's picture

Lucifer is the patron of all the shitheads of the world....Rapetrain

snodgrass's picture

All these PC advocates are Jews. PC was at its height in the Soviet Union where one of Lenin's first acts was to declare anti-semitism a capital crime. It was also prevalent in Nazi Germany in response to Jewish bolshevism.

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

Speak truth, even if the truth is provacative.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Yeah, I ignore PC as just a pathetic attempt at social engineering I refuse to have imposed on me. Much more healthful to speak ones mind and ignore the ruffled feathers. But I must admit my employee file is rather thick and I have been fired from a few jobs, pissing mr off to no end.

I don't know how people can work in corporate America with out mind altering drugs.


A Lunatic's picture

A have lost several jobs to this as well. One Employer said the reason for my termination was "you are not a 'Company man'"........

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I got " you are not a team player" I think that was the politically correct way to fire a person. My response" I didn't think much of the crappy team" didnt win me any points. But hey, why not leave memorably? Just got me the " Why we should not burn bridges." Lecture when I got home.


A Lunatic's picture

Leaders and critical thinkers are usually not well received in micromanaged environs. I've been successfully self employed ever since, 25 years and counting.

Fuck em.........

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

Me too.  Started my own businesses.  Now I look @ resumes and decide who gets interviewed.  Karma's a real bitch.

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) Miffed Microbiologist Dec 28, 2015 11:53 PM

I hope that you bitch-slapped the queer that fired you until she snapped out of full-retard mode.



Too non-PC?

StackShinyStuff's picture

May the bridges we burn light the way

boattrash's picture

SSS, That's some good stuff. You should T-Shirt that slogan.

drendebe10's picture

Maybe a new home is needed. Fuk da progressive liberal democraps& their bullsht agenda. Fukem all.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

The legislation opening up the use of drugs is part of the multi prong war.


Down to Earth Thinking's picture

only problem is much of it has worked very well as a control mechanism. see my comment above in greater detail.

DanDaley's picture

My wife and I went out to dinner a few months ago with our lib/progressive neighbors...nice people, just deluded. Anyway Mrs. Progressive inadvertently used the word stupid...then asked herself reflectively, "Can I even still use that word?"

I said, "To not use that word if it describes what it describes would be retarded...I'm using the word as a commentary, you understand, not a description." They seemed quite confused at that point.

A Lunatic's picture

They are obviously retarded.....

Bananamerican's picture

my son came home from alimentary school one day and told me they are not allowed to use that word "Stupid"...I told him that along with "Bullshit", 'stupid' was one of the most useful words in the english language

Skateboarder's picture

God, they want the kids to be little cookie cutter faggots, don't they...

One of the old fart (no, really, really old with a lazy eye and everything) teachers I had the pleasure of being taught by in middle skool often said "bullfeathers!" Sometimes it's not appropriate to swear. For those occasions, there are bullfeathers and horsebollocks. Of course, there is no replacement for the original term, "horseshit."

Chris Dakota's picture

I do, that's why nobody likes me in California.


Down to Earth Thinking's picture

Kawleefornya, the land of the great illusions on steroids !

stant's picture

" so your are going to elected a lesbian for prez I have already delt a defeat to in the geo political arena who ,has gutted your officer corp for pc, and pit her against me" Ok Vlad

SmedleyButlersGhost's picture

Political Correctness is not a license to be niggardly with grammatical correctness

stant's picture

Hard to Chanel Boris and Natasha . Grew up on the side with the moose and squirl

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

PC and niggardly in the same sentence?!?!  

Whoa -- now I am so confused about how I am 'spose to feel!!!  </sarc>

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

Should I be describing trannys as 'pretty' or 'gay'?!?  I need a PC dicktionary!