The Nabobs of Yawn

A History of Political Correctness

What one notices first about political correctness is its banality, the way in which it has been zoned to exclude irony and nuance. Le Figaro, which has a refined taste in these matters, points to its underlying creed in this short review.

Vincent Tremolet de Villers | The Politically Correct: Are they Sheep?  | 2016-01-29

❝ The Revue des Deux Mondes, in its edition of February-March, 2016, explores the history of ‘political correctness’ and of the ‘camp of the good’. What is political correctness? When can one speak of cultural relativism?

«Désolé, bergère, j’aime pas les moutons!» chantait Jacques Brel…..” Sorry, shepherd, I don’t like sheep!” sang Jacques Brel, who all his life fled the herd. The bleating animal is on the cover of the current issue of the Revue des Deux Mondes. It symbolises the politically correct [bien-pensants]. Charles Bovary, under the influence of Monsieur Homais, was one of them. “Charles’ conversation was as flat as a pavement”, writes Flaubert, “and all the ideas of the world marched past in their customary attire without exciting emotion, laughter or reverie.” Bernanos made them the target of his first (and sulphurous) pamphlet. They populated the nightmares of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “Nothing is more important than the voice of the propaganda-robot. Two billion men hear nothing but the robot, understand nothing but the robot, make themselves robots.” Ortega y Gasset called the politically correct the “man-mass”. One recognises in him a “fundamental ingratitude towards everything that rendered possible the ease of his existence.” Philippe Muray gave him the face of an innocent tourist: “She was simple and sad and credulous and confiding. She entertained only a reassuring view of the world”.

Beware, then, of him who worries , who doubts, and who thinks. “In 2015, we will have done more to chase down deviant intellectuals than jihadists”, says Jacques Julliard in the passionate interview he gives to the Revue. For her part, Valérie Toranian, who in a few months has awakened the beautiful sleeper, has brought together a collection of brilliant and malicious minds. Jean Clair, who deplores “the misery of the secular liturgy, which no longer cherishes anything, no song, no colour, no tradition”. Jean-Pierre le Goff, who describes the agony of a cultural gauchisme “supported and in part financed by the state”. Jacques de Saint-Victor, who indicts the camp of ‘pas d’amalgame!‘ [do not conflate the issues!]. Richard Millet, who talks about “the conspiracy of the devout” of which he was a victim. Philippe de Villiers: “the liberal and the libertarian, without even having met, hoist each other up to deliver humanity from all the burdens of fundamental commitment.” This heterogeneous coalition refuses to let an ahistorical multiculturalism continue to fleece and walk over us. It cries “wolf“; but the sheep, who know how to mess up everything, hurl themselves at it. ❞