Captive Minds: Conformity and Campus Intellectuals Excerpt (emphasis added):
Working for four years at this prairie college, I had many opportunities to see political correctness in action: in our so-called “equity” hiring practices, in changes to our course offerings to highlight racial and sexual diversity, and in the unfailing faux-reverence with which all aspects of Aboriginal literature and culture were treated, even down to a discussion about whether, in a job advertisement, we should refer to Canada by its indigenous name of Turtle Island.
But this was not a matter of political correctness alone: it was collective thinking in its most blatant form. There were striking parallels to what Czeslaw Milosz in The Captive Mind analyzes as the intellectual’s not-unwilling accommodations to Party orthodoxy. Milosz was interested not only in the compulsions of totalitarianism but in the significant emotional and psychological attractions of the Communist system: the reassurances and rewards of ceding responsibility for judgment, and the manifold reasons why an intellectual could find himself at home in conformity. Can it be that, even free of threat or compulsion, many intellectuals will choose to surrender their independence of thought? C.S. Lewis wrote about the seductive pleasures of belonging in “The Inner Ring,” brilliantly highlighting the desire planted deep in the heart of every human being to be approved, acknowledged as “one of us” by people we admire. To get into that charmed circle, Lewis warned, many of us will assent to nearly anything.
No matter the reigning orthodoxy — in our department it was, as in the vast majority of English departments across North America, Leftist, anti-Western, feminist, and multiculturalist — the desire to fall in line, and to compel or outlaw those who do not, seems to be an enduring fact of human nature.
Milosz's Captive Mind is essential reading. Your humble correspondent has of course read it, but he has yet to blog it. He really ought to.