Pro "Pro Anti-Anti PC"
To the Editors of The Crimson:
The liberal-left is beginning to repond to the right-wing campaign against "Political Correctness," as recent articles in The Crimson make clear ("PC Past and Present," October 1, "Pro Anti-Anti PC," October 2). As a member of the Harvard International Socialist Club, I am encouraged by the reaction from the Left to a well-timed and carefully organized right-wing attack.
The campaign against PC comes in the wake of a successful U.S. war in the Middle East, and in many ways, the objectives are the same.
As George Will put it last April in Newsweek, "Lynn Cheney [chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities] is secretary of domestic defense. The foreign adversaries her husband, Dick, must keep at bay are less dangerous, in the long run, than the domestic forces with which her husband must deal. Those forces are fighting against the conservation of the common culture that is the nation's social cement."
The "war at home," then, targets the Left and anyone who openly challenges the nation's "social cement" (read: racism, sexism and homophobia).
The anti-PC crusade is being led by the likes of Dinesh D'Souza, a former staffer at the right-wing Dartmouth Review who spent the '80s as a domestic policy analyst for the Reagan Administration.
The defender of "free speech," Rep. Henry Hyde, who sponsored legislation which would outlaw codes against hate speech at private universities, is the same right-winger who has worked for legislation to ban flag-burning, to deny federal funding for "homoerotic art," and to bar abortion counseling in federally funded health clinics.
These reactionaries and the well-endowed think tanks that support them have zero interest in academic standards, free speech or equal opportunity.
Lost in the anti-PC hysteria is the fact that women and minorities on today's campuses face an atmosphere in which bigotry and discrimination are openly tolerated. Recent studies, for instance, show that victims of physical assaults are two to four times more likely to be gays and lesbians; that one in four women is the victim of rape or attempted rape while on campus; and that racist incidents, including physical assaults on minority students, were reported at 174 campuses in 1989.
The Left must respond to the right-wing hysteria by exposing the anti-PC crusaders for the opportunists they really are, interest-