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Marxism, Multiculturalism, and Free Speech
By Frank Ellis
Washington, D.C.: Council for Social and Economic Studies, 2006.
Paperback
price/availability: inquire at socecon@aol.com
107 pp.
ISBN 0-930690-60-5

A brave sortie against political correctness (Part One)

By Mark Wegierski
web posted March 9, 2015

First of all, it has to be said the book has been published with a plain beige paper cover, a very utilitarian edition. Secondly, the publisher is one which is often considered controversial, in the setting of the U.S. capital. Nevertheless, one should try to suspend judgment as to the appearance and provenance of the book, as it obviously could not have appeared with a so-called "main stream media" publisher.

Frank Ellis is a former Lecturer in Russian at Leeds University who himself became embroiled in a "political correctness" scandal of the type which he discusses in this book. When Frank Ellis' off-campus statements in opposition to unrestricted Third World immigration into Britain became widely circulated at his university, he was placed in an untenable situation, and was ultimately forced to negotiate an early retirement settlement.

Ironically, the study of modern languages is an area where strict merit might be easier to determine than in most of the humanities. Indeed, it may be a discipline where certain "objective criteria" are more possible than in some other areas of the humanities – either a person knows the given language at a very high level, or he doesn't. Also, it is relatively easier to evaluate knowledge of a given language without the possibility of accusations of bias. Frank Ellis has without question a strong facility in the Russian language, and has read widely in Russian and Soviet literature. Thus it should have been easier for him to defend his scholarly credentials.

During the time of the scandal, many students of different races had said that Dr. Ellis had always been very helpful and courteous to them. This is important to note, because it is presumed today that someone who, for example, argues in printed writings that there are differences in aggregate levels of black and white intelligence must invariably be a bigot, and treats black people with disdain or outright contempt.

It behooves us to remember, in a distinction which Frank Ellis doubtless upholds, that politeness is not political correctness. Indeed, it could be argued that people can usually be more naturally polite to each other, only if they are secure in their respective identities. Yet the whole emphasis of "political correctness" and its multifarious measures like "Anti-Racist Education" would seem to be – as Frank Ellis argues -- an attempt to render nearly all of traditional Western civilization, to appear as utterly hideous to "decent" human sensibilities. There is the refusal to consider the idea that one can probably be more naturally polite to people without having to hew to the multifarious dogmas of political correctness.

The Canadian traditionalist philosopher, George Parkin Grant, had argued that it is only "by loving our own" that we can come to any appreciation of a more universal good. Thus, the only real basis for a more properly ethical behavior towards the so-called Other can only be in an initial love of one's own. Obviously, that love can be eventually refined and reflected upon, but it must begin with a core of determination and passion.

Frank Ellis advances two main ideas in this book. The first is that "political correctness" as it exists today, can trace its ultimate origins to Lenin and Mao. The second main thought is that "freedom of speech" is truly the central concept of Western civilization. What Frank Ellis sees as the attenuation of freedom of speech today will be disastrous for the West, he believes.

Frank Ellis is without a doubt in opposition to the various current-day strictures of "political correctness". Looking back in history, he finds that Lenin and Mao (and the systems they created) can be seen as prefiguring an obsessive focus on the "correctness" of one's ideological attitudes. He cites numerous documents from Lenin and Soviet Communism, and Mao and Chinese Communism that obsess over such notions of "correctness".

Frank Ellis is without doubt also in opposition to what he calls the Left. Thus, he sees a thread of continuity between the ugly, totalitarian Left of Marxism-Leninism and Maoism, and what he sees as the ugly, totalitarian Left of "political correctness" and multiculturalism.

In the reviewer's opinion, this attempt to establish Lenin as the father of political correctness may be a bit overdone.

Lenin and Mao and the systems they created are seen by Ellis as unquestionably hideous, evil, and repulsive. While there certainly are people in the West who defend Lenin and Mao today, one can relatively easily point to tangible evil on the part of Lenin and Mao -- that is, an apparatus of coercive repression, and vast numbers of deaths – that most persons would accept as evil. There has also been the attempt by many Western Marxists, to contrast the good Lenin vs. the bad Stalin. One also hears arguments that while Lenin and Mao may have committed considerable evil, their intentions were good, and that they were struggling against hideous established orders.

Where many people would immediately part company with Frank Ellis is in his attempt to associate the worst aspects of the Soviet and Chinese Communist Left, with the current-day Left in the West, and especially with multiculturalism. Some would say that this type of move parallels the attempts by some on the Left today, to associate the right-wing in Western societies today, with Hitler and Nazism.

In the reviewer's opinion, Frank Ellis may see the current-day Western Left as a bit too monstrous and outwardly totalitarian. This may prevent him from seeing just what the attractive aspects of left-wing thought to some people may be, and what some of the real motors of the widespread popularity of the current-day Western Left may be.

When Frank Ellis asserts that white people form the overwhelming majority of the population in the United Kingdom today, it is difficult to see how that huge majority can be so totally browbeaten by the comparatively small percentage of visible minorities (this is a term of official usage in Canada).

In the reviewer's opinion, it is more important to come to an understanding of the dynamics of increasing self-deprecation among white people, than to dwell excessively on the dynamics of anti-Western and anti-white feelings among the minorities who are, to a large extent, just following their self-interest.

The guilt-ridden white liberal is a bit of a broad stereotype, and it is important to understand how many quite quote-unquote "normal" people can come to embrace something akin to those views.

The reviewer thinks that one of the most important points to be made is that the current-day Western Left emphatically believes itself to be about "liberation" – not about prohibitions on free speech and free expression. One of the early 1960s groups called itself "The Free Speech Movement", and one of the slogans of Paris '68 was "it is forbidden to forbid."

In the reviewer's opinion, the main motor of the spectacular success of the Western Left since the 1960s has been the apparent promise of sexual nirvana for everyone, something which certainly included young, straight white males in the 1960s and 1970s, although that focus of sexual libertinism has become somewhat muted in the last few decades. Indeed, it could be argued that for considerable numbers of straight white males today, the chief aspect of sexual freedom is only the simulacra of widely available "porn", strip-joints, and escort services -- as opposed to substantive relationships with women that grow increasingly strained as radical feminism becomes ever more prominent in society.

It could be argued that the almost direct sexual appeal of the Western Left since the 1960s has motored forward its spectacular political successes. It often takes a considerable amount of prior social conditioning to resist that siren's call of sexual pleasure. It takes considerable sagacity to realize that the promises of sexual nirvana for everyone could be disastrous for society in the long run. Now, to some extent, the sexual revolution has turned against straight white males, so some of these persons may be looking to some forms of more traditional identity.

The triumph of the sexual revolutions has also been accompanied by the triumph of a consumerist, consumptionist society, driven by mass-media. The fact is that the vastly increasing economic living standards of Western societies since the 1960s, are often credited to the current-day system. Some social critics have suggested that the current-day system is in fact a "managerial-therapeutic regime," which has its own capitalist, wealth-producing Right – and therapeutic Left – neither of which authentically represents the real traditions of either the Left or the Right.

To be continued. ESR

Mark Wegierski is a Canadian writer and historical researcher.

 

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