The politically correct elite and right-wing populist exces

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Rasmus Jespersgaard
4. term, Applied Philosophy, Master (Master Programme)
The following paper will examine the relationship between the phenomenon of so-called “political correctness culture” and right-wing populism. It will do so, first and foremost by establishing the meaning of these terms as they are used by different actors, including scholars, politicians and popular culture.
Further, the paper will try to describe the phenomenon right-wing populism by drawing on a Danish scholar named Søren Christensen who describes it as an excessive charismatic force in which the populist leaders are considered as embodying the excess of the people. Christensen reaches this definition with a historical view of the masses and the shift of perception that has happened throughout the latest centuries. According to Christensen this is to be seen both within intellectual humanist discourse as well as the self-perception of the so-called masses.
Christensen is further used to show how the humanist values fail to speak into this new excessive charismatic mass discourse, and it will be analysed and discussed if and how these humanist values could be considered an epitome of political correctness. It will also be discussed whether right-wing populism is used as an agent to keep up the politically correct discourse while at the same time trying to undermine these very values.
The last theorical framework that will be used in this paper is Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek’s theory of the sublime nature of ideological objects which will be used to analyse whether both phenonema could be seen as interdependable in creating and sustaining one core ideology, or as one could argue, a form of totalitarianism. It will also be used to analyse the difference herein.
Zizek’s latest work The New Class Struggle is his take on the refugee crisis that seems to be a very current political theme throughout Europe. In this book he also analyses the relationship between the right-wing populist and nationalist movements, and the humanist values which Zizek seems to view as somewhat problematic, due to its creation of paradoxes from what could be perceived as a cultural relativism. He goes so far as to use the term politically correct to describe leftist factions, which he obviously disagrees with.
All this will end out in a discussion of whether political correctness and right-wing populism are interdependent, or if political correctness has some legitimacy due to its ability to prevent hateful discourse, and if so, how it should extend to avoid sliding in to totalitarianism.
Publication date31 May 2017
ID: 258651998