The mother of all definitions

Everybody and their dog speak of political correctness, yet, not many (not even the politicians and their hacks) are able to provide an all-encompassing definition of it.

Whatever suits them becomes the definition of the day (in today’s world commanded by speed and speed alone, of the second).

And yet, there exists a brilliant description that meets all of the possible requirements needed to make it a definition.

Here it is: political correctness is a doctrine, recently fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and promoted by a sick mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end!

According to alleged eyewitnesses, this one is 75 years old, written by then-president of the United States, Harry S. Truman.

There were supposedly four telegrams exchanged between General Douglas MacArthur and Truman, his commander-in-chief, on the day before the actual signing of the WWII Surrender Agreement in Japan, September 1, 1945.

Now, in reality, there were not, but the texts (they have been circulating on the world-wide web since at least a decade and a half ago) are funny.

The next few paragraphs include the messages as they have been circulating.

The contents of those four telegrams below are exactly as received at the end of the war – not a word has been added or deleted!

(1) Tokyo, Japan 08:00-September 1, 1945.
To: President Harry S Truman
From: General D A MacArthur
Tomorrow we meet with those yellow-bellied bastards and sign the Surrender Documents, any last minute instructions?

(2) Washington, D C 13:00-September 1, 1945
To: D A MacArthur
From: H S Truman
Congratulations, job well done, but you must tone down your obvious dislike of the Japanese when discussing the terms of the surrender with the press, because some of your remarks are fundamentally not politically correct!

(3) Tokyo, Japan 16:30-September 1, 1945
To: H S Truman
From: D A MacArthur and C H Nimitz
Wilco Sir, but both Chester and I are somewhat confused, exactly what does the term politically correct mean?

(4) Washington, D C 21:20-September 1, 1945
To: D A MacArthur/C H Nimitz
From: H S Truman
Political Correctness is a doctrine, recently fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and promoted by a sick mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end!

Here’s the first problem: the expression, ‘mainstream media,’ is so frightfully new, not even Truman, who could see far ahead, could imagine its existence.

Too bad the real author has never come forward. To collect her/his well-deserved royalties, at least.

The second problem can be described as a minor technicality: the Truman Library and Museum’s reply to a question about the exchange by an Internet user earlier this year:

Greetings from the Truman Library,

Thank you for your question! This purported exchange of telegrams between General Douglas MacArthur and President Harry S. Truman does not exist at the Truman Library. One of the ways you can tell this exchange is not accurate is that they have Chester Nimitz’s middle initial wrong – his middle initial is W, not H. The “telegrams” contain other terms that did not exist in Truman’s time, such as “mainstream media,” and terms that military officers of MacArthur’s rank would not have used in official communications. It also suggests a level of camaraderie and familiarity between General MacArthur and President Truman that certainly did not exist.

What a pity

Still, even though not coined by Harry S. Truman, the definition sticks.

A very recent opinion piece published by the Salt Lake City Tribune proves that some people still haven’t heard that just as a woman can’t be pregnant only in part, so a society cannot be based on democracy and socialism at the same time.

History has shown that this arrangement doesn’t work, and yet, some people still believe that the failed idea can be made to work somehow, if only we tried hard enough.

The three men whom the Salt Lake City Tribune identifies as James Smithson, Richard Saltzman and James Glenn claim they’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not an oncoming train, it is the first rays of the bright future named socialism.

They open their diatribe by saying (verbatim): “Socialism” is currently a hot-button word that is too often misused.

Of course, nothing is easier than interpreting a politician’s words in a way he might and might not have meant them.

To prove their point, the Salt Lake City Tribune trio use a Truman Library and Museum’s recording of a speech Truman gave in Syracuse, New York, in 1952, when he was supporting then-Democratic Party’s presidential candidate Adlai Stephenson.

For the record: no matter how hard Truman tried to denigrate the other (Republican) party candidate, Dwight David Eisenhower, the general would win. Stephenson would come to the White House only when invited by a current incumbent.

The trio are trying to explain that socialism is, in fact, a benign idea that only helps the wide masses of people. They select a few words from the conclusion of the Truman speech. He didn’t like it that the Republicans would call most (if not all) of Democratic Party ideas of enhancing government role in national economy ‘socialist.’

Of course, Truman could not know at the time that his predecessor Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal would be hanging like a mill stone around the neck of America within just a few decades. But he could (or should) have known that Italy’s fascist Duce (leader) Benito Mussolini admired Roosevelt’s persistent socialization of the U.S., and the FDR had to send a special envoy to Rome to ask the fascist supremo to at least tone down his public accolades addressed at Roosevelt and all his works. It is quite possible Truman was aware of this incident, but no real proof exists.

In any case, the Salt Lake Tribune writers, James Smithson, Richard Saltzman and James Glenn, could have known it, too. If only they did their homework.

The trio present their personal stories that, they write with all seriousness, helped them along the way to “see that if government partnerships to promote public goods are what we are calling socialism, then a little well-placed socialism might be a good thing.”

And: “We shouldn’t be so quick to assume that socialism is always a bad thing.”

They conclude that socialism does not result in a loss of freedom, undermining individual productivity. It does not necessarily lead people down a dangerously slippery slope to communism.


Had they done their homework on Harry S. Truman a bit more thoroughly, they would have known that he was throwing those soothing words about socialism out because of electioneering.

Truman fought socialism on the world stage with commendable vigour. The Marshall Plan, intended to help restore Europe devastated by war, his Truman Doctrine that was supposed to contain Soviet geopolitical expansion during the Cold War, and many other measures are proof that he knew the socialist danger.

In today’s world, apologists for socialism are apologists for violence, discrimination, racism (what else are the Black Lives Matter groups than bands of illiterate racists?), and general mayhem that would end up destroying civilization that we fought so hard to achieve.

It is a pity that Harry S. Truman didn’t write these unforgettable words defining political correctness.

Still, it would be useful to remember them.

Political correctness is a doctrine, recently fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and promoted by a sick mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end!

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3 thoughts on “The mother of all definitions

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