I came across this on another website. The author is a political scientist. The term "politically correct" was first used in Communist Party - USA circles back in the 1930s. It served as part of a disciplinary process intended to see that CP members stuck to the party line. (Calling the Communist Party "CP" or "CP-USA" was another usage of insiders -- relevant to the later history of "PC.") I don't recall seeing any attestations of the abbreviation "PC" dating to this first appearance of the phrase as an ideologically significant term. In any event, "politically correct" fell into disfavor as part of the many factional disputes that characterized ideological communism in the 30s. The reappearance of the phrase in English translations of the Little Red Book of Chairman Mao probably was due to a translator grabbing what was by then an obsolete usage in US communist circles. It did not lead to resuscitation, even in the cramped ideological speech of hard-core communists. "Politically correct" was resurrected by people who were conscious propagandists for right-wing groups. (The groups I have in mind were far more radical in their views than even the strongest advocates of mainstream conservatism in the US.) I seem to recall that the latter-day usage of the term pointed to individuals who had been communists in the 1930s but had become converted into hard-line anti-communists by the 1960s. They thought it was clever to refer to the phrase by the initials "PC" because the initials recalled "CP," then still a widely recognized label for the Communist Party. This time, the term was deliberately used to suggest that whatever was being called "PC" really was the result of a deliberate communist plot. The term, and frequent use of the initials "PC," migrated from what I think of as "crazies of the right" to the political propaganda of conservatism. Its use became notable in conservative journals. Then "PC" began turning up in lists of words Republicans were advised to use consciously to attack members and policies of the Democratic Party. (I believe that the almost-universal use of "Democrat Party" by Republicans was the predecessor of such lists. Another word, "liberal," gained such pejorative connotations from this sort of campaign that people who once might have been proud to call themselves "liberals" now reject the label.) This was the campaign that led to widespread recognition of "PC." The campaign's success is clear in today's two streams of usage for "PC." For some, it serves as an accusation that someone else is blindly following the political line of some alien left-wing mob, party, or philosophy. Others see it as a possibility to be denied: "It's not that I want to be PC or anything, but could we stop calling people 'gimpy' or 'crippled' and say, instead, that they have trouble walking?" Nobody wants to be called "PC." The term is pejorative, not descriptive.