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December 01, 2016

The Left Birthed Identity Politics, and Now Their Wretched Child Has Stabbed Them in the Back

The New York Times last week permitted a professor to question the Democrats' fixation on "identity liberalism," arguing that the fixation on division by race, gender, and orientation was a recipe for political failure.

[H]ow should [America's increasing] diversity shape our politics? The standard liberal answer for nearly a generation now has been that we should become aware of and "celebrate" our differences. Which is a splendid principle of moral pedagogy --but disastrous as a foundation for democratic politics in our ideological age. In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism's message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.

One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end. Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy. But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don't, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class and those with strong religious convictions. Fully two-thirds of white voters without college degrees voted for Donald Trump, as did over 80 percent of white evangelicals...

[T]he fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life. At a very young age our children are being encouraged to talk about their individual identities, even before they have them. By the time they reach college many assume that diversity discourse exhausts political discourse, and have shockingly little to say about such perennial questions as class, war, the economy and the common good. In large part this is because of high school history curriculums, which anachronistically project the identity politics of today back onto the past, creating a distorted picture of the major forces and individuals that shaped our country. (The achievements of women's rights movements, for instance, were real and important, but you cannot understand them if you do not first understand the founding fathers' achievement in establishing a system of government based on the guarantee of rights.)

...

This campus-diversity consciousness has over the years filtered into the liberal media, and not subtly.... [It] appears to have encouraged the assumption, especially among younger journalists and editors, that simply by focusing on identity they have done their jobs.

It's worth reading in full. He goes on to discuss the media's "newfound anthropological interest" in the long-disparaged figure of the "angry white male."

Rich Lowry discussed that article and the cult of identity politics generally.

Mark Lilla, a professor at Columbia and highly respected intellectual historian, wrote that "American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender, and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism's message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing."

His piece [the one quoted directly above] itself occasioned a moral panic, focused overwhelmingly on how Lilla is, in fact, himself a white male. His op-ed was denounced from the left as "the whitest thing I've ever read," and part of an "unconscionable" assault on "the very people who just put the most energy into defeating Trumpism, coming from those who will be made least vulnerable by Trump's ascension."

Most reprehensibly and sophomorically, a Columbia colleague, Katherine Franke, accused Lilla of promoting a "liberalism of white supremacy" (and, for good measure, of "mansplaining"). One wonders if Franke has any conception of words and arguments as a means to persuade rather than to excoriate and shut down debate, or any inkling of her own self-satisfied intolerance.

Ah, I see. We're now just using "White" as a general derogatory term. Apparently the goal of the Social Justice Warriors is not to show respect for all people, but simply to swap out one Out-Group deemed socially acceptable to casually denigrate for another Out-Group who really deserves such treatment. (More on that later.)

Reason, Robby Soave argues that Democrat identity politics spurred those outside the permitted identity politics coalitions to form their own.

After noting that one of Hillary's minority-outreach staffers called Bernie Sanders a white supremacist for saying that you can't just play identity politics and expect to win, Soave writes:

This baseless accusation is emblematic of a specific problem for Democrats who, having successfully galvanized certain segments of the population into identity-based political coalitions, lost the presidential election because the people outside this group--working-class whites-f-ormed a coalition of their own.

The Democratic Party has itself to blame, of course: you can't cheer for white men to go extinct and then be surprised when they desert your candidate. Or, as Spiked magazine's Brendan O'Neill put it, liberals essentially did the following:

"You are a white man. Your whiteness defines you. Everything you think is because you're white, everything you say is because you're white. Don't try to be post-white. Don't try to be colourblind. Don't say you are 'over race'. You're white, own it and deal with it."

"Really? Oh. Okay. I identify as white."

"FASCIST!"

His point is we shouldn't be surprised to see people vote in keeping with the ill-defined interests of their designated identity group: that's the game the Lena Dunham Left has been playing with increasing fervency for years.

So: Can the left jettison identity politics?

I don't think so. Identity politics is the whole of leftism now. They have nothing else. They have no other brand, except for this.

Hatred is the central component of the alleged Anti-Hatred Coalition.

Identity politics is in fact racism. And the dirty little secret about racism is that it's popular (in some quarters) for a reason: It makes one feel better about oneself for no particularly good or logical reason. People with little achievement in their accounts may pat themselves on the back for the simple happenstance of belonging to an allegedly superior race, feeling a swell of unwarranted pride of not being among the supposedly inferior races.

But note the constant bleat from the identity politics warriors that all other races/genders/etc. than their own are inferior. They're constantly insulting, for example, men as rapists (or rape-enablers).

They're constantly insulting whites as secretly longing for pogroms.

Think about it: If these sorts of slurs were hurled at any other group -- the claim that certain people are born criminals and born wicked due to their race -- would we acknowledge it as racism?

Would we call it sexism if we said something like "Women, by virtue of their gender, cannot help but make false claims of rape to elevate their social standing"?

Of course we would.

But when this sort of racism/sexism is perpetrated by Favored Groups expressly permitted to indulge its inner hatefulness, the media and the mediating institutions of government, law, academia, etc. just (condescendingly) wink at it.

I long ago observed that Anti-Americanism is the way Europeans demonstrate their nationalism. Europeans have been taught by decades of leftist swill (as well as a pair of world wars that weren't so much fun) that nationalism is a scourge.

And yet Europeans are as patriotic/chauvinistic as any other people on earth.

How then to express one's nationalistic impulses while also paying lip-service to the bromide that nationalism is bad?

Simple -- merely sneer that "Those stupid Americans are sooo nationalistic."

Note that this is a passive-aggressive boast-- and a rather ugly one. Rather than going the traditional route and throwing praise on oneself by declaring "My nation is the best," or "USA! USA!," they get at the same notion crab-wise and cowardly by merely implying it.

If the Americans -- until recently, the top dogs in the world -- are so stupid, uncultured, boorish, and nationalist, what do you think that makes French or British or German people making this observation?

Well it makes them better, of course -- they're better, because they don't have this backwards, ugly nationalism the Americans have.

They express their nationalism by professing their strident opposition to nationalism, then finding other nations (America in particular) to be bankrupt in this area.

The people accusing all whites of racism are racist in the same way. They've declared that the anti-racist impulse is the most important moral impulse there is; and they find that whites -- almost all of them -- are deficient in anti-racism impulse, and therefore are immoral and inferior human beings.

Intellectually inferior too, of course, because they're so ignorant as to not be able to see their own racism, their own "privilege."

Once again, we get to the crabwise, cowardly pronouncement that one's own race is superior not by openly declaring it to be such, but by implying it by choosing other races to put down and thus, by inevitable logic -- if B is inferior to A, A must be superior to B -- suggesting one's own race is superior.

Feminine Supremacists do the same thing -- they plainly do not believe the sexes to be equal, and they're increasingly bold about saying so. They suggest that feminism is the highest morality, and guess what group is singularly ill-equipped in that moral priority? Why, men of course.

Note that they're not saying women are superior per se -- but when you've only got two sexes (until recently), and one of those two is marked inferior by inescapable encoding in their very DNA, then that must make the other one superior, right?

Those crying the loudest about "racism" are in fact racists looking, praying for any damn reason to think that their accomplishment-free lives are somehow superior to tens of millions of others due to the minor happenstance of their skin tone. And those crying the loudest about "sexism" are just attempting to prove that men are inferior, so that they can take their rightful, God-Promised place as the Superior Sex.

And frankly, they've made this all too obvious in recent years. The stealth, polite-company racism and sexism we've long tolerated from these hateful people has been emboldened and envenomed by the Cult of Identity Politics and Social Justice Warriorism to the point where they barely bother to hide the fact that they literally hate people of different races or genders and want them to either 1, assume the correct posture of deference and second-class citizenship as God has willed it or 2, simply die away and depart the planet forever.

And now people are saying what we frankly should have said 30 years ago:

I do not believe you must defer to me, but I'll be damned to Hell before I'm bullied into deferring to you. Go fuck yourselves in the heart with a knife, Racist. Sexist. Islamist. Whatever brand of hateful Other-hating I'm-superior-because-of-my-DNA-or-randomly-determined-cultural-baggage supremacist you are.

Have I mansplained this too harshly?


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posted by Ace at 11:30 AM

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