In my opinion we in the Western world are losing sight of the values that are supposed to define us as a society, namely the values of liberal democracy. An important part of the values of liberal democracy is the value of judging an individual based on his/her character, and not arbitrary traits likes race, gender, sexual orientation or any other physical traits acquired only through birth. These traits are not the responsibility of the individual and they have no real bearing on the character of the individual, and therefore the individual as an agent that can think, feel and act independently trumps them all. That is an important part of what it means to live in a liberal society. But increasingly, this is lost on a number people as they choose instead to embrace identity politics.
Does anyone remember when Martin Luther King Jr gave his speech wherein he proclaimed his great dream? The dream that his four children shall live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of his skin but by the content of their character? For King, individual character clearly trumped race, and it is in this same spirit that it should trump all else in our society. But instead, identity politics has a foothold in the imaginations of people in the West, particularly in America I have to say. The country is being divided along lines sex, race and gender by identity politics ideologues, particularly those on the progressive side.
You have Black Lives Matter, who are so convinced that all white people and all white cops are irredeemably evil that they cheer for the violent deaths of five police officers in Dallas by an avowed racist who wanted to kill white people. Supporters have even accused non-white people of being white supremacists if they happen to be police officers. And they are so heavily focused on race, that they get histrionic of the use of the hashtag #AllLivesMatter, presumably by people who believe that all lives matter equally in our society. A fine sentiment to hold, and for that BLM supporters accuse you of racism, which just proves that the only lives they care about are black lives (or rather, the lives of black people killed by police officers) because they think black lives matter more than any other lives. They are also so aggressively agenda-driven and self-centered that they will hijack events unrelated to them in order to insert their own agenda, like how in Canada recently they actually disrupted a parade conducted by Pride Toronto, where they were given honorary status even though their cause has nothing to do with that of Pride Toronto, because they decided that the pride parade was somehow anti-black and not inclusive to them. Again, despite being honored by Toronto Pride. I guess their real beef was just the fact that police officers apparently got to march in the parade, and that must have triggered BLM’s pathological hatred of the police.
Speaking of people who get triggered, there is a reason that the regressive left, another prominent political force where identity politics finds its home, is called the regressive left. They are a movement of left-leaning individuals who hold socially regressive viewpoints. One of these views is the idea of segregated spaces for people of color. You know, the kind of think people like Martin Luther King Jr. would have actively opposed for the simple reason that it is a form of segregation based on race! And this is something that is being advocated by people we refer to as SJWs (social justice warriors) and sometimes people who consider themselves feminists. Members of the regressive left also have a nasty habit of declaring that all white people are evil and that whiteness is equal to oppression (in other words, if you’re white then you are automatically oppressive and racist because you’re white), while simultaneously claiming that they are fighting against racism. Similarly, feminists who are on the regressive left tend to think that any kind of harassment or threats made against men is fine (because again, to them being a male automatically makes you evil) but the same thing made to women is a capital crime. To them racism and sexism are a one way street. Then you have “special snowflakes” supposedly speaking out in favor of marginalized communities when they no-platform speakers at their universities which they consider to be offense (read: they espouse views that they disagree with), like in the cases of Peter Tatchell and Germaine Greer; Tatchell is long-standing LGBT rights advocate, while Greer is a well-known old school feminist. They even bar their own kind from speaking for holding the wrong opinion, like Kate Smurthwaite, one of the usual kind of modern radical feminists, whose only crime was having the opinion that prostitution should not be legalized or decriminalized.
With identity politics you also get people willing pounce on tragedy to make it all about them, particularly in the wake of last month’s massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in which 50 gay people were murdered in the name of Allah. And what do Owen Jones, Steve Shives and other progressives and gay leaders do? Use the tragedy to enhance the victim status of the LGBT community, with a healthy does of conservative and Christian-shaming in America’s case. Because the fact that they were killed by an Islamist who pledged allegiance to ISIL means nothing compared to the sexuality of the victims. There was also a keen agenda on emphasizing the label of “hate crime” while overlooking the obvious element of radical Islam in the discussion. And if you try to change the subject from the LGBT community to literally anything else, you’re a homophobe to them. That’s why Owen Jones stormed out of a Sky News interview after failing to maintain control of his narrative on the conversation.
Identity politics is so pervasive, that even find pointless insertions of identity politics into atheist and so-called humanist movements, via Atheism+ and Humanism+ respectively. The former is basically a co-opting of atheism by feminism, while the latter is a co-opting of humanism by social justice movements. In both cases, this co-opting is unnecessary. However, with humanism, it is especially egregious. To the humanist, the emphasis is very much on egalitarian ideals to applied to all of humanity, rather than giving any unique status or extra attention to a given gender, race or sexuality or any movement based on either. Doing so undermines part of the tenets of humanism. The American Humanist Association, evidently, has not realized this, and they even go so far as to block people on Twitter who disagree with them. And what does YouTube do in the wake of the Orlando massacre? They release #ProudToBe, an indulgent celebration of people claiming to be all sorts of gender identities that, for all I know, were first discovered on Tumblr. That’s real nice. Way to show solidarity with the victims by using the tragedy to help people indulge in their witless pursuit of mostly non-existent genders.
Here is the main problem with identity politics: by virtue of being based on race, its based on what you are not who you are. When I have thought about identity in terms of “my identity”, I think of my personality, my self, my being as an individual. Who I am, not what I am. Race, gender and sexuality tend to be less important to me. I’m happy being a straight white male, but that’s not the most important aspect of who I am, or who I consider myself to be, as a person. In identity politics movements, however, identity has nothing to do with who you are and everything to do with what you are. If anything, they think who you are is tied to what you are. And by emphasizing so heavily on race, gender, or sexuality groups, they don’t deal in individuality, but rather group identity (for instance, thinking in terms of black people and white people as collectives with desires and goals, rather than thinking in terms of individuals). This also means they despise people who disagree with them, because to them they must be traitors to their genders . Feminist public figures don’t like women who aren’t feminists, and Black Lives Matter doesn’t like it when other African-Americans speak out against Black Lives Matter, because it undermines their identitarian narrative. I can’t imagine how the LGBT community views Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative journalist who also happens to be gay. Or for that matter Blaire White, a transgender YouTuber who criticizes social justice progressivism.
Not to mention, as long as feminism continues to rise and it continues to focus largely on women whilst claiming to be an egalitarian movement, it always creates people who decide to become MGTOWs or masculinists or any identitarian movement centering around men instead of women. As long as you have social justice warrior movements that decide that all white men are evil because their ancestors may have been slave-owners of some other malevolent personality, and as long as people in the mainstream media continue entertain their kind of racialism as a legitimate political standpoint, it will create people who will practice the same thing but from the opposite side, such as the alt-right – a modern current of neo-reactionary white nationalism that specifically exists to counter progressivism. The same thing has happened in this year’s gay pride. People have reacted with a hashtag #HeterosexualPrideDay, possibly out of concern that they feel pride parades are still a sign that the LGBT community believes their behavior isn’t normalized, which you’d think was the end goal in the first place – for the homosexuality, bisexuality and transexuality to be seen as normal in the same way that heterosexuality is. It is a constant pendulum swing, and the only thing produced is division and unserviceable hate.
In the end, though, I think the rise of identity politics is leading to a lot of illiberality and division, particularly racial identity politics, which is now leading innocent lives being lost by psychotic identitarian ideologues. The way Black Lives Matter is going, there are a lot of people who have come out in support of the idea of killing cops solely because they’re cops, and they have come out in support of a man who openly stated that his reasons for slaying police officers in Dallas was because he wanted to kill white people and especially white police officers. And whatever Black Lives Matter does, no matter how retarded or unethical it is, the mainstream media will paint them as though they are completely justified in what they do and can do no wrong, as though two wrongs somehow make a right. I think it’s only a matter of time before violent rhetoric produces violent actions. As far other forms of identity politics? Well, I think it’s a particularly bad sign that in recent weeks al-Qaeda has reportedly encouraged lone wolves to specifically target white males, apparently in order to avoid the hate crime label. If that’s true, it means they know how divided the West is along identitarian lines and, like any terrorists worth their salt, they may work to exploit that in order to try and undermine the framework of Western society through violence.
Identity politics is a hydra that needs to be defeated before it not only corrodes and destroys the liberal values we in the West hold dear, but also takes more lives in the process. If we do not rout identity politics from our culture, or at least delegitimize it as a valid political platform, then I think there will be increasingly dismal days ahead for the West.