Notes on Identity Politics
here is something fundamentally stupid about those who think with their skin, their sexuality, their gender, or
whatever other immutable property they believe groups them, and more, divides them from others. The adherence to this base tribalism is always a
process of diminishing returns, and when centred around biological characteristics, it is fertile ground for superstition, hatred, and injustice.
Identity politics...from this one stupidity arises a cascade of countless others.
Foreseeing the rise in identity politics, the always prescient George Orwell wrote in his
Notes On Nationalism
that “[the] abiding purpose of every nationalist is to
secure more power and more prestige, not
for himself, but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.”
For Orwell, a fundamental problem with these “units” is that their existence can be seriously questioned, and in the end, the identity politician
is seeking power and prestige for nothing in particular.
This is why it is necessary to point out the obvious when it involves people so far removed from the obvious—any and all groups are composed of
individuals and are not themselves individual. How obvious, but how difficult this is to grasp for the collectivist. Maybe the thought-poor mind
requires the levelling of particulars into all encompassing general ideas so as to maintain the ease with which to organize its mental furniture—who
knows?—yet even the quickest glance at the world proves a different state of affairs. Perhaps their stupidity is a form of deception. Identity
Politics is “power-hunger tempered by self-deception”.
Let’s be serious; when members of a supposed group are so distant, so disparate, never meeting each other, and without any connection save for maybe
one superficial characteristic, there is no such group. The so-called “LGBT community”, “the white vote”, “Hispanics”, "the black
community": these are all words connoting ideas made in abstracto
, with reference to personal opinion and prejudice rather than any real
connection between any real members. Hence, when they consider their imaginary collectives as a concrete entity, they make the mistake of
reification, pretending and acting as if their abstract thoughts have a basis in the world.
When the reification of their fictitious collectives leads them to see a “community”, an “identity”, some affinity or other—even an
enemy—among the superficial fever of their abstractions, they can pretend there is a shared “common experience” with a staggering amount of
people whom they have never met, and therefor, could never judge or vouch for otherwise. When it is found that someone does not conform with his
supposed collective, his membership is revoked, and he is banished as if he was really a member of that group to begin with.
They protest, advocate and show solidarity with people they have never met, against people they have never met. They gather only to superficial and
never meaningful similarities and connections. Blinded by tribalism and seduced by the allure of crowds, they know nothing of the other members of
their own group save for that they are on the same side. For all they know (or care to know), they could be marching arm-in-arm with a rapist, a child
abuser, or someone they would never befriend on any other occasion. And among their make-believe enemies might be a potential friend, lover, comrade,
or someone who might save their life, help them in need, uplift their spirits, if they weren’t already placed on the other side of some fantastic
and abstract divide.
If you’re wondering why any criticism of today’s identity politics would fit perfectly on the identity politics of yesterday—the politics of
caste systems, apartheid, segregation and race nationalism—it is because they are cut from the same blood-soaked cloth. It is no strange wonder that
they all adhere to the very same language and hierarchies, evoking tribalism instead of repudiating it. They all rely on the same absurdities in
order to assert themselves, and thus when taken too far, lead to the same injustices that convinced them to identity politics in the first place.
“Let justice be done though the heavens fall” reads an old maxim. It was Justice, not Identity Politics, that eroded caste systems, segregation,
and apartheid. History will always shine upon those who live up to it. But if individuals are advanced or sacrificed according to group interests,
justice will never be able to materialize no matter the state of the sky.
Identity politics is folly because the existence of identities can be seriously questioned, even laughably so. What it amounts to is the expression of
the tribal and herd instincts found in people whom have yet to discover who they really are, and likely do not want to find out.
edit on 31-10-2017 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)