The role that identity politics should play
I know what you think, but bear with me... I would like to hear your opinion on how much identity should matter. Over recent years, most centred liberals and conservatives have scrutinised the post modernist identity politics of the U.S. Democratic party, and rightfully so.
I have always been a strong believer of individualism. Yet when we say "identity politics" today, we associate it with the most recent version of it... I would almost say failed version of it... on the left.
To focus on identity primarily and view people as collectives solely is probably wrong and often leads to prejudice, stereo typing and bias.
But can we really deny the role of identity completely? Could it be that we have to speak to individuals and hear their different views in order to identify issues, but deliver solutions that serve the collective group? Surely there has to be a space for collectivism and identity somewhere in our society. Individualism should be the primary focus in my opinion, but to conclude from our own individual success to others would be a bit over simplified and lazy as well.
I think this is where conservatives (individualists) and progressives (collectivists) need to have a civil discourse and find that well balanced solution in the centre... which is why our democracy needs to get back to what is was initially set out to be.
I guess I would add to my comment that as far as natural-Born politicians are concerned, identity groups mainly serve to meet the politician’s end of developing a constituency; so from my perspective I try to “screen out” all of that as political blather. My own Current Representative right now is just such a politician. I think he’s single, so he’s got LOTS of time to circulate to all the “groups” to ensure they know he hasn’t forgotten them and their interests.
I want a Constitutionalist; that Constitution guarantees ALL citizens from ANY group to thrive Civilly side-by-side with ANY person, no matter Who they be!!!
If we restored individual liberty to the place our Framers gave it in the Constitution the Only Identity That should matter is the Individual’s identity as a Citizen under that Constitution. We fought a civil War to settle that question, started reconstruction, and then in the 30’s there was “the New Deal” and in the 60’s and 70’s allowed ourselves to be pulled into the Great Society.
Both of those elevated Victimhood and a Savior Government. While they Claimed to promote the welfare of the poor, or special interests, REALLY promoted the Administrative State and the Bureaucracy, Really, a Super-Class... the ones to whom you must go now, hat-in-hand for either permission to live every aspect of your life, or special consideration!.
No One, of ANY “identity” has a higher “value” to politicians now than the SEIU, and its Bureaucrats, and the interest groups they approve!!!
I like posts like this because they really make me think, but then, I don't like posts like this because they distract me from my work for hours. lol
In my simple mind, I see like this:
I don't believe that one can be completely self-reliant, i.e., completely individual. Basically because we're social animals, we cannot not belong to a unit/group. Family is a very basic unit, for example. We also get together when we find common ground; it can be a religious belief, a political view, even as simple as a hobby, etc. So, I think it's only natural that we identify ourselves with the group(s) we belong to.
I think that identity politics is important; if a certain group of people, like the Yazidis, are deprived of human rights, for example, identity politics has an important role to play for such a group of people.
In the modern world, however, where we all take for granted human rights and the entitlement to the equal protection of the law, identity politics is used for political agendas, and therefore becomes toxic, as we know. We often see politicians and activists play racist and victim cards; that's a good example. In that case, I hate identity politics.
I think that "identity" is just a posh word for "label" and labeling anyone is bad. You label someone and put them in a certain category, and when you cannot transcend that label/category and therefore cannot see them as individuals, you simply fail to integrate with them.
That's all I have to say for now. I'd better get back to my work... lol!
@modestMillennial Totally agree with your thoughtful reasoning, well said. There should be a platform, or platforms where these discussions could take place. You really could be onto something. I think that despite all the polarization groups and individuals feel towards each other, we would all like to find some common ground. Out of control, or is it managed identity politics, is absolutely the #1 driver of the divisions we experience today. And if I am understanding you correctly, you are proposing, that before this current Maelstrom we are experiencing , we could figure out how to identify as a collective, while maintaining our sense of individualism Or, am I just describing what my ideal of Americanism was.... Many of us, enjoy watching lectures and discussions, motivating ideas, reason and debate by those we admire, or identify with. Perhaps, it wouldn't be impossible then, to then imagine communities holding townhall types of debates, led by speakers and community leaders, even nationwide... maybe? Definitely you have enabled some food for thought!
Great post! I appreciate it when people post things that actually make this group question their own assumptions. I don't want this space to become another echo chamber.
You bring up a really good point. Because I think the conservatives' inisitence on individualism lately is in large part a reaction to how extreme the left's identity politics has become.
In 2019, many on the right forget they too are collectivists... or, I should say, they are both collectivist and individualistic. Everyone is, by nature, actually, to varying degrees. The real question are:
a) How do you define the collective group you belong to?
b) How do you treat those who do not belong to your group?
I think good guidepost for answering these questions is asking this question:
What definition maximizes the utility of the group without crushing the inidividual?
This is where both the intersectional left and the alt-right go terribly wrong. Because both movements define group by immutable characteristics (race, gender, etc), they literally are conflating your individual identity with that of the group... which means you don't have your own identity... your identity IS the group identity, if that makes sense.
That means that a) the individual is absolutely crushed, and b) there is no room for friendly disagreement with people from other groups... because someone disagreeing with your group now feels like they are attacking you as a person.
The best way define group, in my opinion, is first by the basic principles you agree upon, and second, by the community in which you actually, geographically reside.
When there is a shared respect and love for the Constitution and the ideals behind it, there's room to discuss differences. When progressives seek to turn our nation into another Marxist copycat state where the individual is subservient to the state and the maintenance of the power of the ruling class at their expense, where is there enough common ground to discuss much of anything, When you can't even pin the opposition down to a consistent definition of common words, where is the basis of discussion. To get back to where there can be any meaningful dialogue, the progressives are going to have to develop a sense of fairness and consistent principles. Otherwise, it's so much spitting in the wind.