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The twilight of identity politics Progressive groupthink is falling to pieces

She's not kneeling hard enough imo. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

She's not kneeling hard enough imo. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)


May 19, 2022   6 mins

During the 2016 Democratic primary Hillary Clinton began to enthusiastically deploy identitarian arguments against Bernie Sanders. Her media surrogates derided his supporters as straight white “brocialists”. Bernie Bros were guilty of “mansplaining” anti-capitalism to the nation’s minorities and aspiring young girlbosses. “If we broke up the big banks tomorrow, would that end racism?”, Clinton asked on the stump.

In turn, Bernie supporters came to regard identity politics as a tool wielded by Democratic elites to deflect from their critiques of American capitalism and empire. One often heard variations of the joke that what the DNC really wanted was Cruise missiles painted with rainbow flags. Years later, that joke was made grimly literal in the viral “woke CIA” ad, in which an agency analyst announced “I am a woman of colour, I am a mom, I am a cisgender millennial who has been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder”. By that point, the only people around to laugh at it were conservatives and various marginal Twitter anons

That’s because the years from 2016 to 2020, and especially 2020 itself, were brutal to the socialist wing of this intra-party debate. The issue was not that the Democrats became more centrist or “neoliberal” over time — if anything, their centre of gravity has moved well to the Left since the Hillary campaign. It was that, in the pressure-cooker environment of the Trump years, every faction on the American Left had to either make its peace with identity politics or leave the organised Left. 

 

In part, the triumph of identity politics was the result of events, most notably the murder of George Floyd and the summer of riots and protests that followed it, which made progressive narratives about systemic racism and police brutality more plausible to larger numbers of people. In part it was because Trump, by railing against “political correctness” and devoting his considerable showman’s talent toward scandalising liberal sensibilities, had made even the most dyed-in-the-wool Marxist critiques of race and gender politics seem toxic by association with him. 

But mostly this victory was because, as Christopher Caldwell has observed, identity politics (or “civil rights, broadly understood”) had, by the Trump years, become the “reconciler-of-contradictions” within the Democratic coalition. In America’s emerging party alignment, identity politics is the “glue” holding together the New Economy oligarchs, white-collar professionals, disaffected graduate students, and minority voters that make up Team Blue. As long as Trump was in office, dissent from it would always appear, to the Left, as something akin to wartime treason.  

But with Trump gone — for now — we are beginning again to hear some grumblings. Facing the prospect of an electoral bloodbath in November and potential disaster in 2024, figures from the centre of the Democratic Party such as Ruy Teixeira, Jonathan Chait, and Matthew Yglesias have declared a more-or-less open war on the party’s activist-NGO Left wing, which they accuse of tarnishing the Democratic brand by associating it with a host of radical and unpopular positions.

Further to the Left, some socialist-minded writers such as the New York Times’s Jay Caspian Kang have resurfaced critiques of identity politics familiar from the pre-Trump era: that it inhibits cross-racial solidarity, that it erases class differences and complements rather than antagonises corporate power, and that it reflects the experiences and obsessions of elite-educated professionals whose material interests conflict with those of the masses for whom they claim to speak. 

A new book by the Nigerian-American philosopher Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (And Everything Else), promises to be an entry into the latter genre. And judging by the book’s critical reception — including a flattering profile of the author in New York magazine — many are eager to hear someone with the appropriate demographic characteristics point out that much of what is written and said on the subject of identity in America is bogus. Táíwò has two other things going for him, neither of which should be underestimated in an aspiring public intellectual. One, he looks extremely cool. Two, he has a catchy title. “Elite capture.” You get the point without having to read the book. 

That’s good, because Táíwò’s central point — made in a 2020 essay in The Philosopher on which this book was clearly based — is a sensible one. In elite progressive circles, it has become common to hear calls to “listen to black voices” and “centre the marginalised”, a practice that Táíwò calls “deference politics” after the idea that oppressors should generally defer to the oppressed. But in these circles, who counts as “oppressed”?

Generally, it is not the homeless, refugees, or the global poor who live on less than a dollar a day, who are not part of these conversations to begin with. It is people like Táíwò, who is black, yes, but also is the son of middle-class Nigerian immigrants and a tenure-track faculty member at a prestigious American university. He is objectively “privileged”, and there is something arbitrary and faintly ridiculous about treating him as if he has some special insight into the demands of “justice”. As an alternative, Táíwò suggests “constructive politics”, which emphasises working across differences for “the pursuit of specific goals or results”. 

Unfortunately, expanded into book length, this sensible point barely gets further than what is contained in the title. Indeed, the subtitle itself is misleading, since we never actually get an account of how “the powerful took over identity politics”, only lamentations that this is what has happened, illustrated with examples such as the aforementioned CIA advertisement, the embrace of “Black Lives Matter” messaging by corporations and governments, and the fact that America’s governing class eventually abandoned draconian Covid-19 restrictions. Absurdly, given the class politics of Covid panic, Táíwò takes this last as evidence that elites “simply lose interest [in collective well-being] as soon as they feel their own security is assured”. 

Nor do readers ever get a non-tautological definition of elite capture, which Táíwò describes as what happens “when the advantaged few steer resources and institutions that could serve the many toward their own narrower interests and aims”. It is “enabled” by “racial capitalism”, but it is also “symptomatic of social systems with unequal balances of power”. So elite capture is what happens when things are captured by elites, and it is both specific to capitalism and a general product of any society in which some have more influence than others. But of course, by saying that elite capture will only be solved once all hierarchies have been ground into dust, you are saying that it will never be solved at all.   

Ultimately, Táíwò’s aim is not to dispense with identity politics but to recover the allegedly more socialistic and solidaristic form of identity politics he attributes to the Combahee River Collective, the Seventies group of black lesbian feminists who introduced “identity politics” into American political discourse. In effect, his book is an attempt to make the race and gender politics of the post-Floyd Left compatible with the traditional aims of social-democratic, socialist, and Communist organising: the uplift of the working class and the abolition of capitalism. In theory, this is not an impossible task — different strands of the labor Left have long been anti-racist and anti-imperialist. But by failing to offer any real account of why identity politics evolved into its current form, all he is left with is the assertion that people should think and act differently than they do. 

The problem is that elite-dominated identity politics is not a result of bad arguments but of very real material incentives grounded in the American state and law. As authors such as Caldwell and Richard Hanania have persuasively argued, modern identity politics, or “wokeness”, is simply a downstream cultural effect of federal civil rights law as it has evolved since the Sixties, which has forced American corporations and universities to take ever-more elaborate steps to erase “unequal balances of power” between groups, often through elevating minority elites to positions of power (affirmative action) and prohibiting speech and behaviour that might make them uncomfortable (political correctness).

When one of Táíwò’s white university colleagues offers to defer to him on some racially charged topic or another, this is not merely the result of a flawed conception of social justice but also a reflection of the fact that, were Táíwò the litigious sort, he could use an insensitive or merely tone-deaf remark by a white colleague to sue their employer for creating a hostile work environment. It is no accident that “critical race theory”, as its defenders like to point out, emerged as a theory of legal interpretation.

Whether one thinks this arrangement is desirable is a matter of taste. It is undeniable that the American public — and, increasingly, the Left-wing commentariat — is fed up with the brand of identity politics that has flourished over the past several years, which, though often draped in radical language, ends up finding expression as a corporate-bureaucratic project catering to the petty grievances of the professional class. This may well be describable as a result of “elite capture”, but if so, the project was captured from the beginning. And as the radicals are fond of saying, you can’t use the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house. 


Park MacDougald is Deputy Literary Editor for Tablet

hpmacd

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ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago

The death of George Floyd Esq was the most over-hyped event of this century. I am surprised that those millions of knee bending grovellers didn’t go for the full kowtow. I can’t recall such an absurd reaction since the death of the Princess of Wales.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

At least reaction to the accidental death of Diana, while ‘mass -neurotic’ in a comparable way, did not forment the horrendous violence, rioting and looting the followed the murder of Mr Floyd.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

Good point, at the end of the day we are a peaceful lot, all things considered.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Excellent exchange of views.

Thomas Hutcheson
Thomas Hutcheson
1 year ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Indeed. It has been firmly established that bending the knee, as Kaepernick did at the playing of the National Anthem, is an insult. Fox News should demand that they be recalled.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

It annoyed me, but I was ok with Kaepernick doing that as a personal statement of challenge. Like punks in the seventies wearing swastikas who weren’t Nazis, merely rebelling in their own way.
But it was then adopted by the establishment to become mass virtue signalling. Now I wish Kaepernick had never started it.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I’ve always felt quite condemnatory of Kaepernick as the instigator of the whole “taking the knee” nonsense, but you’re right. It was ok for him to have his protest, although I still think he should be ashamed of his role in the way the thing mushroomed into the sordid spectacle it has become.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Agreed. The world’s reaction to George Floyd was indeed a low-rent version of the death of Princess Diana, which itself was mostly characterised by mawkish emotional incontinence on the part of the vast majority of people who grieved for her without actually knowing her.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Dawn McD
Dawn McD
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I admit to getting kind of caught up in the Diana thing (whatever that thing was), staying up all night to watch the wedding (I was 18 at the time) from the U.S. west coast, and devouring all magazines that mentioned her. My husband and I were at an RV park/campground in Budapest when she died, and I found out because we were walking through the Citadel and someone had taped a typewritten note to a door that said “Diana and Dodi are dead.” I thought it was a joke, or simply a reference to their relationship being over. We couldn’t get a newspaper in English anywhere. (The man at the newsstand explained that “they died in a car crash” and “guests at the expensive hotels can get an English newspaper, but we don’t have them here.”)
I realized pretty quickly that what I was feeling was actually shock that she could even die. She was the most photographed person in the world at the time, so famous, that I was subconsciously harboring a belief that someone like that couldn’t just die. Ridiculous. The power of fame messes with people’s minds. These days, when I hear the names of supposed celebrities I’ve never heard of, I’m so happy that I don’t know anything about them. It feels like freedom.
There was an Englishman staying at the campground with his whole family, including his mother-in-law, and he was beside himself because she was insisting on canceling the entire vacation and returning home immediately. “To do what?” he said. Poor guy.

doug masnaghetti
doug masnaghetti
1 year ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Democrats deify violent career criminals…and other than sports it is the only thing the black community seems to accel at.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago

One interesting observation I had. After the Occupy Wall-Street protests the word “class” seemed to disappear almost overnight. Not long after, “race” became ever-present. It is not a coincidence elites love identity politics. Plus, how else is a white person making over six figures going to feel smug and lecture a poor white guy working two jobs over his “privilege”?

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

There are a few images that I regularly see posted elsewhere on the web which demonstrate your point. One is a graph showing the number of mentions of racial/identity politics terms in NYT headlines (it skyrockets after 2012) and the other is a before and after image showing Occupy protesters with signs attacking the banks, and then a decade later those same banks with their own float at a pride parade on the same street. It is all about diverting attention from economics. On that point, the old marxists were right.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

There was a meme on the internet a few years ago. Two photos side by side, one from 2008, the other from 2018. In the former the occupy movement was encamped outside Wells Fargo, in the other a Wells Fargo float is in a parade, bedecked with the rainbow flag and BLM posters.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
2 years ago

Ah, snap.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

“Occupy Wall Street” was proof that the inarticulate had taken over. Days and weeks of fingers waving in the air. I was kinda with them in spirit – I think. But no words ever came out of their mouths. What has happened that our young people can only think in logos and memes ?

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago

Thinking is not permitted; it could lead to all sorts wrong beliefs. Memes are good, tells us what to believe without having to bother with the tedious thinking part.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
2 years ago

What will eventually defeat the current identitarian ideology is that its ideas are manifestly contradictory. To fully support one facet of this pernicious and divisive ideology puts you on the wrong side of another facet.
If, for example, you stand up to support feminist rights you fall foul of trans-rights etc etc Given the propensity of id-pol adherents to try and cancel any who dare to challenge their precepts, the whole movement becomes an Ouroboros – the mythical serpent that eats its own tail – though in the case of these activists it would possibly be better to describe a variant on the Ouroboros – as a monster that disappears up its own backside. 
Frankly, for the good of society, it cannot come soon enough.

William Hickey
William Hickey
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Oh, that that were true, Paddy.

I remember a few years ago watching a video of US scholar Heather MacDonald making a presentation to an audience of mature, prosperous white people.

The topic of her talk may have been her book The Diversity Delusion or perhaps the War on Cops. It might have been one of her frequent articles in City Journal, Commentary or some other conservative journal, places where MacDonald detailed meticulously the crazed ideologies, dogmas, beliefs and doctrines that had migrated from our increasingly feminized universities, the Modern Language Association and progressive think tanks to the streets.

The audience listened in rapt attention. But their only reaction was to smile, shake their heads at the absurdity of what they were hearing and shrug.

Such foolishness simply could not continue, they clearly believed.

Today, their grandchildren are being prescribed puberty blockers and the government is monitoring the grandparents for seditious thoughts online. Also their accumulated wealth is being devoured by inflation and asset collapse.

“What can’t continue, won’t,” said economist Herbert Stein.

He just didn’t say exactly how or when it ends.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Hickey
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

One of those contradictions being people in black uniforms and masks, supposedly in defence of trans rights, physically stopping feminist women from standing near the statue of Pankhurst.
Just amazing.
And Stonewall supporting gay conversion therapy in the form of gay children being encouraged to change gender, and labelling lesbians as trans bigots if they aren’t attracted to men who say they are women.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Having been at the Standing for Women event in Bristol, I know whereof you speak. The trans blackshirts were mostly just clowns, but some of them were quite intimidating, and they were all abusive, and the policing was a disgrace.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
2 years ago

I’m a bit wobbly on the trending philosophies but this current mash-up of Marxist-infused puritanism seems destined to fail simply due to lack of joy. There’s clearly a money and power grab at the management level where political poseurs and billionaires are tipping each other the wink but there’s nothing happy about it at the grass roots level unless you consider backstabbing and witch hunts to be relaxing pastimes. How could there be? The only way you “win” is if you manage to rig the game or play alone. Where’s the sense of achievement in that? Where’s the pride?
Progressives can tweet all they like about the exhilaration of battle and the sweetness of victory but it’s an ersatz competition. It’s Misery Monopoly and at the end of the day most of us just aren’t interested in playing a game where winning doesn’t feel any better than losing.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

Given that Marxism is predicated on the history of class struggle and the inevitable dialectical relationships that emerge from it and drive the process of social change, I don’t see that intersectionality, where for example an Obama is a ‘victim’ and an unemployed appalachian miner is ‘privileged’, is Marxist at all.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

It’s a perversion of Marxism, resulting from the re-allocation of the categories of oppressor vs oppressed from, respectively, bourgeois vs worker to straight white male vs non-white/female/lgbt etc.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

The identity politics element is about feeling special. It’s basically mass narcissism.

Ludwig van Earwig
Ludwig van Earwig
2 years ago

“Progressive groupthink is falling to pieces”
Hmmm. I wish you were right. Here in New Zealand, social justice ideology continues to gather momentum, spurred on by the policies of the current LINO government (that’s “Labour in name only”). We’re having workshops on critical theory and decolonisation at my workplace. They’re not compulsory – at this stage at least.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago

Is this the ‘work’ of Jacinda ‘the Hun’?

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

No, it’s the work of his workspace.

Ludwig van Earwig
Ludwig van Earwig
1 year ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Jacinda Muddleduck is my preferred name for her. With apologies to Beatrix Potter.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago

Duly noted, thank you.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
2 years ago

“As an alternative, Táíwò suggests “constructive politics”, which emphasises working across differences for “the pursuit of specific goals or results”. ” This little phrase is a gem. I’ve often thought government would do better these days by using specific task force models with strict sunset provisions. Some effective and productive charities work this way.

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago

Steve Sailer has said for years that the “Coalition of the Fringes is held together by KKKrazy Glue.”

This realization is what is always missing from articles analyzing the Left, including this one. The Left are not fighting for truth, justice, equality or brotherhood. They really don’t care about other people, which is why progressives congregate in lily-white enclaves, send their few kids to “Quaker” schools and never, ever go on vacation to Newark, NJ or Birmingham, AL.

Progressive politics is fueled by one thing only: white hatred. The prevalence of anti-whiteness studies, the blood libels spread about the white race, and the refusal to give any credence whatsoever to white demographic grievances — to instead consider such grievances simple examples of bigotry — provides indisputable proof to the centrality of race-hate in the Left.

Today in America’s progressive newspapers op-ed after op-ed is decrying the “conspiracy theory” of the Great Replacement. All of them say the acceptance in white Americans’ minds of that belief poses a real existential threat to the nation.

To combat the threat all the op-eds and politicians (like Chuck Schumer) advocate either new government agencies to “monitor” white people, or urge that media be censored, specifically, that Tucker Carlson by fired.

None, not one, Zip, Zero, Nada, propose a reduction, let alone a halt, to immigration, or treating our borders as sacrosanct as we treat Ukraine’s (the traditional American position), or authorizing plans to repatriate the millions of foreign nationals Biden has illegally allowed in.

It never even occurs to the haters to actually do something which might alleviate white demographic anxiety. Any such a proposal, if raised, would be dismissed out of hand by progressives as mental illness on the part of hateful whites, some “phobia” or another arising from fear and anxiety, not normal human preferences.

That’s because for the haters immigration is not a policy choice; it is a Commandment from their God of Wrath.

For example, wasn’t it a British Labor Party politician who said to English whites who protested about the non-white immigration he was facilitating in the UK that, “We’re going to rub their faces in it.”

Not exactly Peace and Love, eh?

The opposite.

Last edited 2 years ago by William Hickey
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  William Hickey

Yes, this is exactly what is happening. Based on the actions of a few crazy people, surveillance apparatus will be put in place to monitor anyone who airs the slight disapproval of government actions.

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Correct. But writers like Mr. McDougald never point out the pure left-wing anti-white race hatred that such a response exemplifies. Criminally monitoring a specific race, indeed!

Progressive writers have no trouble, however, pointing out such nefarious and evil motives when Muslims or immigrants commit heinous acts and white politicians propose to monitor those groups. Then it’s hate! hate! hate!

Progressives, according to progressives, only react to “save democracy.” Their motives are totally honorable and praiseworthy — as is their non-negotiable demand for massive, endless immigration.

The bias in such articles makes them unworthy of serious consideration.

Last edited 2 years ago by William Hickey
R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  William Hickey

I laughed at the giant Times op ed today lazily attacking the idea of demographic replacement. These people are fuelling anger.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

Surely the popular music scene and the singles and albums charts in America, in the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties, represented a prominent and uplifting picture of equality of opportunities in full flow and the satisfaction of equal reward for equal effort?
Where else in the world other than in America could Motown have come about?
Russia? Canada?
If at the end of the Sixties the leg-up of equity had been presented as a nation’s humble offer to black musicians to give them all the open doors they required, while essentially white bands took a somewhat enforced break, then I think, at least I imagine, that the black musicians, would have been sincerely bemused by such an offer. They did not need anyone to back off just so that they could play.

I only make my wonder of this aspect of the recent past based on the totality of my limited knowledge and experience. But back in the day, gleaming on old album covers, are the members of bands smiling out at you in confidence and friendship.
So maybe that sliver of the past has unfortunately been lost as the could-not-care-less-about-music Marxist-minded extreme Left get with it in angry modern-day America. In the meantime, the corporate set try to mollify everybody into a silly holier-than-thou pose that does not reflect the wider sentiment that simmers under the surface. And the pop music today reflects the corporate attitudes on everything. How dull and how sad!

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago

So parts of the American Left are seeing identity politics as part of a corporate bureaucratic project – what took them so long! It’s been obvious for decades, which is why this statement gelled with me:
every faction on the American Left had to either make its peace with identity politics or leave the organised Left. substitute British for American and it speaks for myself and many that I know.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago

Well Linda what would you rather do? Give minorities a decent working wage and good benefits or put a pride flag and BLM slogans in your Twitter feed? I know which one is cheaper.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

We all know which one is cheaper, which is why they do it; it bewilders me why minorities fall for it, though – it is not in their interests and is not even meant to be in their interests.

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Speaking of which one is cheaper, consider the following:

I’m a businessman. I can lobby my representatives at fancy restaurants and resorts (all tax-deductible) to increase foreign worker visas, then cherry-pick the globe for talent I did nothing to cultivate, which I can exploit for below-market wages, with the added inducement of potential American citizenship for the compliant foreign workers, a benefit that costs me NOTHING.

Or

I can attempt to reform the schools of America so that they turn out the workers I need, doing battle with pressure groups, teachers’ unions and local authorities who will fight my efforts tooth and nail, including by dragging my name through the mud for trying to establish “white supremacy.”

That’s why we need a ten year total immigration moratorium, to reduce the clear moral hazard against aiding American citizens.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Hickey
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

The caption on the photo at the top is excellent.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago

Yes, “a picture paints a ….” etc. What is that ludicrous scarf they are all wearing?

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

I think it rather a nice scarf actually, the design looks a little African, although what it signifies I have no idea.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
2 years ago

The scarf is kente cloth, of Ghanaian origin. The design can indeed be most pleasing to the eye.

What it signifies – as worn in the photograph, at least – is virtue.

As in ‘virtue signalling’, I mean.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

As is the watch strap worn by the female of the species.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago

Well done on African, I had it down as Native American!

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

It’s a priestly stole, and they’re kneeling in onanistic self-absolution

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew D
Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
2 years ago

The School of Frankfurt saw it coming. Opinions become the real nature of things and reality becomes an opinion. Social classes have disappeared although the gap between the richest 0.1% of the population and the middle class has skyrocketed. Identity politics glued people with little things in common to each other except some external features. Faith-based regulations become somehow untouchable, divine, and uncontested. Furthermore, criticism of such theocratic new order is now a crime in what we used to consider democratic and secular countries. Progressives are cheering up, the same way they saluted third world dictators as saviours of the needy. Free thinkers rest in solitude.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
2 years ago

I feel sorry for the well meaning, good, and previously sensible people in positions of influence and authority who have allowed their feelings of guilt, shame, and compassion to lead them to become trapped in identitarian nonsense in the last few years. Like those responsible for the Covid response mayhem (and there’s a big crossover), they will look back on it and cringe – how could their judgment have become so badly clouded, so quickly? It’s rapidly becoming common knowledge that the emperor has no clothes, and a chill wind is starting to blow. We can hope that the best of them have the guts to admit they got things wrong, and get dressed before they catch their metaphorical death of cold.

Sensible Captain
Sensible Captain
2 years ago

Great takedown of Táíwò and his „racial capitalism“ (a contradiction in terms) nonsense. Don’t get fooled by the pseudo-critical attitude when they want a return to the 1937 Comintern congress that officially introduced the idea of „Intersectionality“ to (hmm what is it) „communist-liberal“ thought, via endorsing its more modern impersonation in the CRC. Táíwò is a good example of lefty sneakiness caught up in tautologies which it presents as social critique. They can’t get rid of categories of ethnicity because its their bread and butter job. It’s one long ad hominem.

Peter Gardner
Peter Gardner
1 year ago

One lesson that can be drawn immediately is how leadership in the Russian armed forces has been first so undermined by the socialist/communist ideology, an extreme form of wokery, and then by autocracy. This has been obvious to military analysts for decades. So too will wokery undermine the leadership and morale of Western armed forces if not checked immediately. The fundamental requirement of leadership is the ability to make decisions based on one’s own thoughts, to have the courage to see them tested to destruction and to accept responsibility for the foreseeable outcomes of those decisions in the field. If people who have that ability and speak their minds are demoted, removed to backwaters or dismissed because they have challenged the prevailing wokism, leadership will collapse to the point of rendering the armed forces feeble and useless as we see in Russian forces in Ukraine today.
Wokery and political correctness must be eliminated from the Armed Forces. Armed forces exist in order to use force, including lethal force, in the interests of their nation state. It is a right that is rightly reserved to nation states in international law. All other uses of them are secondary and derive from that primary capability. Anything that undermines that capacity should be eliminated if the West is to be able to resist the use of force against it.
A related point is that NATO recognises the primacy of democratic control of the state’s use of force. Hence member states (all at least nominally democratic!) always retain political control of their forces, when they operate under a NATO command. A state can withdraw its forces if it wishes from a NATO operation. NATO is intergovernmental. The EU has no place in it because by contrast it seeks both political and operational control of the armed forces of its members. It is right now planning to eliminate all remaining requirements for unanimity in foreign, security and defence policy and decision making. It is supra-national, not inter-governmental and democratic control of the use of armed forces is lost because it has no place in that structure.
Arming the EU is as mad a collective act as any wokery and a danger to world peace in the medium to long term.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Gardner
John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

“A new book by the Nigerian-American philosopher Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (And Everything Else), promises to be an entry into the latter genre.”

I’ve never usually been one to buy into the idea that rich people tend more often to be psychopaths, but this is where it starts to look plausible. The social contract for people who only care about money has suddenly become much, much easier to deal with. You don’t have to pay high taxes, you don’t have to care about your employees or the communities they come from, you don’t have to worry about the externality effects of your business practices, all you have to do is adopt the virtue-signalling tactics of the identitarian Left. And this involves absolutely nothing beyond mouthing appropriate platitudes on cue.

And I say this as a free-market capitalist who asserts that people have every right to put money and success first and that this is in itself a social good needing no further defence. But the reality is that when wealthy powerful people decide that their ethics can be defined entirely in a moral code that is actually just a set of trade-offs where poorer people pay the costs, well that stops being acceptable as far as I’m concerned.

N T
N T
2 years ago

It’s time for unheard to impose a word limit.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
2 years ago
Reply to  N T

…why NT, have you run out of them?

N T
N T
2 years ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

For the articles

Peter B
Peter B
2 years ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

I agree with NT – this article could be half the length and more readable. Hard work reading this and I lost patience. Wasn’t clear where the article was heading early enough.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  N T

“Never use one word, when none will do”.*

(*Clement Attlee.)

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
2 years ago
Reply to  N T

It’s an essay.

Mike Stergios
Mike Stergios
1 year ago

Excellent argument, into which I feel compelled to raise one caveat:
I do not believe that George Floyd was murdered; and Derek Chauvin’s conviction for Second Degree murder was a gross miscarriage of justice which may never be addressed.
Chauvin may well have been guilty of criminal negligence, or possibly even manslaughter. George Floyd had a number of underlying severe medical conditions, which were compounded by his ingestion of a massive overdose of fentanyl.
The best case that the Prosecution could present was that, due to his habitual fentanyl use, Floyd MIGHT have been able to survive his massive overdose except for Chauvin’s actions. Maybe yes, maybe no. But a jury not pressured with the awareness that the “wrong” verdict would result in even more destruction and loss of life would likely have come to the different conclusion.
Racial identity politics thrives on the creation of false narratives like the “murder” of George Floyd, who adds onto the pantheon of BLM martyrs stoking the rage which reinforces their Big Lie. We mustn’t feed into it.

Jean Calder
Jean Calder
1 year ago

I am very tired of reading articles about the USA. This is the UK. We are not a client state or colony of the USA. Please can you publish articles genuinely relevant to the country we live in.

Thomas Hutcheson
Thomas Hutcheson
1 year ago

Let’s hope the sun sets on all “colors” of identity politics, including white (although someone will probably tell me that what is not a “color” :))

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

If we’re being pedantic, which I am, black isn’t a colour, it’s the complete absence of same. However, white is the amalgam of all the colours, its a rainbow coalesced.

Last edited 1 year ago by Linda Hutchinson
Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago

“pedantic” is the new green.

Lisa I
Lisa I
1 year ago

Nancy, Chuck and co look like they’ll struggle to get up.

Last edited 1 year ago by Lisa I
Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
1 year ago

IDPol has been disrupting the left for many decades, including Ontario’s first social democratic government in the 90s, and the anti-globalization movement.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago

People are sick–sick!– of the continued whining and crybullying by the left and their endless list of petty grievances and their strident victimhood. November will be a real eye opener.

Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
1 year ago

The radicals are wrong– what other tools are there that work?

Aidan Barrett
Aidan Barrett
1 year ago
doug masnaghetti
doug masnaghetti
1 year ago

VOTE OUT ALL DEMOCRATS AND RINOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Croteau
John Croteau
1 year ago

This issue is more fundamental than anyone realizes. Progressives and Marxists wish to engineer a better society using the powers of government. Implicitly, certain people need to believe they need to “know better” how to do that than anyone else. It’s just another power structure run by another set of elitists. Conservatives and capitalists understand that every person is limited and flawed in some capacity, most in many. History has shown that this American way of life has yielded the highest standard of living for EVERYONE the world has ever known. It is not perfect — and there is no utopian equality of outcome — but it is the best a race of flawed human beings (all colors, creeds and genders) can come up with. Any efforts otherwise come from folks who implicitly think they know more than everyone else and wish to impose their will on others — just another elitist power base.

Hat Whit
Hat Whit
1 year ago

Honest question: Did “the powerful [take] over identity politics” or did identity politics finally gain the position of power it said it wanted? Does the current discomfort arise from the fact that, as the power shifted, the intended effects of that shift in “systemic power” is not exactly what was expected? (final passive voice and scare quotes intended)

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

It is quite easy for armchair commentators such as we to: misunderstand the unjust law enforcement abuses that take place in America’s poor quarters.
There was very real reason that George Floyd’s murder generated such a firestorm of discontent.
~Blacks in the US have indeed mistreated since those 15th-century conditions in which the labor requirements of cotton production enabled plantation owners to erect a societal barrier of racism across the cotton fields of the deep south.
~As everyone knows, but easily forgets, racist abuses of poverty-bound freedmen did not just go away with the Emancipation Declaration.
~ Long story short, there was no force, no entity, no Law, no bleeding heart abolitionist group, no social movement, no Civil Rights legislation, no academic theorizing, and indeed no critical race theory that could dispel the destructive legacy and chronic abuses of that original sin scourge of slavery and the racism that is spewed into depraved human economies and enterprises.
~ In the dawning of the social media age, that video of Chavin’s murdering GFloyd leaped into our stream of societal conscience and consciousness in a manner that was at the time unprecedented in history of the world.
The flood of social media has leveled out somewhat since that event. Now we look back at it, having now been desensitized to the brutality of graphic video on over-sensitezed human souls.
But viewing that event and its videoic consequences, I see clearly, as an American raised, since 1951, in the Deep South, as the first Fort Sumter shot, or perhaps the Lexington&Concord shot, which ignited the great cultural split of the hyper-stimulated 21st century.
And yet, it is a split that is not new. George Floyd’s martyring sacrifice propelled the ancient contention between them that have v them that have not into the world wide web and the world concience.
It was no small event, especially for a black kid growing up now in Minneapolis, or south Chicago, or WattsLA California or Houston or God only knows where.
Speaking of God, pray for our United States and for our once-adversery now closest ally, the United Kingdom.
But most of all, pray for all those kids across the world who grow up in poverty-stricken neighborhoods where cruel cops think it their duty to use brutality to impose pain, injury and even death on neighbors who have few resources with which to ascend into the upper regions of society.

Vince Foster
Vince Foster
1 year ago

stopped reading after the “murder” of George Floyd (1) murder requires intent (2) the autopsy showed that Floyd died from drug overdose (3) a violent death is a common consequence of Floyd’s lifestyle

Last edited 1 year ago by Vince Foster
Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 year ago

Theories based on comparing events or idelogical accounts of events from the real world to what would happen in a putative world purged of heirarchy, unequal outcomes and classlessness, are legion, referencing each other in an interminable spiral of academic and intellectual frenzy; yet they have all proved utterly useless for remedying any of the problems posed. As if such a world could easily be created by government dictat were the correct people in power pulling the levers of state. Most recently we have seen how such action taken in the attempt to ‘defeat’ a virus has been utterly destructive to the social and economic fabric, yet the ultras still bemoan how it could have been done, or should have been done, and indeed still should be done… and there will be more.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

At least Engels was a mad keen foxhunter, riding to hounds from the great country houses of the northwest of England, and a lover of fine claret at their tables… unlike todays gopping little Tory MPs who would have been lucky to be allowed to muck out the stables that Engels rode from….