The Politically Incorrect Guide to Identity Politics

People’s sense of identity today is often thinner than a Victoria’s Secret model. Instead of the age old idea of using reason, common sense, and common ground to navigate conflicts of ideas, many think that the individual is just part of whatever group identity he aligns with. Postmodern theory even suggests that there is no common ground between group identities; all communication is lost in translation between groups. People are locked into their own psycho-socio-political-sexual-religious lenses and cannot escape. All we can do, supposedly, is coddle each other’s emotions and affirm each other’s chosen ways of life. Suffice it to say that this notion is self-contradictory and won’t help anyone bridge difficult cultural divides.

This notion that we are locked into a group identity and cannot get out is scarier than being trapped in a dream with Freddy Kruger. Think about it. If we are stuck in our own ways of thinking and cannot get out, then there is no point to ever attempting to change anyone’s mind. If it’s true, then you can’t change my mind about this topic, nor can I you. The group-think idea is also self-refuting. If it’s true that communication is locked within groups, then it is also false because this idea too is just another culturally bound idea. It’s like writing on the mirror “this sentence is a lie” with bright red lipstick. It may look sexy, but it just contradicts itself. If no groups can communicate, then we cannot even agree that no groups can communicate. We are left in the end with utter silence.

If no groups can communicate, then we cannot even agree that no groups can communicate.

Postmodern theory also leads to the quest for power. It’s just like the Lord Voldemort said to Harry Potter, “there is no good or evil, there is only power.” If the postmodern theory of truth is true (note the irony) then there can never be good things such as tolerance or peace. Because we are locked in our group identities, we are always confused by one another, and what we are left with is the struggle for power. Life begins to look more like a Monster Truck rally than an ordered or moral universe. In this theory, there is no pursuit of truth or virtue; we are left with students shouting down guest speakers that they don’t like. It’s more like a world resembling the movie Idiocracy. And let’s face it. We’re almost there.

It’s more like a world resembling the movie Idiocracy. And let’s face it. We’re almost there.

But another way this theory affects us is the facile and condescending quest to silence people from speaking about groups they are not involved in. So for example, some people start to squirm if we talk about policies in Islamic countries in a mildly negative light. The idea is that unless we are a part of a group, we can’t speak critically of them. Another strange example is when men claim ignorance about the issue of abortion because they are “not a woman,” as if it is only women would are allowed to have an opinion. But, you see, none of this follows if we are in fact not locked into our own group identities after all. We are influenced by cultural backgrounds, but that doesn’t mean we are determined by them. Sensitivity is needed, not silence.

Sensitivity is needed, not silence.

So while it is important to realize how our culture colors our view of the world, to make that into a barrier to truth yields an idiocracy in which none can speak publicly on anything of importance. If we are trapped into our group’s perspective, it leads to the quest for pure power, the dissolution of virtue, and the censoring of factual information about any group you do not belong to. So for all these reasons, we should chuck this theory out the window along with its brackish and filthy bilge-water. At the same time, let’s not forget that we are culturally and emotionally influenced creatures. Psychologist Jonathan Haidt has argued that our reason and emotion are like a rider on an elephant. Reason is the rider. Emotion is the elephant. Emotion, influenced by our cultural backgrounds, is much stronger than reason. But that doesn’t mean we can;t train our riders and our elephants to function better together. With a well-trained rider and elephant, we won’t censure people for speaking of others just because they hold different group identities.

7 thoughts on “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Identity Politics

  1. “Psychologist Jonathan Haidt has argued that our reason and emotion are like a rider on an elephant. Reason is the rider.” Actually this analogy is much older and is found in Vedic wisdom in India – gasp – another culture.

    Take a step back and think on who is promoting all this postmodern nihilistic nonsense. Who benefits from the mess in the West, by the death of the West?

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    • What’s the source in the Vedic literature for the rider and the elephant? Just curious.

      I’d say that there are Marxist, leftist types promoting a lot of it. This may be because of the failire of Marxism in the 20th century. Since it has failed, now they are taking an irrationalist approach. I’m getting this idea from Roger Scruton; he makes a fairly consistent case here. Are you implying that the East benefits? I doubt we need their help with our self-destruction.

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      • The Vedic version, cited by Srila Prabhupada in his books, has a human driver of a chariot that is pulled by four nearly untameable horses. The driver is the individual soul and the horses are the unruly passions. The moral of the story is that a devotee must master the passions to make spiritual progress. This speaks to the ongoing struggle within each of us.

        To answer the food for thought question I posed in my first comment, let me warn citizens of the world of being played or harmed in the zero sum game conducted by one very powerful and chauvinistic ethnic group. When one becomes aware of all the devious schemes and destructive impacts of this one self-serving group, and then goes public about their deeds, he or she gets branded as being “anti-Semitic”. (That charge is used to stifle or deter any and all criticisms of Jews.)

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      • I can’t see how the “Jews” would want the fall of America. America is the most pro-Jewish country on earth other than the state of Israel. It’s more likely a combination of leftist forces, some of whom may be Jewish. Many of the Frankfurt school were Jewish Marxists but that doesn’t mean it was a Jewish conspiracy. Let’s also not forget the problem of human laziness, akrasia as the Greeks called it, and the plain self-destructiveness of sin, including the sins of religious people.

        I like the Vedic literature reference, though.

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  2. I also think there are “right-wing” forces that are a real problem too, especially those who advocate anti-intellectualism. Though I identify as a conservative as it relates to conserving the good of the past, I see the problem with idiot versions of conservatism.

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    • Mike you are a human, and do have some intelligence. In time, you will likely become “Jew-aware” as you will see that behind every movement to weaken and demoralize Western civilization there are Jews who possess a revolutionary nature. When you come to realize this for yourself, you will understand. Have a nice life.

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