Tuesday, September 05, 2017

CIA Ford Foundation Architect of Multiculturalism


salon |  Identity politics was conceived and executed from the beginning as a movement of depoliticization. Feminism has become severed from class considerations, so that for the most part it has become a reflection of what liberal identitarians themselves like to call “white privilege.” Feminism, like the other identity politics of the moment, is cut off from solidarity with the rest of the world, or if it deals with the rest of the world can only do so on terms that must not invalidate the American version of identity politics. 

For example, because all identities are equally sacrosanct, we must not critique other cultures from an Enlightenment perspective; to each his own, and race is destiny, etc. (Which certainly validates the “alt-right,” doesn’t it?) This failure was noted by neoconservatives some decades ago, a breach into which they stepped with a vigorous assertion of nationalism that should have had no place in our polity after the reconsiderations brought about by Vietnam and Watergate. But it happened, just as a perverted form of white patriotism arose to fulfill the vacuum left by liberal rationality because of the constraints of identity politics. 

To conclude, identity politics — in all the forms it has shown up, from various localized nationalisms to more ambitious fascism — desires its adherents to present themselves in the most regressive, atavistic, primitive form possible. The kind of political communication identity politics thrives on is based on maximizing emotionalism and minimizing rationality. Therefore, the idea of law that arises when identity politics engenders a reaction is one that severs the natural bonds of community across differences (which is the most ironic yet predictable result of identity politics) and makes of the law an inhuman abstraction. 

This depoliticization has gone on so long now, about 30 years, that breaking out of it is inconceivable, since the discourse to do so is no longer accessible. For anyone trained to think outside the confines of identity politics, those who operate within its principles — which manifests, for example, in call-out culture (or at least it did before Trump) — seem incomprehensible, and vice versa. We are different generations divided by unfathomable gaps, and there is no way to bridge them. The situation is like the indoctrination in Soviet Russia in the 1930s, so that only an economic catastrophe that lays waste to everything, resulting from imperial misadventures, can possibly break the logjam. Short of that, we are committed to the dire nihilism of identity politics for the duration of the imperial game.