The limits of identity politics


I’m pretty sure this will not be a popular post, but I have to ask some uncomfortable questions.

Is US society better now that we have woman torturer as head of the CIA who also happens to be a lesbian?

Were we a more color-blind society when we had a black president who carried out more drone strikes than his white, frat-boy predecessor? Talk about affirmative action.

Are we a more moral society because my ski-client, a bank CEO who gained his millions ripping off Americans with sub-prime mortgages, happens to be openly gay?

What about our almost first female president who wants to blame her loss on everyone and everything, rather than looking in the mirror. Would we have been a better country with a woman president, who as Secretary of State, instigated coups and cackled at the gruesome death of Moamar Ghadafi?

Look, I love my gay friends and relatives and celebrate diversity, but these are the questions that keep me up at night.

As I’ve stated before, I could care less if you’re straight or gay, man or woman, all I care about are universal economic policies that benefit all Americans. I also care about the American empire and how much damage and suffering it causes both to our republic and neighbors.

Presently the policies pursued by our leaders benefit a small cohort of sociopathic elite to the detriment of the rest of us. Our political parties perpetuate this arrangement by dividing us along tribal fault lines.

The Democratic party, the center left, derives its authority from its values, centered on an identity politics version of human rights as a way to differentiate itself from the Republican party. Before the Democratic party was, in the New Deal tradition, much more populist and egalitarian, with a strong cohort of labor. Since the 70’s the Democrats have turned hard right on economic questions like labor, welfare, the regulatory state, anti-trust. A more conservative neoliberal orthodoxy has became the ideology.

Tellingly, the Democrats reject out of hand arguments that Trump’s victory signals a need to reconsider their neoliberal economic policies and continue to insist that redistributive social and economic policies are less meaningful to voters than cultural or racial group identities.

It’s become obvious that identity politics is another way in which our sociopathic elite divide and rule. As the last election demonstrated, Americans are being polarized at a rate rarely seen before, helped in no small measure by social-media algorithms that divide people along the lines of identity and tribe their underlying human connections rendered increasingly irrelevant. We’re being programmed and fed a narrative that keeps us fighting each other rather than the common enemy.

Going further, identity politics encourages us to celebrate diversity even as those diverse Americans promote policies that kill, torture or impoverish.

Diverse evil is still evil.



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