We are either a melting pot wherein “all men are created equal” – the ideal of our Founders for which we have long striven . . . – or we are to become a multicultural nation of pigeon-holed special interests. We are to become a nation where groups are encouraged to remain apart, defining themselves by their victim class before defining themselves as Americans. . . .
It is inevitable that . . . a melting pot of equals or a multicultural morass of victim groups . . . will gain ascendance in America. I have long felt that we are at a crossroads in our nation for precisely this reason, and that the ramifications of how we decide this issue will be existential.
Wolf Howling, Standing at the Crossroads; Identity Politics, Multiculturalism & the Melting Pot, 8 Sept 2008
Like a broken clock, I am right twice a day. Three days short of nine years ago, I pointed out in the post quoted above that a vote for Obama would inevitably mean that identity politics would come to fully dominate the progressive left. That was and still is an existential issue because we are the single most diverse nation on this earth. There is probably not a single nationality, race, or religion on this earth that is not represented in the United States. If we are not a melting pot, all with equal veneration for the ideals of liberty, freedom property rights and equal justice before the law that drove our founding, then we will inevitably become balkanized and our nation fall to ruin. Period.
But our progressive left is in fact trying to balkanize us for their own political gain. That is short sided indeed, for a victory of identity politics in this country would mean the death, not the ascendance, of today’s progressive left. And it would certainly be the end of the lily white prog leadership of the movement, from Liewatha to Bernie to Chuckie and Crazy Nancy.
Put simply, the progressive movement is the Western variant of the socialist / communist movement. In this country, however, the progressive movement has deviated from orthodox communism as articulated by the movement’s most notable philosopher, Karl Marx. Marx divided the world into two – and only two – camps, the oppressed and the oppressors as defined by their relative socio-economic status. Marx believed that a final conflict between the two camps was inevitable and that the oppressed would emerge victorious. When that happened, there would be no more socio-economic class, as all would be equal, and thus a communist nation would achieve national unity.
Our modern progressives have largely eschewed the socio-economic foundation of communism and have instead grafted Marx’s oppressed-oppressor matrix over-top of permanent genetic traits (in addition to religions). Once the progs achieve ascendance here, it will by definition be the end to national unity. The individual victim groups will inevitably seek to separate themselves from society on one hand, while on the other hand, attempt to dominate all other oppressed groups to the extent they attempt to participate in a common society at all. We can see both happening in real time with radicalized blacks in particular, including their use of “intersectionality” to claim the victim’s sweepstakes.
I was surprised to see my thoughts largely echoed the other day in an article in Salon, Time To Give Up On Identity Politics: It’s Dragging the Progressive Agenda Down, by Anis Shavani. Interestingly, Shavini comes at his critique of modern progressive politics from the standpoint of a person who has embraced classical Marxism. [Read more…]