Friday, March 25, 2016

Brussels is the End of the Line for Identity Politics

I've already written that the West has the means and the power to deal with the Muslim threat. But, I wrote, the big problem is the cultural and political problem, to wage cultural and political war on the radical Islamists and make all the world know that their holy war is a dead end.

But now let us back up and ask another question. How come "we" allowed Muslims to come into our world and build an oppositional subculture and live in no-go areas where western law and culture doesn't obtain?

The answer, of course, is our foolish and conceited ruling class and its culture of identity politics. All politics is a game of divide and conquer, that we know. Thus a wise ruling class knows that faction and division is dangerous, and must be handled carefully. You never know where it will end up.

In the old days, politics was "segmental." People belonged to tribes, regions, guilds, and left the leaders of the segment to negotiate with other power actors. Nobody tried to mobilize the individual members of society for political conflict. Not until the modern era.

The modern era, according to Michael Mann in The Sources of Social Power, is organized by nation state and classes. He means here classes in the sense defined by Marx, that is, according to La Wik,
a class is those who share common economic interests, are conscious of those interests, and engage in collective action which advances those interests.
In other words, most of the time most people go about their lives not thinking of themselves as "the proletariat" until some would-be dictator of the proletariat teaches them that they are workers and they should combine in labor unions and Labour Parties and fight for workers' rights against the capitalist exploiters. Only when you organize and mobilize people in this way can you use them as a formation in the army of war-by-other-means of politics.

In the late 19th century it because a conceit of educated youth that they could lead the working class and transform society using the mobilized working class as their army of the streets, maybe even as an international movement that would transform the world.

World War I taught educated youth that they were wrong. The workers identified with their territorial kings and prime ministers more than their worker identity, and fought for their countries in the trenches. So the post-war educated youth came up with a new idea, what we now call identity politics. Would be dictators of the proletariat would now appeal not to the workers, who were anyway starting to move up into the middle class. Instead they would appeal to people on the basis of race and sex, and make them self-conscious of their race or sex, and mobilize them on the basis of their race and sex. In other words, the political activists would organize and mobilize people and deploy them in the political wars not on the basis of class so much as on the basis of race, and gender, and sexual orientation.

Of course, the educated youth and the activists, being evolved and wise, would always keep this identity politics under control, using the power and wisdom of their education and their compassion and their judgement, so that was all right.

And really, it has worked pretty well, up to now. Our Democratic Party with its race politics has corralled over 90 percent of the black vote, and kept African Americans in terror of Republicans bringing back Jim Crow. Gays have been a remarkably effective weapon for Democrats, and feminists have helped keep women single and dependent on big government and voting for big government. What's not to like?

Well, the next step in the identity politics game was Muslims. Muslims were the new marginalized group and, just as to utter a discouraging word against liberal race politics meant you were a disgusting racist, so any worry about Muslims meant you were a disgusting Islamophobe.

What could go wrong?

The problem is that our ruling class and its educated youth are really not as evolved and educated as they think, and certainly not wise enough to keep their poisonous identity politics bottled up and under control. They are like the managers of a laboratory that uses radioactive nucleotides but really don't understand enough about nuclear science to develop protocols to keep the lab safe. So the whole thing is coming unraveled and the ruling class really hasn't a clue about what to do. The Muslims are playing them like a fiddle but they don't know any other tune.

The good thing is that the peoples of the West are coming to realize that their leaders are clueless and they are getting ready to elect new ones.

And I personally believe that the jihadi cult is self liquidating. That's because I believe that the secret to success in the modern post-industrial world is to get on with everyone rather than build a jihadi army to conquer the world and force every human under the knout of a world-wide Caliphate. Socialism was the previous plan for world-wide conquest and a world-wide Caliphate and it failed in the economic dysfunction of the Soviet Union and the famines and terrors of Maoist China, not to mention the pathetic poverty of the Castro Brothers' Cuba.

My view is that the modern global capitalist era is a fundamental transformation of human social cooperation and that the various rebellions against it, from socialism to jihadism, are reactionary belches that are doomed to failure. Unfortunately, as we saw with socialism, it takes a while for a death cult to collapse from its internal contradictions. We don't want our children and grandchildren to have to suffer while the jihadis are learning the bankruptcy of their ideology the hard way.

Here's my little idea. We are learning that the recently arrested mastermind of the 2015 Paris bombings lived on welfare in Belgium.

Why not make welfare self-limiting, so that chaps like terrorist masterminds have to go out and get a job. It's not that I want the jihadis to stop living off other peoples money. My point is that I want the jihadis forced into the capitalist culture where you have to work with other people and learn to trust people who are trustworthy and learn to serve the consumer and get indoctrinated in some corporation's corporate culture.

Back in the days of the slave plantations the slave owners eventually got to realize that the more they treated their slaves like humans, the better they worked. Back in the days of the factories the bosses learned eventually that the one thing you wanted to avoid was pissing off the workers enough so that they formed a labor union, for a labor union amounted to a parasite that ended up killing the host. After World War I the German army decided that it didn't want soldiers as disciplined automatons; it needed soldiers that were resourceful and responsible. See what I'm getting at? In today's world we need people that are open and friendly and resourceful and responsible. Others need not apply.

It is the height of cruelty and injustice to warehouse people in no-go areas where they moulder away without jobs and without the skills to work and thrive in the modern global capitalist economy. We need a new ruling class that thinks beyond the old paradigm of identity politics. Let's call the new order "work-and-thrive politics."

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