Monday, March 7, 2016

Is The Democrat's Identity Politics Reaching Its Limit?

There is a contradiction at the heart of the identity politics that the Democrats have been practicing for the last half century.

Using the white guilt that helped pass the Civil Rights Acts in the 1960s Democrats have cowed middle-class white Americans by accusing them of being racists or sexists or homophobes. The idea is that whites have benefited from centuries of "white privilege"; men have benefited from millennia of the "patriarchy"; and heterosexuals... Well, that's where things begin to break down, because homosexuality was only invented in the 19th century.

But you can easily start to peel back the other privilege notions. Patriarchy? Well, the fact is that men back then were needed to protect women from harm in a world before modern police forces. And if you can get your head out of the feminist mind warp you notice that women rather prefer protection issues to be taken care of by somebody else while they concentrate on the important part of life, caring for loved ones.

Then there is white privilege. I can see the point of white privilege for a guy like me, born to a professional engineer, loved by a devoted mother, sent to private schools and then university and then getting a job through my father's business contacts. But I don't see it for the mass of middle-class and working-class Americans, who are mainly the descendants of the great immigration wave at the turn of the 20th century.

When the Democrats, with the help of Richard Nixon, developed the notion of Affirmative Action and later blurred it into the euphemism of diversity, they invoked the noble idea of making up for decades, centuries of racial injustice.

But the fly in the ointment is that the people that were asked to pay for the injustice were not the descendants of the oppressors. They could not be, because the oppressors were the planters and the slavers that ran the slave machine, and there weren't that many of them. In fact, back in the slave days, ordinary workers felt exploited by the system, because the fact of slavery devalued work and undercut the wages of working people.

So the burden of the Democrats' identity politics is falling not on privileged whites, but on unprivileged whites, not on patriarchs but on ordinary working stiffs. And those folks are getting pretty mad.

That is why I make my point that government is injustice. Sure, government and society unjustly differentiated between the races in the bad old days. and burdened blacks with Jim Crow laws to disadvantages non-whites. That is what you call injustice. But now the government burdens white working-class people with what John Derbyshire call Jim Snow laws that disadvantage whites. That is what you call injustice.

The point of the Democrats' identity politics, with its naming and shaming of racists, sexists, and homophobes is to prevent the emergence of a backlash against their racist, sexist, homocaritic policies. All things considered, it has worked pretty well for them, up to now.

In fact, part of the rage in conservatives circles is that our leaders have failed to deal with the Democrats' identity politics, and failed to find a way to counter it. We don't feel like oppressors or patriarchs and we resent being sent to the penalty box for crimes against identity.

To the strategic mind, this great political offensive was bound to run out of momentum and power, sooner or later. In military jargon, the advancing forces get further and further away from their home base, lengthening their lines of communication and exposing flanks to attack. Meanwhile the retreating opponents are forced back upon their home base that they are likely to need to defend with a desperate enthusiasm.

Perhaps the Trump phenomenon teaches us that we are reaching that limit. The point is that the liberals' race and gender identity politics, although noble and just to them, is experienced as injustice by the folks on whom its shadow falls. Eventually they rise up and rebel against this injustice.

That is why the wise ruler limits government. He knows that government is injustice and the more government, the more injustice. He tries to blur the incidence of government and represent the actions of government not as the punitive actions of a ruling class or an avenging majority but as the benevolent action of a bipartisan consensus. Our liberal friends have forgotten all this, and they are probably about to pay for their forgetfulness.

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