Streetwise Professor

October 4, 2017

The Identity Politics Left is Now Devouring the Traditional Left That Fed It

Filed under: Politics — The Professor @ 7:43 pm

It is a common for conservatives to be shouted down–or rioted down–on college campuses. But we are now seeing that traditional rights-liberals are also under threat. The ideal of free speech is rejected by the identity politics left as being a form of oppression, a cover behind which whites (and especially white, heterosexual, males) exercise dominance over marginalized groups.

Case in point: on Monday, a speaker from the ACLU who had intended to speak on “Students and the First Amendment” was shut down by Black Lives Matter protestors at William & Mary University:

It was the last remark she was able to make before protesters drowned her out with cries of, “ACLU, you protect Hitler, too.” They also chanted, “the oppressed are not impressed,” “shame, shame, shame, shame,” (an ode to the Faith Militant’s treatment of Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones, though why anyone would want to be associated with the religious fanatics in that particular conflict is beyond me), “blood on your hands,” “the revolution will not uphold the Constitution,” and, uh, “liberalism is white supremacy.”

Liberalism is white supremacy. Got that? In other words, the ACLU are the new Nazis, the new Klan. For all of you who are petrified at the thought of being called racist, see what little space you now have to operate in: it’s kowtow to the identity politics left of which BLM is an exemplar, or be considered no different than Bull Connor.

On the one hand this is deeply disturbing. On the other, it is quite clarifying, and I hope (but doubt) that it will get traditional liberals to open their eyes to the monster they have unleashed. For the traditional left (the New Deal, Great Society, civil libertarian left) has fed the identity politics beast that is now devouring them.

They were warned, early and often, but they ignored. Why? Partly out of naivety, I’d guess. But that’s the most charitable explanation. Less creditable, but more important explanations include: (1) “no enemies on the left,” (2) a cynical political calculation that identity politics were a useful battering ram in their battle against conservatives, classical liberals, and libertarians, and (3) a long-ago category error that the best way to achieve equal rights for minorities was to grant them special rights based on their race, origin, sexual orientation, or gender. Underlying all this was–is–the belief that America is a fundamentally flawed society and polity founded on racism and class oppression. BLM and Antifa and the like are the inevitable consequence of that belief.

Will this be the traditional left’s come to Jesus moment? I doubt it. They are too far down the road to turn back. Perhaps they will try to go AWOL, but their inveterate hatred of the right and their fear of the more militant on their left will in the end, I fear, lead them to fall in behind the revolutionary vanguards of identity politics. College administrators are already doing that, and I think they are just a leading indicator of how the broader left will behave. This does not bode well for politics, or for civil society, in America’s future.


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