US liberals rethinking

Rethinking identity liberalism h/t John Roskam. Mark Lilla, a true blue liberal, has attracted some critical attention from his buddies by suggesting that they lost the plot with identify liberalism and they need to do something different.

But how should diversity shape our politics? The standard liberal answer for nearly a generation now has been that we should become aware of and ‘celebrate’ our differences. Which is a splendid principle of moral pedagogy – but disastrous as a foundation for democratic politics in our ideological age. In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.

One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end. Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs. But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded…

But the fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined group, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life.

Amen.

There is a lot of bite in the piece, no wonder it stirred up the leaves in the dead forest of the left. There is some bullshit as well. “The moral energy surrounding identity has, of course, had many good effects. Affirmative action has reshaped and improved corporate life. Black Lives Matter has delivered a wake-up call to every American with a conscience.”

A confession of liberal intolerance. This should stir up a storm as well. He is taking up the Haidt theme that there is disgraceful intolerance of conservative voices on campus. To his credit he is taking it up as a man of the left.

To me, the conversation illuminated primarily liberal arrogance — the implication that conservatives don’t have anything significant to add to the discussion. My Facebook followers have incredible compassion for war victims in South Sudan, for kids who have been trafficked, even for abused chickens, but no obvious empathy for conservative scholars facing discrimination.

The stakes involve not just fairness to conservatives or evangelical Christians, not just whether progressives will be true to their own values, not just the benefits that come from diversity (and diversity of thought is arguably among the most important kinds), but also the quality of education itself. When perspectives are unrepresented in discussions, when some kinds of thinkers aren’t at the table, classrooms become echo chambers rather than sounding boards — and we all lose.

“The dead forest of the left” comes from a long critical piece on David McKnight’s effort to go beyond left and right without any comprehension of classical liberalism or economics. “It seems that David McKnight is speaking from the dead forest of the left, a forest of trees that remain standing despite being cut off at the base, held up by the press of numbers and the intertwining of their branches.” Add public funding to the forces keeping the trees upright.

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30 Responses to US liberals rethinking

  1. The problem for liberals is that these groups have groomed themselves, aided and abetted by liberals over time, to think of themselves from the perspective of this or that identity, as LGBT, as women, as Hispanic, as black, as disabled (I’m just recalling the identities that Crooked continually repeated), and so on, and to see their political interests as synonymous with this or that identity. Further, there is a nexus of organisations, political, social, and educational, that has been developed to further these identities; consequently, they are not going to stop believing and pursuing these identities, real or imagined, because it seems to have failed most recently.

  2. Identity politics is used by the left to attack the mainstream. The fact shrills got caught up in pandering to these already sold identities is a strategic blunder compounded by the deplorables comment. The number of people, self-included, who took the tag and added it to their only online identity shows how catastrophic it was for shrills to marginalise the mainstream. She let the true colours of the left shine through load and clear.

    The left drank have been drinking their own Kool-Aid and they haven’t stopped hallucinating for decades.

  3. “Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs.”

    Er, no. Initiating, bungling and losing interventions and wars – with confused goals or no goals – was not a major turn-on for anybody. To top if off with the threat of all-out war was even less of an “uplift”. Mark Lilla needs to stop looking on the bright side. Remember what a liberal president did to the world following the Gulf of Tonkin. And it was a liberal author who christened neocon Clinton the Queen of Chaos.

    The threat of war on the larger scale persists. Even all-out war. We really should at least notice that. NATO showing its teeth in the Baltic as Putin moves missiles into Kaliningrad and the EU legislates for its own army (which probably won’t consist of freckly-faced farmboys)…these are not small things. They are huge things, best never left to the likes of Bomber Barry, Kerry, Biden or – God help us all – Hillary Clinton.

    Liberals may think that their imbecilic corporate media kept the public’s mind off the big stuff. But maybe the public is not as imbecilic as the media thrust upon it.

  4. struth

    In NZ AND CAUGHT up with American friend.
    Oh dear.
    A SJW of the left.
    She never used to be.
    And then you post this.
    Exactly the subject matter I listening to over dinner last night.
    Another one to cross off the Christmas card list.
    A dam shame.
    I tried not to talk politics.
    It was impossible.
    Oh well.
    Somehow sort of expected it, they come from Boston.
    On the plane then driving all day to get home.
    Should not have even bothered.

  5. A Lurker

    In NZ AND CAUGHT up with American friend.
    Oh dear.
    A SJW of the left.
    She never used to be.

    Sounds like she needs a barrage of truth-bombs.
    So tell her that you know a bunch of reprobates who need to be re-educated – then email her a link to the Cat.
    😀

  6. Tel

    Peter FitzSimons was on the TV calling some South African block a “gorilla”.

    Andrew Bolt called him out on it (apparently this is the most racist thing you can ever do) but where’s the leftist outrage? It’s like they just don’t care.

    Conclusion: massive hypocrisy is no problem at all, and there will be no rethinking of identity politics. They don’t follow their own rules, and they have absolutely no intention of ever doing so.

  7. john constantine

    Identity politics has led to the imperitive to replace obsolete and deplorable old Australians as the truck driving class.

    Big Truck companies do massive donations to the left side of politics, pay to play keeps their Big Unionised structures on side, and sees funds flow to their wymynysed human resources departments that then harvest big subsidies to employ inclusive and diverse graduates from subsidised Big Training courses.

    The client herds are not to blame, they are just profitable inputs to a corrupt system.

    Big truck buys automatic vehicles, so no gear changing needed, no english language skills, don’t have to be able to reverse the rig, just hold the steering wheel and press down on the accelerator and follow the programmed route, just like a train, but in heavy road traffic.

    The cost of building overhead barriers that trucks strike just before they hit low overhead rail bridges falls on the taxpayer and is just a fair price to0 pay for pushing people that cannot read road signs into steering wheel holding jobs to fundementally transform trucking into fairer and more equal and progressive and diverse and inclusive.

  8. Tom

    In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.

    That’s because US liberals and their leftist zombie comrades in Australia are the stupidest people ever born. They’ve surrendered to a collectivist ideology that treats them like sheep to the point where they cannot think critically or analyse and has turned them into delinquent children with the emotional sophistication of toddlers.

    Leftism is a mental illness. If you want to live in the adult world and be a valued member of society, don’t sign up for a cult that makes you look and sound as dumb as dogshit.

  9. Tel

    That’s because US liberals and their leftist zombie comrades in Australia are the stupidest people ever born.

    It’s not an accident of birth by any means. The schools are structured to actively prevent any independent thought. The perfect citizen is highly obedient, incapable of logical analysis, easily goaded by simple emotional signals, and capable of doing one narrow task to precise specifications.

  10. candy

    repugnant outcome?

    It’s not repugnant to half of Americans, not at all. So this fellow may not entirely be serious in what he writes, if he can’t even see that. He’s just put down half of America.

  11. If there’s one thing that needs to be removed from our, or the Left’s, lexicon it’s ‘conversation’. It epitomises the ideology of the Left.

    Nothing riles me more than when someone says that we need to have a ‘conversation’ on matters of importance. We need to go back to clear words such as ‘debate’, ‘discussion’, ‘argument’ etc.

  12. Crossie

    “It seems that David McKnight is speaking from the dead forest of the left, a forest of trees that remain standing despite being cut off at the base,

    Perhaps a better analogy for the left would be those dead trees you see in paddocks and reservoirs, standing there for decades spoiling the view.

  13. A Lurker

    It’s not an accident of birth by any means. The schools are structured to actively prevent any independent thought. The perfect citizen is highly obedient, incapable of logical analysis, easily goaded by simple emotional signals, and capable of doing one narrow task to precise specifications.

    Worker ants.

  14. cuckoo

    This is token chin-stroking at best. Expect the left to stay stuck on on stupid. If they were capable of learning from experience, they wouldn’t be leftists.

  15. Baldrick

    Make no mistake, Identity Politics is alive and well. The US election results will not be a reason for progressives to rethink this policy but a call to arms.

  16. Boambee John

    Tel at 0717

    The aim of publicly funded education has always been to provide compliant servants of government policy.

    Only the objectives change – loyal sons and daughters of the Empire in the late 1800s/early 1900s, factory workers in the 1950s/1960s, SJWs now.

  17. mem

    I rather like Ann Coulter’s take on the left’s (and the conservative establishment’s) inability to comprehend and accept Trump’s win for what it is – a mass repudiation of lies, spin, hypocrisy and the holier than thou attitude that stifles public criticism and debate.Read her latest interview here at Brietbart

  18. HGS

    So liberal is left is socialism; which is, we are happy for those with all the power to have that power. There is no real rethinking needed, and there is none being done, not at the fundamental level.
    They lost power. How to get it back is all that matters. That is all the ‘uplifting’ which will be allowed.

  19. Crossie

    Make no mistake, Identity Politics is alive and well. The US election results will not be a reason for progressives to rethink this policy but a call to arms.

    Brexit and the US election are not enough, they see these results as just chavs and rednecks having a spaz. The upcoming French, Italian and German elections might give them a jolt since lefties have more respect for Euros.

  20. Mark A

    Crossie
    The upcoming French, Italian and German elections might give them a jolt since lefties have more

    French? She will not get in.
    Italian? anyone’s guess.
    German? it’s a powerful coalition of parties she is leading, she may be hated but party loyalty can carry the day

    I hope I’m wrong on all counts.

  21. Entropy

    Tel
    #2219712, posted on November 26, 2016 at 7:17 am
    That’s because US liberals and their leftist zombie comrades in Australia are the stupidest people ever born.

    It’s not an accident of birth by any means. The schools are structured to actively prevent any independent thought. The perfect citizen is highly obedient, incapable of logical analysis, easily goaded by simple emotional signals, and capable of doing one narrow task to precise specifications.

    I am constantly surprised at the level of absolutism, certainty and lack of self doubt in the views of the recent graduate I put on this year. No contrary thought is to be considered, and any expression of prevarification, doubt or preparedness to allow for uncertainty by someone discussing something she doesn’t like is gleefully seized as a win, the glow of a quickened pulse of victory in her grasp.

    It reminds me of an old purse lipped, judgemental and close minded god botherer I have as an aunt. This lass is a greenie of course, and supports her stay at home beta.

  22. mem

    Entropy said

    I am constantly surprised at the level of absolutism, certainty and lack of self doubt in the views of the recent graduate I put on this year. No contrary thought is to be considered, and any expression of prevarification, doubt or preparedness to allow for uncertainty by someone discussing something she doesn’t like is gleefully seized as a win, the glow of a quickened pulse of victory in her grasp.

    It reminds me of an old purse lipped, judgemental and close minded god botherer I have as an aunt. This lass is a greenie of course, and supports her stay at home beta.

    Your description of your recruit could equally apply to at least two of my leftist friends, my sister in law and my brother all of whom graduated quite a while ago and have become born again inner city Greens. I shall keep a copy of your excellent description for the time I feel bold enough to sling it back at them!

  23. Lem

    “Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs”

    does he mean as in:

    “We came, we saw, we killed (followed by evil cackle)”

  24. Leo G

    Does he mean as in:
    “We came, we saw, we killed (followed by evil cackle)”

    More like :
    “Veni, vidi, cacata”

  25. Whoops can’t make the link live for some reason.

    If you’re trying to create a link by right clicking on you mouse and pasting, it won’t work. Just use Ctrl V.

  26. Muddy

    Education Vs. Schooling. There’s a difference. The former benefits the individual, the latter is to ensure conformity, thus benefitting the group (in theory). For the most part, we have the latter.

    Mental illness of the left? As wacky as this sounds, I strongly suspect this. As I’ve written before, I believe that subconsciously, they view the human world as consisting of ‘classes’ or levels, in descending order: Superhuman (themselves of course); humans (run of the mill low info peeps); and subhumans (those who actively oppose them). Think about it. Hypocrisy is irrelevant, as standards, rules, and values only apply either within a class, or are expected by a higher level from a lower level. It is top-down, rather than bottom-up.

  27. mh

    Hillary actually said “We came, we saw, he died” (Gaddafi).

    Not only is the US now having to bomb ISIS out of Libya, there was also a black genocide. Nice one, Obummer.

  28. Tel

    I am constantly surprised at the level of absolutism, certainty and lack of self doubt in the views of the recent graduate I put on this year.

    What happened to relativism, and each individual having a unique perspective?

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