Identity politics takes us back to the shame culture of the past

Identity politics takes us back to the shame culture of the past, by Jeremy Sammut.

Although there has never been less racism, sexism, or homophobia — thanks to the social changes that began in the 1960s — there have never been more people claiming the country is allegedly plagued by these social problems.

In recent times, these complaints have spanned the spectrum of identity politics: from Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech; to the offence taken over the late Bill Leak’s “indigenous parenting” cartoon; to the calls on social media last week to boycott Woolworths because the bloke who ran the company a decade ago supports traditional marriage.

The rise of identity politics can be explained in part by the malign influence of universities that have embraced postmodern theory in recent decades. We now have at least one generation of tertiary-educated Australians who have been politicised, and are deeply invested in the identity politics notion that certain groups in society remain the perpetual victims of bigotry and prejudice at the hands of the dominant culture — despite the enormous social changes that make a nonsense of this theory.

Nevertheless, identity politics is integral to the “intellectual left” sense of identity and status as an enlightened class, which not only supposedly possesses superior insight into how society marginalises assorted victim groups but whose members consider themselves morally superior to what they view as the great unwashed, bigoted “ordinary Australians”. …

The “progressives” return society to primitive power politics:

It has become a secular sin, in most walks of public and corporate life especially, to harbour anything seen as resembling sexist, racist or homophobic views, with the mere perception often leading to social and professional death. …

Identity politics is really about the politics of moral embarrassment. It is, therefore, ultimately a primitive way of conducting politics.

For all its modern trappings of relativism and non-judgmentalism, identity politics represents a reversion to the shame culture of traditional societies, whereby dissenters face exclusion from the tribe — from the charmed circle of approved progressive opinion — for transgressing politically incorrect taboos.

The deplorables grow tired of the insults from those who freely discriminate yet accuse others of racism etc:

Yet the notion that the so-called “deplorables” are bigoted oppressors who deserve to have their privilege checked, including their right to freedom of speech, thought and conscience, in the name of promoting equality and diversity, is wearing thin. …

Because of its intolerance towards so-called “intolerants”, identity politics risks becoming a disastrously self-fulfilling prophecy, which will end up fostering ever deeper political and social divisions over issues of race, gender and sexuality.

hat-tip Stephen Neil