Identity politics harms the oppressed

Identity politics harms the oppressed, by Peter Baldwin.

Who could have imagined that the scribblings of some bearded character sitting in the British museum in mid 19th century London would lead to the deaths of tens of millions at the hands of his followers over the course of the following century?

Who, furthermore, would have thought that despite these manifest consequences, in our own time Marx’s ideas in their most extreme authoritarian interpretations would be enjoying an academic revival with international conferences dedicated to them attracting hundreds of speakers? …

What sane person would want to revive such an ideology, given what we now know about what it led to, the vast human suffering it caused?

The short answer to the above question: an ideologue. Someone so infatuated with a particular worldview that it starts to take on the character of a quasi-religion such that to challenge it is heresy. If facts and evidence fail to vindicate an ideology or the activism it mandates, so much for the worse for facts and evidence. Not only must they be ignored, they must be actively suppressed.

This was the mentality of the old communists. But it is also true of our modern-day ‘social justice’ warriors and the academic scribblers specializing in various branches of ‘critical theory’ who provide the theoretical underpinnings for the identarian ideology, which can be traced back to the Frankfurt School philosophers who reinterpreted Marxism to give it a cultural rather than an economic focus. …

FGM in the UK:

In the UK there is an epidemic of Female Genital Mutilation, mainly involving children of immigrants from the Middle East and Africa. According to NHS statistics, an average of fifteen cases are reported each day.

It has been a criminal offense to inflict FGM since 1985, potentially attracting a fourteen year gaol term. Yet in more than three decades the Crown Prosecution Service has failed to secure a single conviction for what a House of Commons committee rightly declared ‘an extreme case of violence against women and girls’. The same CPS proudly boasts of over 15,000 convictions for ‘hate crimes’, many little more than obnoxious tweets, in a single year. …

Aboriginal policy in Australia:

Australian policy towards its indigenous people provides a striking, and profoundly disturbing, example of what can happen when policy is based on premises grounded in ideology rather than reality.

For the apologists and advocates of identity politics, few identities are more oppressed — and more revered — than indigenous identities. We find scholarly articles that make patently absurd claims about the virtues of such cultures, effectively exempting them from the pathologies that, they allege, permeate ‘white’ Western cultures….

This idyllic version of pre-colonial life is just a fantasy. Whatever the virtues of traditional indigenous culture, to suggest that ‘notions of domination’ were absent and all was harmony, autonomy and respect is nonsense. In the words of indigenous Australian academic Marcia Langton, such sentiments are just ‘romantic, misinformed fabulations about Aborigines as a special kind of modern ‘noble savage’.

Langton was one of a group of three indigenous women, all well-known activists or scholars, who delivered a severe corrective to this kind of nonsense in a presentation to the National Press Club in 2016. These woman were exasperated by the lack of effective action to stop an epidemic of violence against vulnerable woman and children in aboriginal communities, inaction that they attributed to deluded notions about the nature of traditional culture. …

For the virtue signallers, nothing must be said or done that casts indigenous culture in a negative light. After all, they insist reversion to traditional culture as the key to solving the problem of aboriginal disadvantage.

As Roger Sandall noted, under the ‘culture cult’ ideology indigenous people are required to remain imprisoned by their cultures, condemned to inhabit what he aptly termed ‘anthropological museums’.

Price pleads for a fundamentally different approach, one that acknowledges the right of indigenous people to escape their cultural prison:

Why is it that we should remain stifled and live by 40,000 year old laws when the rest of the world has had the privilege of evolution within their cultures, so that they may survive in a modern world?

Instead, Price and her colleagues were given the standard treatment reserved for ideological heretics: abuse, vilification, suggestions of dark treachery, with the added element of credible death threats.