“Identity Politics”? You Mean Racism?

I heard a conservative activist at the recent CPAC Conference promoting the concept of “identity politics.”

No one in the media asked him to define the term. To  me, it sounds a lot like racism.

Tribalism is a basic human instinct. Some would argue it’s  a basic instinct in animal life.

You may have heard the old story about the blue-eyed rabbit that was torn to bits when it was put into a cage with brown-eyed rabbits.

I don’t know if that actually happened, but even if it did, surely the human species has progressed beyond the rabbit stage?

“Basic instincts” include a lot of antisocial impulses. Selfishness and greed, for example. Indeed, without socialization human beings can be a sorry lot.

And it seems to me that  today’s”conservatives” are arguing for an abandonment of socialization. In effect, they are advocating a kind of jungle law, in which humans are free to follow their basest impulses.

I imagine that as the world grows more complex, the pressure to “behave” can be uncomfortable. Increasingly, people want to “let it all hang out.”

This revolt against decent behavior is evident not just in America but throughout the civilized world. And global politics is reflecting the trend.

I think the media have a duty to defend decency and expose primitive ideas. This is one area in which journalists cannot pretend to be objective.

When racists are allowed to disguise their ugly doctrine with euphemisms like “identity politics,” it becomes easier for their ideas to become mainstream.

And God help us if they do.

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