If identity politics is the answer, what is the question?
Being that it's not my answer to anything -- except how to destroy the nation -- I'll have to think about it.
Wait, I know: the left wants to destroy the nation!
That goes without saying. But why do so with identity politics?
Well, if the answer is "identity," the question must be "Who am I?"
Add the qualifier "politics," and the question becomes: "How do I gain more political power for my tribe?"
For you and I -- trolls excepted -- our race and ethnicity contribute nothing to our identity. To the extent that we think about it, it is only because the barbarians of the left force us to do so. They never stop reminding us of our race, nor of our oppression of all these people we've never even met. True, I can be a bit overbearing, but I don't single out particular races or genders. Plenty of white trolls consider me obnoxious.
Oddly, the identity of our tribal accusers includes us at the center, whereas our identity excludes them entirely. We never think about them unless they are rioting or committing crimes or raising our taxes. We can happily live without them in our midst, whereas their entire existence revolves around us and our imaginary oppression of them. This is a curious situation, to put it mildly.
Let's try to dig down to the foundation of identity -- not the hallucinatory projections of the left, but the real thing.
I'll begin by speaking for myself. It has been a long journey from conception to retirement, and there have been numerous changes in my identity over the years. Nevertheless, I am the same person. Or am I?
As usual, extremists meet, and at both ends we find agreement that the notion of an essential identity is but a persistent and seductive illusion. At the hard end there is no self, just storm of neurological activity with an illusory side effect called Bob. At the soft end we have, say, Buddhism, the whole point of which is to realize the impermanence and unreality of the ego.
In between we have various social sciences that either deny the self or dismiss it because their paradigm cannot account for it. Using a reductive metaphysic such as scientism to understand the self is like using the rules of grammar to try to understand Shakespeare. In doing so you'll miss the point entirely, for grammar is only a boundary condition for the emergence of something higher and more meaningful.
So, to affirm that science can find no evidence of a personal self is reminiscent of the Soviet cosmonaut who returned to earth and announced that he'd found no evidence of God up there. Science abounds with such trivial truths trapped in tedious tautology.
Back to my various identities over the years. In one sense we could say that a human being is someone capable of asking Who am I? An animal can never ask this question, while a person can never stop asking it. As we've mentioned before, the first human is the first to have asked this -- or any -- question.
Nor can we ever ever ask What is it? without inquiring into the nature of a being capable of knowing what it is. This is what it means to be critical (unlike the childishly uncritical devotees of Critical Race Theory).
There are some people -- we call them behaviorists -- who will say the question is meaningless because who we are is what we do. It's our outward behavior that counts, not what we think about it. If you murder someone, you're a murderer. If you lie, you're a liar. If you steal, a thief. No doubt you had your reasons, but our judicial system is -- or used to be, anyway -- based upon your actions and not your thoughts.
Which leads to one of those absurdities of the left, in that they pretend to look for "root causes" of this or that, while denying the mediation of a self. Rather, humans are just effects of deeper causes. In short, they have to destroy the properly human to save this or that human who has misused his freedom.
Before I ramble too far into the weeds, I'm going to begin at the end -- or a possible end -- with a principle enunciated by the Second Vatican Council that "when God is forgotten, the creature itself grows unintelligible."
One needn't be Catholic to understand that this is both literally and necessarily true. To say man is to say God; alternatively, one can try to say "man" with the language of, for example, metaphysical Darwinism, but one is thereby saying only "animal."
Likewise, one can try to say man with Marxism, but one is really only saying "class consciousness." Show me the class and I'll show you the man -- and more importantly, the crime.
Now, identity politics is obviously but a mutation of this Marxist pathology: class has simply been replaced by other categories, e.g., race and gender. These aren't "chosen"; rather, they choose you. Conveniently, the basis of freedom is eliminated at the root, since we have no choice with regard to the most important aspect of our identity: I didn't choose to be white, nor to be a privileged oppressor of women and blacks. It just is, and there's nothing I can do about it except admit it and pay up.
Again, in the absence of God, there is no man. In reality, man can only exist in the tension between immanence and transcendence. To say that I am but a member of this race or tribe is to plunge identity back into immanence, but why stop there? One could say with equal truth that I am an animal, a conglomeration of cells, a bag of selfish genes, or a pattern of quantum energy vibrating in the void.
All no doubt true. And trivial.
To be continued...