Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Profound Shallowness of Identity Politics

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... 

20 comments:

John Venlet said...

Identity politics is the natural conclusion to over 70 years of caring only for men's (humankinds') bodies, and not for men's minds. Marxism, secular humanism, and the churches' (all denominations), abrogation of preaching the gospel all played a role.

julie said...

"when God is forgotten, the creature itself grows unintelligible."

Yes, sadly; a truth that we can see playing out in real time.

John - they claim to care about the body but then look what they do with it, or encourage others to do...

Bobs favorite leftist troll said...

Not sure about the other trolls, but I just want America to not be owned by Mexicans or Chinese. Plus I want to go back to the days when I’d tell non-Americans that America is the greatest nation in the world, and they wouldn’t burst out laughing.

John Venlet said...

John - they claim to care about the body but then look what they do with it, or encourage others to do...

That is the key, though, Julie. People accept the claim, even though it is illegitimate, under the mistaken impression that because they can do what they will with their bodies, they are free, when in fact they are enslaved.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of bodies, I noticed a steep rise in people getting tattoos and piercings. I'm an older person, and back in my day a girl would never consider such things. And not just the straight-laced ones.

People seem to hunger to individuate themselves and mark themselves as unique. People, myself included, seem hung up on what will happen to them and get very defensive. Also we crave love and acceptance. We want security. Money is a form of security.

We want so many things in order to build, maintain, and defend our castle and our keep. Namely our body and our mind.

There is another road where the relentless emphasis on the self turns into a strong desire to match up with and mimic the herd so as to blend in seamlessly. The Asian mind tends to turn in that direction. Some traditional Asians don't want any deviations from the norm.

So there are two ways to approach the self, as the unique individual and as the generic individual and both can be desirable.

The way of Jesus is to give the self to God, and then let the cards fall where they may. One may end up unique, generic, or dead using this method. But this method is backed up by God and the others are not, so that has to be considered.

Anonymous said...

I'm about as indistinguishably bland as indistinguishably bland can be, out in meatspace.

Sorry to disappoint Black/Raptor who thinks I'm a card carrying racist mumbler of nonsense, or Julie who thinks everybody that sees me coming walks in the opposite direction, or Dupree who thinks I'm an overly tattoed with many flowers and skulls new aged young woman. Truth is, you wouldn't know me from boo, even if I came right up to you and said "yoohoo".

But as an aspiring screwball comedian, I've found that in here cyberspace I'm free to be anybody I want to be. Almost like the lawnmower man. And this is a tough crowd, perhaps the toughest of all crowds. And so thus and therefore a great place to try out new material. But I do try to stay on topic, of course.

Anonymous said...

Let the troll show begin, sayeth I. The only thing worse than a troll is not having a troll. Word.

Ok, then, identity politics. First off, I assert the blog author is involved up to his neck in identity politics. Gagdad has stated he is a conservative on many occasions, and we may presume this is an identity.

Gagdad has stated he is Christian and that his politics are directly in line with Christian ideology. Safe to say that is an identity.

Gagdad identifies as a retired psychologist, a father, a husband, and a California resident and all of these things drive his politics as well.

Yet he seems to have an issue with others doing the same with their identifiers, such as "victim." But oh yeah, Gagdad is also a victim of Gavin and his party, living in that state. So you own that one too.

The assertion being made is that identity politics are in fact the only extant politics, for all people.

I'm open for rebuttals, please do.

-BlackHawk

Anonymous said...

Let the troll show begin, sayeth I. The only thing worse than a troll is not having a troll. Word.

Ok, then, identity politics. First off, I assert the blog author is involved up to his neck in identity politics. Gagdad has stated he is a conservative on many occasions, and we may presume this is an identity.

Gagdad has stated he is Christian and that his politics are directly in line with Christian ideology. Safe to say that is an identity.

Gagdad identifies as a retired psychologist, a father, a husband, and a California resident and all of these things drive his politics as well.

Yet he seems to have an issue with others doing the same with their identifiers, such as "victim." But oh yeah, Gagdad is also a victim of Gavin and his party, living in that state. So you own that one too.

The assertion being made is that identity politics are in fact the only extant politics, for all people.

I'm open for rebuttals, please do.

-BlackHawk

EbonyRaptor said...

The removal of God hollowed out Western Civilization which opened the door for all manner of godless collectivist perversions. Is modern day America any different than the Biblical city of Sodom? The left at it's core is godless and can't countenance God having any influence in this world and their modus operandi is to tear down anything and everything that supports individualism and faith in God.

Gagdad Bob said...

This entire subject is so vast it's taking me into far-flung dimensions of the cosmos, so much so that I was unable to finish this morning's post. Long story short, I'm pretty sure we're doomed, but only horizontally.

Anonymous said...

Scientists have determined, with some certainty, that Sodom was destroyed by an asteroid air-burst with effects similar to a nuclear bomb strike about 100 times greater than the Hiroshima blast but about 2.5 miles up in the air. Telltale and very definitive physical evidence recovered from the site indicated the only possible cause was the asteroid.

The blast also took down Jericho's walls at the same time. Jericho escaped being burned though being further away.

This does not mean God was not acting intentionally, as the Bible asserts. It only explains the instrument God selected to get the job done.

I thought I'd throw in that little tit-bit as it is interesting.

Gagdad has always thought we were horizontally doomed; this on the eve of the triumphant expansion of humanity into the Solar System. Historians of course will chuckle at Gagdad's naivete, but then again recognize no one can predict events with any certainty beyond about 14 months out.

An asteroid strike is always a possibility. We track the really big ones, but city-busters like the one that took our Sodom could arrive with no advance warning at all.

So be afraid. Be very afraid. What years you may have left could get clipped. Then again, no, don't worry and be happy. We are all in the hands of Jesus.

-CosmicRay aka the Integralist.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9/22/2021 10:14:00 AM and/or 9/22/2021 10:15:00 AM,

Did I ever tell you the story about how I was just walking along minding my own business in the Westwood area of Los Angeles along with all the other Iranians (except that I’m not an Iranian), when I saw a large group of men walking towards me?

They were all white conservative Christian looking men of retirement age, each wearing matching sweaters with matching text embroidered: “Screw You I’m A Retired Psychologist”. I tried to get out of their way but I swear one of them went out of his way to give me a shove. As I watched them march past me with stern looks on their faces, I noticed that one of them was Bob.

I realize this isn’t much of a rebuttal, but I did notice that none of the Iranians were wearing clothes which matched.

EbonyRaptor said...

I'm sorry to say I agree that our culture is doomed, but happy to qualify that by adding - but only horizontally. I doubt it's possible to identify a single event or point in time when our culture crossed the Rubicon but crossed it has. I thought there might be a glimmer of hope when Trump pushed back against the globalists but that's now been quashed.

It's easy to feel helpless and hopeless but there is one thing I truly believe that rises above the doom - in the end God wins and he provides us a way for us to win with Him. The end.

Gagdad Bob said...

You can dig down and back from proximate cause to proximate cause, but it all leads to a fallen human nature. And to a World that is still under the influence of adverse and highly contagious spiritual forces, despite there being a vaccine.

Van Harvey said...

"If identity politics is the answer, what is the question?"

How to return yoursoph while demanding a refund: "it hasn't even been used!"

Van Harvey said...

It appears to me too, that our society is doomed. I reassure myself with the knowledge that what I do know, isn't a tenth of what'd be needed to really know, what actually will happen next. I know enough to know what I should try to do, and that's about that.

I'm good with that.

Gagdad Bob said...

That history is full of irony -- good things leading to bad, and vice versa -- is a consolation. Also a reminder that humans always have less control than they imagine. One of the purposes of ideology is to give the ideologue a spurious sense of understanding, prediction, and control.

Anonymous said...

Wow look at you EbonyRapter, a very good comment. I wouldn't be so quick to only blame "the left" though. Those godless Marxists maybe, but they only number a few thousand outside the BLM sphere. I've personally only known one, an incel who never got any dates.

IMHO, based on my elders within my own family who were very much into preaching and teaching professionally, the dynamic goes like this:

It used to be that a Christian kid who might see another Christian behaving badly would go to the priest, and get a reasonable answer and a fair amount of moral support from somebody skilled at answering such doubts. Today they go to the internet with their doubts. And there is much scientism on the internet. So today, not only do Christians have to behave better than they ever did, more rationally, moral, kindly and wise, they have to combat a very skilled and plausible scientism.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote "So today, not only do Christians have to behave better than they ever did, more rationally, moral, kindly and wise, they have to combat a very skilled and plausible scientism."

I agree with this assessment. Today's Christian is immersed in forces which will pander to their less Christian impulses.

Internet porn is one example. It is so easy to access that most people will take a look out of curiosity thinking there is no risk. That first look may develop into dark fixations.

Today's secular people will f*ck out of wed-lock (Tinder app facilitates). They just do that. And the Christian may say "yes" in a moment of weakness.

In this land, liquor flows freely; the people would not have prohibition. Intoxicating herbs are peddled openly.

Credit cards invite the use to indulge their greed and then pay later. And my how they will pay.

I could go on and on. Questionably it was easier to be morally upright in times when temptations were not so blatant.

Now, commitment to serving God and self-discipline is the name of the game. And self-discipline is not easy. No body can give a person that; it must come from within.

-BonnyFeather

Anonymous said...

Frank Schaeffer was an original Christian pro-life guy. He was also into other checks and balances against cultural and government and mammon-power excesses. Back then Christians were mostly political apathetics but a few had begun rising up when big government types started demanding the integration of minorities into parochial schools - a big reason why those people had taken their kids out of public schools. Back then minorities were seen as crime and drug ridden undesirables. A bad influence for malleable minds. Schaeffer saw an opportunity to expand that initial rising up his into pro life movement and hobnobbed with some big names like Billy Graham. The GOP noticed.

Things took a dark turn when GOP operatives of the corporate flavor successfully hijacked that Christian politicization for their own material purposes. Meanwhile in hippy libertarian and hippy leftyland, corporate operatives also succeeded in hijacking the anti-materialist movements into selfish material individualization, for the sole purpose of making money off all manner of selfish individualization products.

And thus money and the display of money became more important culturally than even spirituality.

There's a lot more to this but I'm very short on time today. This former engineer has much grueling concrete work to do.