How identity politics lays bare the utter hypocrisy of the right

Since we’re still talking about identity politics, the latest (I believe) is Milo’s appeal has nothing to do with “White identity politics”.

I’m surprised the piece claims that “the popularity of Milo’s trolling has nothing to do identity politics” and then offers no supporting evidence for the claim at all.

Countering liberal “PC culture” is likely one of Milo’s motivations. That’s neither here nor there to whether identity politics has anything whatsoever to do with Milo’s popularity.

Milo is vehemently anti-feminist. Anti-feminism is male identity politics. He is anti-immigration. Anti-immigration is “native” identity politics.

If “identity politics” is a phenomenon at all, then the idea must be applied consistently. So unless Pat Hannaford is claiming that “identity politics” doesn’t exist, he has not made a case that support for Milo’s positions does not arise at least in part from it.

Later in a Facebook threat Pat claimed that one can oppose third-wave feminism without engaging in identity politics. This is absurd. Insofar as one’s opposition to any wave of feminism is political, it IS identity politics.

But let’s dig into the question of whether Trump and Milo’s policy prescriptions are identity politics. AFAIK, the term “identity politics” was invented by people of the dominant identity (white, straight, male, cis) to smear policy preferences aimed at correcting for bigotry, by which I mean identity-based oppression. Wikipedia says “Identity politics are political arguments that focus upon the interest and perspectives of groups with which people identify.”

Because every aspect of feminism is focused on gender, every aspect of anti-feminism must also be focused on gender. Therefore, again, insofar as they are political, both feminism and anti-feminism IS identity politics.

What’s delicious about Milo and anti-feminism is that it belies critics of identity politics claims to not engage in identity politics themselves. It also belies that they’re bad or unnecessary. Of course when you don’t see yourself as a victim of bigotry you see no reason for policies aimed at correcting for it. In fact you may see yourself as victimized by policies aimed at correcting for bigotry.

I want to take a second here to say that I do not support policies aimed at correcting for bigotry. I don’t support affirmative action, quotas, non-discrimination legislation, or equal wage laws. I oppose bigotry AND the laws meant to correct it. I know I’m blowing some idiots’ minds with this. But it is possible.

But what’s funny is that now that members of formerly dominant identities (white, straight, male, cis) are beginning to see themselves as a victims of bigotry, they have NO TROUBLE AT ALL making political arguments that focus upon the interest and perspectives of the groups with which they identify. The problem was NEVER identity politics for these people. That was all a cover. Because “I am afraid of losing dominant status” sounds bad. But “politics shouldn’t pit people against each other based on race, gender, etc.” sounds good. In truth they have no problem at all with using politics to promote the interests of their in-group. Almost no one does.

I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other on identity politics. I think politics is disgusting, period. And further I think that the idea that one’s support for or opposition to any policy could ever be completely divorced from their identity is insultingly stupid. Politics is the tyranny of the majority. It’s stealing from some to give to others. Anyone who thinks that people generally are as likely to want to steal from their in-group to give to their out-group as the opposite is too stupid to take seriously. So, yeah, criticizing any policy on the basis of it being “identity politics” reveals either dishonesty, self-delusion, or delusion about what democracy means.

What complicates the picture for anti-feminism for me is that I’d say on feminist POLICY (that is laws and shit) I probably agree with Milo 99% of the time. Maybe 100%. I don’t believe in coercing people into female equality. So insofar as his anti-feminism involves opposing statist feminist policy recommendations I engage in this as well. I’m NOT an anti-feminist. I am a feminist. Opposing bad legislation written in the name of feminism is PART of my being a good feminist. But he and I, and the statist feminists, we’re all still engaging in identity politics.

So while I could not oppose anti-feminism any more than I do, it is kind of wonderful to see the utter hypocrisy of the right on the topic of identity politics laid bare.

 

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