Features Week of April 22 2019
2 minutes

America can't stand the retributive injustice of identity politics.

Identity politics has breached the confines of the ivory tower, David Azerrad argues in an important new essay. Now, it holds sway over nearly all of public life. Today, writes Azerrad, “we all learn to distinguish the victimized groups who should be honored from the oppressor groups who must perpetually atone for the sins of their forefathers.”

“There are still, of course, other ways of looking at reality in America today, but none so thoroughly dominates the public square as identity politics. While it has not fully conquered the public’s mind, it does reign almost unchallenged among the elites. Politicians, professors, producers, pundits, Fortune 500 CEOs, tech gurus, journalists, and the coterie of other famous, credentialed, and successful people who comprise our ruling class all worship at the altar.”

Writing in response, Eric Kaufmann dissects the ideology’s contradictory commandment that majority groups disown their identity and minorities cling to theirs; Diana Schaub invokes Frederick Douglass in a call to accept the challenge of truly equal justice; Kevin Slack argues that identity politics is the perfect ideology for a ruling class looking to sideline and disenfranchise those beneath them; William Voegeli rejects the redistribution of punishment guilt-ridden elites inflict on those they rule; and Thomas G. West traces the moral basis of identity politics to the political theory of the contemporary liberal thinkers John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and Richard Rorty.

of The American Mind.

5 responses to this piece

5 minutes

The Contradiction at the Heart of Identity Politics

Eric Kaufmann

Our adversarial multiculturalism urges majority groups to disown their identity and minorities to cling to theirs.

4 minutes

The Moral Basis of Identity Politics

Thomas West

Identity politics legitimizes inequality and the moral superiority of its elite.

5 minutes

Their Sin, Your Penance

William Voegeli

Pious identitarian elites punish you for their guilt.

4 minutes

Rising to Frederick Douglass’ Challenge

Diana Schaub

We need courage to replace the politics of special privilege with the politics of equal justice.

9 minutes

Progressivism’s Aristocratic Fantasies

Kevin Slack

Identity politics offers disenchanted radicals one more shot at utopia.