The Irrationality of Identity Politics


Key Concept Explored in this Article:

The essence of identity politics (IP) is for those people who self-identify by some attribute of their person (skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual desires, etc.) to find others who identify the same way, join up based on that identifying factor, and start 'fighting for their rights' based on that identify.  Many people are engaging in identity politics in order to advocate for their groups views on what social injustices need to be addressed in order to advance their groups interests.  The key question is, is identity politics solving problems and leading to unity, or is it leading to tribalistic division and conflict?  Furthermore, do those who believe in and participate in identity politics practice some of the key tenants of the ideology they preach - tenants like "inclusiveness" and "tolerance"?

 

What Is Identity Politics?

Merriam-Webster:  "Politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group."

Oxford:  "A tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics."

So, identity politics is a political approach and analysis based on people prioritizing the concerns most relevant to their particular racial, religious, ethnic, sexual, social, cultural or other identity, and forming exclusive political alliances with others of this group, instead of engaging in more traditional, broad-based party politics. Those who prioritize their particular type of identity politics may – and often do - promote their group's interests without regard for the interests of larger, more diverse political groups.

So, in short, identity politics is leaving the concept of joining with others based on principles or policies that are deemed as morally right and/or organizationally efficient.  This is the nature of "broad-based party politics", where people are joining a party based on the principles, policies or laws it advocates.  So, for example, the Democratic party has traditionally advocated workers rights over corporation ownership greed.  Or, for example, the republican party has traditionally advocated 'capitalistic free markets' over socialistic interference.  Or, for example, the green party has traditionally advocated for stricter environmental controls on business to avoid environmental damage.  Or, for example, the libertarian party has traditionally advocated for less governmental control over people and thus more political freedom for the people.  Notice, those parties are advocating what they believe is an important principle or policy for ALL PEOPLE, not merely for some sub-group of people.

So, identity politics is moving away from unity on principles held by a party, and instead moving to tribal dynamics where the thinking is, 'our tribe A is better than your tribe B (not based on principles but based on amoral distinguishing physical features like the color of one's skin or one's gender or sexual preference) and thus we are going to come after you and force you to be like us cuz if you are not like us or you don't support our views, you must be bad, wrong or even evil'.  This unrighteous and eager-to-divide thinking is happening because people are leaving the belief that there is One Father/Creator of the human race who has given us the best ethics on how to live the human life.  In place of that unifying approach, people basically saying, 'we are right because we feel that we are and you are wrong because your view does not match ours'.  They have no objective or universal standard to judge right from wrong, and so they are fracturing.

Tribal (unreasoned loyalty) thinking only leads to one place, dear reader, and it is not freedom.  Please see "Politics Will Not Solve Our Problems"

 

The Concept of "Identity" Examined:

We all self-identify somehow even if we are not active in understanding or promoting it.  If asked, ‘who or what are you’, we will provide our identity or identities.  Most people have one primary identify and then several lesser identities.  For example, if I ask a man, 'who or what are you', he might answer, 'I am a U.S. Marine and a dad'.  The U.S. Marine would be his primary identity, and his being a dad would be secondary.  Or if I ask a woman 'who or what you are', she might answer, 'I'm a wife and a mother and a part-time nurse'.

An important question is, are some self-identities better - morally superior or existentially more meaningful - than others?  Let's look at some examples and explore this concept.

Someone whose primary self-identity is “mother” versus another woman whose primary self-identity is “prostitute”?

Most people who are moral objectivists would say that self-identifying as a "mother" is superior to self-identifying as a prostitute because being a mother is a moral and selfless role, while selling yourself for sex is immoral and lacking dignity.  Therefore, self-identifying as a mother is superior to self-identifying as a prostitute.

How about “a brunette” versus “a charity worker”?

Here, you have an example of a person self-identifying by some amoral and trivial aspect (a physical attribute of their body) of their existence, versus another person who self-identifies by work that they do, which work is moral and selfless.  Therefore, self-identifying as a charity worker is superior - both morally and existentially - than as a brunette.

How about “a fat or skinny person” versus “a farmer”?

Here again, you have an example of a person self-identifying by some amoral and trivial aspect (a physical attribute of their body) of their existence, versus another person who self-identifies by work that they do, which work is moral and helpful.  The former is a sad, trivial and narcissistic view of one's existence  whereas the latter is a constructive way to view one's self - I grow food for people.  The latter is superior to the former as far as self-identities go.

How about “a heroin dealer” versus “a law enforcement officer”?

Here you have one person self-identifying as someone who sells addictive drugs to people - which drugs typically harm others in some way - versus another person who self-identifies by their work of enforcing the law.  From a moral objectivist perspective, the latter is morally better than the former.

How about “a man” versus “a nurse”?

Self-identifying by your sex is amoral, trivial, and relatively meaningless since your sex does not determine the ethical choices you make including the most basic ethical choice of selfish versus selfless.   Our sex is just a natural and lesser aspect of who we are and does not determine the moral choices we make, whereas self-identifying by your work of helping other people heal is noble and morally meaningful.

Can our self-identity make a significant difference in how we see ourselves and thus how we choose to live our lives and interact with others?  The answer is obviously yes - it might be the primary factor in how we choose to live our lives and spend the time we are given.

If I self-identify by virtuous choices I make about the work I do, for example, my life will typically be more selfless in nature and 'help-others' oriented. 

If I self-identify by immoral choices I make about the work I do - I see myself as a heroin dealer or a prostitute or a lawyer who is only interested in winning instead of what is right, or a physician who cares more about the money they make than the patient - then my life will typically be selfish in nature meaning I will focus on taking from others instead of giving.

If I self-identify by some morally or existentially meaningless natural attribute of my physical existence (like my skin color or gender, for example), then my life will typically be more selfish or narcissistic since my primary identity is self-focused.  You could even argue that self-identifying by something so meaningless as skin color is to be profoundly ignorant about what human life is meant to be about.  For the answer to what human life is meant to be about, see the rest of this web site.

 

Important Concept's Defined and Understood:

Let’s look at the definitions of some important terms to further clarify the nature of identity politics.

What is racism?

Cambridge:  “the belief that some races are better than others, or the unfair treatment of someone because of his or her race.”

Merriam-Webster:   “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

Oxford:  “Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.”

What is bigotry:

Oxford:  “Intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself.”

Cambridge:  “strong, unreasonable ideas, esp. about race or religion.”

Merriam-Webster:  “obstinate or intolerant devotion to one's own opinions and prejudices”

So bigotry is a bit broader than racism in that racism is constrained to the physical characteristic of one's skin color, but is similar otherwise.  So, for example, if am an older U.S. citizen and I regularly complain about ‘those worthless foreigners taking over’, I would be exhibiting manifestations of being a bigot.

Or, let’s say I live in India, would I be a bigot if I held that some people are so lowly and foul that they are untouchable?  Yes, I would be a bigot, and sadly, bigotry is very much a part of a religion like Hinduism.
 
So the key component to racism is to care about – that is to classify a person by - race or the color of one’s skin.  Whether we look at one color as better or one as worse, the common factor is that we are looking at the color of someone’s skin and making character or value judgments based on that attribute.

So, if I make a statement, 'I think black people are…' and I say something negative, that would be a racist statement.

If I make a statement, 'I think white people are…' and I say something negative, that would be a racist statement.

Racism is not constrained to one color even if there has been a preponderance of racism for one color in a particular society during a particular time in history.  Anyone can be a racist, and all who make a sweeping generalization value judgment about people based on the color of one's skin, is thinking and/or behaving in a racist way.  Again, to bring skin color up as somehow meaningful regarding people is to be shallow, racist and horribly misguided.

Let’s look at a few more important concepts before we draw some conclusions regarding identity politics.

What does "Marginalized" mean?

Oxford:  “Treat (a person, group, or concept) as insignificant or peripheral.”

Merriam-Webster:  “Relegated to a marginal position within a society or group.”

Cambridge:  “To treat someone or something as if they are not important.”

 

What is discrimination?

Cambridge:  “The treatment of a person or particular group of people differently, in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated”.

Merriam-Webster:  “Prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment.”

Oxford:  “The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.”

 

Treating a person or people group unfairly due to their race or other non-moral factor is wrong and is wrongful discrimination.  Note the qualification of "non-moral".  It is not immoral to discriminate against someone if they are doing something wrong, like harming others.  So, for example, we are not discriminating against the child sex predator when we place him in prison.  Or we are not discriminating against homosexuals if they ask us to affirm that there sexual choice is morally good and we don't affirm that because we believe it is immoral or unhealthy.  Just like we would not be discriminating against a pedophile priest if we refuse to attend his religious organization and thus support him.  Instead, we are standing up for what we believe is good and right and are not willing to affirm or support that which we believe is immoral.  As long as we do not harm others nor promote or advocate the harming of others, our beliefs are not immoral and should be heard and tolerated.

Marginalization is normally wrong to, for it is very similar to discrimination, but focus' more on more passive measures of unfairness as opposed to discrimination which is more active and legal.  For example, it would be a true statement that disabled people are marginalized by societies, meaning most people think disabled people are either relatively worthless or even a burden on society.

It sometimes would be right to marginalize a group of people, when that group of people advocates or practices the harming of others.  For example, we are not marginalizing a tribe of cannibals when we prevent them from coming into a larger community.  Nor would we be marginalizing a group of people who engaged in, advocated or promoted harmful sexual views or practices if we did not invite them to assimilate into our 'community'.

The key to discrimination or marginalization is ethics or morality.  People who believe or practice immoral things that harm others should be discriminated against and marginalized.  Those whose beliefs or practices do not harm others nor lead to harming others should not be discriminated against or marginalized.
 

What is Inclusion?

Cambridge:  “the act of including someone or something as part of a group, list, etc., or a person or thing that is included”.

Merriam-Webster:  “the act or practice of including and accommodating people who have historically been excluded (as because of their race, gender, sexuality, or ability).”

Oxford:  “The practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups.”

Inclusion is a good moral concept and it is the opposite of racism and discrimination and marginalization.

Can a person who self-identifies by a particular non-moral aspect – like race - and who forms a group or groups based on that identity, be inclusive?  In other words, can a group of people who self-identify by their skin color - which is to say they believe their skin color is the most important aspect of who or what they are - join and mix with others who have a skin color that group considers 'not the same'?  The answer is plainly "no", therefore identify politics ideology causes, advocates, supports and promotes racism and discrimination.

A perfect example of this is the Black Lives Matter organization/movement.  This group clearly excludes from their membership people who are 'white' as well as people whose work is law enforcement.  Therefore, the BLM organization is organized on and advocates racist, discriminatory and exclusionary practices and is intolerant of views different than their own.  For example if your position is that the U.S. nation as a whole does not practice systematic racism, you will be "against" BLM's primary message, which is that the white people of the U.S. are, as a whole, racist and do practice systematic racism.  Basing your group on a skin color and making fallacious sweeping generalizations about race or law enforcement workers is wrong and is NOT the right way to bring positive change.  Look to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for validation of that truth.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!"

Sadly, tragically, Dr. King's wisdom is lost on a generation of lost people latching onto identity politics and thus not caring about the content of people's character, but rather caring about the color of people's skin.

 

The Solution to Racism:

What view or belief would eliminate racism?  Would continuing to make value and character judgments about people based on their skin color (the basis of racism) solve racism?  Of course not, it would merely perpetuate racism.  And yet that is what the majority of people protesting George Floyd's wrongful death are preaching.  Someone must get truly woke and understand that racism will never fix racism.

What if people were actually color blind and all people’s skin color or other body features looked the same?  Could racism exist if that were the case?  It would probably be reduced, but unfortunately, the problem is not primarily physical, but spiritual, so there would be racism based on shades of grey!

How about if a person truly didn’t care about the color of one’s skin or other body features, and instead saw all people as belonging to one race, the human race and judged people by the content of their character instead of by any physical attribute?  Would racism exist if that were the case?  No, it would not!  That is THE solution.  How many people do you see preaching the solution?  Ironically, people are railing about racism without providing the REAL SOLUTION because they don't know the real solution.

What is the solution to racism?  As will all sins, it starts internally with our hearts.  Until a person can see themselves as guilty of the sin of racism, they will not change.  Until people can understand that they will be accountable for the lives they live; that the Creator (our heavenly Father) tells us to love one another, which absolutely would solve racism; and that by NOT doing what he says, we are GUILTY of being and doing wrong and thus are condemning ourselves.  Once we see that truth, we have a good chance of turning to and adopting The Solution, which is to place our faith in The Light of the World and thus change and no longer be captured by our dark hearts.

If you read this website, you will understand reality much better and thus be in a position to see how people condemn themselves, including yourself.  When you find the Solution to self-condemnation, you will be free of the sin of racism.

 

Conclusions Regarding Identity Politics (IP):

So, the key question is, does identity politics practice, perpetuate, encourage or promote wrongly discriminatory views?  With all matters ethical, it is REALLY important that we look to facts, not feelings, to make reasonable and good moral judgments.  This we have done, an we have arrived at the sound conclusion that IP does in fact promote discriminatory principles.  That is to say, IP advocates and operates on the ideology of tribalism - tribalism being a strong loyalty to a group you self-identify with often based on non-moral or non-principled factors like skin color, birth history/association, national origin, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual preference or organization affiliation, etc.

Identify politics represents the moving away from unifying principles on which to belong to a group (traditional political parties and their principles, policy or belief platforms), and replacing principle-based platforms with tribalism and the destructive division that always comes with tribalism.

If you are a person who can see the error, confusion and conflict that is taking place due to people being deceived by IP ideology - which people want to force their racist or irrational or wrong views on others - and you want to help in trying to rescue people from it and provide a clear alternative, please, enter into the Life Joshua offers and come, join the Peaceful Revolution!

 

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