Thursday, July 18, 2019
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The Intellectual Dark Web Cannot Defeat Identity Politics

The Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 60s count as identity politics, Lila explained in an interview with Steve Paikin, because they integrated “African-Americans, women, gays, into the great American democratic we.” The goal was to enlarge the notion of Americanness so that it included previously marginalized groups. So rather than it being about bringing us together into a great “democratic we,” instead doubts were raised about the existence of it, and politics came to be conceived of on our liberal side as a politics of groups, of movements, and not party politics with a message that would offer a vision of American destiny that would attract Americans from all walks of life. Francis Fukuyama agrees, arguing that the great threat of identity politics is not merely its de-emphasis on the individual, but its breaking of our larger identification with the nation: I think that national identity as a practical political project is really the level at which you need to think about building these communal values, because frankly political power is still organized around these things we call nations, and those political institutions aren’t going to work unless you have those kind of integrative identities. But despite these similarities, the Intellectual Dark Web operates under a stricter definition of identity politics than the definition Lilla and Fukuyama use. .you can’t say that people’s proclivity to identify with their group is identity politics. We have here two very different origin stories, and thus two different definitions. For Lilla and Fukuyama, the civil rights movement was a kind of identity politics, one that strove to link the identity of the sub-group with the broader identity of the nation. And while it is unclear to what degree other individual members of the IDW subscribe to Peterson’s definition, in general the IDW treats identity politics as categorically cancerous. To be sure, nations can have shared experiences, values, and stories too. The degree to which this shared national identification can be restored in America is the degree to which pernicious manifestations of identity politics can be rolled back or rerouted toward a shared commitment to the common good.

Israel’s identity politics is failing voters

On almost every issue on the agenda, most Israelis think, one thing and vote, the opposite. 81% of the Jews in Israel support equality for all streams in Judaism and 60% of the Israelis support an easier conversion process. Some 50% of those who define themselves as religious support civil marriage while half of those defined as Orthodox support a core curriculum in all Orthodox learning institutions. But it seems that on primary issues, before we bring up the political controversy, surveys referred to here, do reflect public opinion reliably, since multiple surveys were done by multiple pollsters. Only 10% support annexation of the West Bank according to the Institute of Nations Security Studies (INSS). Even considering sampling errors, The conclusion must be that there is a large gap between the positions of the right-wing coalition, which is now and may continue to be in power, and the majority of the public. Tomorrow the Israeli public will vote. Some surveys, show that the attitudes of Israeli Arabs are much more moderate than those of the Arab political parties. It turns out that both Arabs and Jews treat their parties a bit like a soccer team. When Israelis, Arabs and Jews, vote according to their true positions, common interests will prevail.

Letter of the week: Beef with identity politics

I have not yet read White Fragility, but, according to K Biswas (The Critics, 29 March) the book seems short on advice for us white progressives who, writes author, Robin DiAngelo, cause “most daily damage” to people of colour. “Predictable” suggests blanket prejudice on DiAngelo’s part. As for “argumentation”, since when has teaching been about accepting the teacher’s words in meek silence? Vera Lustig Walton-on-Thames, Surrey Calls for change The UK desperately needs a new constitutional settlement as Anthony Seldon asserts (“J’Accuse!”, 29 March). Brexit is a project of the right, for the right. We do need to unify around a common set of values, as Seldon claims. The second complaint was loss of sovereignty. However, that can be a trap, as one reads only what one agrees with, and mixes, through the media, only with likeminded people. I suspect there are many like me, so it is unfortunate that the New Statesman does not realise that not all its subscribers believe remaining in the EU is a good thing. Michael Conley Manchester Your correspondent thinks that Kim Moore’s poem “I Let a Man” (The Critics, 15 March) could lead to the “annihilation of men”.

Dori: Liberal identity politics knocked Gonzaga out of NCAA tourney

I love everything about the Gonzaga basketball program. Gonzaga was the #2-odds choice — right behind Duke — to win the national championship. But, after this past week, God made sure that would not happen. Loyola-Ill won in 1963. USF with Bill Russell won in 1955-56. And even our own Seattle U (with Elgin Baylor) made the championship game in 1958. But then the Jesuits went off the deep end with radical liberal identity politics. Of course God would not want such nonsense from a university representing him in the Final Four. And so, for Gonzaga, it was a great season. What a shame — you could’ve won it all.

We’re witnessing identity politics in extreme, violent forms: Deputy foreign minister

Southeast Asia is struggling to uphold democracy, facing challenges caused by identity politics, which limits freedom of expression and religious that could eventually lead to human rights violations. "We are witnessing the politics of identity in extreme or even violent form," Deputy Foreign Minister AM Fachir said in his keynote speech at the Nexus between Religious Freedom or Belief and Freedom of Expression in South East Asia seminar in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Monday. At the seminar, which was organized by the Journalist Association for Diversity (SEJUK) in cooperation with the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ) and the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD), Fachir said rampant hoaxes and fake news, which were spread on social media, have worsened the situation. So the key is to educate the public," he said at the opening of the three-day event, which was attended by dozens of journalists, scholars and human rights experts from Southeast Asia, Timor-Leste and India. Before delivering his speech, Fachir invited everyone to observe a minute of silence to remember the victims of the terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, which killed at least 50 people, including an Indonesian. "Christchurch is a strong reminder that terrorism remains a real threat to us all irrespective of religious denomination or cultural background," he said. Meanwhile, the IARJ’s executive director, Endy Bayuni, said the region was struggling to uphold democracy, facing challenges from society as well as the state. Endy said the seminar gave journalists in the region a space to share their experiences and formulate a journalistic code of conduct when covering freedom of religion and minority rights issues "Religion journalism is important and it is important that journalists work in an increasingly diverse society. Royal Danish Special Representative for Freedom of Religion of Belief Ambassador Michael Suhr applauded the event, saying problems regarding the implementation of the freedom of religion, belief and expression was not only happening in the region, but globally as well. (jun)

Fans React to Captain Marvel’s Radical Feminist Identity Politics – From 1977

The current Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, was originally Ms. Marvel, starring in her own comic book launched by Marvel in 1977 lasting a couple of years. It has become somewhat of a hot political potato amongst some – the allegation is that Marvel has taken a classic superheroine character from the seventies and used her for their identity politics and virtue signalling ends, betraying the original character – especially that her costume is from the most recent comics version of the character that doesn’t show off her navel anymore. And it’s been framed as some kind of modern politically correct, radically feminist diatribe against men and a betrayal of how the character was originally created in the good old seventies. Here are few letters from the first year the comic was published, from its letters column, Ms Prints. Literally, identity politics… This was echoed by Mary-Catherine Gilmore, who found fault with all of Marvel’s leading ladies on feminist terms – but who also rejected the Ms. title as it was too aggressive towards men. She would later be Mary Bierbaum, co-writer with Tom Bierbaum on Legion Of Super-Heroes. Longstanding letter writer Jana C Hollingsworth complained that Ms Marvel’s origin was too tied to that of Captain Marvel, the male Kree warrior Mar-Vell, a complaint that has been echoed of late, and dealt with very differently in both the movie and in the recent The Life Of Captain Marvel comic book mini-series. The discussion of Ms Marvel’s feminine identity continued, as further letter writers took issue with each other’s interpretation. Even back then, few it seemed could agree… And still more came, with Suzanne P Elliott, criticising the gendered use of language on the cover as an insult, while Tony Bole talked about initially not wanting to buy the comic because it had a woman in the lead. And Jo Duffy, comic book letter writer and now Marvel editor as of 1978.

Will voters’ ‘identity politics’ choose new Chicago mayor?

The April 2 run-off election will be historic: For the first time, Chicago will have a black woman as mayor. Candidates Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot are trying to broaden their bases, campaigning in neighborhoods where voters didn’t choose them Tuesday. But as commercials flood the airwaves, political expert Jon Paul Valadez said the race might just be decided on the ground. Large swaths of traditionally black communities chose Willie Wilson. “In order for [Lightfoot and Preckwinkle] to be successful on April 2, they’re going to have to tap into that market.” It’s why Lightfoot was in Englewood on Saturday, kicking off a canvassing operation. … Coming to Englewood makes a difference. I was wondering if Toni would come to Englewood. Preckwinkle, the Cook County Board president, has argued that her decades in city and county government make her the more battle-tested candidate. So, I’ve got experience running a large unit of government, and let me just say, my opponent’s never been elected to office. Never.” “Toni Preckwinkle has been in office a really long time,” Lightfoot said, “and I think people are asking themselves: Is my life any better for her having been in office?

Sanders struggles with identity politics among new progressives

Yet among the flaws on Bernie’s resume for many progressives is an unalterable one — he is a white male, and an old one without a cute Spanish nickname. The straight, cisgendered Sanders is burdened by his utter lack of intersectionality, unless being a Vermont senator from Brooklyn counts. Sanders cited the famous Martin Luther King Jr. quote about judging people by the content of their character and replied: “We have got to look at candidates, you know, not by the color of their skin, not by their sexual orientation or their gender and not by their age. Neera Tanden, of the Center for American Progress, thundered, “At a time where folks feel under attack because of who they are, saying race or gender or sexual orientation or identity doesn’t matter is not off, it’s simply wrong.” Former Hillary Clinton aide Jess McIntosh added, “This is usually an argument made by people who don’t enjoy outsized respect and credibility because of their race, gender, age and sexual orientation.” Stephen Colbert snarked, “Yes, like Dr. King, I have a dream — a dream where this diverse nation can come together and be led by an old white guy.” But what Sanders is getting at here should be completely uncontroversial. Of course it is important that we look beyond the demographic characteristics of candidates, to their views and their merits. Do we want to live in a society where no one can represent people different from them? By this logic, given a choice between South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Bernie Sanders for president, progressives would want all African-Americans to vote for the black Republican (of course, in that scenario, many progressives would pronounce Scott “not really black”). Bobby Kennedy, lionized for his unifying campaigning, would be retroactively deemed just another straight white male. Anyone who looks at, say, Steve Forbes and Bernie Sanders and thinks, “Oh, just a couple of white guys” is disregarding every political and philosophical difference in favor of a racialist reductionism. Today, though, Bernie is not race- and sex-obsessed enough for the identity-politics hall monitors of the Democratic Party.

Arthur Miller’s ‘Everyman’ Is an Antidote to Identity Politics

It was judged old-fashioned—out of touch with social trends, conventional in form and naive in its attempts to universalize identity. Contrary to general opinion, some students insisted that Willy Loman, the striving, suicidal protagonist in “Death of a Salesman,” had a good dream that he simply didn’t pursue strategically. Students could be more forgiving of Kazan after reading about the threat of communism at the time, and could better understand the mixed motives behind Miller’s seemingly virtuous behavior after reading his highly autobiographical play, “After the Fall” (1964). One group quickly assumed the resentful voice of Victor; the other, the self-justifying voice of Walter. Unprompted, students brought material from their own lives to support their positions. The “Victors” were family-oriented in the extreme. Several of them confessed to having gone against parental wishes to pursue their college careers or academic disciplines. Neither the class nor the play resolved the question. And yet my students didn’t find them despairing or nihilistic. Great literature places us at a remove from life, letting us appreciate Victor and Walter as flawed human beings—and see ourselves in them both.

Letter | Apologize for error, don’t bring up gender politics

I am proud that the City of Santa Cruz, once again, has a woman mayor. As a result, the council put them on the next agenda in a public motion. In my experience, people will call you on your mistakes as a public official of any gender. And it will be hard. But at this point, instead of bringing up gender politics, Mayor Watkins should apologize for her error and do a better job enabling the council to determine what is on its agenda. — Micah Posner, Santa Cruz The Sentinel welcomes your letters to the editor. Letters should be short, no more than 150 words. We do not accept anonymous letters. Letter-writers should include their full name as well as a street address and telephone number. We don’t publish those details in the newspaper, but need the information for verification purposes.