Mark Lilla, writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, criticizes his own side (the left) for derailing itself with identity politics. He says that liberalism’s post-1960s embrace of identity politics resonates with young people in “our highly individualistic bourgeois society—a society that keeps them focused on themselves and teaches them that personal choice, individual rights and self-definition are all that is sacred.”
Lilla, who is a professor of the humanities at Columbia, and who identifies himself as a “frustrated liberal,” says he is struck by the difference between his liberal students and his conservative students. The conservative ones formulate opinions and make arguments based on ideas and principles. The liberal ones, though, base their arguments (such as they are) on an assertion of identity (e.g., “Speaking as a lesbian of color, I believe that…”). Lilla goes on:
“Conservatives complain loudest about today’s campus follies, but it is really liberals who should be angry. The big story is not that leftist professors successfully turn millions of young people into dangerous political radicals every year. It is that they have gotten students so obsessed with their personal identities that, by the time they graduate, they have much less interest in, and even less engagement with, the wider political world outside their heads.
“The politics of identity has done nothing but strengthen the grip of the American right on our institutions. It is the gift that keeps on taking. Now is the time for liberals to do an immediate about-face and return to articulating their core principles of solidarity and equal protection for all. Never has the country needed it more.”
Yeah, good luck with that. The Democrat Media-Academic Complex has spent decades indoctrinating people to believe that identity and feelings were the only things that mattered. Rage has been the fuel of the left for decades, and they don’t really have any alternative fuels available. You’re not going to get very far in changing left-wing rage culture when universities are offering courses on “The Intersectionalities of Fat Shaming” and media outfits are publishing stories about how blonde women are inherently racist.