Let’s have a few, shall we?
- Gun nut
Strictly speaking, those aren’t identities, as they don’t specify any particular individual. Each is a characteristic a large number of persons exhibit. Even taken together, they don’t specify a single person. I can testify to that from personal knowledge: I am all of them and I know several other persons who would say the same. Yet the contemporary trend I shall christen identitarianism has used each, and many others, as a rallying-cry: a call for “unity” and in some cases for “action.”
To be clear and candid about it, identitarianism is today’s version of collectivism: a particularly crude version thereof. The “workers” and “exploiters” garbage purveyed by the outright socialists didn’t float; the nation overwhelmingly rejected it. They to whom collectivism – a separation of the forces into Us and Them – is essential to their political initiatives had to try something else. A fair number of persons are buying into it.
The worst excrescences are those used to demonize opponents of one’s political position.
The bludgeon-words most frequently wielded today:
...are not “identities,” despite the Left’s relentless use of them to demonize us. Not one of them genuinely distinguishes its holder from everyone around him. However, they are the best known pseudo-identities being purveyed by the Left. He who is attacked with one of these rhetorical clubs is being labeled not as a racist, or sexist, or homophobe, but as a bad person: someone you need to know nothing else about. Someone you should not tolerate. Someone you certainly should not trust.
As you, Gentle Reader, are a Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch, I’m sure I haven’t told you anything you didn’t already know. If you’ve been reading this pixel-blot on the World Wide Web for very long, you also know already that just as I possess all the characteristics I listed in the opening segment, I also possess the four immediately above. That is:
- I hold that there are objective statistical differences between the races that can be contextually important.
- I hold that there are objective statistical differences between the sexes that can be contextually important.
- I hold that homosexuality, particularly male homosexuality, is dangerous and life-limiting, especially to children.
- I hold that Islam is a cancerous totalitarian ideology that hardly bothers to disguise its ambitions toward the conquest of the entire world.
Moreover, it’s a pretty good bet that you’d agree with all four of those convictions. Indeed, I’d wager heavily that objective tests would reveal that in practice, the overwhelming majority of Americans hold all four.
An “in practice” test is a test of one’s behavior. In this case, it’s a test of one’s choice when confronted by distinguishable alternatives. I’ll formulate one example before passing on. Let’s imagine that you had to choose between two babysitters for your minor children, but you know only this about them: one is heterosexual and the other is homosexual. If you were prevented from learning anything more about them, which one would you select?
A belief that common is, by definition, normal. That is, it pertains to the normal or average man. To dissent such a belief makes one exceptional, though not in any value-laden sense.
So much for the use of such beliefs as identities.
Identitarianism, like most left wing rhetorical tropes, is a substitute for argument. For Smith to demonize Jones is to insulate Smith from Jones’s logical or evidentiary thrusts against Smith’s positions. That Smith’s positions might have absolutely nothing to do with any of the characteristics he’s attributed to Jones is irrelevant; “good people” simply don’t pay attention to the arguments of “bad people.” That spares Smith the effort of learning how to argue.
It’s a cheat. It’s obviously a cheat. Yet millions of persons have allowed themselves to be silenced by that cheat. Either they lacked the mental horsepower to penetrate to its irrelevance, or they were so embarrassed or offended by the implicit condemnation that they couldn’t bear to “stay in the ring.”
Once again, Gentle Reader, hear my plaintive cry:
It’s the perfect riposte to the identitarian tactic. It leaves the attacker speechless, unable to concoct a rejoinder, and stripped of his pretense of moral superiority. It inspires like-minded onlookers, who will be emboldened to use it themselves in subsequent exchanges. It’s the H-Bomb of contemporary political discourse.
Normally it won’t provoke violence, though that might change as the Left becomes more frantic about its dwindling influence on Americans’ actual convictions. But that’s a subject for another tirade.