It’s not often I deliver good news on this blog. But, in all seriousness, this article gives me hope.
If liberals are starting to understand what’s wrong with American Liberalism, maybe we can work together after all!
Mark Lilla writes:
“One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end.
..the fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life.”
Honestly, I can’t even imagine a Democratic Party without identity politics.
But, if liberals will listen to Mark Lilla, it could change everything.
Lilla highlights the same topics I’ve tried to address on my blog.
For example, he suggests that focusing on identity in education stunts our children (especially minorities):
“At a very young age our children are being encouraged to talk about their individual identities, even before they have them.
By the time they reach college many…have shockingly little to say about such perennial questions as class, war, the economy and the common good. In large part this is because of high school history curriculums, which anachronistically project the identity politics of today back onto the past, creating a distorted picture of the major forces and individuals that shaped our country…
When young people arrive at college they are encouraged to keep this focus on themselves by student groups, faculty members and also administrators whose full-time job is to deal with — and heighten the significance of — ‘diversity issues.'”
That’s precisely what I tried to describe in my post about how liberal education is to blame for “Systemic Racism.”
Lilla also says the almost-unthinkable when he compares (as I did) liberal identity groups with the KKK:
“Liberals should bear in mind that the first identity movement in American politics was the Ku Klux Klan, which still exists. Those who play the identity game should be prepared to lose it.”
It’s a fabulous article, all the way around.
(Er, provided you don’t glance at the comment section, where Mark Lilla gets torn apart by liberals who aren’t quiiiiiiite ready to let go of their identity obsession just yet.)
He wraps up his observations by making some suggestions about what liberals should do in the future:
“We need a post-identity liberalism, and it should draw from the past successes of pre-identity liberalism. Such a liberalism would concentrate on widening its base by appealing to Americans as Americans and emphasizing the issues that affect a vast majority of them. It would speak to the nation as a nation of citizens who are in this together and must help one another. “
Needless to say, I agree.
Of course, eventually Liberals will need to get around to explaining precisely HOW they will make their visions a reality…
…and that’s where the real differences between parties will be revealed.
The reason Democrats have relied on identity politics for this long is to distract from their truly terrible, Big Government “solutions” that ultimately cause more problems.
If we take identity liberalism out of the equation, then we’ll be debating national issues on ideas alone–and the Small Government side will win every time.
But that’s probably a topic for another day.
In the meantime, I’m thrilled that some liberals have at least attempted to understand why Trump won, and to take blame where it’s due.
Another liberal who has spelled it out is Jonathan Pie. He went on this profanity-laced tirade just days after Trump was elected: “The Left Did This; It’s My Fault!” …seriously, language warning. But he makes good points:
“It’s time to stop ignoring your opponents, or worse, trying to silence them. It’s time to stop banning people from speaking at Universities. It’s time to stop thinking that re-posting an article on your Facebook feed is political engagement. [It’s time to stop thinking] that banning a gymnast…because he insulted someone’s religion actually achieves something. (And, sorry, when did the Gymnast association start thinking it was appropriate to enforce blasphemy laws?)… Reading the Guardian doesn’t make you a liberal. Retweeting Green Peace doesn’t lower your carbon footprint. And if my mansplaining is triggering you, then you can either F*&^ off to your safe space or you can engage and debate me and tell me what I’m getting wrong…”
Yes, I say!
When liberals start criticizing liberalism, the others should listen…