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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Hitchens on Identity Politics

"PS: Since this often seems to come up in discussions of the radical style, I’ll mention one other gleaning from my voyages. Beware of identity politics. I’ll re-phrase that: have nothing to do with identity politics. I remember very well the first time I heard the saying “The Personal Is Political.” It began as a sort of reaction to the defeats and downturns that followed 1968: a consolation prize, as you might say, for people who had missed that year. I knew in my bones that a truly Bad Idea had entered the discourse. Nor was I wrong. People began to stand up at meetings and orate about how they felt, not about what or how they thought, and about who they were rather than what (if anything) they had done or stood for. It became the replication in even less interesting form of the narcissism of the small difference, because each identity group begat its subgroups and “specificities.” This tendency has often been satirised—the overweight caucus of the Cherokee trans-gender disabled lesbian faction demands a hearing on its needs—but never satirised enough. You have to have seen it really happen. From a way of being radical it very swiftly became a way of being reactionary; the Clarence Thomas hearings demonstrated this to all but the most dense and boring and selfish, but then, it was the dense and boring and selfish who had always seen identity politics as their big chance.

Anyway, what you swiftly realise if you peek over the wall of your own immediate neighborhood or environment, and travel beyond it, is, first, that we have a huge surplus of people who wouldn’t change anything about the way they were born, or the group they were born into, but second that “humanity” (and the idea of change) is best represented by those who have the wit not to think, or should I say feel, in this way."

--- Letters to a Young Contrarian / Christopher Hitchens
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