Today Americans are more divided than at any time since the Civil War. So deep and intractable are the divisions that our most fundamental rights – to religious liberty, freedom of speech, and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty – are under relentless attack. We can no longer even agree on so basic a principle as the need for a legal immigration process to protect our sovereignty and civic culture.
The two parties are now guided by outlooks that are so divergent their adherents seem to inhabit alternative universes. For four years slander has been a weapon of first resort for the “resistance” to President Trump, and its goal his removal from office in advance of an election. This is a political agenda at odds with the core premise of our democratic system.
The effect of the anti-Trump resistance has been to all but eliminate the politics of compromise and respect, which are the essential components of a democracy, and specifically the democracy America’s Founders created. Ending politics at the water’s edge and presenting a common front to America’s enemies, long the hallmark of a loyal opposition, has been cast aside by Democrats bent on sabotaging Trump’s presidency, while ignoring the effects of their defection on America’s security.
In the course of the anti-Trump wars, we have become two nations with little shared ground for agreement on the core issues that previously defined us: whether individuals should be judged on their merits, or on the basis of their skin color, gender and sexual orientation. Whether “resistance” to a duly elected government is compatible with a democratic society or a dagger aimed at its heart.
The source of these conflicts is a reactionary ideology usually referred to as “Identity Politics,” which has engulfed the Democrat Party and reversed its liberal instincts. It is an ideology that is racial and collectivist, that privileges groups over individuals, and that demonizes those who fall on the wrong side of its social equations. As an ideology, Identity Politics is fundamentally at odds with America’s core principles of individual freedom, accountability and equality, which have been the foundations of the nation’s progress until now.
Identity Politics is often referred to as Political Correctness, but it is more accurately understood as Cultural Marxism – the idea that American society is characterized by oppressive hierarchies, and thus divided into warring races, genders and classes. Political Correctness is a term that describes a left-wing party line. It was coined by the mass murderer Mao Zedong in the 1930s to keep his followers under the heel of his party. Adherents of the progressive party line today regard white Americans, males, Christians and Jews, as “oppressors,” and themselves as warriors for social justice.
Communist Origins of Identity Politics
According to Wikipedia, the term “Identity Politics” first appeared in a 1978 manifesto written by self-described black feminist “revolutionaries,” who were members of the “Combahee River Collective. The manifesto proclaimed their unalterable hostility to the American system:
“Black women’s extremely negative relationship to the American political system (a system of white male rule) has always been determined by our membership in two oppressed racial and sexual castes…. [F]ocusing upon our own oppression is embodied in the concept of identity politics. We believe that the most profound and potentially most radical politics come directly out of our own identity,..”
Citing their debt to lifelong Communist apparatchik Angela Davis, the Combahee radicals paid homage in their manifesto to the Marxist roots of their outlook and its anti-American agenda: “We realize that the liberation of all oppressed peoples necessitates the destruction of the political-economic systems of capitalism and imperialism as well as patriarchy.” In other words, identity politics originated as an anti-American, Marxist ideology dedicated to America’s destruction.
Identity politics is a totalitarian ideology that regards all aspects of human activity as political, therefore requiring management and control. As an outlook, it erases individuals by assigning them to the categories, “oppressor” and “oppressed,” thus ignoring their particular circumstances, achievements, failures, and choices. Individuals are judged first and foremost on the basis of their race, gender and sexual orientation. These categories take precedence over their individual origins, attitudes and deeds.
Identity Politics is based on the false premise that America is a society in which people are consigned to “castes,” which define their roles, and stamp them for life. In reality, the opposite is true. America is the most upwardly mobile society in human history. All its citizens are afforded the right to climb the ladder of opportunity, and also to fall from its economic and social heights.
Identity Politics is a collectivist ideology that is the antithesis of what has been America’s self-conception and aspiration since its founding – the belief that individuals are created equal and are to be judged on their merits not their origins or on characteristics they cannot alter. Identity Politics ignores the dedication and sacrifices that millions of Americans of all races and genders have made to defend the principles of “created equal,” and “born free;” and ignores the actual American achievement: the creation of a nation through two centuries of struggle that is today the most inclusive and tolerant, multi-ethnic and multi-racial society in human history.
In one form or another Identity Politics now forms the core conviction of America’s political progressives and the Democrat Party. Its reactionary outlook was recently featured in an ABC News column by Matthew Dowd, a sometime Republican, current Democrat, and charter member of the Washington establishment. Dowd’s column appeared – not coincidentally – two days after the conclusion of a ferocious party-line battle over the Supreme Court nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in which Identity Politics played an ugly and defining role (see Chapter Five below).
The headline of Dowd’s column was a summation of its thesis: “Us white male Christians need to step back and give others room to lead.” In normal times, the transparent bigotry of this remark and its agenda would have been sufficient to make American hairs stand on end. But bigotry on behalf of groups that are designated as victims of oppression has become so ingrained in the politics of the left, and so influential in the political culture at large, that Dowd’s comment passed unnoticed. In Dowd’s view – which is the view of leftists generally, what is wrong with America is that there are too many white males – white Christian males – occupying positions of power and influence, and allegedly keeping diverse, “marginalized” and “under-served,” minorities ‘in their place.”
The idea that blacks are “marginalized” when they are obviously front and center in America’s culture and consciousness, as well as in the distribution of race-based privileges and benefactions, is absurd. Recognizing these facts is not to deny that a significant but minority segment of the black population is poor and lives at the social margins. But skin color can hardly be an explanation for their plight when the majority of black Americans are comfortably in the middle-class and better off than the populations of any black-run society on earth.
The view that blacks still suffer systemic racist oppression in America, and in order to advance need white elites “to step back,” is a fiction that provides an excuse for failure, while imbuing social justice advocates with a false sense of moral superiority. The Matthew Dowds of the world assume the posture of warriors against injustice, which leads them to condemn not only the American present but the American founding and its framework of individual freedom.
Progressives dismiss the creation of America as the malicious work of slave-owning white Christian males. This is an incitement to dismantle that most successful project in creating a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society on record. It is also historically false. Those same Christian males were responsible for the first moral condemnation of slavery in 3,000 years. They organized and led a pioneering campaign to abolish slavery in the Western hemisphere, created a political framework, which laid the groundwork for the integration of all Americans in a diverse polity with equal rights for all citizens regardless of creed or color. Unfortunately, the attack on these ideas and this legacy is now the core curriculum of America’s schools and the reigning bias of its popular culture, thanks to the dominant presence of progressives in the nation’s teaching professions, entertainment industry, tax-exempt advocacy culture and media.
Even though America is an electoral democracy whose Constitution guarantees that the rights of any citizen are equal to the rights of any other, progressives believe – and believe passionately – that America is actually governed by racial and gender “hierarchies” that keep non-white, non-male citizens down. These hierarchies are said to oppress minorities, and exclude them from rising through “glass ceilings” and other invisible barriers erected by a white male “patriarchy” to keep them “marginalized” and subordinate.
These claims are as factually baseless and politically destructive as the Marxist ideas that inspired them. Nothing could constitute a more direct assault on America’s founding principles, which regard every citizen as unique, equal before the law, and accountable for themselves. Is it actually the case that whites stand in the way of blacks and women in their quest for authority and power? That white males need to step back to make room for others to solve the nation’s problems? These are peculiar claims about a democracy in which women and minorities constitute a majority of the population and – thanks to the patriarchal Founders and subsequent male majorities – are constitutionally guaranteed rights identical to those of other citizens – whites and males included. It is even more peculiar coming on the heels of an eight-year presidency whose chief executive, Barack Obama, national security chief, Susan Rice, and chief law enforcement officers, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, were all black Americans, along with thousands of elected officials at the national, state and local levels.
Among the women and blacks who have administered America’s foreign policy as secretaries of state in the last two decades are Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton. As a measure of this achievement, consider that there is not a single majority black, or brown, or Asian nation in the world that has elected a white president or made a white person its chief law enforcement authority, or entrusted one with its national security and foreign policy.
To justify his hostility to white Christian males and America’s founding principles, Matthew Dowd offered this sweeping, historically illiterate statement: “In the great span of world history, nearly all change and progress has come from an under-served and out-of-power group pushing, prodding, and pounding on those who hold power to expand it to include a wider and more diverse population.” These are clichés of the left, commonly deployed to energize its troops. However, few statements so brief in nature can be said to contain so many obvious falsehoods. Factually speaking, the opposite is nearer to the truth. In the great span of world history, virtually all civilizational advances and social progress have been the work of groups that were already socially powerful, and that shared ethnicity, religion and gender with the ruling groups they overthrew.
The forces of progress have generally not been what Dowd describes as the “under-served,” or as representatives of a more “diverse population.” In the West, unquestionably the greatest social progress of the last 250 years has been the creation of liberal societies that support the principles of individual liberty, equality, tolerance and inclusion. The groundwork of liberty was laid by documents like Magna Carta, which was the work of a group that belonged to the same social stratum as the authority whose power it curtailed: white, Christian, male, and aristocratic. The general progress of liberty was advanced by England and America, majority white Christian nations that led the world in abolishing the 3,000-year-old institution of slavery, which is still practiced in black and Muslim Africa today.
This progress was made possible by principles and actions that originally were entirely the work of white Christian males, who were under no pressure from “diverse,” “under-served” and out of power groups to do what they did. There were no successful slave revolts in North America. Once slavery was abolished by white males, freed black Americans spear-headed a civil rights movement that eventually ended segregation and institutional discrimination. But they did so in an indispensable alliance with white Americans, who put their lives on the line and provided the financial and political support that made it possible to overthrow the southern regime of segregation and Jim Crow.
The U.S. Constitution does not contain the words “white,” “black,” “male” or “female,” precisely because the Founders believed they were creating a society in which equality would eventually prevail. It took nearly two hundred years, hundreds of thousands of lives, and the greatest social revolution in history, to bring about the changes to realize that dream. It is a grim irony, therefore, that for the last fifty years progressives and the Democrat Party, which claim to represent “under-represented” and diverse communities, have been working to turn back this clock, and reverse the gains of the civil rights movement by introducing racial and gender categories and quotas into virtually every aspect of social life, from college admissions to job applications to positions on the United States Supreme Court.
It is this progressive left attack on America’s fundamental principles that is the source of the irreconcilable conflicts and ugly passions that are currently tearing the nation’s fabric apart, and are the subject of this book.