The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


The editors of The Wall Street Journal identify the underlying issue that precipitated that hate crime that occurred in Charlottesville, VA. They write:
... The politics of white supremacy was a poison on the right for many decades, but the civil-rights movement rose to overcome it, and it finally did so in the mid-1960s with Martin Luther King Jr. ’s language of equal opportunity and color-blind justice.

That principle has since been abandoned, however, in favor of a new identity politics that again seeks to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, gender and even religion. “Diversity” is now the all-purpose justification for these divisions, and the irony is that America is more diverse and tolerant than ever.

The problem is that the identity obsessives want to boil down everything in American life to these categories. In practice this means allocating political power, contracts, jobs and now even salaries in the private economy based on the politics of skin color or gender rather than merit or performance. Down this road lies crude political tribalism, and James Damore’s recent Google dissent is best understood as a cri de coeur that we should aspire to something better. Yet he lost his job merely for raising the issue.

A politics fixated on indelible differences will inevitably lead to resentments that extremists can exploit in ugly ways on the right and left. The extremists were on the right in Charlottesville, but there have been examples on the left in Berkeley, Oakland and numerous college campuses. When Democratic politicians can’t even say “all lives matter” without being denounced as bigots, American politics has a problem.
As the party has mover further and further left, the Democrats have chosen to define themselves as champions of identity politics. They thrive on exploiting the notion that one group is the victim of another; that some narrowly-defined "privilege" causes some to suffer while others thrive; that solutions to "inequality" are not based on hard work, education, and merit, but instead on big government programs, set-asides, and quotas, either explicit or implicit; that anyone who questions the religion of "diversity" is a heretic and should be treated accordingly, and that division is a workable political strategy.

The identity politics of white supremacists is the distorted mirror image of the one described in the preceding paragraph. Neo-Nazi and KKK groups have a warped worldview that is based on their own perceived victimization. They scapegoat others who they believe have been accorded privilege that degrades their lives and that they are now unequal. To be sure, it is a delusional position, but it provides troubling echoes of the memes offered by antifa groups on the Left..

Richard Fernandez puts it rather eloquently when he writes:
The riots and death in Charlottesville are the physical manifestation of the idea of separateness. If the thought is the father of the deed, the children of hate, the offspring of "by any means necessary" and the scions of superiority so long in gestation, are finally being born. Donald Trump's plea for calm and his exhortation to remember "we are all Americans first" may find scant resonance among those for whom hyphens come first of all. The war of the hyphens has broken out, and for its combatants there is only one thought: how do I get back at the enemy hyphen? The long sought-after goal of diversity has been attained and it is not what many imagined.
The identity politics of white supremacists is delivered in the shadows by ugly fringe hate groups whose actual numbers are small. The Democrats' identity politics message is different and far less ominous, but it is delivered every day, often with much fanfare and pride by their anointed leaders and their trained hamsters in the media. Undoubtedly, the tone and focus coming from each group is not the same, but in many ways, the intent is — divide.

The irony is that identity politics on both the Right and the Left has been aggressively rejected by a majority of the American people. They correctly recognize that the politics of division will take us all on a journey toward hatred, totalitarianism, and decline.

In watching the nonstop media coverage of all of this (much of it bordering on outright hysteria), it occurs to me that Donald Trump, once again, demonstrates a political naivete that is remarkable and arguably, dangerous. Rather than moving quickly to condemn the right-wing hate groups, he waffled and provided an unnecessary opening that his enemies on both the Left and the Right exploited. But far more important, his continuing participation in this controversy provides a media victory for the alt-Right. They're getting the  notariety they crave.

The public should become aware of these alt-Right scum and understand that their ideology is reprehensible.. But it might be nice if the same media that correctly castigates the alt-Right did the same job with the same intensity on the alt-Left scum (e.g., Antifa) that also trades in violence and hate.