My Colleague's Opinion Makes Him A Monster

In the new political climate we now inhabit, [David[ Duke and [Mark] Lilla were contributing to the same ideological project, the former cloaked in a KKK hood, the latter in an academic gown. Both men are underwriting the whitening of American nationalism, and the re-centering of white lives as lives that matter most in the U.S. Duke is happy to own the white supremacy of his statements, while Lilla’s op-ed does the more nefarious background work of making white supremacy respectable. Again.

Mark Lilla and I both teach at Columbia University, and I acknowledge that this is a harsh indictment of my colleague. But these are harsh times.
Here's Lilla's piece, which I take to argue that identity politics isn't really working out well for Democrats and they ought to rethink it. I'd have thought this was a bit of advice obviously intended to help the Democratic Party win elections, and thus less likely to come in for a charge of "white supremacy" than if it were aimed at helping the Republican Party. Apparently not, but see what you think. Maybe the KKK aspect of his piece is eluding my eye.

If this is where people's heads are, this is going to be a rough little while.

My sense is that it's not going to work, though. The election of Donald Trump was a very close-run thing, and I don't know that he has a lot of deep support as a person. But while the election of Trump was narrow, the rejection of political correctness as an approach to life was broad and deep. The fact that Trump got through the Republican primary shows that Republicans are done with it. The fact that he was taken seriously as a major party candidate in the general shows that the American people are, mostly, done with it.

Hillary Clinton wondered aloud why she wasn't ahead by 50 points, given all the things Trump said and did. It was a good question. The only workable answer lies in collapsing the assumption that violating PC norms was fatal.

That's going to give us a very different public discourse. We'll see how it improves, and whether it also harms, public life. These attempts to stand the PC norms back up, though, isn't going to work. A Trump administration is going to be a continuing bulldozer to such norms. Every day there will be a new lesson in how they don't apply any more.

UPDATE: Bernie Sanders asks about going "beyond identity politics." He should realize how offensive this is, says Vox.


raven said...

Show me some "diversity"TM and I will show you a lot of people with differing color, race, sex, sexual identity, occupation and national origin who all think exactly the same way, no diversity allowed under pain of excommunication. Diverse my ass.

Texan99 said...

Some of Trump's appeal was to trade protectionism and isolationism, but a huge part of it was a full-throated rejected of PC bullying. It was such a relief to see someone refuse to cower. Even when I agreed withe the PC position--it does happen from time to time--I was glad to see him bite back.

douglas said...

Yes, exactly. I'm finding as they keep pushing on this stuff after the election and the reviews/autopsies indicating 'it's the PC, stupid' so they should know better, that I'm getting more and more comfortable defending Trump. I'm not totally at ease with that fact, but they keep pushing, they keep pushing people like me more towards Trump, whether we wanted to go there or not. They not only created the fertile environment for his rise, they feed the movement that bore him to the Presidency. And yet, they do not see.

Texan99 said...

There's a smug message on my Facebook feed from a college friend, a list of "things we believe in this household," all completely unexceptional, like "no people are illegal." Is there any point in explaining to him that his political opponents don't think human beings can be illegal either, but we do think there is such a thing as illegal behavior, and we assume he agrees? He believes in science. I went to school with the guy; I have pretty specific information about which of us has the stronger scientific training. It's funny because none of those ten or so loudly proclaimed virtuous beliefs are at all uncommon, nor do they distinguish him from Trump supporters, though he obviously believes they do. And he's not even curious about what beliefs actually do separate him from Trump supporters. It's just "hate" that explains it all.

Today my dental hygienist apologized for the conservative news show that "the previous patient had chosen." I signalled quickly that I didn't mind, and then he made it obvious that he had been the one to choose the program. Now, if the TV had been tuned to the MSM, and he had been a progressive, I doubt seriously he'd have bothered to check if I minded.

Ymar Sakar said...

The only thing that can keep this band of miscreants and rebels together on this American continent is God, the sons of God, or a God Emperor.

Absent any of those, it'll be a hard sell and march.

In Wehrmacht Germany, there were similar tensions here. A Russian expatriate, also said at Neo Neo that watching American 21st century politics is like watching Russian era with Trotsky, Stalin, and Lenin. Same class struggles, same politics, same explosions.

During the time the Wehrmacht was active, many people flocked to the German nationalist banner, often times because they feared the communists. They were sort of working on each other, not for each other, but pushing people into opposing camps and factions, because you can't have a revolution without that.