Archive for October 9th, 2021

Identity Politics: A Pretext To Teach Children Tribal Fascism & Simplemindedness. Crime Too. Most Indecent Submission Sought.

October 9, 2021

Identity Politics: A Pretext To Teach Children Tribal Fascism & Simplemindedness

In “Here’s the Mind-Set That’s Tearing Us Apart”, Oct. 7, 2021, David Brooks observes that:

“The world is complicated, and our minds have limited capacity, so we create categories to help us make sense of things. We divide, say, the social world into types — hipster, evangelical, nerd, white or Black — and associate traits or characteristics with each.

These judgments involve simplifications and generalizations. But we couldn’t make sense of the blizzard of sensory data each day if we couldn’t put things, situations and people into some form of conceptual boxes. As our old friend Immanuel Kant argued, perceptions without conceptions are blind.

It becomes a serious problem when people begin to believe that these mental constructs reflect underlying realities. This is called essentialism. It is the belief that each of the groups we identify with our labels actually has an “essential” and immutable nature, rooted in biology or in the nature of reality. In the worst kind of case, it’s the belief that Hutus are essentially different from Tutsis, that Christian Germans are innately superior to Jews….

… Essentialists may see the world divided into Manichaean dichotomies, and history as a clash of group-versus-group power struggles — clashes that demand utter group solidarity and give life meaning.

America is awash in essentialism. As the New York University philosophy professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, who writes the Ethicist column for The Times Magazine, has noted, before World War II few thought about identities the way we do today. But now it feels that contemporary politics is almost all about identity — about which type of person is going to dominate.

At some level this is necessary. The great project of the past 70 years or so has been to right the injustices that historical essentialists imposed on groups they labeled and oppressed.

The problem comes when people replicate the mind-set they are fighting against. “

This replication is not an accident. It is a method to achieve supremacy.

People often replicate mentalities they claim to fight against, as a strategy of domination. Indeed the pulsion to appear to rebel against what one wants to reproduce is elementary Machiavellianism, with its own seduction. If you can’t beat them, join them while appearing to fight them, they will like that.

***

David Brooks published the following comment of mine:

In political fascism, a hierarchy of “leaders” orders everybody around. In intellectual fascism, a few ideas order all spirituality. “Essentialism” flows from “intellectual fascism”. Simplemindedness is what intellectual fascism brings. 

Pogrom Lviv 1941. From a film discovered by US Forces in 1945. Notice Child On the right beating the Jewish woman. This is what identity politics brings, as intended…

How does simple mindedness appear? Mental laziness is one factor. Now laziness in mental matters, as in physical matters comes from lack of exertion. So one may trace US simplemindedness to schooling where not enough mental exertion occurred early on.

My daughter, 11 year old, was informed by teachers that the primary vocation of a school was to respect my child’s “identity”… Now my child has an intensely complicated background, spanning the world genetically and culturally. The head of a school, a standard liberal, privileged middle age Politically Correct WASP blonde cannot even guess how different my child’s world is. And so it is: in places such as California, the background of most children is distant and complicated. Calling for an identity is calling for mutilating simplification.  

Why would teachers think that the  identity of a student trumps education and instruction? Giving primacy to “identity” is saying that what matters most is not education, but identification. That, per se, reinforces racism and simplemindedness, because instead of broadening minds with new concepts, one is supposed to find an ethnic box in which to fit. Instead of  boxing people into prepackaging, schools should identify ideas and concepts, teach how to breed them, create new ones, think out of boxes.

***

In general, elites in power, absent an external threat, privilege staying in power. That’s best accomplished by making people stupid, ignorant and aspiring to submission. All this classical fascist monotheism accomplished.

Christianism was created, and imposed under the penalty of death by torture, by Roman imperial fascism to justify its plutocracy with a devil in heavens, playing god, ordering people to kill their children, promising torture to death as redemption for imperfect submission. Islam put part of that on steroids… That’s called Abrahamism, and rests on the advertised willingness to kill one’s children, an old pathway of antique societies to prosperity (the fact a sheep was substituted at the last instant doesn’t matter: it is the heart that counts). A deplorable necessity 3,000 years ago has been turned into a calling, a willingness to commit the most horrific crime which binds best. 

Identity politics leads to crime, and this is why it is so appealing to the elites, as they typically end up ruling with evil means, and they need crimes that bind. Besides, the easiest way to conquest is division of the potential opposition (“Divide et impera“… Tradition attributes the origin of the motto to Philip II of Macedon, who did just that to Greece…).

Want war? Identify friend and foe. Search for identification, not union.

Patrice Ayme


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