August 25, 2017

YES. NEXT QUESTION? Is ‘identity liberalism’ killing the Democratic party?

Humanities professor Mark Lilla has a new book out titled “The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics”… If you want a sense of how the left is responding to this thesis, you can turn to this contentious interview at Slate. Author Isaac Chotiner seems to be doing his best to undermine Lilla’s argument and, more specifically, to make the case that everything comes down to racism. Lilla’s position is that this assumption is blinding Democrats to seeing a more nuanced view of the problem:

John Sexton of Hot Air goes on to quote a wide swatch of Lilla’s interview, but I want to drill down to this moment, which sums up just how unreceptive Lilla’s intended audience of fellow leftists will be to his message:

[Lilla:] When you ask them about identity issues, the people who are not voting for us, and ask them about what they perceive as political correctness, they respond. You only have to look at polls about this, and it’s a great recruiting tool for the right. Now, unless you assume that all of white America is racist and lost and cannot be saved—

Chotiner: Only about half, yeah.

So Lilla is saying people on the right are responding to the left’s obvious contempt for them and Chotiner’s reply is to label half of them are racist, which is sort of making Lilla’s point,”  Sexton adds after quoting more of the interview.

Slate is the last journalistic redoubt of the Graham family, who owned the Washington Post and Newsweek for decades, before offloading, in recent years, the latter for $1 and the former in return for Jeff Bezos’ pocket change. One of the reasons why their publications managed to turn a large investment into a smaller one is the smugness of their journalists, one of whom wore a “Yeah, I’m in the Media, Screw You!” button to the GOP’s 1992 convention.

And if anything, the smug cloud over both the DNC and its operatives with bylines has grown much, much larger. As William Voegeli concludes in his review of Lilla’s book at City Journal (titled “Liberals, Shipwrecked,” which is also well worth your time to read in full), “Lilla’s hope for a future liberalism that will forge ahead and surmount identity politics seems naïve.”

And how.

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