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Why Is Identity Politics Evil?

One method of repudiating white voters (but not their tax money) has been to play the old eugenic game of guilt by phenotype. Some people, ex-journalist Andrew Sullivan being prime among them, have taken to concocting pseudo-historical parallels between Romney's winning a large share of white male voters and America's past racial problems. The phony syllogism goes something like this: Romney was very popular with white male voters; many white male voters in America's past were racist and supported racist candidates; therefore, Romney and/or the white male voters today are racist.

Of course, nobody who thinks this is brave enough to come right out and conclude something so obviously illiterate -- which is why the authors of such probing scholarship usually just write the first two propositions and leave the third one to the reader's imagination as a kind of tacit innuendo. The scholar then responds to critics by shrugging his shoulders and retorting with something like "I'm just saying" when taken to task. (When George Will called Sullivan out on his slander, the latter retreated into the "I'm just pointing out the fact..." defense.) The corollary to their logic is that winning over white voters is a priori a morally suspect thing (always and everywhere attributable to racism), and that winning over minority voters, who are somehow more "authentic," is a priori a morally righteous thing. Again, no one states this outright; it is, as it were, "coded" in the musings of certain opinion journalists. But ask yourself whether you'd want to be governed by people who think in such a manner, then reflect on who among the two presidential candidates represented those who hold such odious opinions. Since we are all tribalists now, we can indeed shout hail to the chief.


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