Identity politics founder on the rock of reality because, time and again, absurdities cannot circumvent reality.
An ideal, conservative, moral universe (let’s not quibble but assume there is such a thing) needs no identity politics. No one is favored, no one unfairly burdened, everyone has equal opportunities, equal rights, equal obligations and equal privileges. That’s it, that’s all, and it doesn’t get any simpler. People (except for some progressives) in a conservative moral universe will be free and generally happy.
An ideal, radical-liberal, moral universe (again, let’s not quibble but assume that Utopia can be created) needs a (at least theoretically) large but unknown number of identities. Everyone is favored, everyone unfairly burdened, no one has equal opportunities, equal rights, equal obligations and equal privileges, but everyone is by law entitled to receive the benefits that his unique set of characteristics (shared with other members of his minuscule minority) entitle him to receive. All others are bound by law to do what it takes to provide what the members of every minority are entitled to. That is a very confusing complexity, but it doesn’t get any simpler. People (mostly progressives) will to varying degrees be slaves and generally unhappy, because of their demand that every individual must be differentiated from others with a different set of characteristics and is entitled to special treatment.
Some may think that is absurd. To some extent they are right, because reality demands that we cannot achieve the ideal moral universe of the radical-liberal (pure, ideal Marxist) variety. We cannot create a political structure or system that caters to a very large number of identities. How large that number will grow depends on what people want and on which of those things or characteristics they want they will be able to give legal recognition to. The number has practical limits set by what people and society can handle. A lot of assumptions must be made, and there is an unknown number of unknowns that make that very difficult, to say the least, but there it is, the fact that those who are entitled to want everything can neither be satisfied nor ever be happy.
The next article in the series: How many identities must identity politics cater to?
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