Anis Shivani ticks pretty much every box of the SJW ontology of identify, yet refuses to give up his Enlightenment heritage, deploying, reason, argument and merit based analysis to demonstrate that the left has already lost.

Responding to what he perceives as the ‘rise of white nationalism’, Salon writer Anis Shivani has penned a remarkable essay, exploring the fundamental dimensions of identity politics and ‘separatism, or the privileging of biological destiny’.  ‘Liberals,’ Shivani writes, ‘have been on a relentless mission to transform people’s souls — to rid them of impure ideas about race and sexuality — for exactly the period of time that neoliberalism has deprived them of actual power to do anything about class inequality’.

The hyperfocus on biology and sexuality has given rise to an ideology that has crippled the left and turned them towards the totalitarian consequences that necessarily arise whenever the state (or its actors) tries to tell people how they must think and feel, rather than how they are required to conduct themselves in public. Calling identity politics ‘pernicious’ and related terms like intersectionality ‘terms of art’, Shivani goes on the detail five ways in which the central philosophy and ethos of the left is failing to quell the cultural dominance of the ‘alt-right’.  He is particularly concerned that the younger generation of left-leaning thinkers are incapable of thinking beyond the boundaries of a narrowly defined ideology, which represents danger to the continued existence of the left as a whole.

Identity politics — the brand of communalism it flows from, i.e., multiculturalism, and the brand of expression it leads to, i.e., political correctness — is existentially unassailable for the young. They know no other means of self-understanding, artistic expression or personal solidarity. They can only be organized around this principle. They see the world strictly through this framework, not through some Enlightenment perspective of universal human rights irrespective of one’s biological identity. The trendy concept of “white privilege,” unmoored from class conditions, exemplifies this simplistic tendency.

According to Shivani,

  1. Culture trumps politics – ‘Obama was immune to liberal criticism, because he fit the identity politics matrix so perfectly. He may have ruthlessly deported millions of people, kept in place and strengthened the entire extra-constitutional surveillance apparatus, and escalated illegal drone attacks and assassinations, but the color of his skin provided immunity from real criticism’.
  2. Economics gets subtracted from the equation, too – ‘The identitarians, if pressed to the wall on this, will say that these emphases [on culture, identity, politics, economics] are not exclusive, but in reality they never do it, because there is no mental space left to pursue classical economic issues. If they think of inequality, they think in terms of racial inequality as the fount of all inequality, not the concrete economic terms in which equality can be achieved’.
  3. The third law of thermodynamics activates an equal reaction in the opposite direction – ‘Whenever a misguided movement tries to alter people’s thoughts and intentions, rather than limiting itself to people’s performance and action in the transparent democratic arena, then totalitarianism is the necessary result’.
  4. Identity politics is not winnable – ‘The more a particular group becomes validated in the broader culture’s eyes, the less it feels satisfied with the recognition, and the more it feels it needs more of that rush of acknowledgment and credit based on identity alone. There is no end to it. It becomes a substitute for reward in the capitalist sphere, which is disconnected to identity, as though the economic self were private and identity were public — an odd division, since historically the norm has been the opposite’.
  5. It leads to spectacle, rather than legislative accomplishment – ‘[T]o those playing the Dreamers game — or any other aspect of identity politics — it seems like a hopeful, enchanting, magical discourse, where merely the act of declaring one’s identity seems to hold its own fulfillment. Whether or not laws change in consequence seems almost secondary. Trump recently signaled he was going to rescind DACA; the Dreamers played a deadly game with identity politics, and they lost’.

Shivan expresses his distress that the left appears to have abandoned the notion of individual freedoms, especially the freedoms of thought, association and speech, and has instead delivered those battles to leading cultural warriors on the right.

Long before Milo Yiannopoulos and his fellow “alt-lite” agitators took up arms against the kind of speech infringements and outright censorship that liberal identity politics has engendered, that should have been our cause. Unfortunately, the continued acceleration in that direction is inexorable.

Shivani betrays the identitarians on the left by engaging the right on the evidence of their arguments as opposed to the perceived moral advantages conveyed by identities.  Resisting the reduction of human beings to a biological determinant forms the very heart of the Enlightenment, born of centuries of bloodshed and battle.

The left’s refusal to defend fundamental human freedoms based on actions, policies, economics, accomplishment and above all, merit, is why the culture war victories accrue now principally to the right.

Featured image via AnisShivani.com

 

  • Jesse James

    It took them this long to get here? Imagine how long it would have taken had they won, and had Shillary in place to wield their social reconstructionism like a hammer against everyone they hate. Namely guys like me. Who are straight, white, and male. No excuses could be made, nor the fact that I have bi-racial children, nor any pleas of reason or logic (at this point I may as well be putting myself in the wood chipper), will have dissuaded them from enacting their beliefs on my person! Also, any achievements I may have made will not be inherent in any individual talent I might have, or lack thereof, but because of my identity. And because of that, there would be no safe place for me to flee, or consequence to great for me to suffer.

    Thankfully, they lost. Hopefully, now, that they are aware they can change. But I won’t wait to find out. A policy structure must be made to keep them from ever gaining traction with this 1930s throwback hive-mind way of thinking.

    • ShikokuPrincess91

      To his credit, Shivani has always been a free thinker. His articles have always been interesting.
      What is sad now is how much he is going to be assaulted by the other leftists, who can’t deal with the slightest variation from what they consider SJW orthodoxy.

      • Jesse James

        That would be my sad prediction as well. And in no way does this obvious assumption make either of us the savant of liberal thought processes.

        • Rusty Esq

          Are there any other admissions like this from a high profile site like Salon?
          Call me naive, this is optimistic, like cracks in a dam.

          • Rusty Esq

            I read the comments from the general public below that article. The majority of upvoted comments reject the article. This could be because most people don’t understand what identity politics is, or it could be proof of successful hearts and minds campaign. The arguments against the article were illogical and emotive.

            I watched a documentary last night called “the secret life of Brian”, about the right boycotting the life of Brian (a film by Monty Python). There were many similarities between their story and what we are experiencing today. However, rational discourse was an essential variable that swayed the debate.

          • harlan leys

            Salon’s ‘general public’ are mostly identity politics indoctrinates.

    • Quiet Desperation

      They won’t change. They are broken, fallen intellects.

    • ranterator

      There is no difference between identity politics and nazi like racism. Putting everyone into some catagory creates a racist state of mind.

    • Bob Craig

      Jesse- Just a compliment on the well thought out post. I am wondering how you think the battle is won, however….. It amazes me that European elections thus far this year did not result in wins for Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen- and it looks like Germany is destined for a Merkel re-election. It could be that the electorate responded to the US election negatively which hurt the right wingers in these elections. I am sure they will change their tune after losing another 4 years to Macron and some other centrist/leftie governments which will make it clear as day they are under an invasion. Again- good post.

      • Jesse James

        Well, as all humans frequently do, it is not until we are willing to accept, and more importantly admit to ourselves, that we are at rock bottom. And can dig no further. Until then, we further make any and all pretty little concoctions of lies to keep ourselves fooled.

    • justathought05

      Saddest thing. The left was warned 12 years ago. Post Team America : World Police. Lost election, still no introspection.

      The zealot has hollowed out any means to listen like a gambler still convinced they can come back, there’s nothing left but to crash and burn. If they survive, then they’ll be ready to digest the truth.

    • ontoiran

      they’re going to have to claw their way through a pile of their dead comrades to get me in a wood chipper

  • Thanos

    I wish the left had more thinkers like this, public discourse would be a lot more productive instead of infuriating or entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, I love the entertainment, but I can’t stand to see another mentally ill tranny or gastric bypass patient get exploited by the left.

  • Quiet Desperation

    Don’t care. They wanted war, they got it. We’re still “impure” in his eyes- the unenlightened who cling to outdated ideal like truth an evidence. He’s kindly invited to pucker up and suck out my farts.

    They brought an army of retards, we brought a Trump. If the take down our Trump with fake news, we’ll burn down everything they ever built. Capiche?

    • Rusty Esq

      I see it very differently. Yes, anyone that’s not a Democrat is alt-right white supremacist in his eyes. However, opening his eyes a little more may shift his views slightly. He may turn out to be a great ally for those of us that believe in a fair go for all but oppose political correctness.

      He’s enlightened enough to recognise identity politics and see through it. That puts him ahead of most of the people I socialise with (I was a lefty until the left lost the plot and I’m slowly educating people from within, so to speak).

      Give the guy a chance. He was right about many things.

      • harlan leys

        In his eyes, the alt-right are a daft distraction for Democrats to obsess about. The mainstream Republican right are exploiting the alt-right as useful idiots, while continuing along its neo-liberal/conservative (is there a difference worth noting?) path.

    • harlan leys

      With that approach, taking down your trousers to dump must be a challenge.

    • ontoiran

      that won’t take long

  • Joicoh

    I can’t be bothered to even listen to them now. No matter how much they waffle on, no matter how much they claim to be on “The Right Side of History”, it’s clear to me they simply hate white people, our culture, and the nations our ancestors built. Regardless of their nationality or race, all “liberals” should just go live where they would clearly be happy, far, far away from Western Civilisation.

    • Dakawn Vick

      The “LEFT side of history!”

    • ontoiran

      HEY! they could become norks!

  • Jack Otter

    taqqya.

  • Robert A’Beuy

    That picture immediately reminded me of the September 11th pizza guy. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/42427a955d566f0c16d2070c84362be490ae2712231974e6d654cae957922d1e.jpg

  • MomaBee

    The authoritarian left is now a horror show that must be stopped. They ARE the Orwellian nightmare. Add to that the lunacy that evolves from their postmodern filter. And I say this as a classical liberal.

  • StuffNThingsNStuff

    Dude looks stoned off his ass and his name is ANIS (yes I know the spelling but still)

  • LazyReader

    Even before the Nazi’s there were movements advocating that of a master race; they just coined the term. Nietzsche looked at the superior man as the one free from the societal expectations that would turn him into a slave of emotional baggage. I don’t care for either of these circumstance, I do however think the masters of future society are the ones that know how to control their self destructive impulsive behavior

    • harlan leys

      Nietzsche was really promoting the idea of self-mastery; rather than mastery over others. The ‘overman’ was someone who, through intense, sustained critical examination of himself and the world, coupled with rigorous self-discipline, was able to forge his own path and construct an identity for himself. What a contrast to the feeble clingingness that identity politics encourages (or even compels).

  • Dakawn Vick

    During the 1980’s I was convinced The USSR was the puppetmaster of all these leftoid groups. After the soviet collapse they seemed to get even stronger. The student outshines the master it would seem.

    • harlan leys

      After Khrushchev denounced Stalin in the ’50s, the USSR influence on leftwing thought in the West declined. By the ’80s, it was effectively finished. Trotskyites, for instance, were inspired by a guy who started slagged off the Soviets in the 1920s!

      • Dakawn Vick

        Just like pakistanis that are more fanatical about the mohammedan disease that infected them than the vermin who created it, our communofascists are even more hardcore than the vermin who created THAT disease.

  • web knight

    It is not the Third Law of Thermodynamics rather Newton’s third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. – @IsaacLevy21st

  • DaisyToo

    In case you’re wondering if Mr. Shivani’s essay represents some groundswell of mental liberation for the Left, do go to the comments on this article at the Salon site where he’s accused (by a ninny of a white illiberal) of expressing his ‘white privilege’ … and that’s just one of the comments.

    Ah, I see Shivani lives in Houston .. wonder how that’s helping him see the light?

    • harlan leys

      He links to a similar criticism of multicultural, speech-suppressive identity politics that he wrote 15yrs ago. If any groundswell of enlightenment was likely to occur, there was more chance back in 2002. Since then, that mindset has hardened to such an extent ‘that breaking out of it is inconceivable, since the discourse to do so is no longer accessible..

      ‘..only an economic catastrophe that lays waste to everything, resulting from imperial misadventures, can possibly break the logjam. Short of that, we are committed to the dire nihilism of identity politics for the duration of the imperial game.’

      His Salon critics (if they merit the at least minimal critical faculty that word implies) reinforce how dumbed down and lacking in ability to construct a coherent critique, identity politics idiocy has left them.

      • DaisyToo

        I’m feeling reasonably hopeful that the election results in 2018 could be favorable for those of us interested in preserving our Constitutionally guaranteed rights and liberties.

    • ontoiran

      you think he had to be pulled out of his neighborhood by a fat guy wearing sa maga hat with a confederate flag decal on his airboat?

  • De Plorables Unum

    Proves again…the “Left” has nothing.

  • Isa Guy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    The Left over Balkanized with too many factions, I’d guess.
    But then, as D’Souza points out, that’s what the Left requires. That and an “enemy” class, especially the Socialists. Heck, even Orwell cautioned against in his book “1984” with Oceania. And of course, had to have two minutes of hate for Trump, um, Goldstein.

    The Left, as usual, overplayed their tactic. But then, that’s what they do best. Everything else they seem do worse.

  • Gush Gosh

    India is a funny place… From this moron to goddamn bose. (not because of his political views, just his confusion in physics here)
    Also, who ever indi came up with bose as a surname was golden to physics, not only as an ancestor to bose but because boson is a goddamn good name for a type of particles.