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  • The Left’s Deal with the Devil

    Posted by Shannon Love on March 24th, 2008 (All posts by )

    The Democrats face a dangerous quandary. People who support Obama because he is black are in conflict with those who support Hillary because she is a woman. Regardless of who wins the nomination, those who support the loser based on racial or gender identity may feel so betrayed that they will sit out the general election and cost the party the Presidency.

    I think this is trap the logical consequence of the genteel fascism of identity politics that the Left adopted in the 1960s. It may become a permanent bar to their power from here on out.

    Mussolini grew up from birth a devoted Marxist steeped in the ideology of class identity and conflict. He invented fascism after his experiences in WWI convinced him that cultural and racial identity welded stronger political bonds than did identification with an international economic class.

    Looking back at the 20th Century, one can easily see that all socialist states evolved away from a functional identification with class and towards a functional identification with ethnicity. All communist states, for example, rapidly mutate into ethnic states whose state cults extol the history and virtues of their dominant ethnic groups. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Stalin’s public narrative of the conflict instantly switched from a parable of the conflict between red and black socialists, and instead became the “Great Patriotic War” in which Slavs battled Germans.

    The ugly truth of human affairs is that people more readily cooperate with those most like them. We cooperate first with immediate family, then extended family, then ethnic group etc. People trust other people who share their innate characteristics, because one cannot easily abandon those characteristics. Events that affect people based on innate characteristics affect everyone who has those characteristics. This fact makes the people who are most like us the best choice for allies.

    Fascism emerges time and again, because its emphasis on cooperation based on innate characteristics is more effective than are other approaches at creating a united and effective political group. Fascist collectives experience less internal division than do those based on class or other non-innate characteristics.

    The western Left unknowingly rediscovered this fact of life during the 1960s. The civil-rights movement in America and the decolonization movement in Europe proved successful in part by accidentally creating dependable voting blocks based on innate characteristics.

    No one designed the outcome. Voting blocks based on innate characteristics simply out competed those based on other kinds of personal ties. After the fact, intellectuals came in and constructed rationalizations to embrace and foster the successful trend. Today, we call this rationalization “identity politics.”

    By the late ’70s, the identity ideology became so entrenched that it began to control the organizational structure of leftist organizations. Organizations from university departments to activist groups became structured around identity.

    Worse, identity politics quickly recapitulated the fascist idea that the leader must be one of the volk. Leftists soon began to claim that a person was denied true representation unless he had a political representative who shared his innate characteristics. People began to demand political leaders who looked like them.

    Unfortunately, no one on the Left ever looked far down the road to see the paralysis that a political party based on self-absorbed identity blocks would develop. The idea that people deserve representatives who look like them proved useful when running against white males, but it educated large segments of the population to feel cheated if they didn’t get an office holder who looked like them. It never seems to occurred to anyone that, eventually, a point would be reached whereat candidates from different identity blocks would compete for the same political prize.

    Now we see the results in the current Democratic race. The African-American Obama versus the white female Hillary. Now the price of the dark bargain for the power of soft fascism must be paid. Now individual voters demand a politician who shares identity with them, and if they do not get what they want they will defect from the coalition.

    If the Democrats lose this election I imagine they will believe it the result of a protracted and vibrant primary season and will try to create a primary system which will choose a clear victor very early. They will miss the true weakness they embraced when they embraced soft fascist ideals. What happens when the candidates inevitably become diverse in identity? What happens when you have an African-American candidate, a Hispanic candidate, a woman, etc. all competing for the same unsharable office? As more and more identity politicians rise to the top, Democrat primaries will increasingly become divisive shambles.

    Since they embraced the soft fascism of identity politics, the Democrats have gradually lost power, being forced to play the role of mere conservatives fighting to protect the institutions of the New Deal and Great Society against the innovation of the Republicans. They usually offer excuses based on the moral failings of those who oppose them, but they never seem to realize that during the ’60s they made deal with the fascist devil that forever dooms them in a diverse society like America.

     

    31 Responses to “The Left’s Deal with the Devil”

    1. Vince P Says:

      I can’t stand McCain but I so want the Democrats to lose this election

      I want their spirits absolutely crushed.

      I want their derangement to strike them down.

      Is that wrong of me?

    2. skimble Says:

      Yes, Vince, it is.

      Shannon, I think you meant “lose,” not “loose,” in the next to last paragraph above. Vince is spiritually and morally wrong but grammatically correct.

      Huckabee is not a product of the soft fascism of identity politics? You people crack me up.

      Crashing dollar, flat stock market, credit and real estate crisis, record-breaking federal borrowing, jobs and standards of living eroding or vanishing, Bear Stearns partners having to put their second homes on the market, GOP senators trolling in airport men’s rooms, 4,000+ Americans dead, Osama bin Laden still at large — by every objective measure, the American right wing is a failure at anything but imagining its own competence.

    3. Barry Miller Says:

      Have you ever experienced the feeling of reading something that explains your own thoughts, but in better and clearer words than you were thinking in? There must be a word for that.

      Whatever it is called, I just had that feeling when I read this post. I’ve been making this same argument for months, but not nearly so well.

      Nice work.

    4. Anonymous Says:

      Skimble,

      Huckabee is not a product of the soft fascism of identity politics?

      I don’t see how. Huckabee’s support arose mostly from those who agreed with his evangelical christian viewpoint not his race, gender, sexual orientation etc.

      As to the other stuff. It’s off topic.

    5. Shannon Love Says:

      Sorry, that last Anonymous was me.

    6. Vince P Says:

      Skimble is a classic Leftist. Cannot address the specific points of criticism.

      Instead he thinks if he changes the subject that he has made an argument.

      I see this tactic used by these folks just about 100% of the time for a while now.

      They are incapable of self-reflection it seems.

    7. skimble Says:

      The ugly truth of human affairs is that people more readily cooperate with those most like them.

      I see. You believe this statement applies to Obama and Clinton, not Huckabee, because of color and gender. How superficial is your definition of identity?

      In this post you are attempting pin on Democrats a problem that is also faced by Republicans. Despite the ten white male faces at the Republican debates recently, there was more than a touch of identity politics at play. Romney bent over backward to brand himself a Christian to better compete with Huckabee, who was locking up the GOP’n’Jesus vote. Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough.

      As for changing the subject, well, enjoy your echo chamber. I thought “objective” was a holy word among you U of C people and perhaps it made a little sense to you.

      Now you can go back to your Hallelujah Ayn Rand party. I will leave, having stumbled here only through the mysteries of Google.

    8. Dan from Madison Says:

      Skimble – Don’t let the door hit you in the arse on the way out.

    9. Shannon Love Says:

      Skimble,

      You believe this statement applies to Obama and Clinton, not Huckabee, because of color and gender.

      Well, yes. Modern Leftism is based around creating blocks of voters who all share a common physical characteristic. Democratic factions are increasingly defined around innate characteristics. This was not true prior to the 60’s. Republican factions by contrast are defined by ideology such as social conservatives versus fiscal conservatives.

      Religion is something you believe to be true not an attribute of your body. People often change their minds about religion. Alliances based on shared religion are no more stable than those based on shared ideology.

      For example, we do not think it strange that people who grow up in a particular religion grow up to join another religion or have no religion at all. Yet, African-American conservatives are viewed as outright traitors. The presumption on the Left being that an African-American must have a particular political viewpoint based on their race. That idea, as even a casual study of history will show, is a fascist concept.

      As for changing the subject…

      For a comment thread to function as a medium of exchange it must have a focus. As a matter of practicality and politeness you shouldn’t view a post on topic someone else choose as an excuse to display your own pet ideas. If you wish to do that, post on your own blog.

      However, even granted that all the things you listed were true, it still does not change the fact the left’s genteel fascism is bad for the democratic party and bad for the political and civic life of the country. The Republicans could be screwing up left and right the Democrats could still be putting us on the road to permanent division. They two concepts simply are not linked.

    10. ArtD0dger Says:

      Romney bent over backward to brand himself a Christian to better compete with Huckabee, who was locking up the GOP’n’Jesus vote. Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough.

      Yeah, how’d that work out for him?

      Sometimes I swear the “religious right” is just a bogeyman evoked to scare small leftists at bedtime. It certainly doesn’t seem to help them understand the behavior of their opponents.

    11. Vince P Says:

      It’s funny how a Democrat can be as overtly religious and worse.. even overtly sectarian and all these journalists and pundits think nothing of it.

      but let a Republican just say he admires Jesus and watch out.. here comes the cries of “Theocracy” and “American taliban”

    12. Max Says:

      Shannon:

      Well said. Given this interesting situation, I suspect infighting in the halls of higher learning is reaching a fevered pitch as the Womyns Studies shills confront their ego counterpart Black Studies peers in staff meetings. After having touted this divisive garbage for three or four decades it’s nice to watch liberals squirm as they try to unravel the multiculti Gordian knot; good luck on that one.

      Can’t wait for the DNC Convention in Denver! Oh joy!

    13. Jonathan Says:

      Judging by the posts on Skimble’s blog, he was trolling here and/or is obsessed with what he sees as the evils of Republicans, the Bush administration and rich people.

    14. Tim Says:

      Ayn Rand said the “New Left” of the 1960s consisted of fascists mouthing communist slogans. Right on target.

    15. Knucklehead Says:

      Stuck in a trap of their own construction.

      Gotta agree with ArtD0dger and Vince P… the “Religious Right”, “Theocracy”, and “American Taliban” are strawmen. Nobody is making anyone read the bible or go to church. Religious people, even evangelicals, even the most (Heaven forfend!) proselytizing among them, are easily ignored. The most time and inconvenience they cost any of us non-believers is when we get stuck in the traffic jams when their services let out.

      Try to get a lefty to stop proselytizing for their causes or to just live and let live. They stick their noses into everything and are apparently genetically incapable of keeping their grubby hands out of Other People’s Pockets. But that is all OT.

      Good post, Shannon. It will be interesting to watch how the ID-Polis deal with this election.

    16. Marty Says:

      Good post, except they tried this time to have the primary season be short and the answer in place easrly, and look what it got them. I suppose they might try again, moving “Super Tuesday” to mid-January, but there are other, more promising avenues: winner-take-all state primaries, get rid of superdelegates, to name 2.

      Otherwise, I totally agree and have been telling friends and family that this is a logical place for identity politics to be: two candidates representing approved grievance groups, who otherwise have almost no discernable qualifications (you didn’t mention that, but I will throw it in ’cause it’s true), battling it out in a vicious ad hominem manner.

    17. veryretired Says:

      It is a common failing of many groups suffering some form of oppression based on a major characteristic such as race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, and, yes, religion, at least when that is totally intertwined with one of the previous factors, that the oppressed group adopts the supposedly faulty element as its badge of honor, and bases future claims of uniqueness, and even superiority, on the characteristic previously maligned.

      One can see this process play out in any number of tribal and ethnic conflicts, and it is certainly true in the varied race and gender conflicts in western, and esp. recent US, history.

      However, when this belief is the basis for significant social structures, as in the alleged unity of the Volk on all questions, or the supposed common interests of all members of an economic class, it quickly becomes, not a strength, but the source of totalitarian systems’ brittle fragility.

      This is the phenomenon we are now witnessing among those on the left. All members of a racial or gender group are required to think the same way, or the ideology’s faulty claims of identity = political position are revealed to be castles built on sand. In a totalitarian system, oppositional thought can be held in check for a time with physical repression and terror, although even the malignant forces of fascism and marxism could not snuff out opposition completely, and could not adapt to reformist ideas without collapsing, as reform, by definition, suggests imperfection, and gives the lie to totalitarian ideology’s claims of perfect knowledge.

      (This is why I supported the idea of a 2000 ticket of Powell and Elizabeth Dole for the Repubs—it would have turned the identity game against its major players and shattered the Dem coalition.)

      It is no accident that the major power groups in Dem politics are teachers unions, drenched in multi-culti theory and victimology, trial lawyers, who live by the sword of class action law, and senior citizens, who, of course, have all identical needs and views.(ha ha) Put the racial and gender warriors into that mix, and the old maxim about chickens coming home to roost takes on a whole new pungency.

    18. fred lapides Says:

      Clearly the Democrats are the party of identity politics–a wide net to get voters of all stripes. The GOP by contrast has become essentially the party of old white guys. It will not be very long before demographics will doom the GOP for a long time if they do not get that growing group of blacks, Hispanics, gays, women etc. Being known for conservatism (they no longer adhere to conservative notions) will not suffice in the years ahead.It is all in demographics.

    19. Shannon Love Says:

      Fred Lapides,

      The GOP by contrast has become essentially the party of old white guys.

      No, I think the GOP is becoming the party of ideas and the Democrats the party of identity. People vote GOP because they like the ideas. People vote Democrat because their black, hispanic, female. gay etc. As people mature and become more alloyed into the mainstream, they begin lose their innate identities and become more concerned with the details of policy. After all, “white” people today are the synthesis of dozens of European ethnic groups once considered a different from one another as we popularly think of races today.

      Even if identity trumps ideas (which history shows is sadly possible) that doesn’t mean the Democrats are fated to dominate. To dominate they must form a cohesive block, something which their identity politics prevents. The suffer the age old weakness of all such coalitions: they can cooperate to win the prize but as soon as they get close to doing so, they fall to fighting among themselves for the biggest slice. Each group wants the biggest chunk for itself. Fascist just don’t play well with others.

      Democrats should in principle be able to win but they will never be able to form a large stable coalition because they based their power on innate physical identity.

    20. Ginny Says:

      I for one hope that tribalism isn’t the wave of the future.

      Traditionally, women have been “conservative” – we are interested in stasis. This natural tendency was altered when government took on the role of husband. (A role that was actually in the rather conservative tradition in which men took care of the widows and orphans in their community.) The reactions after 9/11 demonstrated a reassertion of these old tendencies.

      Condoleeza Rice, Kay Bailey Hutchinson are as much the face of the Republicans as Hillary Clinton is of the Democrats. Was Edward Brooke less a senator than Barak Obama? Are the Vietnamese less an ethnic minority than the Sudanese? The Cubans than the Puerto Ricans? A party defined by ideas is not exclusionary, one defined by ethnicity is. In the former, the choice of whether to subsribe to the ideas is up to the voter; in the latter, the decision on which to include lies in the party’s definition of itself (a tent including?). Also, we might ask, how many pro-choice candidates have R’s beside their names? How many pro-life ones have a D? And who cares the most about the pro-choice/pro-life question? Generally, it is women who care and a large minority or even majority are pro-life.

      We are watching that tent be riven.

    21. Steve Johnson Says:

      Republicans have the luxury of conflicts in ideas because they are almost monolithic in race. Republicans get votes from (a) white middle class men, (b) white upper class men who are not part of the Democratic coalition (see below) and (c) married white women. Democrats get the votes of (a) unmarried white women, (b) non-asian minorities (male and female), (c) lower class white people (male and female), (d) upper class white men and women in the following fields: law, academia and finance and (e) pubic sector union workers (teachers included).

      The democratic coalition makes a living from either government payouts (academia, welfare recipients), is protected from competition by regulation (finance, law) or works directly for the government (public sector unions). Democrats get these votes because they offer direct increases in government benefits to all these voters.

      In terms of numbers, the republican coalition is shrinking and efforts to appeal to members of the democratic coalition are pointless because those appeals either end up meaning that republicans favor the same policies as democrats or the appeals will not work.

      The sole issue that matters re the future of the two parties is immigration restriction. If it happens, the republicans will continue to survive with the members they have. If it does not, democrats will rule the US the same way they do California. Will there still be policy disagreements? Of course. Will they look a lot more like Hillary vs Obama (no policy disagreements stated, but clearly implications as to who will get favors)? Yes they will.

    22. Vince P Says:

      What is with these people obssessed with race?

    23. Louis Wheeler Says:

      Steve Johnson, you make a lot of sense. These are practical problems.

      Let me add in another factor: it has been thirty years since we had undiluted Liberalism take free rein of the federal government under Jimmy Carter. People forget. They forget the consequences of Leftist politics: high taxes, onerous public works projects, increasing public resentment of favoritism toward special interest groups, increasing government regulations, economic stagnation and high price inflation, declining tax revenues from a poor economy and foreign policy bungling.

      Since President Carter we have had Ron Reagan, G. H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and G. W. Bush. None of the Republican presidents were successful at attacking big government, because they had foreign policy problems which kept them from concentrating on domestic issues. Hence, the public does not see a large difference between the Democrats and the Republicans there.

      Except for Clinton’s first two years, we have not had an expansive leftist policy in office. When the Republicans took the Congress in 1994, Clinton was forced to “Triangulate” by stealing and taking credit for Republican issues. The Nutroots will not tolerate a repeat of that. George Soros will own both Democrat candidates body and soul.

      Both Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama will govern the Presidency as far Leftists. Hillary says that she has “Millions of ideas on how to help Americans.” She has also said that, “We must sacrifice for the common good.” Barrack Obama wants America to spend trillions on “helping out foreigners.” If either is able to achieve their aims, this will cause immense problems here in America.

      We Republicans cannot hope for such a situation, but it will bring home that any form of Socialism is parasitic: that an increase in government is at the expense of the electorate.

      The Democrats cannot promise to “soak the rich,” because they are already soaked–96% of IRS revenues come from the top fifty percent of income earners. Any increase in taxes, even by letting the Bush Tax Cuts end in 2010, will put the economy in the toilet. Tax revenues will decline because we are to the right of the top of the Laffer Curve.

      Much pain and fear will come out of a Democratic party presidency. But perhaps, the electorate must be reminded of that truth again.

    24. Paul Baker Says:

      Identity Politics…..
      Reminds me of a great line in the old (70’s) Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update”….
      The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution equating Zionism with racism. Black entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr., a convert to Judaism, was quoted as saying: “What a breakthrough! Now, finally, I can hate myself!”
      http://snltranscripts.jt.org/75/75eupdate.phtml

    25. fred lapides Says:

      If indeed the GOP is the party of ideas, then why are not any of the ideas working at present? deficit, larger govt, endless and unneccesary war,unemployment, housing debacle, dollar getting worthless, lack of serious health coverage and on and on and on.

      What are the ideas that the GOP offers that are so fine and have made things so much better?

      I am not saying that the Democrats are filled with ideas that are wonderful but rather that to label the GOP as filled with ideas is not in concord with the present situation in America.

    26. Shannon Love Says:

      Fred Lapides,

      What are the ideas that the GOP offers that are so fine and have made things so much better?

      I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood. For purposes of this discussion I did not say that the GOP was filled with ideas but rather that identity with and within the GOP is a matter of ideas. GOP factions are delineated by their members emphasis on different ideas such as social conservatives versus fiscal conservatives. or cultural socialist versus libertarians. All the factions or subgroups are ideological in nature.

      The democrats by contrast are increasingly divided up by identity i.e. innate characteristics. Democrat factions are blacks, hispanics, asians, women, gays etc.

    27. Jason Says:

      Steve Johnson – if “non-asian minorities” vote for Dems…who do the asian minorities vote for?
      …”asian” is a pretty vague term. one that would include Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Indian, Persian, Arab, etc. “Asians” as an aggregate are quite a large inflow into the U.S. Are you asserting they vote for Republicans, thereby contradicting your own argument about a monolithic GOP? I don’t dare to tell you your ideology, but it sounded a bit like the tired mis-informed leftist rhetoric that all republicans are white racists.

      Also, for Skimble who appears to be anti-everything and pro-nothing and still trolling this blog despite assertions to the contrary…I live in your utopia – Los Angeles county where no one dare mention being anything but a Democrat. Care to comment on its governance? If you do decide to comment, let me cut you off – its not only elected statewide Republicans fault. Fred Lapides you are welcome to comment on this as well.

    28. Steve Johnson Says:

      Jason:

      if “non-asian minorities” vote for Dems…who do the asian minorities vote for?

      Non-asian minorities is a short cut for saying “Black and hispanic”. According to the CIA world fact book:

      Asian 4.2%, Amerindian and Alaska native 1%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.2% (2003 est.)

      I wasn’t implying that Asians vote in significant numbers for Republicans but they are not a significant faction within the Democratic party. Democrats don’t craft any significant policies to appeal to this group through patronage.

      Thinking about affirmative action in terms of ethnic patronage gives a view into Democratic patronage. Non-asian minorities have a huge leg up. No actual argument is made as to why these slots should go to the descendants of voluntary immigrants; the arguments focus either on “historical injustices” or on the value of “diversity”. Somehow the diversity that’s valued always ends up giving preferential admission to applicants of the Democratic client groups. Classic patronage in one sense, but not “personal” patronage, ethnic patronage. You can see that asians are not significant members of the Democratic coalition by looking at how asians are treated in “diversity” efforts. They don’t count at all; they’re thrown into the non-preferred pool.

    29. Steve Johnson Says:

      To directly answer your question Jason, the votes of a group that is about 4.2% of the population do not matter that much in swaying elections. A voting block that small can’t have influence; if Asians are going to be a political force they would have to provide other value in exchange for favor (fund raising, political activism, etc.).

    30. fred lapides Says:

      From my perspective, conservatives within the GOP had a fine agenda, though not mine, and they believed in it. That is or was fine. Alas, the social agenda from what is called their base–the Christian right–seems now to have split from the economic (or conservative) part of the party. The Dems have nearly almost always had a circus tent–and for sure that is were so much of the identity politics referred to come from. As for Los Angeles: I have no awareness of that area of the nation since I sit nearly on the Atlantic Ocean.I do know that the gov of Calif is Republican and Palm Beach is very Republican. The state will prob ably vote Democratic in the next election.

    31. Mohjho Says:

      “People who support Obama because he is black are in conflict with those who support Hillary because she is a woman.” You have some kind of support for this theory?

      “I think this is trap the logical consequence of the genteel fascism of identity politics that the Left adopted in the 1960s”..logical?

      “genteel fascism, soft fascism, fascist collectives, fascist devil”

      “I do not think it means what you think it means”
      -Inigo Montoya