Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Quoted: Christopher Hitchens on Identity Politics

Beware of identity politics. I’ll re-phrase that: have nothing to do with identity politics. I remember very well the first time I heard the saying “The Personal Is Political.” It began as a sort of reaction to the defeats and downturns that followed 1968: a consolation prize, as you might say, for people who had missed that year. I knew in my bones that a truly Bad Idea had entered the discourse. Nor was I wrong. People began to stand up at meetings and orate about how they felt, not about what or how they thought, and about who they were rather than what (if anything) they had done or stood for. It became the replication in even less interesting form of the narcissism of the small difference,  because each identity group begat its subgroups and “specificities.” -- Christopher Hitchens from Letters to a Young Contrarian
Had he lived long enough to see it, I wonder what Hitchens would have thought of today's cultural-political climate that's over reliant on identity groups. My guess is not much.