What’s so bad about identity politics?



Some progressive commenters were critical of my statement that I oppose identity politics. And when you read the following, it’s not hard to see why:

Both with a zest for the controversial, the litigious, and the troll, Kobach and Thiel have also each collected enemies in their political crusades. They both inveigh against identity politics, the Washington establishment, and a globalism that doesn’t put America first.

That makes it seem that opposition to identity politics is a hard right position. But are these people actually opposed to identity politics, or do they have their own form of identity politics?

Kobach has since advised Trump’s administration on implementing a “Muslim registry” that would have specifically tracked immigrants to the US from Muslim-majority countries. He’s also weighed in for the administration on voting issues, was considered for Cabinet posts by a transition committee on which Thiel served, and earned Trump’s endorsement during his unsuccessful bid for governor of Kansas in 2018.

A lot of people who say they oppose identity politics are actually white nationalists, and Kobach certainly seems to fall into that camp:

But part of their alliance can be explained by more personal reasons. A key lubricant binding Thiel to his new candidate is Ann Coulter, the conservative provocateur who last week called Democrats the “antifa party.” She is close with Thiel, and is a Kobach super-fan.

In case you don’t know, here are some of Coulter’s views on immigration:

“This is a whole different kettle of fish we’re getting now, and I just don’t understand, there are these silicon chips in people’s brains, where they have to say, ‘Diversity is a strength, we’re a nation of immigrants.’ Obviously false, but Republicans have this silicon chip saying, ‘Oh, we’re fine with legal immigration, it’s illegal immigration.’ Well, who do they think blew up the Boston Marathon? Who’s flying off to fight with ISIS? Who are all of these Hmong immigrants raping little kids? … Sacrificing animals, who’s doing the genital mutilations? These are legal immigrants, Republicans! Wake up!”

So when I say I’m opposed to identity politics I don’t mean the same thing as many conservatives mean when they oppose identity politics. Indeed I consider white nationalists to be a far greater threat to America than “woke” young people. Immigration is a core American value; it’s what built this country. With all their flaws, at least woke people and I share that value.

HT: Matt Yglesias — And yes, let a billion flowers bloom.