Prof. Mark Lilla: Politics Isn’t About Identity, It’s About Winning (Spiked Unsafe Space Tour)

Prof. Mark Lilla: Politics Isn’t About Identity, It’s About Winning (Spiked Unsafe Space Tour)


MARK LILLA: There was a time when it was possible
to talk about equal rights for these groups, civil rights movement, the women’s movement,
gay rights movement, without using the word “identity” at all. You talked about social justice. Then something happened. The word “identity,” the concept of identity,
entered the American language, and politics was no longer a question of being committed
to a cause affecting people out there, but became a species of self expression. I am expressing my identity by getting involved
in this issue, or that issue, and I’m focused on politics only because of my identity, and
the point of that is: I need to speak truth to power. I need to call people out. I’ve got to fight the power. When in fact the point of politics is to be
the power. Identity movements have put themselves into
a state of, at the moment, a kind of frenzy that defeats this very practical purpose,
and two things happen, and then I’ll be done. One is that a radical rhetoric gets employed
that gets in people’s faces in a way that is not helpful. Black Lives Matter, which laid out a call
to the conscience of anyone with a conscience in this country, ended up breaking up meetings
with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Suicide. But the other point, and this is where we
come to free speech, is that if your politics are wrapped up with your definition of your
self, it gets very hard to have a political discussion because people feel that in disagreeing
with their opinion that you’re challenging their identity, and that’s what’s happened
on our campuses. We’re no longer detached enough to argue without
feeling that it’s about us, and the big lesson we have to learn it’s not about us. It’s not about how we define ourselves, it’s
not about intersectionality, it’s not about my sensitivities, it’s about fighting for
justice out there for other people, and to do that, you need to retool. TOM SLATER: Thank you very much, Mark.

13 thoughts on “Prof. Mark Lilla: Politics Isn’t About Identity, It’s About Winning (Spiked Unsafe Space Tour)

  1. Well, if white males don't wise up to reality really soon they are going to see first hand how much politics really is about identity. These other groups are asserting themselves to get what they want out of life. The white male is miserable he is not being treated fair, he is not respected. Well being a nice guy gets you nothing but disrespect and misery. Their is no morality, only power, everyone else knows this

  2. I have to disagree with the black lives matter statement because the numbers never bore out the premises to start with. It was about race baiting and power

  3. Politics is NOT about winning because it isn't a childish game. Politics is about doing the right thing for the greater good of ALL MANKIND. It's time for for everyone to give up their Klan mentality

  4. But this is what identity means. If you are fighting for ''justice'' for others, it means that you believe in ''justice for others'', and your beliefs is what identity means. What i believe in is how i identify myself. The issue is misinformation, when the things you believe in are not accurate, and achieve the opposite effect of what you want, or they cause harm to others, but you don't recognize that, and you are not taught to question it. So both sides don't question their beliefs, and don't reason with the other side, they strongly believe they are right, the other side is wrong. In the past, most people were not even involved in anything other than making a living and watching sports, so things like conservative ideas, liberal ideas etc. were not part of their thinking, and therefore not part of their identity. If you asked them about sports, they would be passionate about it, because it would have been part of their identity. Today, a lot of things are part of the identity of a lot of people.

  5. Politics: the art of using euphemisms, lies, emotionalism and fear-mongering to dupe average people into accepting–or even demanding–their own enslavement.

    Larken Rose

  6. This whole focus on identity just seems like pure narcissism. It's not the job of the state to give you a meaningful sense of existence and kinship. It's the job of the state to protect your liberties (and arguably to ensure equal opportunities). The rest is up to you.

  7. That's why we should have to regulate identity politics voulentairly.
    Let's no longer use it and instead talk about a better ideology.
    A common sense based one.
    One that accepts sovereignty.

    That's where identitarianism comes to play, it seems like civic nationalism, yet it has no aspects of expansionism and does it's preservation on all levels.
    Africa for Africans, Europe for Europeans, Asia for Asians, Middle East for Arabs and America for Americans.

    Also, if you want to go to Japan for holiday, what kind of culture do you want to experience there?
    Japanese culture of course!

  8. He's right. Another way of putting it: in a democracy, to gain power, the best strategy is to appeal to as many people as possible. Otherwise, you'll just alienate people who aren't like you. On top of that, this country was founded by focusing on ideals that COULD apply to everyone. Granted, those ideals were not APPLIED to everyone, but it was those very ideals that allowed us to get rid of slavery, to expand voting rights, etc.

    If the country had been founded on explicitly saying in the constitution that it only applies to white people and it was actually a white nationalist country from the beginning, then the arguments of the civil rights movement would have been different (and not as easy to make). Identity politics is against freedom and democracy.

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