By Shaw Coneybeare
The separation of the white working class from identity-based coalitions has been about as rough as it can get. Entire countries have been claimed in the divorce, and the infighting doesn’t ever seem to stop. The liberal establishment has decided to play these politics and shame workers if they express their opinion without first “checking privilege.” This censorship has consumed liberal identity and poisoned the appeal to outsiders.
Social media is the public forum of politics now, and it’s a surreal joke that all one has to do to get torrents of hate and death-threat messages is express an opinion on the internet. But it’s not just trolls attacking feminists typing “make me a sandwich,” it’s liberals who will deny the validity of any assertion without qualifying oneself sexually or racially first. Yet online discussion about job accessibility, welfare, healthcare, public spending, class mobility, and law enforcement tend to get sidelined in favor of the more vogue issues of “slamming sexism,” “resisting racism,” “hating homophobia,” or other euphemisms for spinning every online—and by extension, real-world—discussion away from social issues with concrete solutions.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is the finest example of this. The first demonstrations were not against racism in and of itself, but were against the fact that this racism was manifesting in the form of dead bodies. The Fourth Amendment of the United States ensures that citizens shall be “secure in their persons” from police getting carried away, which included extrajudicial murder. The protests were manifesting a constitutional issue that had a racial element to it.
But over time, race and identity politics took over and became the main talking points, rather than the fact that people were and are physically dying from violations of their constitutional rights. This has essentially doomed BLM to the same fate as Occupy Wall Street—remember them?—where a popular uprising about a real issue morphed into a general platform for social rather than legal grievances. This is also why the foreign BLM imitators are so laughable. They’re protesting as if they’re part of the protests in America, but without the constitutional cause. The government can’t release a law banning people from being racist, but they could pick up the slack on enforcement of constitutional rights—if only such a thing were demanded.
Because identity politics are so popular and marketable, everyone who doesn’t conform to the new liberal image, which is a minority of some description, gets shut out of the liberal club by virtue of race. Presumably my commitment to liberal ideals is tainted by my gender, sexuality, or skin color. If I can have my faith in liberalism shaken by being labeled and categorized like this, imagine how an outsider looking in must feel.
The election of Donald Trump was not about sexism, racism, or homophobia: it was about disillusionment in free expression and democracy. If their voices are held as second-best within the liberal organism because there are some issues they can’t understand, it’s no wonder that so many people voted against them. Modern liberalism is a marriage of social justice and market regulatory economics. If these issues have diverged, then it’s time the divorce happened for real and left-wingers stopped identifying themselves under the same umbrella.