Side? I’m on nobody’s side … because nobody is on my side.
Reading this post by Vox Day on identity politics drives home why I used to use that phrase as my blog’s tagline, and why it fits this eccentric moderate so very, very well. The left has been driving identity politics for a long time, and Day is correct to say that they applied it for every group except whites. For the left, “minority” groups were told to embrace and take pride in their minority identity, and act accordingly, including on the basis of what was best for that group. Whites, on the other hand, were admonished to stop doing that, and in fact to feel shame for that grouping that they were born into. I also think that Day is right to suggest that in the latest U.S. election, a lot of whites did vote more on the basis of their racial identity than on ideology. Where we part ways is right about here:
The Trump administration need pay no more heed to the anti-White identity interests than the Obama administration paid to the White identity interests. In fact, it should not, because Donald Trump’s second term depends upon continuing to ride the transformation of the Republican Party into the White Party.
In terms of analyzing what needs to be done in the so-called “age of identity politics”, Day probably has it right that this is what Trump needs to do. But, in doing so, he kinda misses what at least my problem with the left actually was: the fact that they did use identity politics in the first place. The reason I often dislike and distrust them is that their arguments and values are based around identity politics — and other philosophical positions that I find dubious — and not around things that actually appeal to me. They rely on identity politics to make their point, and provide nothing else. Day’s response is to, essentially, fire back using the same tactics that they use that so annoy me, and the effect of this is to make it so that all of the discourse is and remains on those terms. But those are precisely the terms that I reject. Thus, I’m left with having to choose the “lesser” of two sides who both start from the principles that I detest, distrust, and think invalid.
And while I could see it as just a tactical move in order to get the “right values” in place, the problem with that is that I don’t agree with either side on the “right values”. I have no problem with diversity, but think forced diversity is a very, very bad thing. In short, diversity in and of itself is not intrinsically bad and not intrinsically good. I want to judge people purely by their qualifications and content of their character, and think the idea that diverse groups (in the sense of them having diverse genders and races, etc) have differing worldviews is laughable. I also believe that there are cases when having diverse viewpoints hurts things instead of helps, as it can lead to more conflict. So, taken together, my values here put me on the wrong side of both the left and the right, and so I see attempts to use identity politics as attempts to bully and impose on people no matter who is using it. As another example, I recently pointed out in a different comment thread that I don’t see the Catholic Church as imposing their view of morality on society any more than those on the left were, because they based their arguments on a moral system that I don’t accept — natural law theory — but the left bases theirs on humanistic and utilitarian moral systems that I also don’t accept. To me, both of them are trying to impose their own view of morality on society. They just have different moral systems (and, to be honest, the Catholic one is actually better thought out).
So, I am convinced of two things. First, that eventually I will end up on the opposite side of both sides at some point. Second, that if I do they will both use the precise same bullying tactics to get me into line. Which usually only makes me dig in harder (I’m stubborn that way).
This is what is driving my thoughts on the Hugo Awards. The Puppies side is claiming that the other side is using influence and shaming to try to impose their values and ideas of what is good on science fiction. Their response: to do very similar things to get books in play that share their values. When I admonished the non-Puppy side by pointing out that to defuse the entire Puppy movement all they needed to do was play fair — and they couldn’t even do that — it was not me saying that the Puppy side was playing fair. They weren’t really playing fair. But their claim was that the other side wasn’t playing fair, and so they needed to do that to demonstrate that, and the non-Puppy side then obliged by not playing fair and then trying to change the rules instead of, well, just playing fair. Thus, I ended up convinced that both sides cared more about winning than about having a system that was fair and worked well, and worst of all that “winning” for them was about getting their own way, and that having a fair system didn’t count as “winning” for them.
That’s pretty much what “winning” means for me, though.
So, neither side is on my side, because neither really seems to want what I want. Which is fair; I want some rather odd things. But then what I really want is a system where neither side uses the bad tactics that tries to force me into picking a side instead of simply supporting the ideas that I think are right. And given that neither side seems willing to give that, I can’t be on either side.
No matter how much they try to shame me for that.