President Obama’s recent threat to withhold federal funding from public schools that fail to accommodate “transgendered” student bathroom preferences, and the widespread public outcry that followed immediately, is but a sign of what’s more to come.
We’ve created a politically-explosive identity crisis in America: Mix the modern psychology of self-selecting identity with longstanding liberal identity politics, add the smallest amount of spotlight heat, and the result is instant political combustion.
IDENTITY POLITICS: THE AMERICAN REGIME OF ENTITLEMENTS
Many decades ago, Americans began the process of transforming the United States of America into the American Regime of Entitlements. What used to be the U.S.A. is now the A.R.E., like it or not.
Contrary to old fashioned American constitutionalism, premised on the equal natural freedom of all citizens, equal individual property rights, and equal protection of the laws, the American Regime of Entitlements begins with the idea that some citizens are preferred victims.
Other citizens might be victims, too, but not the right kinds.
And yet others are the worst: not victims at all!
The premise of the A.R.E. has nothing to do with common citizenship or equal rights of any kind. The mere hint of equal protection of the laws is itself seen as oppressive, a source of injustice that the American Regime of Entitlements aims to overcome. Ever hear of “affirmative action?”
The entire purpose of the American Regime of Entitlements is to take from some and give to others, to place arbitrary and artificial restrictions on some while propping others up with perks, subsidies, and advantages. Entitlements require nothing less. Which is why entitlements are incompatible with any kind of equal protection of the laws for equal individual rights.
IDENTITY POLITICS AND GROUP MEMBERSHIP
What matters most in the American Regime of Entitlements is what boxes one can check, which correspond to one’s claims of victimhood.
Do you have dark skin?
Do you have ancestors who came from parts of the world where others have dark skin?
Were you born poor?
Are you attracted to people of the same sex?
Are you old?
Did bullies pick on you when you were young?
Do you belong to a union?
Are you a farmer, big banker, or representative of an American automobile company?
Do you happen to have a brother-in-law, cousin, or a friend of a friend in Congress?
Good news! You’re now among the favored victims who receive special, subsidized entitlements in the A.R.E.
You don’t even have to be a member of a minority group to merit special victim rights in the American Regime of Entitlements. Women, for example, are a majority of the American population. They have been for decades. Yet the A.R.E. government mandates all kinds of advantages and perks for those who check the “woman” box.
This is what “identity politics” means:
- One’s entitlements are not the same as other citizens.
- One’s entitlements are not earned by effort or merit. They’re earned by one’s “identity” based on group claims of victimhood, whether real or alleged.
- One’s entitlements are gifts from government, which means government may decide at any time to expand entitlements, reduce them, or take them away. (It also means that anyone opposed to expanding government must be…mean!)
The civic duty of victim citizens is to be thankful for whatever entitlements government has provided. Lobby for more. And shame non-victims who don’t really deserve what they’ve produced or earned—because they’re not victims.
WHO AM I? SELF-SELECTING IDENTITY
It’s easy to see why the modern movement toward self-selecting identity must be highly problematic. Explosively so, in the American Regime of Entitlements.
For example: The A.R.E. has set aside quotas and subsidies and other perks for citizens with black skin. So what happens when a non-black declares herself to be black?
The whole purpose of entitlements is to compensate victims while engineering some kind of social parity where none used to exist. A non-black person getting entitlements meant for victimized blacks will strike many as wrong, regardless of how the non-black person “identifies” herself.
Similarly, the American Regime of Entitlements has set aside quotas and subsidies and other perks for women. What happens when a man declares himself to be herself? Can any man who feels like a woman claim the victimhood of being a woman?
THE TOILET CONTROVERSY: BEGINNING OR END?
The controversy over men, women, others, what toilet they use, and how the federal government will dole out taxpayer money to government schools, is a symptom of the irreconcilability between identity politics and self-selecting identification. And we are responsible for this.
Modern Americans have declared that one’s “identity” is critically important for determining how one is treated and what one receives from the American Regime of Entitlements. We’ve become obsessed with “identity.” It’s so important that Americans gave up the principles of equal individual natural freedom, equal individual natural rights, and equal protection of the laws in exchange for unequal entitlements—all in the name of “identity” rights!
But now we are redefining “identity,” substituting choice for nature. If our “identity” is not determined by nature, but by choice, then I dare anyone to argue for a principle that allows a man to identify himself as a woman, that doesn’t at the same time allow a white person to identify as a black person.
Once we accept that a man can be a woman, and a person with white skin can be a person with dark skin, what WON’T we accept? And once every kind of self-identification is possible, what does that mean for the American Regime of Entitlements and identity politics?
It means modern liberalism is about to be devoured by postmodern psychology. And it’s not going to be pleasant.