Sunday, 28 May 2017

Is Intersectionality Actually Conservative?

Identity politics are about ego. They're not even really about politics in any meaningful sense. Feminists claiming that "white men have been the perpetrators of most of the largest massacres in contemporary American history" or the like are really claiming "women are morally superior to men" and are contributing nothing genuinely meaningful to political discourse.  

Okay, so males are statistically more violent than females, at least according to most statistics on crime.  What, precisely, is anyone to do about this, except gloat (if they're women) or feel shame to fuel feminist egos (if they're men)?  You'll notice that if alt-rightists gloat about statistics that suggest higher per-capita levels of black as opposed to white violent crime, they're awful racists.  And perhaps they are.  But what makes profiling one group acceptable but not another?  The same tired old "centuries of structural inequality" or "power plus prejudice" canards that regressive leftists use to rationalize and justify every double standard that's politically convenient for them?

Well, it's all fun and games until the tables are turned on white women by black women, or trans or homosexual women, who then make the same claims against their white feminist and heterosexual counterparts.  Black and gay men are likewise lambasted for their male privilege. 

This is why support vs. opposition for politics like this is so neatly carved along gender lines.  As a recent article I've seen puts it, "Brocialism vs. Feminism" is defined by a fairly straight forward gender divide.  

Intersectionality is a classic "race to the bottom" kind of scenario. Eventually, the game is won by whomever has the complete slate of marginalized identities. Few people will end up on top of this hierarchy of weaponized victimhood.  But what precisely do they win? In my years of following and studying this movement, I still don't know. Were I to up and cede here and now that I am "privileged" vis-a-vis women, minorities, etc ... then what?

Intersectional feminism thus seems, quite ironically, like quite a conservative political and social force to me. Suspiciously conservative, in fact.  It mostly consists of admonitions of the supposedly marginalized against the privileged.  Where do these downtrodden feminists get access to such consistently sympathetic media if they’re so “marginalized”, I wonder? 

I see almost no advocacy of measurable or implementable policy in explicitly intersectional feminist media.  This most likely since actually tackling inequality in any meaningful sense would necessarily entail economic policy and class analysis from a materialist perspective. The analysis would have to get into political economy, relations of production and so on, and this form of analysis constitutes a mortal threat to identity based privilege theories, and the egos those theories stroke.

To say nothing of the media conglomerates and the increasingly privatized system of higher education that push intersectional feminist narratives.  I find it unlikely that these venerable corporate institutions would promote an ideology that presented a real threat to the real power structures that define and govern 1st world capitalist societies.  It would be much more useful for them to promote a faux leftism that sets the middle and working classes against each other along racial and gender lines.  The 99% become much easier to manage that way.  Divide and rule: a tradition as old as civilization itself.

Put this another way: if the major global power institutions: the governments of the great superpowers, the boards of directors of multinational corporations, and so on, were exclusively female, or exclusively black or third world people, would the manner of their operations or governance change? Would the bottom line cease being, well, the bottom line?

As the examples of Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher (among others), and Obama indicate, I think it's likely - not certain but likely - that they wouldn't change much, if at all.  Feminists are right about one thing: being male is no prerequisite for maximizing shareholder value.

None of which is to say that discrimination against women or minorities is at all a good thing, or even that these groups do not have problems that they suffer from disproportionately compared to their white male counterparts.  But as eager as intersectional feminists are to exploit these realities for the purposes of establishing dominance hierarchy based on victimhood, mum’s quite often the word when it comes to implementable policy proposals to redress these grievances.
You’d almost suspect that deep down, the talking heads at Salon, HuffPost, the Guardian and sundry other outlets that shill for intersectional identity politics don’t even want to see the issues redressed.  Why would they, when they can exploit their marginalized status to guilt white males into shelling out for dates, or the like?  As if they weren’t already.  It certainly never fails to attract the views to their newsblogs that are so useful for drawing in those all important advertising dollars.  Knowledge of how the media actually works is never wasted.

The emphasis on race and gender identity prevalent on the left is no doubt appreciated by those of the lower economic classes who have the economic difficulty in their lives compounded by very real racial and sexual discrimination.  I'm sure they'd also appreciate very real relief from their economic woes, but we don't tend to hear much about that except from "brocialists."

The emphasis on race and gender identity prevalent on the left is also no doubt appreciated the middle class segments of the female and ethnic minority populations, who are given someone to look down on and scapegoat in the form of the white male. I'd also suggest that it is also appreciated in the halls of corporate and state power, that escape institutional scrutiny from a left now held hostage by its middle class feminist constituents, eager to dismiss concerns about political economy as so much toxic masculinity.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The DSA Left

Has our Time Finally Come ? This surging "Democratic Socialists of America" left, outlined in this American Interest Artic...