As the nation grapples in the throes of a once-a-generation soul search, the battle lines of our cold civil war between the Americanists and the civilizational arsonists only continue to harden.
This week saw the stunning public resignation of Bari Weiss as a New York Times opinion editor and columnist. In her cri de coeur, Weiss lamented the monolithic intellectual hegemony forcibly imposed at the Times by the left’s ascendant neo-Jacobin radicals—the dutiful foot soldiers of what Wesley Yang calls the “successor ideology.” In her plea, Weiss identifies Twitter—a synecdoche, of sorts, for leftist mob rule—as the Times‘ “ultimate editor.” What’s more, Weiss, a proud Jew and recent author of a book about fighting anti-Semitism, decried her cowardly Times ex-colleagues who’d complain about her “writing about the Jews again.”
Politically, Weiss is an old-school liberal centrist. But at the nation’s paper of record, traditional liberalism has been overrun by a successor ideology that is committed not to tolerance and pluralism but to multiculturalism, identity politics and the pseudo-intellectual grift that is “intersectionality.” The problem with these faddish schools of “thought” is both straightforward and terrifying: They are not merely totalitarian; they are at war with the very concept of America.
Under the tenets of the successor ideology, there is right and there is wrong. However, rather than using the barometer of moral truth, right and wrong are judged as our would-be ochlocracy defines the terms.
According to the partisans of identity politics, right and wrong do not rely upon neutral appeals to truth, justice, egalitarianism or any other criteria that, for millennia, have guided Western political theory. Rather, right and wrong rely upon hierarchical appeals to gender, skin pigmentation, religious belief (or, more often, nonbelief), immigration status, sexual orientation and other categories of assigned “privilege.”
To the multiculturalist or the intersectionalist, homogenous groupthink ought to be foisted upon an unsuspecting people, with the idiosyncratic beliefs and preferences of the less “privileged” necessarily elevated, by very identitarian nature of an expositor, over the beliefs and preferences of the more “privileged.” So “brown” Palestinian-Arabs must be elevated over “white” Israelis (itself a demographic mischaracterization). The insurrectionist, anti-Western civilization platform of the Black Lives Matter movement – which lists on its official website organizational goals such as “disrupt(ing) the Western-prescribed nuclear family” and “freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking”—cannot be called into question because the word “Black” is used in the name.
This is poisonous claptrap—a blight upon America’s founding ideals and a cancer upon the basic norms of civic comity without which a unified republic cannot endure. Two weeks ago, we celebrated the 244th birthday of a nation famously founded on the proposition “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” In a land conceived on that noble premise, there is no room for a politics of crass racial strife and other forms of rank identitarian subjugation. It is no exaggeration to claim that contemporary peddlers of such a morally bankrupt view of the world are the modern-day intellectual successors of the antebellum- and Jim Crow-era racists; they, too, viewed American society through a prism of race-based “right” and “wrong.” The two are flip sides of the same coin—a coin that is utter anathema to the Declaration of Independence.
On a more tangible level, a view of politics based on overarching hierarchies of “privilege” is also toxic to the sustainability of a civil society. Such a view of the world, predicated upon the diminution of individual moral agency and the pitting of identity-based groups against each other, sows dissension by its very nature. Those deemed “privileged,” or non-“woke,” are punished accordingly. White Christians always fit the bill. But so do Jews, despite their status as the world’s single most historically oppressed people and that we are living through a period of rising global Jew-hatred.
Thus, we see complaints about Weiss spilling too much digital ink about Jewish issues. We see professional athletes, like DeSean Jackson, invoke infamous anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan on social media. We see “#JewishPrivilege” trend on Twitter. By purporting to fight bigotry, the intersectionalists deliberately excuse—and affirmatively abet—another form of bigotry. Such is the nature of a zero-sum conceptualization of politics.
Our crossroads has never been clearer. Veer left for wokeness. Veer right for Americanism. Only one choice can save a country now teetering on the brink.
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