Here we enter into the kaleidoscopically balkanizing world of intersectionality, which highlights multiple identities in an effort to single-out the nexus of ascriptive attributes that produces maximal oppression. The idea is that once these attributes have been identified, the “privilege” of those who undertake the oppression can be subverted. Yet in practice, the hierarchy of privilege isn’t so much subverted as reproduced and inverted.
…It should be obvious that this brand of politics is profoundly poisonous. Instead of seeking to level an unjust hierarchy, mitigate its worst abuses, and foster cross-group solidarity, intersectionality merely flips the hierarchy on its head, placing the least privileged in the most powerful position and requiring everyone else to clamor for relative advantage in the new upside-down ranking. Those who come out on top in the struggle win their own counter-status, earning the special privilege of getting to demand that those lower in the pecking order “check their privilege.”
In my opinion, the fundamental organizing principle of left-wing thought is opposition to oppression and injustice. Furthermore, the standard of what constitutes oppression and injustice is measured against utopian ideals which I doubt most progressives could clearly articulate if asked. Like Potter Stewart defining pornography, they couldn’t tell you what equality and justice would look like in practice, but they’ll know it when they see it, and they ain’t seen it yet, so the fight must go on. The monomaniacal fervor with which they pursue this goal, the singleminded intensity with which they make such righteous opposition to oppression and injustice the very core of their political identity, ends up alienating moderate liberals who certainly agree that fighting oppression and injustice is one important political goal, but insist that it can’t become the entire goal of politics. Moreover, when fighting oppression and injustice becomes the essence of their political identity, they become incentivized to keep finding instances of oppression and injustice to fight in order to keep themselves in a job, so to speak. Which is to say, if they don’t outright invent instances of oppression and injustice, they certainly overinflate them, as in the case of the trendy obsession with transgenderism, which is primarily an attempt to build an extension onto the victorious gay rights movement and keep the struggle going a little longer. Once transgenderism is either mandatory by law or simply passé, the new fixation will be on the struggle for polyamorous marriage rights. And so it goes. Like Akash Kapur said, the chimerical goals of reinvented sex and a remade economy will keep them engaged in a war on reality for the indefinite future. The important thing is to keep those who object on the defensive, forced to argue uphill against the default assumption that only a vicious bigot would be opposed to ending oppression and injustice. The argument that many of the problems they identify cannot be reduced to a zero-sum struggle between callous oppressor and righteous victim, and must simply be accepted as part of the inherent unfairness of life itself which affects all of us in different ways at different times, is summarily dismissed as just the sort of thing a callous oppressor would say to justify his privilege. And so it goes.
To find yourself talking like I am here, it’s not necessary to identify as a conservative, or to believe in an opposing set of talking points. All that’s necessary is to get tired of the tedious whining, the nonstop tantrums, the neverending obsession with victimhood. All that’s necessary is to see that the world is far more complex than a simpleton’s story of the powerful cruelly dominating the powerless.