The last few days have been witness to disquieting noise representing two different aspects of the same unseeing groupthink: Identity Politics.
On one hand, you have the people on the left who only talk about America in terms of collectives and their victimhood or privilege. They hate American and openly declare it a country of sexism and racism.
On the other hand, in Charlottesville, the collectivists of the right held a gathering based on white identity, and also demonstrating their hatred of the principles of America by wishing government to favor their own identity in a white supremacist agenda.
What do these groups have in common?
- They define an in-group and an out-group. And if you're in the out-group facts don't matter. There is no objective framework for innocent-until-proven-guilty. The only thing that matters is that you give anything that is remotely sympathetic to the out group.
- They don't believe individual liberty. Both sides believe that the government has a right to enact force on some subset of the population justified by some collective.
- They don't believe in personal responsibility. Not only can your actions result in your guilt, so can actions of other members of the designated out-group. For the most part there is no way out of the out-group, but you may get some leniency if you capitulate entirely and give up your rational convictions.
- They have a callous disregard for fact as they use smear tactics to direct social harrasment against their detractors.
I'm not an Extremist and I don't like crowds... What can I do?
I don't think attending counter-protests is the answer. At best you make yourself an easy target for violence. At worse, you make the crowd of bigots look even bigger.
Rejecting Identity Politics
No... The first, most important, thing is to reject the identity politics game. We need to recognize that all of the intellectualizing from victimhood is an appeal to create government programs that treat different classes of people in different ways.
The bitter irony is that this both the collectivists of the left AND the right want this. They only differ in details based on their selected in-groups and out-groups.
We can stop talking about privilege. Among the subset of people willing to see, there is nothing more to learn. The most dishonest versions of privilege talk admonish people to apologize for shit they didn't do. Nearly all discussions of privilege are fuel for the white nationalists. First of all, White Nationalists don't care who thinks they need to apologize. Further, the intelligentsia of the left is guilty as hell of a bullshit moral shell game that amounts to whites bearing the revisionist sins of their ancestors which can never be absolved.
When you judge white people automatically racist no matter what they do, don't be surprised that they don't seem to notice or care that you're calling them racist. You've already proven that you have no objective criteria for this other than the color of their skin, which they can't help. They would be right to dismiss you for making senseless noise. (It's for this reason alone that I almost can't fault the white supremacists for beating the drums of collectivism. "Fight fire with fire" is one of the classic blunders.)
Enough about other people... Back to what we can do. We can get clear. We want "Live and Let Live" based on "Individual Reponsibility" to be the primary moral criteria on which government enacts corrective force. If a person chooses by his/her own individual action to violate "Live and Let Live", only then should the law should have something to do.
Voting in Primaries
With that said, we as citizens need to vote in primaries. They are much more important than the general elections in regards to weeding out the crazy.
We must reject candidates who demonstrate identity/collective/race baiting tactics (whether democrat or republican). We want candidtes who believe in an Objective framework of law and of evidence. We want candidates who believe in a government blind to demographics rather than one that will act to favor any demographic.
Government, properly conceived.
The most important principle of keeping your government from comitting atrocities has been and shall ever be the recognition of the right of each person to their life, liberty, and property. Governments don't create rights, which are implicit in our nature as human beings. Governments, properly conceived, recognize rights and act to protect them.
I recently heard a podcast in which someone described the role of government as coming up with a framework where people who disagree violently can disagree without the violence. We can't fix everyone's bad ideas but we can keep the government focused on diminishing the impact of them when people decide to express themselves with action.