When I first started reading Andy Divine’s latest essay, a thought popped into my mind: What would the long forgotten Freudian coterie-how could/would they have critiqued The Proud Boys? As a telling object lesson of ” sexual sublimation’ wedded to reactionary politics. The old saw of ‘young,dumb and full of cum’ doesn’t apply to all these men, but its a useful place to start?
Andy in one his favorite roles as iconoclast critiques Biden’s Inaugural Speech:
Chris Wallace of Fox News called Joe Biden’s Inaugural address the best he had ever heard. John Heilemann almost likened it to Lincoln’s Second Inaugural. It wasn’t, of course. But in celebrating this country’s liberation from a uniquely delusional, malevolent sociopath in the White House, and his violent mobs, they may be forgiven for a little hyperbole. And Joe Biden’s speech, the most important he has given in his life, was definitely a good speech. It did what it had to do. It wasn’t “some weird shit” as George W. Bush is reported to have said about Trump’s. But equally, it wasn’t fresh or eye-opening; it had none of Obama’s rhetorical genius; or Reagan’s. There is not a line in it that we will be able to remember for very long.
As if Obama’s and Reagan’s ‘rhetorical genius’ breaks new ground! Those with patience and forbearance read this paragraph:
But Biden has also shown this week that his other ambitions are much more radical. On immigration, Biden is way to Obama’s left, proposing a mass amnesty of millions of illegal immigrants, a complete moratorium on deportations, and immediate revocation of the bogus emergency order that allowed Trump to bypass Congress and spend money building his wall. Fine, I guess. But without very significant addition of border controls as a deterrent, this sends a signal to tens of millions in Central to South America to get here as soon as possible. Biden could find, very quickly, that the “unity” he preaches will not survive such an effectively open-borders policy, or another huge crisis at the border. He is doubling down on the very policies that made a Trump presidency possible. In every major democracy, mass immigration has empowered the far right. Instead of easing white panic about changing demographics, Biden just intensified it.
The notion that Biden is ‘Left’ of Obama, or almost any other New Democrat is a ludicrous assertion. For Andy to lecture anyone on ‘Immigration’! And those ‘tens of millions in Central to South America‘, reads like Samuel P. Huntington’s paranoid ‘Who Are We?: The Challenges to America’s National Identity’ and that Mestizo Hoard about to dilute the purity of Anglo- Protestant Culture.
Biden has also signaled (and by executive order, has already launched) a very sharp departure from liberalism in his approach to civil rights.
But Biden’s speech and executive orders come from a very different place. They explicitly replace the idea of equality in favor of what anti-liberal critical theorists call “equity.” They junk equality of opportunity in favor of equality of outcomes. Most people won’t notice that this new concept has been introduced — equity, equality, it all sounds the same — but they’ll soon find out the difference.
The subject then shifts from Immigration to ‘Critical Theory’ and its Devils: Horkheimer, Adorno and Habermas. Andy is by nature an Inquisitor and these ‘Marxists’ are the Apostates of choice, of long standing. Except they remain in the background, in his long description of their crimes. In this iteration James Lindsay ‘explaines’ to the reader what ‘equality’ and ‘equity’ mean to the un-named, but politically toxic bearers of ‘Critical Theory’.
In critical theory, as James Lindsay explains, “‘equality’ means that citizen A and citizen B are treated equally, while ‘equity’ means adjusting shares in order to make citizen A and B equal.” Here’s how Biden defines “equity”: “the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.”
This reader weary of not just inept, but history-less propaganda, reaches Andy’s final paragraph, steeped in the notion and practice of ‘gradualism’ or at the least what appears to be it. ‘Identity Politics’ is the catch phrase that ‘Conservatives’ and ‘Neo-Liberals’ attach to a politics not immersed in the Colonial Mentality.
I want Biden to succeed. I want Republicans to moderate. I want to lower the temperature. I want to emphasize those policies that really do bring us closer together, even though many may still freely dissent. Biden says he wants to as well. But none of that can or will happen if the president fuels the culture war this aggressively, this crudely, and this soon. You don’t get to unite the country by dividing it along these deep and inflammatory issues of identity. And you don’t achieve equality of opportunity by enforcing its antithesis.
P.S. See Amartya Sen’s book ‘Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny’ that presents ‘Identity’ as a shifting set of imperatives within the person.