Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Identity and "Identity"

Your identity is who you are. However, on the popomo left, "identity" is now used, jargonistically, to mean, roughly: who you say you are.
   The PC left has long tended toward relativism, particularly social/cultural relativism. It has a general tendency to accept and promote social and cultural accounts over other types (e.g. rational, natural, biological, and theological accounts). It also (perhaps in part because of the popularity of existentialism on the intellectual left) has a tendency to insist that people have some sort of right to create themselves. But the PCL doesn't mean this in the sense that, say, I might actually forge a great poet out of the raw material of my current self. It means it, rather, in the sense that I have some alleged right to (a) call myself F, for, basically, any value of F...and even also, some alleged right to (d) be regarded as F by other people. PCL is rather cagier about some possibly intermediate steps. Perhaps (d) is supposed to follow directly/merely from (a). Or perhaps what really follows from (a) is that I have a right to (c) demand that others regard me as F. And perhaps that's because (b) as a matter of actual fact, I am F (because I call myself F). (Those lettered propositions don't actually fit together properly, grammatically speaking. But I'm not going to fix it, so there.)
   This is how views of this kind survive: they seldom/never quite say that we should forget about whether or not x is F, and care, instead, only whether it's said that x is F. And they never quite say otherwise--for example, they never quite say that there are no facts about x independently of what we say about it. And they never quite say that our saying so makes things so. Instead they offer up an incoherently, half-baked tangle of shitty arguments and shrieky accusations of badness against those who refuse to convert to their preferred story.
   This tangle of bad philosophy in the service of bad politics is why I think that this sector of the left is so dangerous.

tl;dr: The PC/SJ left thinks 1984 is an instruction manual.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of 1984: Holy shit.

5:25 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home