Yesterday in a comments thread here, the reader Elrond wrote:
As always, what’s missing in these discussions is any acknowledgement of white interests. It’s all about the good for blacks and people of color. The good for white families doesn’t even enter the picture.
In case you don’t follow the comment threads, Elrond thinks that I am a total squish on racial issues. I post his comment here because it is an example of the Right using the Left’s identity politics against it.
Rusty Reno blasts Trump’s ethnicity-based criticism of the judge overseeing his Trump University case as “bullying,” but points out that it’s common on the Left to say that the personal qualities and backgrounds of a judge affect his or her jurisprudence. In 2001, for example, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who would later sit on the US Supreme Court, said in a speech:
I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.
The identity politics of the last generation, a politics formulated and promoted by people in institutions run, financed, and endorsed by American liberals, has become extraordinarily influential. It provides Trump with a ready toolkit to draw from in his ongoing improv populist politics of punching and kicking adversaries.
Trump has a kind of genius. He takes his enemies’ weapons, blunts them, and then uses them as bludgeons. He even takes a curse word from the Left’s playbook, calling Judge Curiel a “hater” (in this case “a hater of Donald Trump”).
For years I’ve warned that the Left is playing a dangerous game by embracing illiberal identity politics. Last week, the liberal writer Jonathan Chait wrote about the “ideological fissure” on the Left:
Liberalism sees political rights as a positive good — rights for one are rights for all. “Democracy” means political rights for every citizen. The far left defines democracy as the triumph of the subordinate class over the privileged class. Political rights only matter insofar as they are exercised by the oppressed. The oppressor has no rights.
Why is it wrong for Trump to gripe about how a Latino judge is bound to be unfair to him by virtue of his ethnicity, but okay for Sonia Sotomayor to assert that a Latina judge could be more fair as a result of her ethnicity? Why is it wrong for white people to look out for their interests as a racial group, but okay for blacks, Hispanics, and others to do the same?
You can’t have it both ways. The Left laid the groundwork for Trump, and for his brand of race-based resentment. Many on the Left embraced that kind of politics so long as it advanced their cause. Now, not so much. I take no pleasure at all in the rise of Donald Trump, but I do find it enjoyable to observe folks on the Left expressing shock and outrage that a blustery white guy is using their own tactics against them.
It is also pleasurable to observe how Trumpism exposes the rottenness in certain institutions. Take DePaul University, for example. Recently, the pro-Trump provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos visited campus at the invitation of the College Republicans, and had his event shut down by Black Lives Matter and other Social Justice Warriors — one of whom struck him. Look:
The Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, president of the university, initially apologized in a letter to the College Republicans over the incident:
“Yesterday’s speaker was invited to speak at DePaul, and those who interrupted the speech were wrong to do so. Universities welcome speakers, give their ideas a respectful hearing, and then respond with additional speech countering the ideas. I was ashamed for DePaul University when I saw a student rip the microphone from the hands of the conference moderator and wave it in the face of our speaker,” he wrote.
He also apologized to College Republicans, writing that, “they deserved an opportunity to hear their speaker uninterrupted, and were denied it.”
“What a lot of us realize from that shocking moment last week is what we haven’t done a good job at is preparing for the divisions that can appear (from the Yiannopoulos event),” Holtschneider said. “The same dynamics that affect all of humanity can appear in the community too. That be can be transphobia to sexism to racism … all the things that we see in the world, and that we hoped as a university that we could have an all around good quality, is we’ve discovered that’s not what we’ve done.
“The message I most want to say today is one of apology,” he said later. “I’m incredibly sorry that our university wasn’t prepared in advance for the kinds of questions that are now being raised.
“Whether that’s your safety, whether that’s how we actually hold events, how we think of the creation of events, how we create the community that people feel safe long term where people are actually telling us there’s racism among us … how do we do that community better? Clearly, we haven’t done that good enough. I apologize on the behalf of DePaul.”
The gutless Father Holtschneider has given a bunch of campus left-wing thugs a great victory. They managed to shut down by force a campus political speech, and compelled the university’s president to grovel, seeking their forgiveness for allowing the event to proceed, and for initially defending the right to free speech on DePaul’s campus.
And people wonder where Trump comes from…