Sunday, August 25, 2019

Fukuyama previews his book "Identity" in Foreign Affairs as he confronts identity politics

Francis Fukuyama has a long article on Foreign Affairs for September/October 2018, “Against Identity Politics: The New Tribalism and the Crisis of Democracy”.   Fukuyama has a book from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, “Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment”, 240 pages, Oct. 2018.

The article reviews all the points I have repeatedly made myself in many blog posts.  Inequality, perhaps exacerbated by shareholder capitalism, tends to drive people back into depending on their identities of their groups of origin or that they are placed in.  American history, with slavery and white privilege of the past, makes this much more challenging for displaced white people, so we get a particular kind of violent supremacist extremism on the “identarian” right, whereas the Left the authoritarian is more female, more diffuse. 

There is also a tendency to attack meritocracy at a personal level, as leaving people behind in hopeless circumstances.  Hence the Left has become more combative in claiming a lot of previously accepted talk as "hate speech", especially pronoun issues for gender issues.   The return to identity is an attempt to restore personal dignity.
Fukuyama compares identity politics in the US with that in Europe.  Particularly for the US, he believes that national service programs could break up the identarianism and get people used to bonding from people from different groups.  It’s possible to imagine this even in retirement, which would make it impossible for me to follow the publication career that I “chose”.

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