My personal antidote to Identity Politics

Nowadays it is difficult to find an acceptable medium through which to make value judgements. In this short essay I hope to paint the picture of how I judge the people I want to keep around in my life.

Context is Everything

Just watch Facebook for videos that cover interviews of average Americans learning of political action instituted by their “Democrat” candidate, and you will witness the surprise on their faces when they learn its a Republican idea to which they just nodded affirmative (or vice versa). Or walk into a Walmart south of the Mason-Dixon line after midnight if you really want to see how far we’ve fallen. We know the average American is under-educated on the topics of politics, economics, and especially philosophy, myself included. We can see it every day that one guy we know on Facebook posts about the Flat Earth again. (Really dude? All the science since the 1600’s and you’re gonna pick “flat earth” as your social justice hill to die on?). All of this has sprang up thanks to the collectivist bent our nation has assumed. The “culture war”, the “radical Left”, “Postmodern NeoMarxists” (Thanks JBP), the “Alt Right”, ANTIFA, the list of condemnable groups is lengthy and growing by day. The danger here is that it is convenient to lump these people into their groups and simply write off the whole group. Its easy to be hyper critical, I do it all the time. But high quality relationships are built with people, not groups, and they require mediation and effort.

A new way of conceptualizing group identity and avoiding unhealthy IP

It is impossible not to have a concept of group identity. However, we need a better way of dividing humanity, one that removes all power of judgement from race/ethnicity being qualifying factors and places the stress on the true value of a person’s character. I can’t refute an argument because of your ethnicity, religion, or political allegiance. But I can immediately judge you as misinformed, if not stupid, for believing in the Flat Earth model, and can argue that empirically. If the culture has deemed identity politics to be the path forward, then us in the middle need to make sure to push it to the fringes.

Rick has it right

Ignorance is a human disease, not unique to ethnicity. People judging by these standards ought to be left behind in their shadow of ignorance. The conversation needs turned at the very bottom toward a more proper conceptual understanding of what divides people. What divides people is their personal morals, their Character, not the generic imagery that their verbal allegiances belie. This places the weight solely on the individual. I know many religious people who are trash human beings. And I know many atheists with better moral codes than followers of religion. I tire of constantly hearing the bickering and nay saying of both sides of the spectrum, and not just me but most of the nation does too. However, we cannot just point to the top, whether its of government, politics, business, philosophy, or education, and say, “_____ needs changed!”. We must turn to the bottom of the tower and say, “Ok, our foundations need repaired and remodeled.” Every architect knows the foundations of the building determine how tall the structure can be built.

Where to begin?

Begin where you’re strength lies. In yourself. In a world that continues to push ambiguity on its metaculture in the name of egalitarianism, the way by which we make judgments about the people we choose to interact with is vital. We must start first with ourselves, and apply this process to our own philosophies. I firmly believe that to truly know a person you must know their ideals, and those ideals can be ascertained by the method I’m about to explain. Not many say to themselves, “Oh yeah, I see character flaw X.. maybe I should work on that.” Because no one likes to think they are ignorant or flawed, etc. But change the conversation of personal judgement from “I am (he, she, it is) X, agree or disagree” to,

  • What is the philosophic basis with which I (or this person) makes judgments?
  • From where are these philosophical foundations generated?
  • Does this underlying philosophy provide for positive growth and development for the individual and those it influences regardless of my personal opinion of it?

The first two questions build context for decision making, the third question settles how to judge the decision, positive or negative. This is discernment. It should be noted, using this matrix to judge another person’s character is highly hypocritical if you have not applied this matrix to yourself first. If all 3 of these questions can be answered, we now have a point A to begin conversations, regardless of whether we agree or disagree. It’s impossible to agree on a point B if there is no point A. If these criteria cannot be met, your energy is better suited investing in someone else.

Where to go from here?

Once you have founded this basis, apply the matrix up the ladder. Whether it pertains to business, politics, or just day to day friendships, this method of evaluating individuals brings perspective and depth of understanding to a world that puts too much stock in the image or identity one portrays over the things that really move an individual to action. I agree with Dr. King, as most would, “judgement based on the content of their character.” I hope I have provided a suitable axiomatic framework for this criteria.

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