Does Identity Equal Truth? Yes, in the Throes of Late Capitalism

Tucker Carlson: Time for Sidney Powell to show us her evidence | Fox News
Tucker Carlson, Fox Television Personality

In a recent article, “The ‘diversity’ delusion and the destruction of the American meritocracy,” Tucker Carlson lays out the case against selecting political and policy leaders on the basis of race and other identity instead of on the basis of merit. I want to amplify and expound on his argument in this blog.

How does one rationally argue that an individual carries the perspective of an abstract category based on socially-selected phenotypic characteristics? Are black people a political organization that elects the men and women the Biden/Harris administration then selected to serve in government? Or are these selections academic, administrative, and corporate elites who represent a particular class perspective (that of the global corporate class)? Is the expectation that they will represent those special interests (whatever they might be) over against the interests of individuals regardless of race? Should government officials represent al Americans regardless of race? If so, then why does race matter? The suggestion that this question has an obvious answer never gets around to answering the question.

How does the race of an affluent elite man enable the representation of the perspective of poor people—whatever his race or their race? What exactly is the poor people’s perspective? Is there just one poor people’s perspective? Is it monolithic, as Biden said about the black people (over against Hispanics, who enjoy a diversity of perspectives)? If not, how many perspectives?

How does white skin give a person any superior insight into the difficulties of people who share that skin color? I am white. Am I expected to represent the white perspective (whatever that might be—if there were one) over against those with other racial stamps? How could I even begin to do this? As best I can tell, white people are as variable in their politics as any other abstract unorganized category. They are gay, straight, Christian, atheist, male, female, young, old, Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, progressive, etc. I may cogently speak about the situation of working class people because I study their situation, but I possess no magic on account of my skin color. My race doesn’t make me an oracle. Put another way, I am not a racist.

The collective experience of a people—assuming there were one—does not come in the body of an individual. The black demographic is not anthropomorphized in a Biden appointee to the Department of Defense. That is neither an empirical nor a rational claim. It’s a religious-like claim, actually. Tucker Carlson said it very well when he said that abstractions are not persons. (It’s as if has been reading the Freedom and Reason blog—or at least thinking rationally about what should be obvious.)

Carlson does an excellent job of exposing the fetish of identity as the neoliberal means of advancing and entrenching the existing class structure. Indeed, one of the remarkable things about Carlson’s argument is how much it dovetails with the argument of Marxist political scientist (University of Pennsylvania) Adolph Reed, Jr. See, for example, “Antiracism: a neoliberal alternative to a left.” See also, Marx, Race, and Neoliberalism.

Public Thinker: Adolph Reed Jr. on Organizing, Race, and Bernie Sanders |  Public Books
Adolph Reed, Jr., Professor Emeritus at University of Pennsylvania

If Reed’s Marxist bona fides trouble folks, know that this argument also dovetails with the arguments of Glenn Loury (economist at Brown University) and John McWhorter (linguist at Columbia) who have devoted their careers to studying these matters. There are many more scholars who work from Carlson’s standpoint. It is a non-racist standpoint. The scholars I have cited are black, but I do not believe that their race adds any objectivity to their claims. However, they should for race identitarians. So why are these scholars routinely ignored by the legacy media?

Tucker Carlson’s is a class-analytical standpoint. It is refreshing to see in a popular pundit such a concern for working class people. Carlson, a conservative, gets their situation. In Carlson, we have a man, because of his populist-nationalist orientation, which may be possessed by black and white alike, who is unafraid exposes the true intent of the corporatist project to divide the working class with race (and other) identitarianism(s) in order to divert the proles (Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables”) from the politics that would advance their organic and material interests. For those of you on the left, I encourage you to dig into the work of Reed to gain a better understanding of the argument Carlson is making.

(By the way, when NASDAQ proposes new listing rules that require companies to “have or explain why they do not have at least two diverse directors, including one who self-identifies as female and one who self-identifies as either an underrepresented minority or LGBTQ+” do they mean to help out Rachel Dolezal? After all, Dolezal self-identifies as an underrepresented minority. Surely NASDAQ did not think through its statement as carefully as social justice demands. NASDAQ needs more woke folk on staff.)

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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