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The UK Labour Party and the System of Diversity

A review of The Tribe: The Liberal Left and the System of Diversityby Ben Cobley, Imprint Academic, (July 9, 2018) 250 pages. 

In February this year, I joined Artists for Brexit. AfB is an umbrella organisation for creatives who either voted Leave or who voted Remain but nonetheless want the best from Brexit for the arts.

Its membership ranks were nothing short of a revelation to me.

Until joining Artists for Brexit, I’d never met a left-wing Leaver. Of course, anyone looking at a map of the United Kingdom after the vote could see how vast swathes of Labour’s heartland had joined hands with the Shires to vote Leave. I genuinely did not know what mattered to leftie Leavers, something sadly indicative of the social divisions Brexit exposed. So I made a point of finding out, both within AfB’s membership as well as more widely. My suggestion — made somewhat glibly — to some that they ‘just vote Tory’ often generated a stream of unprintable invective. No-bloody-way-were-leftie-Leavers-just-voting-Tory-thank-you-very-much.

Of all the ‘leftie Leavers’ I met, none was more thoughtful than Ben Cobley, a committed Labour Party activist who’d been run out of his own party on a rail in large part for supporting Leave. He resigned a few days before the Referendum:

It has been a major feature of the EU referendum campaign — and as someone who came out in favour of Leave, the barrage of abuse but mostly insinuation and innuendo has been quite tough to bear, not least when much of it is coming from fellow Labour members and promoted by senior politicians (although not Jeremy Corbyn, notably). To vote for leaving the EU is to be ignorant, uneducated, racist, intolerant, anti-immigrant, anti-European, choosing the past over the future, supporting the far right and even supporting the murder of Jo Cox MP — so we are told. Seeing so many Labour people leading this chorus has tipped me over the edge, albeit I was already at the edge.

I knew Cobley was writing a book on what was ailing UK Labour. Having now read it, I maintain The Tribe: The Liberal Left and the System of Diversity to be among the most valuable books published this year.

I expected a lament on the extent to which Labour is no longer the party of the working class but rather a party of what Thomas Piketty calls ‘The Brahmin Left’, but it is much more than that. The Tribe is an articulate, scrupulously fair but nonetheless root-and-branch attack on the ‘system and administration of diversity’, not only in UK Labour but also in other British institutions, including the civil service and the BBC.

Before sketching out Cobley’s achievement in a form I hope does it justice, I should warn readers the book is rage-inducing. My review copy has two sets of dings in it because I threw it across the room twice. If you’re a Labour voter, you’ll be furious at how the party you support has been hollowed out from within. I found myself cross on Labour voters’ behalf and struggled to imagine how I would respond if something similar were to happen to the Conservative Party. If you’re a Conservative — and especially if you are part of British conservatism’s classical liberal wing, as I am — you will find Cobley’s barbs (often directed at classical liberal, pro-market economists when they join hands with left proponents of ‘the system of diversity’) are well aimed.

The Tribe describes how Britain’s Labour Party (and much of the wider labour movement, as well as other institutions) has been taken over (even ‘stolen’) by a political ideology that maintains we all have fixed identities, rather than being members of more malleable social classes. This ideology — Cobley calls it ‘the system of diversity’ — bears little relationship to the traditional Labour project. Instead of trying to raise up the poor and downtrodden by providing them with tools to organise and educate themselves, Labour — and institutions that feed it or recruit from its ranks — now exists to further a regime where we all exist in relationships of oppressor and oppressed with everyone else. These relationships of oppressor, oppression and power are always and everywhere based on fixed forms of identity: sex, race, religion (Islam, in particular, is rendered immutable), sexual orientation, gender.

Under the ‘system of diversity’, victimhood never ends. There is no room in it for the traditional trade unionist who wants better conditions for, say, coal miners so they don’t die underground; or a shop steward who wants call-centre workers or fruit pickers to earn better wages. There isn’t even room for the democratic socialist who aspires to any of the various forms of worker democracy that have existed historically, or who wishes to make use of alternative business structures, like cooperatives and mutuals. Instead, certain groups are taken always to require support. Certain groups must always be on the outer. Cobley calls them ‘the favoured’ and ‘the unfavoured’. The favoured include women, Muslims, and immigrants. The unfavoured include men and whites — but also uneducated people and most of the working poor. There are always victims, and always perpetrators. Oppression is systemic; it never ends, and can never end.

This has practical policy consequences. Cobley documents in mind-bending detail a regime of outrageous and systematic discrimination — in hiring, training, and in terms of financial largesse — across multiple institutions (including the BBC and civil service) and within Labour. The favouritism is meant to produce equality of outcomes, and diversity is treated as a per se good. ‘More women in STEM’ or ‘more BAME at the BBC’ or ‘more women in parliament’ are common catch-cries, with few arguments as to how this will improve STEM, the BBC, or Westminster. Even where there is an evidence base for ‘the system of diversity’ — Steven Pinker’s research showing an increase in the number of female parliamentarians produces more circumspect foreign policy — it isn’t used. Equality of outcomes is the only policy goal.

The scale of the favouritism and the precision with which it is targeted demands lock-step conformity, too, so when different favoured groups find themselves contesting the same territory, demarcation disputes arise. If, say, on the BBC, a feminist criticises the treatment of women in Britain’s Muslim communities or a Muslim outlines his religion’s traditional view of homosexuality, there is an embarrassing contretemps and ruffled feathers. Effectively, the two representatives can only be allies in ‘the system’ as long as the Muslim doesn’t say anything about homosexuality and the feminist doesn’t say anything about burkas or niqabs (which means the latter job is left to Tories like Boris Johnson). Rinse and repeat when it comes to other favoured groups.

So far, so simple — The Tribe may seem like many conservative (and Conservative Party) criticisms of ‘identity politics’ or ‘SJWs’ or the ‘ctrl-left’. But it isn’t. Cobley’s own fealty to the traditions of Labour and labour activism means he is a sympathetic and humane guide to ‘the system of diversity’. The Tribe is a real attempt to understand it on its own terms. Instead of having a witty 1,000 word moan (what Tories tend to do when confronted by ideas widely considered nonsense on the centre-right) Cobley elucidates the extent to which what has taken hold of Labour (and labour) is a worked-out ideological system with serious intellectual underpinnings. Often, of course, it’s deployed in grossly simplified form. In doing so, he is probably the first person I’ve read to discuss Heidegger with clarity and élan. From being a philosopher I always wrote off as a purveyor of fascist nonsense, Heidegger has now become an important but dangerous thinker.

Heidegger developed a digestible way of thinking about fixed identities when it comes to fitting out and then fighting an ideological battle. As described by Cobley, this involves construing group identity so it bleeds out all individual characteristics. People are treated only as an instance of their fixed group membership. It allows rapid categorisation and assessment (‘friend or foe?’ and ‘with us or against us?’) and also ensures activists who administer it and promote it don’t have to think about what they’re doing or the club they’ve joined. They become the vanguard of a ‘thought tribe’ instead of the proletariat.

This means one can predict a left-liberal activist’s opinion across dozens of subjects based solely on his or her participation in ‘the system’. Cobley documents — with mountains of evidence — the extent to which ‘system people’ cannot be engaged in debate, as well as the extent to which they are willing to hand over their ability to think in favour of what are evidentially unsupported assertions. They haven’t come to their views through self-discovery or introspection, they don’t really understand them, and any arguments where they do engage are combative and aimed at belittling interlocutors rather than making a persuasive case. This explains the endless demands to check one’s privilege or arguments for the primacy of lived experience over research or imagination or data, for example. A single piece of information about an opponent is used to rule out anything he or she says tout court. Cobley makes use of Heidegger’s phrase ‘Das Man’ to label this phenomenon, to which one ‘gives way’ or into which one ‘falls’. A useful translation of ‘Das Man’ in this context is ‘the Blob’. By ‘giving way’ to the Blob, people are relieved of the requirement to think. All they have to do is engage in duckspeak, thereby showing in-group loyalty.

Sexcrime

This can have disastrous effects. In the first 30 pages, Cobley tells the story of Rotherham through the lens of the system of diversity. He documents how leaders drawn from one of the system’s favoured groups — Pakistani Muslims — were able to cover up an extraordinary crime spree (at least 1400 children sexually abused in a single town). State institutions simply outsourced authority over that group to state-funded ‘community leaders’, especially Pakistani-background Labour Party councillors.

These individuals — by constantly referring to ‘community cohesion’ and making accusations of racism — were able to ensure police officers, teachers, and social workers from every kind of background were simply ignored when they pointed out that there was, in fact, a vast pool of criminality pullulating under their noses. Criticism was construed as an attack on a group the ‘system of diversity’ favours, or even on the idea of diversity or variation itself. Meanwhile, politicians and civil servants higher up the food chain (overwhelmingly posh, even though drawn from Labour) simply rescinded responsibility for their constituents. One social worker told the Rotherham Inquiry, ‘if we mentioned Asian taxi drivers we were told we were racist and the young people were seen as prostitutes,’ while another said ‘we were constantly being reminded not to be racist’.

This relationship is multiculturalist (relations conducted with certain favoured groups as groups [emphasis Cobley’s]; transactional (in that administration effectively trades power for assistance with the community); it outsources authority (from public bodies to community leaders); and it is hands off/not ethics-based (so disregards illegal behaviour in order to maintain the integrity of system relations) [p 9].

Cobley’s extended analysis of what went on in Rotherham, sharpened by his detailed knowledge of the internal workings of the Labour Party and the individuals involved, led to the first ding in my review copy.

One Labour MP (Rotherham’s Sarah Champion) did do the job of representing her constituents. And the full force of the ‘system’ was brought to bear in a way enormously destructive not only of her political career (which one expects, politics being a nasty game) but also of her ability to function as an adult human being. To outsiders (including Conservatives) it looked like she was in trouble for writing a piece about Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs for The Sun. Not so. She could have written the same piece for The Guardian and the response would have been identical. The system set out to break her. Among other things, she now requires 24-hour security and is routinely deluged with vile abuse. When Cobley then described how Labour’s posh feminists refused to move the levers of power on behalf of poor white girls who formed a genuine (as opposed to political) victim class — despite being made well aware, thanks to Champion’s efforts, of what was going on — I threw the book across the room.

Hatecrime

Rotherham is not, however, Cobley’s most compelling case study of the ‘system’ at work. That appellation belongs to his analysis of the surge in ‘hate crime’ following the 2016 Referendum result. I am now reasonably satisfied the hate crime widely reported from June 23 onwards and seized upon by the Remain camp after its shock defeat was a classic example of moral panic, and that most of the reports were false.

This is because no evidence is required for the reporting of hate crime, only the victim’s subjective feelings. Worse, many reports are not made to police, but to an online portal called ‘True Vision’, which allows (and encourages) anonymous submissions and also allows the alleged victim to forbid police follow-up. Even when contacted in person, police officers are not allowed to contest an alleged victim’s interpretation of events. They can’t even ask ‘are you sure?’ All of this is set out in grisly and authoritarian detail in the College of Policing’s Hate Crime Operational Guidance.

Thanks to the collapse of multiple trials, we now have good evidence that lowering the evidentiary bar in this way generates a rapid uptick in false reports. Lawyers have also long known any legal system that makes use of untested evidence from anonymous witnesses is vulnerable to perversions of the course of justice. Meanwhile, allowing alleged victims to define what is and is not racism on a wholly subjective basis undermines the ‘reasonable person test’ that undergirds much of the rule of law. The same phenomenon became apparent during the period when ‘believe the victim’ in sexual assault reporting was also part of police operational guidance. This has since been rescinded precisely because it undermines the presumption of innocence. Not so with hate crime, which remains on foot and able to be used as a stick with which to beat those opposed to ‘the system of diversity’.

In this way, hate crime and its reporting process have appeared as a handy political weapon to affix a legalistic form of guilt [emphasis Cobley’s] on to people who do not align to the system of diversity and its favouritisms, like on immigration. It has enabled high profile politicians like Sadiq Khan to use their power to influence the reporting of incidents, thereby affecting the statistical results which they then use for political ends — a variant of what The Wire creator David Simon has called ‘juking the stats’. It has helped activists and community leaders to promote their victimhood, claim that it is getting worse, and demand more resources to address it, reducing budgets for other things [p 17].

At one point, Labour’s abandonment of the rule of law was so complete that Andy Burnham — at the time Shadow Home Secretary — argued British Muslims should be able to bypass police when reporting hate crime. He wanted them to be able to go to a local mosque and its ‘community leaders’ to make reports instead.

There’s a name for the activity undertaken by this particular ‘favoured group’, although Cobley does not use it: ‘rent-seeking’. Rent-seeking happens when people try to obtain economic benefits by dint of politics rather than market competition. They may seek subsidies for a good they produce or for being a member of a particular group of people, or by persuading legislatures to enact regulations hampering competitors.

Key to understanding rent-seeking’s pernicious effect on the economy and wider society is that it involves increasing a given group’s share of existing wealth without creating any new wealth. It is typically legal but often produces disreputable behaviour, and can shade into bribery and vote-rigging, which are illegal. Cobley documents a number of incidents where rent-seeking crossed into actual criminality. He outlines how Faiz ul Rasool, chairman of the Muslim Friends of Labour, was in the habit of boasting of his ability to provide access to Andy Burnham for £5000, for example. ‘There are four people fighting this election,’ ul Rasool would say. ‘Whoever wins, they will come to me because I’ve got 1.5 million votes. I have got a position’ [p 171].

Cobley is a genuine lefty, and to be frank I doubt he’s ever read an economics textbook. In The Tribe he seems to have worked up concepts drawn from public choice theory independently of any research in the field. Clearly both moved and horrified at his discoveries, he documents them with meticulous clarity, to the point where his chapters on Rotherham, hate crime, and the use of ‘community leaders’ to manage and police Pakistani Muslims (instead of the state) could be set in a microeconomics course alongside theoretical papers from the likes of Anne Krueger, Gordon Tulloch, and James Buchanan — core theorists of public choice.

Doublethink

After his superb discussion of rent-seeking, Cobley moves on to immigration policy. He seeks to pick apart the current cooperation between centre-right economic liberalism (‘immigration is good for the economy’; ‘immigrants have more market value than natives’) and the system of diversity (‘immigrants are structurally disadvantaged’; ‘immigrants are oppressed victims’). He makes classical liberals look like smarmy gits, worthy of the nasty ‘neoliberal’ moniker.

‘Preferment towards immigrant populations [is] justified both for their situation as victims and based on a survival of the fittest story,’ he points out, ‘often by the same people’ [p 126, emphasis Cobley’s]. The doublethink involved is obvious. The leftie diversity-booster wants to tell a story about the poor Syrian refugee fleeing from Assad’s gas attacks, while the Tory or LibDem neoliberal wants cheap labour to mow his lawn or clean her floors (because natives demand higher wages). Both, however, sing from the same hymn-sheet in an utterly cynical alliance of convenience.

During a nuanced discussion of how people who do not like immigration do not necessarily think immigrants are bad (an important point undergirding data analysis showing employment discrimination against women and minorities in modern Britain is rare), Cobley’s lack of economic knowledge is nonetheless quite badly exposed. I’m reluctant to say this. Often ‘but you should have addressed [x]’ is a complaint the writer hasn’t written the critic’s preferred book. Nonetheless, The Tribe is so good Cobley’s failure to get labour economics correct is notable.

Drawing on Marx (with a side-serving from Karl Polanyi’s Great Transformation), Cobley takes it as given that immigrants compete for jobs and put downwards pressure on wages. He even quotes Marx’s observation (made in 1870) that surplus labour from Ireland lowered ‘the material and moral position of the English working class’ and is ‘the secret by which the capitalist class maintains its power’.

There’s a problem with this argument. It isn’t true. And drawing on two thinkers whose empirical analysis is suspect led to the second ding in my review copy.

The effect of immigration on wages is now fairly well known. Research by labour economists indicates it doesn’t have a negative effect on native wages, in large part because immigration makes the economy bigger (it’s ‘positive sum’, not ‘zero sum’). Where economists do suggest immigration is a problem — Harvard’s George Borjas is notable here — it’s only low-skill immigration at issue. Borjas’s most famous study looks at the Mariel Boatlift in Miami. He found that wages for native born school drop-outs (a significant share of the labour market in Florida) fell by up to 15% relative to other cities over the next 5-10 years before recovering in the late 1980s. If Borjas is right, then low-skilled immigration can depress the return on pure, or manual labour for up to 10 years — especially if the labour market is already rigid or education and retraining systems are (forgive the Keynesian language) ‘sticky’.

However, when one sees a long-term negative effect from immigration — as opposed to just a transitional one — that means there are labour market rigidities like wage controls or limits on hiring and firing or poor geographical mobility. The effect of low-skill immigration in France, for example, is consistently negative and has been for a long time. France combines an inflexible labour market with a generous welfare state for citizens, while low-skill immigrants are more willing to work at the same wage under less pleasant conditions. Meanwhile, Denmark tells a very different story — low-skill immigration there has a strongly positive effect. Denmark has a flexible labour market and no minimum wage, which it combines not just with a social safety net but also systems to retrain the native workforce for non-manual tasks as migrants replace them at the bottom of the job heap.

This means progressives are confronted with a situation where they have to choose. Do they opt for extensive worker protections? Or do they shield the poor from negative migration effects? And do they admit (while making their choice) that squaring this circle is both expensive and occasionally morally repugnant? Denmark is willing to spend big on its social safety net and behave coercively towards immigrants who don’t integrate readily. Australia, meanwhile, makes it almost impossible for asylum seekers and low-skill immigrants to enter the country (helping to keep minimum wages high and unemployment low), all the while aggressively enticing and recruiting large numbers of high-skill immigrants from all over the planet.

Ingsoc

During a conversation with Cobley last month, he told me sundry Westminster wonks were irritating him because they would read his book and then complain he fails to provide solutions to the problems he so superbly analyses. I told him that, in my view, it’s a policy wonk’s job to come up with useful policy hacks. He’s already done his bit.

Cobley builds up a detailed portrait of systemic discrimination against an already disadvantaged group (poor whites, particularly poor white men). He may well have proven that social policy around ameliorating disadvantage has been misdirected, even flat wrong, for something like 20 years. Along every metric that matters — education, wealth, life expectancy, suicide rates — poor white men and boys are at the bottom of the heap, yet are weirdly written off as ‘privileged’ by the system of diversity.

My policy advice here is of a fairly standard classical liberal sort, a version of the City’s ‘Big Bang’ (which had the beneficial effect of breaking up cosy old-boy networks). Parliament should enact legislation that systematically and swiftly ends all state funding for ‘diversity lobbies’ or ‘community organisations’, whether ethnic minority, feminist or religious. At the same time, it should abolish all forms of hiring preferment and quotas in the civil service and BBC, while discouraging similar forms of discrimination in the private sector. Law enforcement and social services should engage people directly, as individuals, not via ‘community leaders’.

This, however, only addresses part of the problem, because it would also make Britain’s institutions brutally meritocratic. Never forget that meritocracy is the way smart people want society organised so members of their tribe — other smart people — can escape whatever world they’ve been born into. Meritocracy may or may not be a good way of managing civilisation, but don’t kid yourself it’s any fairer to reward people born smart than it is to reward men with posh surnames, Pakistani Muslims, women, or immigrants. I have no good responses to this conundrum.

The problem with the system of diversity is that its focus on equality of outcomes across groups undermines what classical liberals call ‘moral egalitarianism’. Moral egalitarianism means we must weigh everyone’s interests equally, regardless of anything else about them. Our attributes and talents don’t determine how valuable we are as human beings. Our humanity comes first, because humans are equal in dignity and worth.

The uncomfortable reality is a meritocratic society is an unequal society, because those who are more talented in particular areas do better. These days, for example, STEM is valued, and STEM (in the face of major programmes to entice or even shoehorn more women into those fields) is male-dominated. If despite the strenuous efforts Cobley documents STEM remains male-dominated, it gets easier to suggest — ‘well, maybe women aren’t equal, so maybe we can take their interests less seriously’.

One of Steven Pinker’s concerns has been to show that the principle of moral egalitarianism can survive the reality people are not all the same. That some people — both individually and on a group basis — are better at sums or faster in the fifty-yard dash seems trivially true. Unfortunately, much current policy is dedicated to handwaving away large average statistical differences across groups. Worse, people are born unequal, too — our aptitudes and interests have a genetic basis. To turn the famous line from Julius Caesar on its head, the fault is in our stars and not in ourselves that we are underlings. This is something we haven’t confronted honestly since classical antiquity, which probably explains how such thoughtless policy become popular. It’s worth remembering it took centuries to reject the pagan Roman view that if you’re beautiful, or clever, or courageous, you’re a better person and deserve more consideration.

All the while equality of outcomes is sought but not achieved, the foundation of liberal democracy is at risk: equal suffrage or ‘one-vote-one-value’ and equal treatment before the law. We are in danger of making moral egalitarianism dependent on equality of outcomes.

In writing The Tribe, Ben Cobley has done the tradition of English socialism an enormous service. He has also produced a book that explains many of the perplexities arising from the UK’s Leave vote, detailed how a frankly bonkers set of beliefs has stolen the Labour Party, and shown the danger of viewing people as members of fixed identity groups. I’m not a socialist and am temperamentally disinclined ever to be one, but The Tribe is a better analysis of the fraught nature of identity politics and mandated diversity than anything from my side of the political aisle. People of all political persuasions should read it.

 

Helen Dale won the Miles Franklin Award for her first novel, The Hand that Signed the Paper, read law at Oxford and Edinburgh, and was Senior Adviser to Australian Senator David Leyonhjelm. Her most recent novel, Kingdom of the Wicked — set in a Roman Empire that has undergone an industrial revolution — has just been published (reviewed here in Quillette). Follow her on Twitter and Gab @_HelenDale

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Helen Dale won the Miles Franklin Award in 1995, read law at Oxford (where she was at Brasenose) and was previously Senior Adviser to Australian Senator David Leyonhjelm. Her second novel, Kingdom of the Wicked, will be published by Ligature in October this year.

62 Comments

  1. Farris says

    Immigration is the one area leftist do not care to regulate. Controlled legal immigration can be a benefit to a country, especially when assimilation is encouraged. Unfettered unchecked immigration is a public safety issue. Would you invite everyone into your home? The amazing thing is this unfettered immigration increased even after the evidence provided by 9/11. Politicians on the right are also culpable for allowing themselves to be cowered by spurious claims of racism.

    • Peter Robinson says

      A word of warning, irrespective of the views expressed. Helen Dale published her award winning novel under the name of Helen Demidenko. The antisemitic nature of the novel was excused because of her ‘authentic’ ethnic voice. She passed herself off as Ukranian and even wore traditional costumes. The hoax was a huge controversy in Australia when it was discovered that she was Helen Darville, the daughter of British migrants. The antisemtism in the book had been excused because she claimed it was authentic testimony of her Demidenko forbears.

      • Northern Observer says

        Given how anti Semitic the left is today my concern would be that this would impede the writers ability to criticize the left rather than show inherent bias.

      • Dionysus says

        Anti-semitism along with another well-known phobia is nothing but a bullsh*t term designed to socialy ostracise individuals who dare criticise the pathologically sociopathic nature of certain ideologies. Such terms are well known in Eastern Europe, probably becasue tens of millions died because of them, and we call them ‘dysqualification terms’.

        If you’re not genuinely fearful of somebody who subscribes to an indeology whereby an imaginary friend tells them they’re ‘the chosen one’ and everyone else is sub-human, then god help you.

  2. It’s amazing how well thought has been policed by the media that we all thought that left-wing Leavers didn’t even exist. That’s really remarkable and is a testament to how thorough they are. The Party of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” would be proud of that kind of successful unpersoning.

    “An unperson is someone who has been “vapourized”—not only killed by the state, but erased from existence. Such a person would be written out of existing books, photographs and articles so that no trace of their existence could be found in the historical record. The idea is that such a person would, according to the principles of doublethink, be forgotten completely (for it would be impossible to provide evidence of their existence), even by close friends and family.

    Mentioning an unperson’s name, or even speaking of their past existence, is itself thoughtcrime; the concept that the person may have existed at one time and has disappeared cannot be expressed in Newspeak.”

    • I suspect the left-wing Leaver’s situation is the same as what led to Trump winning the 2016 election when all the polling said otherwise. The author here points out that any Leaver was immediately branded with *ist and *obe labels which, to most, is a passive aggressive means of stifling voice. After all, who wants to risk their livelihood by making a statement and then being slandered eternally as a racist? As a result, they keep their true beliefs quiet and the vocal minority can then claim that “the science is settled” based upon the lack of vocal debate.

    • I would not blame the media for the left’s embrace of the system of diversity. From personal experience leftists do a great job brutally policing their own ranks through social and career sabotage. A leftist who questions Intersectional assertions is simply branded a racist/misogynist/transphobe/islamophobe etc. and all others are warned of keeping their company lest they become bigots by association.

  3. Peter from Oz says

    Great article.
    I would just add that there is one paradox that I find amusing when it comes to Labourrite Remainers. It is clear that if Britain remained in the EU Corbyn and his cronies could never introduce the socialist policies they have promised their followers. The EU wouldn’t allow Labour to renationalise the railways, for example.
    The whole thing about the EU is that in truth it renders vast swathes of politics out of bounds for British politicians. it is in effect a safety net for the poor dears. As the role of government has increased, it is difficult enough for Westminster to keep up. Imagine how it’s going to be for them when they actually have to run everything. It is to be hoped that they will realise that it’s better to leave most things alone. T

  4. TarsTarkas says

    This excellent, concise and well-written review, and the book it reviews, explains much of what is happening on this side of the water in both Canada and the US; the ‘hollowing out’ of the Liberal and Democratic parties by the equal outcome diversity gang, the unholy alliance between Left and Big Business regarding unrestricted or poorly regulated immigration, etc., etc.

    I intend to post links to this book and this review on other sites when and where it is appropriate, to as many other sites that I can.

    • same in Germany. Recently onem an was stabbed to death, two more are still in the emergency unit.
      The only one who were blamed were the “Ultra-Right” or directly “Nazis”

  5. Kessler says

    From what I read about UK politics, the Conservative Party in UK is pretty identitarian as well, being something like modern Labour lite. The politics of identity groups, victimhood and “diversity” are the new standard.

    • I don’t agree that the Conservatives are identitarian, and I’m a Scottish independent. We are not known as natural allies of the Conservative party ( anything but ). The grand and sickening game that has been played for decades as described in this book has cowed British civil society.

      The article refers to the 1400 girls and boys raped and sexually assaulted in Rotherham. That figure is insignificant set against the level of sexual crime perpetrated against British born Muslim children by their own community.

      In the last twenty-four hours, the UK government has proposed raising the minimum marriage age to 18, in an attempt to reduce the level of forced marriage and rape of Muslim girls. The last attempt to prevent such abuse was ( staggeringly ) struck down by our Supreme Court. In a verdict of judicial lunacy, and ignoring the spirit of the law, our SC decided the human right to family life with a foreign born spouse was important than the abduction, coercion, and rape of teenagers.

      I have personal knowledge of this. My girlfriend is one of the victims. Coerced into marriage at sixteen ( confiscated passport, told she would not be allowed to return to the UK from the Kashmiri village she was visiting ). She was raped multiple times by her new husband in an effort to impregnate her ( an anchor baby aids visa applications ). When she returned to the UK, her father allowed her to annul the marriage on condition that she would wait until the cousin was granted residency.

      This year that we have seen the first convictions for forced marriage in the UK. One case involved a thirteen-year-old. I recognise the section in the article where the author dinged the book as feminists ignored the mass rape of young girls. I feel the same way about how our Muslim girls have been treated.

      The only hope is the Conservative party. Only they can rediscover the backbone to confront this identitarian disease. Boris Johnson had a half-pop at it recently when he mocked Burqa wearers. His sister was ridiculed this week on British TV, in a direct racist attack, by a Burqa wearer saying “we don’t need WHITE feminists interfering in the culture of women of colour.”

      Yes, you do. All of we now-reviled white people need to get back on our front feet and start calling out this cultural abuse. Multiple thousands of “children of colour,” a truly sickening phrase, are entitled to the greatest gift our Western countries can give. That’s the rule of law, equally delivered.

      Democracy cannot function without the rule of law. And without the rule of law, civil society ceases to function. Case study – Rotherham.

      • Circuses and Bread says

        @hail the contrarian

        Your post was ironic on a couple of dimensions. First in how you immediately identified your political “tribe”, Scottish Independent, when the underlying article is on a book entitle “The tribe…”

        Perhaps we should identify our political “tribe” when posting at Quillette? If so, put my tribe down as “American Antipolitical.” Pleased to meet your acquaintance.

        Second, and I think more importantly, are your (sadly) ironic comments on how identity politics is failing to help or protect those it purports to help. It’s a tragedy that children of color are precisely the ones being left behind. This is not without precedent, though. Black Americans fared poorly under President Obama.

    • ‘Fraid so. We don’t actually have a credible small ‘c’ conservative party in the UK any more just some conservative individuals like Jacob Rees Mogg who are denied a political home.

  6. ga gamba says

    Question for the progressive globalists: Assuming your assertions that Britain (or the US, Australia, and Canada) is institutionally and systemically racist are true, and irredeemably so given the native majority population possess unconscious bias that further perpetrates harm intentionally or not, why would you advocate importing people to be placed into such a hostile and abusive environment? It appears to be a senselessly cruel and perhaps even a sadistic act. What kind of monsters are you?

    This would be like police and child care officials putting abused children back into the hands of paedophiles. Oh wait… this actually happened. Repeatedly.

    Perhaps the institutions and systems aren’t inherently and irredeemably racist, but claims otherwise in the sharp-elbowed jostling for political patronage lead to actual racist (or, if you prefer, discriminatory) structures being fabricated at the local level that allow Rotherhams to occur throughout the nation repeatedly over many years. If institutions and systems were inherently and redeemably racist, we would expect to find groups of grooming gang rapists amongst the majority population who routinely act at will against the oppressed immigrant populations – easy and unprotected pickings, right? Yet…

    Further, since crimes like rape most often happen intra-race, and about 90% of the rapists are known to the victim, we have a unique phenomenon (that somehow repeatedly happens) where the immigrants look outside their own community. Why are their targets Sikhs and (perceived) Christians and not Muslims? Something assured, perhaps even convinced, the rapists they are less likely to run into trouble than by acting against their own community. Hmmm… what could that be?

    One often hears complaints of fear of the majority expressed by the ostensibly oppressed groups, yet the behaviour of targeting the majority, in particular the weakest and most cherished members, children, of the majority, suggests little genuine fear. These claims are over-egged likely because the speakers know accusations go unchallenged and the sense makers of the majority willingly accept them lest they too be accused of racism.

    The armchair psychologist in me thinks that gaslighting is being pulled by some in connivance with activists, political leaders, and journalists to sow seeds of doubt in members of a targeted group, making them question their own perception. Those who speak out are then harassed by police, pilloried by the press, and unpersoned to serve as a warning to others.

    • D.B. Cooper says

      @ga gamba

      Low hanging fruit with a few rhetorical questions mixed in. This shouldn’t take but a minute,

      why would you advocate importing people to be placed into such a hostile and abusive environment?

      Maybe not the progressive globalists (PG) you were hoping for, but I’ll run it up and down the flag pole and see what you think. I don’t frequent a great deal of PG circles – I’ve been told my opinions are unwelcome – so what follows is speculative at best. Feel free to disagree, in fact, I’m hoping you do. For the more cynical PG, my best guess would be they believe by flooding the native (read Caucasian) population with a “critical mass” (numbers will vary, although I don’t believe it’s an exact science for PGs) of immigrants, and assuming the immigrants are Caucasian challenged (pssh, that’s my new PC term for people of color, I’m trying to make it stick) and let’s be honest, you can bet folding money they always are, the cynical PG will accomplish or believes he/she will accomplish two things:

      (1)Lower the prevalence rates of melanoma (basal & squamous cell, too) skin cancer through the inevitable miscegenation (is this term still used?) of native/non-native populations, due to higher levels of melanin skin pigment of the bi/tri racial 2nd & 3rd generations (so on and so forth); although UV radiation will still be a problem. Short answer is disease rates.

      (2)Sufficient miscegenation will eliminate phenotypic differences, thereby eliminating racism, thereby eliminating physical & cognitive/personality (even though they never existed to begin with) differences, thereby allowing for unmitigated socialism due to monolithic population allowing it, thereby arriving at a place (in society) of perfect equilibrium. I’m about 75% sure this is the textbook definition of Utopia for Leftist (see the late Anthony Bourdain as an example). So, the short answer is Utopia.

      As for the non-cynical PG or bleeding-heart PG as they’re more affectionately known, their reasoning is much more easy to deduce. Bleeding-heart PG reasoning is more or less the same as that of a PETA member. Basically, their emotionally unstable (my apologies for any current members in attendance) to the point of needing professional help. The bleeding-heart PG uses reason and logic the same way a teenage girl does; which is to say: not at all.

      All the bleeding-heart PG knows is that they were put on this Earth to help people even if that means destroying their own lives (examples ad infinitum), their family’s lives (see Swedish mothers not reporting the immigrant who raped her daughter), their community (ad infinitum), their country (any European country not answering to Poland or Hungary), etc., etc.

      Something assured, perhaps even convinced, the rapists they are less likely to run into trouble than by acting against their own community. Hmmm… what could that be?

      You’re such a sarcastic bastard, ga gamba. I mean that in a good way. It’s a term of endearment, just trust me. If anyone in attendance has recently awoke (is that the correct verb/tense) from a 10-year coma, I suggest, by way of ga gamba’s sarcasm that you familiarize yourself with the political/police cover-up of the Pakistani (that’s right Pakistani, not Asian) grooming gangs of Rotherham and Newcastle, England. The entire affair(s) is disgusting beyond belief. Ga gamba’s sarcasm doesn’t do it justice.

      The armchair psychologist in me thinks that gaslighting is being pulled by some…

      The armchair psychologist in you? How about the common-fucking-sense in you? Come on ga gamba, do I need to invite you back to reality? Of course, “gaslighting is being pulled by some in connivance with activists, political leaders,” et al. Stevie Wonder can see the flames from across the pond. We are way past tepid accusations of gaslighting. The house is on fire, buddy.

      • ga gamba says

        1) It’s to prevent skin cancer in future generations. Of course! That’s a good one.

        2) Everyone dusky. Yes, this is a likely outcome, but seeing how some African-Americans are now accusing each other of colourism and having passing privilege, at some point in the future I think we’ll be back to playing the game of octoroons, quadroons, macaroons, and hexadecaroons. Understanding the human capacity to spot and appreciate the tyranny of minor differences, I wouldn’t be surprised to see people evaluate nasal bridge prominence and nostril width – this already happens in parts of Asia. And what of what the Filipinos call ‘chinky eyes’? Would that be a privilege or not? It’s an attribute much more common amongst East Asians, a wealthy high-status group, than Southeast Asians. And don’t even get me started on the attached versus free earlobes disputes of 1874 and 1986. The UN peacekeepers are still on patrol to prevent a new flare up.

        So many new and exciting games. Endless possibilities. Get your accusations ready.

        • How dark of pigmentation is acceptable? After all, we just had the gigantic “black face” controversy where a young, dark-skinned stunt double wasn’t of the same pigmentation as the young, dark-skinned actor and as a result required makeup to darken his complexion further. Oh, the horror! Perhaps the stunt double should file for benefits under his pigmentation deficiency?

          • D.B. Cooper says

            Not sure if you were being sarcastic about with the facial features’ commentary (the sarcasm is notoriously thick with the Gambas), but Brazil actually instituted such a program after a guy of ambiguous POC heritage was awarded a gov’t position (I believe) which was required to be filled by a POC, per Brazil’s law of social quota (affirmative action). Unfortunately, for the guy someone on social media found out he got the job and decided he didn’t look “black” enough.

            I probably don’t need to tell you what happened next, but I’m going to b/c you can’t make this shit up.

            So, after swearing to God, Allah, the grave of his unborn child, and his favorite aunt that he was in fact black, gov’t decision makers still ended up conducting a full fledge investigation into the matter. Their decision? He wouldn’t black enough. To remedy this problem – and prevent future problems of a similar nature – the Brazilian gov’t did what gov’ts do. They jumped the shark, went full on David Duke style and decided in all their wisdom that they would adhere to racist tropes by instituting minimum requirements for who can be black: nose, lip and skin measurements (among others I believe). In what can only be the most appropriate response to racism ever, Rachel Dolezal twitted soon thereafter that she would no longer be vacationing in Rio de Janeiro.

            The only SJW story I’ve ever heard that comes anywhere close to this level of incoherence was the transgender woman at Wellsley College who was summarily dismissed as a candidate for diversity officer following her, I’m sorry, his decision to identify as a man. The school’s reasoning? She, I mean, he was now part of the oppressive patriarchy and couldn’t appreciate the unique “lived experiences” of being a woman.

            While I enjoy such stories, admittedly, they are a sad reminder that the center will not hold under such tomfoolery. Reading nonsense like this is almost enough to make one want to be a prepper or something equally fatuous.

          • ga gamba says

            There’s alway truth in what I mention, but I heap on the mustard and relish ‘cuz what’s life without condiments?

            You write, it’s “a sad reminder that the center will not hold under such tomfoolery.” I hope the centre gets some backbone and pushes back very hard, but, seeing how most people are duck-and-cover types who really don’t want to be bothered because life’s tough enough; if they do they risk their safety, their jobs, and their families’ well being, I suspect not much will come from them. They have to get really pissed off, for example screw with their video games which for many was one of their few joys in life – I mention this because I read someone speculate GamerGate may have won Trump the election by bringing to the polls a lot of first-time voters. And the damn shame is this timidity is exactly what the progressives count on. They learnt a small group of energised people will reap large rewards when they took over the universities, both the faculty and the student unions.

            These daily outbursts of ever more bizarre behaviour, absurd demands, and the supportive twitter mobs are normalising a way of life where people are cowed to conform. It’s explained very well by Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s “The Dictatorship of the Small Minority”.

            When “a certain type of intransigent minority reaches a minutely small level, say three or four percent of the total population, the entire population will have to submit to their preferences. Further, an optical illusion comes with the dominance of the minority: a naive observer would be under the impression that the choices and preferences are those of the majority.”

            The twitter mob that injects itself to defend an ally in a one-on-one tiff creates such a illusion. The mass media covering the same stories with a very similar if not the same narrative creates a perceived amplification. “Everyone is talking about on the news.”

            The great concern is more and more laws are being enacted to entrench social justice grooming. Getting laws on the books it tough; getting them off the books is even tougher.

        • peanut galelry says

          Are you an innie or an outie? Show me your belly-button, scum!

        • TarsTarkas says

          You forgot to mention the long-simmering dispute between the Big Endians and the Little Endians.

  7. Interesting article.

    Concerning ‘meritocracy’ there is a common tendency to presume IQ will translate into merit. In fact, IQ or inborn talent requires training, self-discipline and drive to achieve on top of what you’re born with in order to become the most meritorious person for a job, and likely some good luck as well. It’s a process in which the heritable traits are just the raw ingredients. It’s what the person makes of the talents committed to their charge that gets rewarded, and perhaps that is right and proper.

    • > In fact, IQ or inborn talent requires training, self-discipline and drive

      Of which two are straightforwardly heritable traits as well, so you’re mostly just kicking the same ball forward.

    • I find the IQ measure to be extremely conflicting. The measure of IQ is a test typically of knowledge. That knowledge, is in turn, learned either through formal or informal education. As a result, any IQ test is a measure of past experience and not really of potential. That it tends to correlate with potential seems to me an artifact of ability to learn/exposure versus an immutable trait. Take two children, one in a family with one parent working and the other at home with the child, challenging them to learn either academically or just in nature…climb a tree, fix something, build something, etc. The second, identical child is sent to a day care which plants them in front of cartoons. I would guess the first child would test higher in IQ if the test were to cover problem solving or real-world “things.” Conversely, if the IQ test was based upon the nature of Sponge Bob, the second may test higher.

      This was covered in an episode of the Big Bang Theory quite succinctly when Penny asked Sheldon and Leonard trivia pursuit questions out of modern pop culture and the two physicists were completely stumped. An IQ test with questions about physics would show them geniuses while one centered on culture would have them being a step above mentally disabled. It’s all about who constructs the test — and specifically what dimensions of thought the proctor’s culture views important.

      • Maybe decades ago that was true, but today’s intelligence tests are free of such bias. They don’t have questions any more like “how many innings in a baseball game?” Modern tests are language-free and culture-independent.

        • They may claim to be; however, take the measures of global education systems as an example. They purport the same thing, then have their results used to compare US vs other countries. In the details you note that big sections are “extrapolated” based upon trends. So while they don’t ask culturally specific questions, the scoring is still based upon inferences from them.

          Having a couple children going through the IQ assessments, what they’ve done is split into dimensions and then assess IQ based upon scoring in those dimensions. It isn’t an equal 20% 20% that, but it’s more akin to “take the 3 highest and use those” or similar. The algorithm isn’t important, simply that they still rely on dimensions of expertise be they problem solving, enthusiasm, creativity, etc. Those are grounded in cultural norms. What is creative in an indigenous tribe somewhere is not creative to the US suburbs.

  8. D.B. Cooper says

    The Tribe describes how Britain’s Labour Party (and much of the wider labour movement, as well as other institutions) has been taken over (even ‘stolen’) by a political ideology that maintains we all have fixed identities, rather than being members of more malleable social classes.

    I hesitate to put on display my American provincialism, but this statement (among others) begs the question: Has the abortion of good faith, colloquially known as ‘identity politics’, only recently metastasized across the pond? I’m left wondering if this phenomenon is not as ubiquitous as I had assumed (until about 5 minutes ago) it to be?

    Ms. Dale, my sincerest apologies for being the bearer of bad news, but if the Faustian usurpation of the Labour Party is, indeed, your and/or Britain’s first intimate introduction to identity politics, you should be aware that your country is at the threshold of naively mistaking a purposely obtuse subterfuge for an ideology that poses as the political prescription for social justice values (equality and liberation). My advice? Buckle your chinstrap Britain, because it’s going to get worse. A lot worse. Full throttled lithium drip and a straitjacket to fit, worse.

    But, if that doesn’t sufficiently arrogate the trojan horse that has pilfered the Labour Party, consider the following a more complete description of the filthy atrocities awaiting your country:

    Firstly, identity politics is not so much a political ideology, notice, but something more like an empty hole in the shape of a political ideology, an impression left over after viable political prescriptions, empirical data, moral reasoning, and rational argument have been completely gutted from its current dispensation. Paradoxically, it’s an “ideology” with no distinct center (by design); therefore, allowing it to divide social allegiances as needed – but, usually, along racial, gender and religious lines and normally in that order.

    The central endorsement of identity politics is, as best I can tell, predicated on what amounts to a vindictive persecution of competence or competent people relative to the less competent. Competent citizens to be precise, by which, I mean, productive members of British society. In ‘Merica, I might describe this cohort as people who get-shit-done. In the West, such people have traditionally been (erroneously thought to be) the recipients of unearned privilege, which are, by definition, those having both white skin and the ability to urinate with a high degree of accuracy while standing (degree of accuracy may vary). In either case, just not having to squat every ten minutes after you break the seal is an embarrassment of riches by itself, never mind the low melanin levels bonus, am I right?

    Urinary ergonomics aside, to get a substantive appreciation for the effects of inherently repressive provocations policies, which let’s be honest, endeavor to voluntarily/involuntarily manifest an exodus of competence hierarchies across all areas associated with unearned privilege, simply imagine Britain’s operant maximization of utility (economic/socio-political, for example). Now, the exact opposite of that is what you can more or less expect identity politics to abort onto Britain’s storied economic and socio-political landscape. Throw your lot in with the Labour Party and, suddenly, being dumb is the best thing a person can be.

    Whether it is the explicit aim of identitarians writ large, or merely a consequence of their greedy reductionists attempts to ameliorate economic and socio-political inequality – a futile exercise if ever there was one – I cannot say (nor do I care pontificate). Their aim from the gate is extraneous, irrelevant with respect to the functional processes governing the ideology’s ‘actual’ productions. And what it actually produces is, for all intents and purposes, the cannibalization of civil society(ies) – Western societies it seems. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or trying to fraudulently rewrite the history of identity politics; in which case said person has surely been co-opted by the identitarian political junta and is therefore ignorant, bias and ignorant of their own biases. In short, such persons should be treated with extreme prejudice and suspicious contempt, i.e., as one would have treated Judas Iscariot or Benedict Arnold given the chance. On reflection Arnold may have been a poor example given the audience. Strike that traitor from the record.

    In summary, identity politics is at best a system designed for unfettered aggregate dependency founded on a muddled philosophical treatise unburdened by the slightest concern for ethical symmetry – a system morally and logically untethered from the natural tensions found between personal freedom and the common good. At worst, it is a blunt tool hopelessly calibrated to redress historical grievances, arising not from unearned privilege as is believed and/or widely expressed, but from or out of an anthropological reality. The indentitarian’s “tool” is a macabre political slideshow written, directed and produced by an intellectually servile Left, i.e., sycophants.

    Am I being overly critical of identity politics (in its current manifestation)? Not even close. Am I being hyperbolic about the novelty of Britain’s situation. Possibly, but the situation is not exactly tilting windmills, so it should be properly addressed. Furthermore, given the proper victim group at the proper moment, the Left can be as dangerous as they are vacuous, and their reasoning faculties are well-known to be unduly truncated when victim groups are one of the set pieces in play. Victim groups are like Kryptonite for Leftist’s reasoning. Enough empathy hits those synapses and they shit their pants and forget who they are for an hour or so. Sad, but useful, really.

    Anyway, I’m not in any position to pass judgement on the constitution – as in ‘system of principles’, not a paper document – of Britain’s body politic, so it’s difficult to know to what degree, if any, British identity politics will/can mirror the American version. Hopefully, they have a little more testicular fortitude than we have, or at the very least enough sense not to incentivize the proliferation of a victimhood culture like we (America) have. God save the queen.

    • ga gamba says

      I’m left wondering if this phenomenon is not as ubiquitous as I had assumed (until about 5 minutes ago) it to be?

      I think of it more like a significant termite infestation that’s been revealed rather than the foundation and structure being suddenly ripped apart by a typhoon.

      To my recollection, the first crack at identity politics in a UK government was by Red Ken Livingstone and the Labourites who ran London during the mid-80s. Liverpool’s Council of the same time had a major red-on-red fratricide between the traditionalist Trotskyites and the black- and Asian-power identitarians – the same “old white men” complaints voiced then too. But, it was birthed earlier; the New Left emerged as an intellectual movement in Britain in the mid 1950s as leftists were left reeling by the publication of Stalin’s crimes and the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Furthermore, the working class in much of the West was actually reaping the rewards of unprecedented economic growth in the post-War period, so enticing prosperous and ever optimistic workers to “throw off their chains” was a tough go when they replied “what chains?” The New Left adopted the game plan of the Frankfurt School and critical theory, which re-greased the corroded gears of socialism and came to be known by the right as cultural Marxism. The New Left cites Rosa Luxemburg and Antonio Gramsci as being the most influential historical figures to it – Marx and Lenin were pushed aside. Organisation of the working class was de-emphasised. The civil rights movement in the US helped established the women’s movement in the UK, and they jumped into feminist identity politics that emerged in the early 1970s as a reaction to the male-dominated New Left. Of course, the traditional left that still ruled the Labour Party and the unions wasn’t about the capitulate straight away.

      The ’80s and ’90s were a really rough go for the traditional left, and what emerged was Blair’s New Labour movement, which partnered with Bill Clinton’s Third Way. Blair’s ascendency was very much aided by the purge of the Trotskyite wing of the party known as Militant. Militant had opposed the misandryist faction of feminism and other identitarian movements as splitist, and with Militant purged the sisters were doing it for themselves unimpeded. Though the Third Way wasn’t the cockamamie nonsense we see nowadays, it still placed emphasis on the values of “social justice, the equal worth of each citizen, equality of opportunity, community”. This was the trade-off made to appease the left whilst the Third Wayers embraced the big money capitalism of the City (London’s financial centre) and Wall Street. With the fall of Blair and the rise of Corbyn the Third Way no longer rules the roost, though there are still many senior Labour MPs who are adherents, causing much of the recent turmoil in the Labour Party.

      All the while the New Left and later the PoMos were marching through the institutions, which aligns with British Fabianism, a socialist movement whose intellectual adherents claimed a predilection for a slow, imperceptible transition to socialism – it’s coat of arms was once the wolf in sheep’s clothing. . This takes time because one has to wait for elders to retire or die off. Like the US few uni students participate in their student body councils nor vote, but unlike the US there’s the National Union of Students (NUS) in Britain; this is an confederation of all the elected student representatives. It’s been dominated by social justice types for a long while, and many of these ideologues find work in the Labour Party. The jump from New Left to full-on indentitarianism isn’t a tough one to make because both fixate on culture and power.

      With Obama’s election in 2008 I think many of the social justice faction believed he would usher in the social re-engineering policies they wanted. It happened a bit, but not to the extent many adherents expected. They were constrained in public criticism because Obama was black. As his presidency disappointed many progressives, the social justice faction began to more publicly agitate at the end of his second term, though not with the emphasis of forcing Obama’s hand but to get Hillary Clinton to adopt an explicit social justice platform of equity. I think everyone assumed she’d win, so their antics became ever more demonstrative and bizarre, which worked to Trump’s favour.

      For the right moment you must wait, as Fabius did most patiently, when warring against Hannibal, though many censured his delays; but when the time comes you must strike hard, as Fabius did, or your waiting will be in vain, and fruitless.

      In Britain the Tories have ruled since 2010, and though Corbyn himself strikes me more traditional worker solidarity socialist, he’s surrounded by the social justice faction which has been in ascendency for a long while in the party, academia, and journalism, so I see him going with the flow. Whatever screws capitalism and impoverishes everyone will work. To recontexualise Deng Xiaoping: “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.”

      At least Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky were forthright in their objectives. The Fabians, the Frankfurt School, the New Left, the PoMos, and the Democratic Socialists were/are far more subversive and deceptive. They’re groomers. People had better understand they too are the 13-year-old girls targeted for exploitation.

      Today the adherents to social justice and the dismal triad of equity, inclusion, and diversity who hold power in the Anglosphere are Trudeau and New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern.

      That’s it in brief. And I enjoyed reading your comment.

    • MI5 and it’s agent provocateur, Michael Steele, are directly responsible for our failure, for the first time in our history, to have a peaceful transfer of power following and election; but no one say a word about it. Perhaps that is because the UK has become so accustomed to meddling in our politics over the last 100 years or so.

      I’d as soon junk the special relationship with the UK and forge a new one with Poland, Hungary and Taiwan. I’d certainly leave out the Brits, Aussies, Kiwis and Canucks – four of the Five eyes that spy on us continuously and would rather be associated with the EU than the US.

      The UK, Canada, the A/NZ and all of the EU are lost unless and until we here in the US win.

      Sadly, we ain’t winning. Trump, for all his virtues as a disruptor, is not particularly sophisticated and is still locked into his generals and their wars and is completely uninterested in our utterly corrupt Congress and major agencies like DoJ, FBI, CIA and the rest.

    • TarsTarkas says

      Translation: Divide (into the tiniest bits possible), conquer, and rule. Identitarianism is simply one of the current methods for doing so. Since identitarians and their fellow fish consider the entirety of life one big power struggle, they assume that everyone shares their viewpoint. Not.

  9. NickG says

    “I found myself cross on Labour voters’ behalf and struggled to imagine how I would respond if something similar were to happen to the Conservative Party. “

    It has.

    • D.B. Cooper says

      @NickG

      I couldn’t agree with you more. The conservative party is, among other things, a slave to special interests groups and often with the same veracity found in identitarian’s allegiance to victim groups. You’ll get no argument from me, if that’s what you suspected.

      What I am wondering, though, is why you felt it necessary to reply with a claim that I never disputed, nor as best as I can tell, even touched on in my comment. That said, I’ll be happy to undress the conservative party right along with you if you feel it’s needed.

      Best,
      D.B. Cooper

      • NickG says

        B.D Cooper, I was responding to the author of the piece – Helen Dale – not your comment. Careful parsing of the comment thread indenting should make this clear, though admittedly it is not the clearest commenting application in the World.

        Cheers

        • D.B. Cooper says

          I appreciate the clarification. That was my mistake. Not intentional, to be sure; but – as you point out – due to a lack of attention to detail on my end. I, now, see the indentation.

          Ambiguous indentations, notwithstanding, my offer to zip the conservative party (or any other party) in a clown suit is still open. Conservatives (politicians) have on balance been a considerable disappointment in my estimation. I give them points for not being flatly anti-American/white/male, such as what defines much of the Left, but their failures on the Right seem to cut a little deeper (or did). I simply expect better (or did) from Conservatives. They (conservatives) have ceded entirely too much social/cultural ground over the last few decades that the Overton Window is more like one of Bill Clinton’s side-chicks; even Hillary leverages it at will. Showing up to lose is not a winning strategy.

  10. Farris says

    After Sir Charles James Napier conquered the Sindh province of India (now in present day Pakistan), he outlawed the practice of burning widows alive. When the local chieftains complained the burning widows alive was their custom, Sir Charles replied, “hanging men who burn women is our custom.”

  11. NickG says

    That some people — both individually and on a group basis — are better at sums or faster in the fifty-yard dash seems trivially true.

    Not trivially true, just true.

    Given that public policy is predicated on blank-slate dogma, this couldn’t be less than trivial.

  12. Martin says

    Pretending that Australia only takes in highly-skilled immigrants, this critic attempts to expose the economic flaw in the book. Yet why do we hear in the last week in Melbourne of Somali immigrants fighting at 2 am in numbers 200 strong? These groups obviously aren’t professionals.

    The notion that Marx was wrong for saying the Irish were lowering wages because that only applies to manual Labour is a joke. What did she think the Irish worked at primarily when they arrived in the 19 C?

    So the central question is why are illegal and legal record numbers of foreign cultures being injected into a primarily Caucasian continent?

    • ga gamba says

      Yet why do we hear in the last week in Melbourne of Somali immigrants fighting at 2 am in numbers 200 strong?

      Could be asylum seekers who arrived by boat before Australia started packing them off to Manus Island, PNG and Nauru by intercepting the vessels and preventing the migrants’ feet from touching Australian territory. Further, there are those who apply for refugee status overseas; about 80 per cent of recent refugee arrivals came under the aegis of the Refugee and Special Humanitarian Programme. For many years, Australia has set a number of visas under the programme to resettle people for humanitarian reasons (offshore resettlement to Manus and Nauru) and for grants of asylum in Australia (onshore protection). In recent years, this was set at 13,750 places, excepting the 2012-13, when it was increased to 20,000. Australia has four offshore refugee category visas: Refugee (visa subclass 200); In‐Country Special Humanitarian (visa subclass 201); Emergency Rescue (visa subclass 203); and Woman at Risk (visa subclass 204).

  13. It seems curious, how we are being urged to disregard group identity, discard the claims of victimhood and discrimination.

    However, we are also being asked to bravely confront the statistical evidence showing that different groups have different levels of abilities, immediately followed by a statistic that by every metric, white people are performing poorly.

    • Jennifer says

      The claim that white people are performing poorly was to counter the claim of “white privilege”, not to claim victimhood status for white people. If stats show whites are not actually privileged, it is dishonest to label them as such.

      • Chip Daniels says

        What conclusions about the group abilities of white people should we draw from these statistics?

        • Paul Ellis says

          “What conclusions about the group abilities of white people should we draw from these statistics?”

          That they have a range of abilities spread across a bell curve, as every other large group does, and that in majority white countries the bottom half of that curve is likely to be larger numerically than the bottom half of all the other ethnic group curves put together.

          Does that help?

  14. John of Salisbury says

    ‘This is something we haven’t confronted honestly since classical antiquity, which probably explains how such thoughtless policy become popular.’

    Huh. Not something I expected to hear form the author of Kingdom of the Wicked.

    • John of Salisbury says

      Sorry, meant to spotlight the subsequent sentence: ‘It’s worth remembering it took centuries to reject the pagan Roman view that if you’re beautiful, or clever, or courageous, you’re a better person and deserve more consideration’.

  15. Circuses and Bread says

    This is a very well written book review, and I enjoyed reading it. One quibble (a quibblette?) I had though was regarding the authors treatment of the Rotherham scandal. At the risk of possibly instigating another book- damage incident, I would challenge the author to rethink why an estimated 1400 children were sexually exploited. The reality is that at some point the politicians in a position to know and affect a different course decided that the exploitation and rape of young girls was acceptable collateral damage. The preservation and extension of their political power was of paramount importance, not the children. That’s the takeaway; Rotherham was just another example of Politics in all its malignant glory.

  16. LOUIS says

    I applauded up to this point:

    “Meritocracy may or may not be a good way of managing civilisation, but don’t kid yourself it’s any fairer to reward people born smart than it is to reward men with posh surnames, Pakistani Muslims, women, or immigrants. I have no good responses to this conundrum.”

    This is a simple failure of semantics as well as logic.. Meritocracy does not reward those born smart.. it rewards those smart enough to develope their intelligence by working their butts off. Secondly, ontelligence represents an individual AND societal asset! By going up, an intelligent Bill Gates prospered all mankind. This much is axiomatic. The failure to see this is willful one expects, a knee-jerk reaction to umpleasant implications of the Bell Curve.

    • Kathleen Lowrey says

      Actually _The Bell Curve_ is much more compassionate, thoughtful, and concerned about the implications of a society organized as a cognitive meritocracy than is your comment.

    • Working your butt off is a personality trait called “conscientiousness”. It is separate from intelligence.

      You can be high in conscientiousness, but without intelligence you’ll just be the best janitor in the building. Intelligence without conscientiousness means you end up as a World of Warcraft guild leader. Get both, and you’ll excel in life.

      Bill Gates was a ruthless, evil robber baron who stepped on the air supply of mankind and retarded the progress of computers by a decade. However, much like other evil robber barons like Rockefeller, Carnegie, and so many others, people fall for his philanthropy act and think he was a good person.

  17. citizen clive says

    The seeds of diversity politics fall on more fertile ground than we think. You identify with ‘black’, ‘women’, ‘white’ or ‘religious’ social victim candidates when you feel cheated by ‘the system’. ID politics appeals directly to those who feel in some way weak or inferior. An inferiority which they refuse to accept. And therefore resent. And therefore resent every kind of superiority in others; denigrates it; wishes its annihilation. This is what powers ID politics. It is the repudiation of the culture : values, history, traditions and even science. We individually indulge in persecution fantasy like this when we don’t like what we get. But going public about it and joining with others will dissolve civilisation by mob rule. If you think I am wrong then please let us all hate our oppressors and come together to rid ourselves of them.

  18. “Labour — and institutions that feed it or recruit from its ranks — now exists to further a regime where we all exist in relationships of oppressor and oppressed with everyone else. These relationships of oppressor, oppression and power are always and everywhere based on fixed forms of identity: sex, race, religion (Islam, in particular, is rendered immutable), sexual orientation, gender.”
    This is an excellent point which is hardly ever addressed properly due to the fact that (I’m paraphrasing Nietzsche it in the expression “the will to power”) few care (on both sides: oppressors + oppressed) to take this power in controlling their life, emotions, destiny and nature. Most people are interested only to use “power” in controlling and dominating others and certainly not themselves, their emotions, whims, fantasies and nonsense. The oppressed might do exactly the same (become the oppressors) if given the chance. I try to find answers to why identities of any kind are blockers of various purposeful ideals especially common sense in an essay “In search of the lost ‘self'”.where I detailed according to Nietzsche, why, building a noble and elevated “self” can remove the barriers and oppression that identities often pose on us through those that focus more on how to “identify” themselves rather than how to benefit others and the world.

  19. augustine says

    “Our attributes and talents don’t determine how valuable we are as human beings. Our humanity comes first, because humans are equal in dignity and worth.”

    This true enough but only in a transcendent sense. On an everyday basis most of us violate the spirit of this idea (or worse). It is fragile and must be supported by the ties that bind, outside of economics and political machinations. Our humanity manifests in the latter by what is inside the participants, not by what they may conjure externally.

    Thought-provoking article. Thank you.

  20. Gordon Sumner says

    A good article sullied by the “immigrants only lower wages for the unskilled” section. In the UK the low skilled amount to 14.5m workers, around 40% of the workforce. If you’re talking about decreasing their wages while increasing the population that has a massive effect on the affordability of housing, the amount govt spends on benefits and community cohesion.

  21. D Bruce says

    “but don’t kid yourself it’s any fairer to reward people born smart than it is to reward men with posh surnames, Pakistani Muslims, women, or immigrants.”

    Smart people produce more, so it is fairer.

  22. Erminio Arpinate says

    “There is no room in it for the traditional trade unionist who wants better conditions for, say, coal miners so they don’t die underground; or a shop steward who wants call-centre workers or fruit pickers to earn better wages. There isn’t even room for the democratic socialist who aspires to any of the various forms of worker democracy that have existed historically, or who wishes to make use of alternative business structures, like cooperatives and mutuals.”

    I would like to engage you on this part of your article, since you make quite a strong point of being a Leaver. What you condensed in that paragraph is, by and large, all that the EU represented in the UK in the run-up to the referendum. A quasi-socialist organisation effectively muzzling a Tory government in their attempt to move the political compass away from social-democratic Europe and towards the US. They were your allies in this battle, not your enemies.

    I always ruled out the possibility of “leftie Leaver” being a sustainable position. Especially after Brexit is turning out to be exactly the right-wing steer lefties feared. My status as an EU citizen doubles down on this feeling, knowing what the EU represents in western European states and how it always helps social services, local economies (also in the UK) and social mobility.

    This is likely to be a major point of controversy for someone of your opinion, thus I’d like to hear more about how you came to support Leave and you still do to this date.

  23. Overall, I thinjk this a well thought out piece. I leave it to others to judge the quality of the thought therein. I do take exception to the use of the word ‘malleable’ in the 9th ‘graph. Surely malleable means ‘can be bashed into shape’. Perhaps the class system could be better described as ‘fluid’, that being one of the words of the day, and more accurate.

  24. “I found myself cross on Labour voters’ behalf and struggled to imagine how I would respond if something similar were to happen to the Conservative Party.”

    Say what? But it *is* happening before our very eyes. The woman leading the misnamed Conservative Party is a blue Blairite who hasn’t a conservative bone in her body, indeed in many ways she is to the left of Blair.

  25. meerkat says

    “Harvard’s George Borjas is notable here — it’s only low-skill immigration at issue. Borjas’s most famous study looks at the Mariel Boatlift in Miami. He found that wages for native born school drop-outs (a significant share of the labour market in Florida) fell by up to 15% relative to other cities over the next 5-10 years before recovering in the late 1980s. If Borjas is right, then low-skilled immigration can depress the return on pure, or manual labour for up to 10 years — especially if the labour market is already rigid or education and retraining systems are (forgive the Keynesian language) ‘sticky’.”

    It’s important to point out that Borjas’s analysis of the Mariel Boatlift, if it is indeed correct(and there are many economists who disagree with him) was only looking at a short, sharp increase in the low-skilled labour supply. The increase in the UK’s low skilled labour supply has been massive and ongoing since the beginning of the Blair era.

    It may sound terribly leftist of me, but the fact that those most negatively effected by such immigration policies are already at the low end of the socioeconomic spectrum bothers me immensely. I’ve known a good deal of people on the left side of the cognitive bell curve. Many of them of them are hard-working, decent people. If forced to choose, I’d rather live in a country where such people have greater economic self-sufficiency and an opportunity for (small)family formation than one where the middle and upper classes can have cheap gardeners.

    I also question the “natives just won’t do certain jobs” narrative. You hear it an awful lot from employers who seem terribly keen to hire immigrants, but as recently as five years ago, I worked a back-breaking, minimum-wage job in an area with a large immigrant population, and it was the native-born whites and blacks who stuck around, while the immigrants who arrived didn’t last a week. A anecdote doesn’t make definitive proof, but I’ve yet to see convincing evidence either way.

    I’ve also witnessed firsthand discrimination against native-born workers by immigrant businessmen in favour of their co-ethnics.

  26. Eric Rasmusen says

    Don’t believe labor economists who say that immigration doesn’t reduce the wages of people with the same skills as the immigrants. That’s an absurd idea, viewed from basic economics, and they need to go into contortions to make a theory that explains it. Then, they also do empirical studies where they find no results because their data is too weak, and they conclude that they can’t prove that, say, wages of construction workers fall once half the construction workers are immigrants.

    • Lawrence Stanley says

      Not only that, Eric, but why should workers suffer “temporary” effects? Who is going to look people in the eye and say ‘sorry, you’re going to earn less, but don’t worry, it’s only for about ten years.’ Of course, immigration is not the problem. Wages are.

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