Let me begin this chapter by burying myself alive in my own political identity—if only to punch my ticket of full disclosure and mandatory self-simplification, since everybody expects as much these days.
If you are so passionately invested in your identity politics that you dismiss other sorts, you may dismiss me as just another American male: rich, white, old and straight. Unclean!
If, like me, you don’t care about my insignificant particulars,to my discussion of identify politics in general, much more interesting than this personal trivia.
Soon dead, give or take the next few decades you’re probably looking forward to, while I look back on most of mine.
Rich: give or take the 90% of planetary wealth we should be sharing at the grass roots but don’t since we’re too busy back-biting each other over our precious identity positions. Instead, we should cooperate in our struggle against the weapon mentality colossus. It never bothers with such trivia, except to truss us up tighter, rip us off and march the kids off to die.
Once upon a time, the rich earned their keep by promoting the prosperity, health, education and security of their subordinates. Ever since the political rise of that smirking quisling Ronald Reagan, the rich have waged economic war against us. Denying it all along, they’ve stripped us of every benefit: salary gains, savings of every sort from hard cash and solid stocks to dependable mortgages; employment security, empathic management, labor union protections and retirement benefits; affordable health care and enhanced public health; educational opportunities for young and old; real technological innovation in anything else besides trivial or lethal ones; reliable infrastructure and beautiful cities; sustainable agriculture and wildlife; crime control, justice and security for all; stable foreign relations and planetary peace; mild climate; and dependable governance at every level. All of them have been swiped from us.
Identity politics has been one of many tools they’ve used to achieve all-thieving dominance. Simply put, divide and conquer.
Somewhere, sooner or later, another outbreak of weapon mentality will make homes burn and victims disappear. It may be by means of nukes and scalar weapons across a continent, by mortar bombs and tank rounds regionally, by political repression and police terror in the neighborhood, or up-close and personal with fire brands and maaachehtteh—take your pick.
Someone once wrote: “If the oil ran out and food stopped getting trucked into London, it would turn into Darfur within a few weeks.” The same could be said of any community that relies on supermarkets for sustenance―the world’s breadbaskets included.
I’d say I am comfortably off if not rich. I have composed this text without a work partner, sponsor or compensation, as an act of artistic affection and sweet compulsion. The rest of the time, I’ve held down minor jobs without much enthusiasm as often as I had to. The best gigs on WeaponWorld involve bailing the Titanic with a sand bucket instead of a colander. I’ve enjoyed a few years of adult leisure while I was adventurous enough to enjoy them. Free time is vital for young victims of first love and to raise babies. For the elderly, leisure is more like a funeral: more to benefit the entourage than the guest of honor.
If I hadn’t been so well off, I couldn’t have found enough leisure and technical means to offer this text to you for free. Usually, people who make the most interesting and decisive discoveries are neither starving nor obscenely rich, neither dependent on their invention nor willing to compromise it to earn them a livelihood.
White, even though I bear the same fifty million genes all of us share. On official forms, I’d rather enter myself as “Race: Other”. I consider all the races my brothers, sisters, ancestors and progeny; none are not. But nothing is more atrocious than war within the family.
I get more of a rush from the designation Other. I celebrate the wandering Bantu, Maya, Berber, Mongol and Bushmen genes that grace my genotype and everyone else’s. Mongrel stock is the strongest, as any good farmer will tell you. Go ask a weed.
I’m all-American: actually half-French, 25% German and a wee quarter Irish. My parents were born on Madagascar and in Queens; and I myself, in the American Hospital in the outskirts of Paris. In other words, I’m a Yankee Doodle hybrid, a cosmopolitan internationalist and proud of it.
Since the Kennedy assassination and the war in Vietnam his assassins set up, I have spent my life agonizing over just how despicable America had to become to force me into the hills bearing an automatic weapon, also as a grateful public dependent (army brat, my father was an armor officer) and proud public servant. Life is paradox.
I am just as ambivalent about being Franco-American as anything else. The last minority that crypto-bigots around here can get away with insulting in public—at least in my absence. A noble and ambitious breed, that pairing: scions of the richest, most powerful, most reactionary and backward-looking nations on Earth … a drag on international treaties of peace, human rights and the environment; AWOL as their foremost sponsors. Birthplaces of the most magnificent ideals humanity has ever aspired to, as well as the foulest deeds carried out in their name.
German: Mozart and Himmler; Kultur, passion passionately garroted, pretzel logic, science and civilization … and the timeless stink of military latrines.
And Irish, finally, to cook up this fine malarkey into a mad, mulligan stew.
Man: guilty as charged, last I checked.
Straight: how happy my wife and other women have made me, each in her own delicate way!
Or, as I'd have printed on a T-shirt:
Not of this species,
Not from this planet.
So sue me.
As far as I’m concerned, the terms bigot and identity politician are synonymous. It is merely a question of which sub-identity you choose to be prejudiced for or against, and how passionately you believe yours would benefit by harming that of the Other―while everyone else intones the same no-brain, zero-sum duet (what I win, you must lose). The calculus of war and of sociopaths.
At this point, you should realize that I have nothing good to say about identity politics and a lot to criticize—having taken its backhand slap more than once. Walk away if you’re so inclined, or stick around and hear me out. Just recall that every time you are excluded, punished or denied something important for reasons other than your merit and the content of your character (as the great Martin Luther King put it so aptly), someone else’s identity politics or your own came into play. Judge not, lest ye be judged.
Any conclusion that one sex is responsible for peace while the other sustains war, that’s just anotherand hopeless simplification.
A partial (cursory and biased) list of names might help us challenge this prejudice: Nehanda of Zimbabwe and the Berber Al Kahina, Queen Ya Asantewa, the same Unzinga, Catherine the Great of Russia, Catherine de Medici, Elizabeth the Great of England, Joan of Arc, Maria Theresa, Rebecca Felton, Margaret Thatcher, Trung Trac, Trung Nhi, Phung Thi Chin, Trieu Au, Tsu Hsi (Cixi, the Empress Dowager of China), Mulan, Zenobia, Boudicca, Semiramis and Indira (versus) Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha, Ashoka and Martin Luther King. Sorry if I left out your favorite female conqueror or peaceable man.
The ultimate authority of women should reside in their right to forbid the stupidest decisions made by men (and insist on better alternatives). If that custom had been obeyed, the worst decisions would never have taken place and would not be so likely in the future.
While alpha-dominant males rely on aggression to begin with, many women tend toward cooperation and consensus at their own expense, at least until their kids are in danger. At that point, look out! Alpha-dominant females can be more aggressive than stereotypical males. Once elite men folk had fallen in battle, female leaders were thrust into leadership positions and often fought battles, sieges and wars of annihilation to successful conclusion or to extinction.
Until recently, progressive leaders recruited more females than did the forces of patriarchal reaction. Nowadays, reactionaries have discovered they can recruit raving maniacs just as easily among women and minority members as from among rich, old, white coots.
Progressives should abandon their routine diffidence and replace it with the unconditional ferocity of females defending their young. “They’re threatening the kids! Let’s go get ‘em!”
Our schools are pillars of weapon regimentation. To a great extent, women run them. In the absence of peace mentality, female chauvinists might differ slightly from their male counterparts, but rule no more wisely. Even though many women fill current military service roles, their leadership role remains marginal. Grooming women for war has exploded the female criminal population.
Like other pit-falls of identity politics, gender-based explanations of institutional degeneracy are divisive. The crux lies elsewhere. Why dispute the relative merits of pacifism over feminism―or any other identity issue, for that matter? That would be an exercise as pointless as declaring one leg of a chair the most important or one tree in the forest.
What I mentioned about women applies to every abused minority: racial, ethnic, religious and sexual. Women rarely constitute a minority, but weapon managers mistreat them as such, (part of the, recall). The existence of harmless minorities has never validated their persecution. This abuse has empowered a minority of psychopaths nesting within the peaceful majority that obeys its moral conscience: this tyranny another global outcome of weapon management.
In any case, the ultimate political power of females resides in their vetoing by majority vote male majority initiatives before they drop us off the deep end. Behind every successful man stands a woman sharp enough to tell him when to quit while he’s ahead. We have ignored this women’s last word at our peril. I repeat this idea because it is so important.
Another weapon myth, upheld on both sides of the aisle, is that homosexuals make up some kind of progressive vanguard. This myth leads to a misunderstanding shared alike by reactionary homophobes and progressive gays: that homoeroticism must be somehow necessary to entertain progressive ideals.
Gay progressives maintain this error to raise their spirits; reactionaries, to brand progressives with the label of being gay that's particularly abhorrent to them. Both parties realize they are lying. It’s obvious that there are just as many reactionary gays as there are progressive ones, and a lot more progressive straights than progressive gays.
The same could be said about the viewpoint of any other identity group, compared to the remainder.
The only difference is that reactionary gays must shut up about their erotic proclivities that their reactionary allies loathe; whereas progressives of all sorts are slightly more tolerant and neither silence nor banish their homosexual allies.
There is little point in giving up on general progress to advance one’s own cause or that of some narrow identity group. Even to the point of surrendering potent progressive symbols like Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition so that gays could adorn themselves with it exclusively. And losing vital battles like the 2004 Presidential election over whether gays may enjoy same-sex marriage ceremonies before anything else happens.
Whose mucus membranes get to rub up against whose with full public approval: that priority would be fine and harmless if we were not facing a thousand more crucial issues. But this non-issue serves weapon mentality as a perfect distraction from more pressing topics.
Then again, it’s 2017 now, and by some miracle gay marriage has become a legal reality across the land. Now, people can fall back on their progressive or reactionary political tendencies without worrying about the endorsement of their sexual orientation. Progressive politics have served their purpose.
The same argument applies to people whose minority status is based on other criteria. For example, the argument of pro-choicers versus right-to-lifers. Who cares how many innocent adults and children get starved and cluster-bombed while you hash out this other issue! Unbelievable and unacceptable on any planet but this one.
We are progressive because we believe in Progress, not because we belong to some random identity group supposedly superior. Those who side with progressives merely to advance their downtrodden cause, who sacrifice important progressive issues to further those of their own identity group, and turn raving conservative (or miraculously apathetic) the moment they get the upper hand, they are just reactionary wolves in sheep’s clothing.
And we are all Learners, regardless of our identity position. All of us! Whether we choose to loathe or admire the members some other group, they are Learners just like us. Every Learner should be just as dear to every other one, by definition.
The induction of women into modern worker and warrior status is another outcome of weapon technology.
Weapons had become terribly lethal by the late 1800’s, so much so that universal (male) conscription was adopted to meet enormous body counts. Weapon lethality has multiplied beyond imagining since. Thus, modern combat demands more and more bodies to top off the stack, including women, the elderly and children. So-called non-combatants find themselves more and more often among the shock troops and shocked amputees of modern combat.
This exponential surge of "non-combatant" casualties is nothing new. The weapon myth of risk-free, non-combatant status – that the warrior reserves mayhem for his armed adversaries – is just a weaponand nothing more. On the contrary, many societies ancient and modern annihilated entire regional populations: man, woman and child.
Modern warfare kills tens and thousands of civilians for every soldier it kills. It is easier to gun down people who cower under the crossfire and don’t shoot back; or simply deny them survival necessities the military can always find good reason to expropriate.
Face it: we are all combatants. The question is: are we Learner combatants who stand a chance at legitimate self-defense since properly motivated and armed (as do Swiss citizens with their Federal militia)? Or are we a disarmed rabble of human livestock ripe for police-state slaughter; carefully divide-and-conquered and self-sabotaged by our identity politics? You tell me.
A fundamental rule of victory is Concentration of Effort. Those who try to defend everything, defend nothing; those who attack everywhere, win nowhere. Instead of attacking in penny packets across the length of the enemy’s line or defending every point with equal resolve and exposure, one must find a weak spot in the enemy’s layout and fling a strong force against it. This reserve must be accumulated by skimping dangerously elsewhere. Once the enemy’s line is shattered, additional reserves must be hurled through the gap. These powerful reserves can also serve to counter-attack an enemy’s assault, assuming he thinks himself more powerful than we.
Weapon dissidents have abandoned this ideological holism. Instead, they have taken to defending each of their identity positions preferentially, forsaken all-important concentration of effort and thus any hope of success. Thanks to narrow-minded, self-serving identity politics, weapon elites have become the only minority left in power.
We have failed to square off against our worst sins of racism, sexism and ageism. Instead, we've allowed professional equivocators to flounder and political compromisers to sidestep human rights with the confidence of long practice.
I ask you: what have identity politics brought us? True, we have universal suffrage. But we also have today’s politicians and their inestimable peers brought to power by “universal suffrage.” Ditto for other social benefits: all of them made radioactive by the fallout of weapon mentality.
I beg you to think this through more carefully. Who are your real opponents and what are your real political objectives?
Why not uphold every education quota and equal opportunity mandate until each minority and gender group has achieved proportional representation? For every minority percentile within a population, the same percentage of minority candidates should take their place among judges, executives, business people, police, governors, legislators and professionals—or chaos could loom from their absence. Simple merit would promote those most qualified from each identity group. Mediocrities, incompetents and sociopaths (most especially) would find it harder to justify their authority in the absence of spiteful identity politics.
Others claim that the adherents of the USA, the Western or Northern Hemisphere, the white race, Judeo-Christianity or some other dominant tribe are responsible for every social ill. Meanwhile, the claimants consist of blameless victims and vengeful terrorists completely justified.
In perceived environments of dearth, the best players at zero-sum games form small, coherent groups of Winners that browbeat a majority of pre-defined Losers. The leaders (“Winners”) of each abused minority, point to the ethnic majority as the source of their Losers' ills.
Racial segregation is a sorting device of this kind, as are other forms of segregation: nationalist, religious and ethnic – largely cosmetic. Usually, the Loser majority within each group is set up to hate the Loser majority in other groups, even though they have more in common with each other than with their respective Winners: a minority within each group that protects itself by stoking this hatred.
In the end, info elites of every kind abuse info proletarians of every kind, especially their own. Rich whites have always exploited poor whites (practice makes perfect). Reactionary Hutus hunted down every progressive Hutu before they turned to massacre their Tutsi neighbors. Given the chance, reactionary Tutsis would do likewise with their own progressives.
Replace your own identity militants in the same statement. Note how well those shoes fit them.
In the real world, human aggregates pick their leadership from their individual members. From then on, those organizations do exactly what they intended to do from the beginning – otherwise, what they had to do, given constraints beyond their control – insofar nature permits, with their leader’s cheerleading or despite his displeasure. Tolstoy concluded as much. Any assessment of personal leadership beyond this limit must be absurd.
More often than not, this selection is based on pheromones, looks, birthright and aggression under control. The political charisma of an Alexander or a Napoleon, and the sexual attraction of a Casanova or a Cleopatra, those may just have been the outcomes of irresistible body aroma; and other factors, mere reinforcements or subtractions. We are attracted to them instinctively, the way a bee colony would be to its queen.
I begin to suspect that personalities so noteworthy during their era in history, might have attracted many souls, in free-fall after their death, to reincarnate into their famous life. We could assume that reincarnation of this kind transcended time and space, and thus had no need to be sequential in time or nearby in space. The supposition would be irrelevant that one could only reincarnate in a body born after your death and close to it. Would that have been the source of their charisma: millions of souls reincarnated in them and gaining focus once again through their eyeballs?
Hitler, Stalin and Mao may have carried a scent just as attractive if not more so than history’s most revered saint. Military history demonstrates that this political perfume and sanity do not necessarily correlate in the same body—and perhaps the opposite: only psychopaths and sociopaths might benefit from it. Note the notorious attraction of many females to “bad boys.”
Or it might be a negative trait: the ability to inhibit the bodily release of stress hormones and their unmistakable trace scent, the absence of which would soothe and attract normal people in stressful situations? It may be that “charismatic” historical leaders retain Type-O trace markers in their skin cells, accepted by all and sundry, that reduce stress levels and foster obedience and adulation in everyone.
On the other hand, violent racists may suffer from an “allergic reaction” to trace markers released by their target ethnic group. Their prejudice might be a symptom of a subtle immunological disease aggravated by societal norms of prejudicial verdict and deed.
This process of holistic and subliminal democracy occurs in most human hierarchies, regardless of other details—and has never been seriously studied by political science researchers. Its results are often irrational, counterintuitive and counterproductive; but it remains sovereign in any case.
There may be another basis of racial and ethnic prejudice in addition to the odor-mediated one or a bit subtler. Positive or negative, this bias might be based on immunological and neurological factors instead of (or in addition to) sociological ones.
The human body could be seen as a dusty rag mop that releases clouds of dead cells every time it moves, breathes or is touched. Rather than a rubbery, cohesive covering, skin consists of layers of cells the outermost of which are no longer attached to the body—ready to slough off and scatter at the slightest provocation.
Let’s assume that each of these cells contains one or more distinctive markers: trace biochemicals that identify the individual it was attached to: their genetic background, hygiene habits, diet and/or sexual attributes, among other ethnic or behavioral distinctions.
Nowadays, when people are crowded together or enclosed in poorly ventilated spaces, they breathe each other’s detached skin cells. Personal prejudice (race, ethnicity, cult, etc.) might be subtle forms of immune reaction to those cells’ biochemical markers, trace elements of which would cross the blood-brain barrier in small doses and trigger intimidate-fight-flee-or-freeze reactions; perhaps just as much as those of family affinity, clan loyalty and sexual attraction.
Under certain conditions, a crowd of humans starts acting like one collective organism beyond the rational control of its separate members. Likewise, groups of females housed together tend to synchronize their estrogen cycle and their periods.
Biochemical, neurological and immunological mechanisms like those listed here might better explain these behavior patterns. Humans may react to these biochemical markers in the same way insects react to theirs. Human equivalents may be more complex than theirs, the way our societies appear to be more complex compared to theirs.
This text suggests some ways to rationalize this process. We can quicken Learning and self-selection for excellence in our, and use the world’s Virtual Agora to filter these neurophysiologic factors from our politics. We can acknowledge, study, put them to better use and regulate their misuse—as we’ve done in the past with other peace technologies.
Not so long ago in the American South, white bigots sat around with nothing much better to do, waiting for a black person to say or do something forbidden. There were thousands of opportunities to do something wrong. At that point, they could vent their pent up rage, mob the chosen victim and hurt them real bad. Nowadays, the least creative people of every minority sit around doing not much more, waiting for someone outside their narrow identity niche to say or do something they might disapprove of, and try to ruin that person’s life. Such racist ambush predators are not much good for much else.
Bigots are racists are xenophobes. Shadism doesn’t give a damn about the skin color, bone structure, habits, origins or religion of bigot aggressors and their victims—just as long as they’re different and vulnerable. Sociopaths and their imitators (also the rest of us at our worst) need victims with no way out. Racism serves perfectly.
No whole race or nation has figured out how to promote racial equality. Only enlightened and heroic individuals have managed to do so, born from two or more races―often interracial soul mates and their mestizo children. Their example inspired social acceptance or triggered their extinction.
On the other hand, racial segregation is not imposed by a few brazen individuals, but by an entire race seeking unfair advantage from some happenstance that cropped up to their strategic benefit. The same applies to any other identity bias including religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity.
Who would be the worst racist? The dominant bigot who flays his soul by inflicting misery on others, his obvious equals? Or his victim seething with repressed rage and waiting for payback? Does it matter? The poison they share is still poison. The point is not to assign blame or score points, but to discover the antidote and administer it to all parties.
Racial equality comes about through personal enlightenment based on private experience: "That fine person of the other race and his noble bearing showed me they aren’t all that bad… That (quote the racial insult) is my partner; back off and shut your face!"
Racial bias and segregation are based on cultural norms perverted by identity politics: "Since I was a kid, I was taught that they are all worthless scum. My experience with them has confirmed that fact because I forgot every occurrence that contradicted it."
Identity politics is the central problem. Those who base their personal value (superiority) on identity politics are dangerously self-deluded. Being proud to belong to a specific identity group, that is fine. Feeling superior about it and debasing others for no other reason—that is not.
Personal responsibility is the solution. Those who base their actions and beliefs on a personal assessment of each individual, promote racial equality. In so doing, they demonstrate the nobility of their own identity position. On the other hand, racists make their race look bad, as well as their other ideals, no matter how valid.
There is no escaping this truth, no matter how comforting its denial may seem to you. If you hate my words, feel free to call me a racist. That may let you feel better. Others have done so and thus confirmed my argument. The racist would be you, and the racism, your precious identity pose, at least until you change your beautiful mind.
Ethnic bias is a cultural norm that promotes individual belief. Ethnic equality is a series of spontaneous decisions made by individuals, helped along by cultural norms. This reversal of dominant and secondary sources of belief is very important.
One can reduce racism by introducing laws and institutions that oppose it, or strengthen it by proposing contrary ones. But we can’t create equality unless we allow people to persuade themselves. Racism may be overcome by force and law; equality is not so easily enforced.
Human misery and inequality have this in common. Government can elevate or diminish them at will since they are predictable, quantifiable and vulnerable to institutional meddling.
Human happiness and equality have the opposite feature in common. They exist within the mind of the individual directly involved, and don’t have any real meaning as far as government is concerned, or vulnerability to being raised or lowered by government decree.
Here is what happens when one attempts to force equality. Obedient female students are forbidden to follow their parents’ religious conviction. Forbidding them to wear the veil in the name of equality: what pure folly! My French readers must seize this idea before its unforeseen consequences overwhelm them. The ultimate podium of public equality is the guillotine—to which the French must readily admit.
When it comes to human happiness and government’s obligation to do something with it, essentially indefinable and absurd (Defend it? Support it? Push on a rope with it?); those are favorite topics of Constitutional slave owners, of Republicans and others with nothing better to offer.
That brings us to an interesting fork in our path through the linguistic bramble. Misery is not the opposite of happiness. It can be quantified (how much food and water have you had today; how long have you been in pain; how many nights have you had to sleep out in the rain?). Happiness cannot be quantified in this way – go ask a suicidal heir to fortune or a panhandler whistling because this afternoon’s weather is so fine.
Likewise, equality is not the opposite of discrimination. Would equality be the same between the following pairs: identical twins, brother and sister, good friends, total strangers and members of two races? Discuss in two minutes.
Whereas discrimination: “They are all inferior to my people,” that is pretty straightforward.
So what are the linguistic opposites?
· Misery – Satisfaction
· Happiness – Sadness
· Equality – Unfairness
· Discrimination – Proper Judgment
For the moment, I have no idea what conclusion this tabulation should lead to, but I suspect it is vital when discussing government functions.
The trick would be to never again support racist aggressors, whatever their identity position—even if it were the same as our own and therefore very tempting. It would be better for everyone concerned if we adhered to a group much larger than theirs, more secure, influential and benevolent than theirs; one we held to be true, that would shield us from identity aggression.
Up ‘til now, the basic political conflicts have been between an in-group and out-groups. Learners should rally to one cherished in-group, then invite every info proletarian and ex-info elite into it, leaving no one behind except those whose only wish is to be left in peace. As for those who would rather violate the peace : identification at infancy, exclusion from positions of authority and lifetime therapy.
No community, no matter how well conceived, can immunize itself from ingenious, ambitious and persistent Conspiracies of Greed. In a weapon civilization, racial politics are as pointless as gender politics, nativism or any other identify position. It would be just as pointless to distinguish the skin tone, the riches and the sexual proclivities of the oppressed, from those of the oppressor. If the situation were reversed and previous victims had achieved dominance, a similar bell curve of abuse and cooperation would emerge.
If you claim membership to a minority and assume your leaders would behave less disgracefully than the current crop under similar circumstances, you would only need to review the long-term outcome of every weapon revolution to verify your error. If you shifted your gaze further back in history, you would be horrified to discover your own minority dominant somewhere and treating its subordinates with equivalent brutality. The only exception would be PeaceWorld.
Learners will not seek dominance limited to their own profit, but commonalties everyone may share fearlessly. Learning is a commonality every human can share in mutual peace and abundance. We would stop discussing how to replace one information elite by another (in anticipation of greater rewards for our identity position), but discuss a Learner Commonwealth that augmented universal equality. No one will be left outside, who would rather come in from the cold.
“Stranger: Then you think that it is a waste of time, talent, and pecuniary means for the poor to contend in opposition to the rich and powerful?
“Founder: I do; because if these who are poor today become powerful … they will then oppress those who may become poor by the change, and act just as the rich and powerful have always done ... from the beginning to the present moment.” Robert Owen, Dialogue, 18-20. Taken from The Life and Ideas of Robert Owen, by A.L. Morton, 1962, Monthly Review Press, NY, p. 125.