Listen now (56 mins) | John McWhorter and I had to postpone our regularly scheduled conversation, as he was feeling under the weather. He’ll be back next week, along with Tyler Austin Harper and Daniel Bessner. This week, my guest is political scientist Yascha Mounk. He’s the author of several books, most recently
Is it just me, or did Glenn sound particularly disengaged in this interview?
One thing I wanna disagree with Mounk on. Around 17 minutes, he claims that the historical record is that whites have won and "there's no particular reason to think they wouldn't do it again". Really? Are Asians and Indians "white"? Are Nigerians "white"? For that matter, I suspect that for most real "white supremacists", Jews aren't "white".
So, no, I don't think the recent historical records supports the notion that society is tilted in favor of whites.
I suppose the history of these theories matters, but not to me. Humans need something to do. Today's identity politics fit the bill of pot stirring, while providing an ideology that immature, or scared intellects can hide behind, in their efforts to have an experience of self in a position of power.
I fear that war is the crucible that knocks reality back into the picture, stripping folks bare so they integrate their values more humanely.
The events of Oct. 7th in Israel are infinitely heart breaking, and naiveté leaves me, molecule by molecule.
What a mish most of ideas being thrown about here all to lead to the novel idea of government intervention being needed to end kids in poverty. Is the takeaway, identity is an intersection of many things (how enlightening) don't be trapped...and the problem is poverty? So let's think of ourselves, as black/white/brown/green, gay, hetero, right or left wing, and POOR (already the case). How many different ways are "intellectuals" going to slice the pie of being poor is a problem. I'm reminded of the 'defining deviancy down', and this guy among many others seem to perpetuate their 'sophisticated' ideas of doing just that (if I'm even understanding defining deviancy down properly). I think government and intellectual institutions have gotten the lay person that even bothers to try and follow this nonsense at this point, so twisted and confused with the amount of ideas and where they come from, that they're thought is paralyzed (at least that's where i stand). The thought that legislation and political policy is actually coming from half baked, overtly over-complicated "ideas" manufactured from think tanks is sickening. Not to mention if you were to hit the streets pretty much anywhere in the US, ask any person about their "identity" I'd wager many of them would just laugh at this point. Their family matters, their friends matter, whether they can feed themselves matters, afford transportation, maybe take a vacation...that's not identity, that's life. People that lift up their communities providing opportunity and care, mothers, fathers and families providing the best opportunities and lives they can give to their children if they want to grant them the best chance at a better situation is a tried and true path forward. Maybe being honest with children that their success is not a defined outcome, has nothing to do with identity, that their choices will influence the rest of their lives and there may be limits that they'll have to navigate, as that's how societies function, is just how it is. That would be true even with a legislative "solution" to poverty, and would deteriorate real personal agency and freedoms. Identity is whatever you want it to be, it's a trap if you think it is, it's not if you don't.
One thing this guy is definitely wrong about is his claim that legislation can protect children from poverty. The last half-century's experience with that ought to be stark evidence it can't do that. The only thing that will help disadvantaged children climb out of poverty is to make them aware that it is their responsibility to acquire the skills necessary to become productive members of society.
A perplexing interview because Mounk seems to want to laud identitarian theory while undermining the ways it has been used in the world. Why bother?
Ten years ago most white people wouldn’t very quickly identify themselves as white if they were trying to categorize themselves to another. They’d say something about faith or heritage or work. And yet, for precisely that inability to see themselves in terms of race, they would be labeled as racist.
And now things have changed, and many more white people feel constrained to identify as white, feel threatened walking down the street for being white people. And if they have any sense, they know that that feeling is exactly what identitarian politics wants them to feel. And for that, nevertheless they are again labeled as racist, and a part of a rising trend in white supremacy.
Academia is guilty a hundred times over for praising an elegant theory that brings evil into the world.