In a period rife with scams, the biggest scam of them all is known as identity politics. According to identity politics and its associated concept of “diversity,” people ought to be hired and promoted based on race and gender, not individual characteristics such as hard work and personal sacrifice. The premise of this leftist ideology is that the US is an oppressor nation. Under the banner of diversity, the Left divides Americans between oppressors—heterosexual, Christian, white males—and victimized groups of minorities and women. Because they are victimized, blacks, Hispanics, and women are in need of special protection. “It is the old Marxist wine,” says David Horowitz in Big Agenda, “and the results are bound to be similar.”
The idea that white people are an inherently flawed group of oppressors is absurd on its face. The notion that blacks are victims of a racist society may have been true prior to the 1960s, but this is a half-century after the Civil Rights Movement. “White institutional racism has disappeared from our society,” explains author Scott Greer in No Campus for White Men. “The oppression of black Americans is over with,” African-American author Shelby Steele agreed during an interview with author Mark Levin.
The value system that has made the US successful as a nation is an achievement of white people, especially white men. “The fact that white people are better off is not a privilege,” says David Horowitz. “It’s earned.” White men founded our republic. White men gave their lives to end slavery. White men are largely responsible for the day-to-day commerce that puts food on the table and clothing on our backs. Like it or not, white people and their value system drive the engine that makes this country work. They should not be penalized for their contribution, yet that is the goal of identity politics.
Our country is strong because it is a meritocracy. Merit—being the best—has always been prized in America. Meritocracy and diversity are opposites. Identity politics is based on the eradication of merit. The Left wants success to be based on one’s race and gender, not quality and excellence. Identity politics is seducing minorities by offering a chance at the success and affluence that are possible in America but without having to make the effort or personal sacrifices normally needed to obtain them.
The number one reason that minorities have lagged behind whites is an unwillingness to accept white values of hard work, education, and taking responsibility for personal success or failure. As a young man, the only “white privilege” I enjoyed was the knowledge that I could enjoy the American Dream if I earned it. In school, the military, and the world of work, whatever success I achieved was based on my striving for excellence. I studied with diligence, cleaned toilets at night to get through college, met the exacting standards of Marine Corps Officers Candidate School, and always went the extra mile to be the best at whatever profession I practiced. Unfortunately, many blacks and Hispanics are attracted to identity politics because it offers a means of realizing the American Dream without being required to make those personal sacrifices. Where identity politics prevails, you get hired and promoted because of your race and gender and for no other reason.
What an incredible fantasy! You can breeze through life simply because you are African-American or Hispanic or a woman. It is the kind of fantasy that might appeal to children—winning the big prize through the benefit of wizardry. Somebody waves a magic wand and Harry Potter flies around the room. Children have no conception of the sweat that must be invested to be successful in the adult world. And yet here it is being offered on a platter to certain “protected” groups of people.
During the December 2 episode of Fox News’ Life, Liberty and Levin, author Heather Mac Donald explained that identity politics has taken hold in colleges and universities and is now spreading to the world at large. Companies like Google and Facebook are showing preferences for minorities and women with little regard for qualifications. White men are being discriminated against solely on the basis of skin color and gender. McDonald warned about the consequences of this trend. Countries like China and Russia, she said, are meritocracies. If you are a scientist in China, they don’t give a damn about your race or gender. If the US falls prey to identity politics, we will never be able to compete on the world stage. Within 20 years, the US could easily turn into a third world country.
Mark Levin raised the question, why do so many affluent whites buy into identity politics? The answer lies in white guilt. Many whites have fallen for the defamatory argument that they do not deserve their “white privilege.” So how can identity politics be defeated if even whites are falling for it? The good news is that not all whites or minorities are drinking the Kool-Aid. Half the country voted for Donald Trump because the allure of identity politics is not as strong as the Left would like it to be. We have a choice: vote for conservative politicians or yield the floor to people like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris. Try to imagine what the US would be like if Bernie or Hillary Clinton had been elected president. As I have argued repeatedly, Donald Trump may go down in history as the man who saved America.
Ed Brodow is a political commentator, negotiation expert, and author of seven books including his latest, Tyranny of the Minority: How the Left is Destroying America.