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Bari Weiss and the Left-Wing Infatuation With Taking Offense


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Outrage mobs are chipping away at democracy, one meaningless debate at a time.

Shadi Hamid

Feb 17, 2018

The mob was unusually vociferous, even for Twitter. After the California-born ice skater Mirai Nagasu became the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics, the New York Times writer Bari Weiss commented “Immigrants: They get the job done.”


This is why identity politics can sometimes seem like a * new sort of political theology. Belief and conviction are good things, but only if there’s something to believe in. Identity politics and the virtue-outbidding it necessitates often signal the absence of religion in search of religion—with followers mimicking its constituent elements: ritual, purity, atonement, and excommunication.

In purely practical terms, moral posturing doesn’t usually change anyone’s mind, because people intuitively interpret it “as a form of jockeying for in-group status.” But it doesn’t need to change minds, nor is it necessarily supposed to. Its point is to transform politics into a question of purity. It’s not enough to have the right opinion or intent: The precise words used to convey the right opinion become just as important, as Weiss herself quickly found out. Within this framework, acknowledging the legitimacy of different opinions—if the language used can conceivably be seen as insensitive to a disadvantaged group—becomes more than difficult, too; it becomes a moral failing.  

The disagreement within the left about the role and relevance of identity has bled into the larger culture. It is a dangerous disagreement, and it needs to be fought. Identity politics, as the backlash to Weiss shows, is divisive; it is polarizing; and it distracts from more fundamental debates. The large part of the country that is left-of-center, if it has any interest in winning elections, cannot simply depend on anti-Trumpism. It needs * new ideas, but that requires actually having them. In the place of ideas, there is whatever this is: small differences, indignation, and an infatuation with being offended.




H/T Hot Air


* Sorry Shadi

"9 What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    “Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time."


Or something a bit more up to date

"It is the evening of the day
I sit and watch the children play
Doing things I used to do
They think are new
I sit and watch
As tears go by"

Andrew Loog Oldham / Keith Richards / Mick Jagger

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