The Clare Spark Blog

December 4, 2018

Moderate Heather Mac Donald on “identity politics”

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 10:02 pm


The well-known political commentator/conservative, Heather MacDonald was interviewed by Mark Levin on Fox News Channel December 2, 2018. The subject was “identity politics,” My favorite subject. Here is how Wikipedia describes MacDonald’s general political views (with which I am usually in agreement):

Although Ms. MacDonald was introduced as an English major and a lawyer, she has not written on this subject to my knowledge. Here are the points where I found her presentation lacking in historical savvy:

  1. Her primary argument was that women and minorities were never oppressed to the point of justifying the imposition of speech codes, therefore identity politics must be superfluous. Although conservative and liberal women go out of their way to defend the family, speaking from my own experience, I find this hilarious and wrong. It is true that many females are contented with homemaking and large families, but many are not. The same could be said of the poverty of blacks and other minorities denied a suitable education and opportunities to climb the promised ladder.

The 60s “New Left” movements did not emerge out of nothing, and it is these movements that gave the impetus to “identity politics.” Liberals, who are good at co-option, made these policies mandatory. (It is true that “race” is a still unsettled subject, but it was substituted for class struggle by liberals, not New Leftists (many of whom became Maoists, whose commitments to communism were obvious).

  1. MacDonald should have known that melodrama (with its categories of heroes, villains and victims) is an ancient innovation and not specific to identity politics. Of course, the vocabulary of victimization is part of the argot of liberals and radicals who insist that women and minorities are indeed mostly oppressed, a position that she does not hold. Perhaps she is thinking of herself and others who have made it. (I share her belief in meritocracy, but see at least partial victimization.)
  2. When Mark Levin asked MacDonald what was to be done (to remedy the abuses of identity politics), she mentioned that alumni should desist from giving funds to universities that supported them. That was all she had to say (I took notes), and this followed from her assumptions, contested in this blog. There was no mention of multiculturalism or collectivist discourses, though as an alleged conservative, I thought that Heather MacDonald would defend the individual above Big Government practices.

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