The ‘sympathetic magic’ of identity politics has cast an awful spell

Sep 12, 2020 by

by Daniel Hannon, CapX:

What, I wonder, will future generations make of us? We have spent the past three months raging against our ancestors, calling them racists and bigots, smashing their statues. But imagine turning a similar lens on ourselves. What might tomorrow’s historians have to say about the year 2020?

I have a nasty feeling that they will record it as the moment when we turned our backs on an open society and embraced an illiberal form of identity politics. They will remember it as the year when we stopped thinking of people as responsible individuals and went back to categorising them by sex and race. They will recall how suddenly we stopped caring about personal freedom, equality before the law and impartial policing, and how quickly we fell back on tribalism.

When I say “we”, I mean our intellectual elites: protesters, pundits, politicians, police – pretty much everyone, in fact, except the general population.

This is not a revolution supported by the masses or the government. It is driven by those in between: quangocrats, academics, chief constables. Consider the way our cultural elites responded to Black Lives Matter (BLM). Having previously raged against the most trivial lockdown infractions, they gave a pass to anyone who claimed to be acting in the name of anti-racism.

The police, who had been ticking people off for walking too slowly in parks, buying non-essential goods and even, in one case, being in their own garden, gave up completely on enforcing the law. Instead of ordering protesters to disperse, they dropped to one knee before them.

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