Perspectives: Resisting the divisiveness of identity politics

OPINION – A good test of a person’s commitment to the ideal of personal liberty is found in how willing he or she is to speak out in its defense. Of course, this is easy when we’re looking out for our own self interests.

A more definitive test of our personal integrity regarding liberty is found in the willingness to speak out in the defense of others whose rights are being trampled or ignored.

This is particularly true when it comes to defending the rights of those who are marginalized.

When government is abusive to racial minorities, polygamists, hippies, homeschoolers, consumers of raw milk, peaceful protestors, or any other subset of society, do we condemn the abuse or cheer the fact that it’s happening to them and not us?

Writer Dan Sanchez said that turning a blind eye to the mistreatment or oppression of others ensures that eventually our own rights will be subject to abuse when the police state is turned on its enablers.

Justice Felix Frankfurter explained why this is so; he said:

It is easy to make light of insistence on scrupulous regard for the safeguards of civil liberties when invoked on behalf of the unworthy. It is too easy. History bears testimony that by such disregard are the rights of liberty extinguished, heedlessly at first, then stealthily, and brazenly in the end.

If we truly believe that each person possesses natural rights that are universal, this shouldn’t be a problem. But the sanctity of individual rights has fallen out of fashion as an insidious form of collectivism has taken root in our society.

It’s called identity politics, and it is best described as using the power of government to further the cause of group-based movements that purport to represent the interests of a specific group rather than those relating to all members of society. Under this model, we are encouraged to divide ourselves by identity into groups based upon ethnicity, sex, religion, class, sexuality, or some other trait.

Past examples of oppression are often cited as the justification for government policies favoring one group over another.

An example of how this collectivist worldview undermines the sanctity of individual rights can be seen in the exercise of free speech.

Wendy McElroy, author and editor of, wrote in an article for

A woman benefits from the protection of free speech no less than a man does. Arguably, a history of oppression makes freedom of speech more personally important to a woman; it is part of what will allow her to rise through education and merit.

By contrast, identity politics says that women and men do not share a similar interest in freedom of speech. For example, if a man expresses sexist views, he is said to “silence” women and, so, his speech should be restrained through policies such as sexual harassment laws or campus speech codes. Thus, freedom of speech is converted from a human right into a tool of oppression that must be blunted by force.

The premise upon which identity politics is based is that all of the various groups or classes are antagonistic to the interests of the others. We are told that whites are inherently against blacks, men are against women, and the able-bodied are against the interests of the disabled.

This encourages each group to fight for its own government-granted recognition – wrongly referred to as rights – that the group claims it deserves and wants to acquire by force of law.

Rather than protecting the rights of all individuals equally, our individual rights now become subject to the approval of the collective based on which identity or group we are assigned. Invariably, public policy comes to favor some groups while punishing others with the approval of the those who hold the right identity.

Identity politics also serves as a highly effective tool to smear and marginalize those who question the policy makers by assigning an identity like “secessionist” or “misogynist” or “anti-Semite.” A shockingly high number of intelligent people buy into this deception.

Individual liberty is always superior to collectivism. Libertarian Leonard E. Read wrote:

The right way is the greatest gratifier of human wishes ever come upon — when allowed to operate. It is as morally sound as the Golden Rule. It is the way of willing exchange, of common consent, of self-responsibility, of open opportunity. It respects the right of each to the product of his own labor. It limits the police force to keeping the peace. It is the way of the free market, private property, limited government. On its banner is emblazoned Individual Liberty.

Identity politics is where many of our tolerance totalitarians inadvertently reveal their true colors through an insatiable lust to control others via the state.

The fact that their ideals must be imposed by force rather than voluntarily embraced by choice speaks volumes as to which is more compatible with liberty.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • Herd August 21, 2014 at 10:49 am

    The St George religious herd of cattle ought to pay attention to this particular comment: “…turning a blind eye to the mistreatment or oppression of others ensures that eventually our own rights will be subject to abuse when the police state is turned on its enablers.” Think about all the people who’ve been discriminated against for not being a member of their religious herd, those who’ve spoken out about the discrimination against them, and how the herd refused to listen to them. Now the herd has its own police state and dictatorship government and nobody will listen the herd. The herd just lets itself be herded like a herd of cattle, oblivious to anything.

    • Brian August 21, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      Who exactly are these people “who’ve been discriminated against for not being a member of their religious herd”, and how exactly were they discriminated against? I live in a small community, and yes, we mostly belong to one religion, and yes, some aspects of our social life are held in that building. But no one is excluded, and we have lots of community events that have nothing to do with religion. There are people that move here with a chip on their shoulder and exclude themselves, but that’s on their shoulders. We’re a happy, open community. If someone wants to stay locked up in their own house and have no contact with us for fear someone might try to share a jello salad recipe with them, there isn’t much I can do about that. I’m not going to drag them out kicking and screaming to have a BBQ with us.

      • Independent Article August 21, 2014 at 5:11 pm

        “I think there’s truth to what she’s saying,” said Bryan Hyde, host of the popular political talk show “Perspectives” on FOX 1450 AM. “Particularly this sense of people feeling disenfranchised and not fitting in because they are not LDS. I think that’s a legitimate concern” and “However, Bryan Hyde, who is a Mormon, said he is aware of instances of intolerance towards non-Mormons by members of his faith.” a

        • Brian August 21, 2014 at 11:14 pm

          I’m “aware of instances of intolerance” by every group on earth and towards every group on earth, that doesn’t mean they’re frequent here. I asked for examples and got none. Please elaborate, and be specific.

        • DAVE August 22, 2014 at 2:56 am

          Your quote took Brian Hyde’s comment out-of-context, because he went on, to say:
          ““You know, there are individuals who, for whatever reason, say ‘your kid can’t play with my kid,’” said Hyde. “Why not? ‘Well, because you’re not a member of our church.’ Those are pretty rare instances, but they do happen.”….

          • Koolaid August 22, 2014 at 9:59 am

            Well, shoot, gosh darn it, it seems obvious that bryan is in the know about mormons discriminating against non-mormons. don’t ya just luv the part how outsiders are welcome to participate in the mormon games and mormon activities (as long as they follow mormon guidelines and drink the mormon koolaid)? Dang Bryan, why do your mormon groupies hate and discriminate?

          • Independent Article August 22, 2014 at 1:47 pm

            Did you read the article in the Independent and note the comments of mormons preferential treatment toward mormons? Does this explain why mormons voted for Swallow, because of his mormon affiliation?

    • JAR August 21, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      Get a life Herd.( when your parole agent says you can)
      I hope your not as stupid as you comment indicates. Are you on line using the computer at Purgatory ?

  • JAR August 21, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Article hits the nail on the head. Thanks.

  • Big Guy August 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Just as those who banish dissent [college faculties] accuse others of being intolerant, those who judge people by their race [diversity advocates] insist that those who don’t are racist. The left has managed to invert just about every liberal value there is.

  • KooKaid August 21, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    As if anyone in St George really cares My name’s “KOOKAID” and one time, long ago, I was made to feel embarrassed for my immoral and unethical behavior by a Mormon. It wasn’t anything sexual, just something that actually have a conscience would deem as immoral. However, instead of taking responsibility and owning up to my mistake, I took personal offense to it and have now grouped everyone of that particular religion into one whole. Just like how every Asian is really good at math and every white person is a racist. That’s how I think because I can’t separate the individual from the group. It’s a disease I have, and for some reason, I have an addiction of spreading this disease on every story posted by St. George News. I must apologized to you all for my VERY low I.Q. and generalizations. If you would like to assist me in my rehabilitation, please reply to every post I make from hence forth and tell me how stupid I am. I really need to hear it from the masses before it sinks in to my thick skull. Examples are;
    1. Some Utahans seem not to distinguish between black and white. They just discriminate against everyone. Bundy does not represent Americans except the freeloaders, moochers, the do nothings, racist, hateful and ignorant. Someone must be drinking a pitcher of stupid koolaid to have porn pictures of herself on a phone. But then, St George prudes probably consider bared shoulders as being pornographic, or lingerie modeled on plastic busts or other displays in one store in the St George mall. How does this impact his and her worthiness? If she’s really hot looking, someone might consider her very worthy but worthy of ???? Wasn’t some bishop busted in a prostitution sting? Did you see the link about the bishop arrested for luring some teen boy? Was that to determine his worthiness? The flow of water represents the flow of koolaid served to those residents. Drink up and enjoy the koolaid. I wouldn’t be surprised if the culprit was some church kid. Don’t more women make a guy more worthy? Isn’t three to five women the ideal number? Instead of calling it an affair, consider it taking on another spirit wife. Stay worthy. If the dog had been left in a hot car and died, would there be a fund raiser for the owner? ETC. ETC. ETC.
    WANT MORE PROOF …..Here’s Koolaid

    • Incognegro (Josh Dalton) August 21, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      GET EM!

    • Ynot August 21, 2014 at 5:23 pm


    • bob August 21, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      You’re a loser with your huge copy paste comment. Get a brain and try to type a real comment, idiot…

    • tinker toys August 22, 2014 at 12:55 am

      A mormon calling out someone for a low IQ is an oxymoron.

      • The real Koolaid August 22, 2014 at 10:01 am

        Correction, an oxymormon in the land of dixie

        • Incognegro (Josh Dalton) August 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm

          this is not the land of Dixie….

    • Incognegro (Josh Dalton) August 22, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      I will say it again….DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TAKE KOOL-AID FROM MY PEOPLE or DIRECTLY RELATE MORMONS TO THE MASS CONSUMPTION OF KOOL-AID! until the LDS FULLY accept black folks into their Heaven then you can refer to Mormons as Kool-aid drinkers! They drink Bud Light,Sunny-D, Mountain Dew and Juice. Not only that only about 10% of our community know what grits are…drinking kool-aid while eating grits is awesome!

      • Koolaid August 22, 2014 at 5:03 pm

        Wow! I think you are the next prophet. Everyone, bow down, bow down

    • Koolaid August 22, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      I think you covered it all. Stay worthy my friend!

    • The Real Koolaid August 22, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      Yep… think you covered everything, Stay worthy, my friend!

  • mesaman August 21, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    The whole issue can be resolved by putting “political correctness” in the nearest commode and flushing it down the tube, then relying on people’s responsibility to replace it. When the need for love replaces the need for power, then there will be peace, Hue, South Viet Nam, 1967.

  • Ron de Weijze August 22, 2014 at 3:32 am

    Liberals and conservatives use power and politics. Identities for them are defined within groups between people. Libertarians use truth and ethics. Identities for them are defined within people between groups.

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