Identity Politics & Sovietization of America

Paul Dean
Paul Dean

Identity politics is more destructive than we realize. While the purveyors of woke culture tell us they’re seeking a level playing field, the reality is they’re making a power play. Intersectionality is rooted in the philosophy of might makes right, and the trickle-down is pervasive.

Turning Co-Workers into Enemies

Paul Craig Roberts talks about a college professor who came to the US from the former Soviet Union and warns us of the Sovietization of America. She’s not talking about economic socialism but the censure of reasoned discourse. She sounds the alarm that identity politics allows “people to hound and persecute with impunity. People love it because it allows a little person to completely destroy somebody who has done something great.” Where she teaches, they “have this bias response team that prowls the campus looking for signs of non-compliance. We had the same thing in the Soviet Union. Right now they’re on campus, but eventually, they’re going to be in every workplace. In the workplace as well as in the educational system, the culture created by diversity and sensitivity training turns co-workers into enemies.”

She’s right. One need only look at the “Me Too” movement and the underlying assumption that every woman must be believed regardless of the evidence or facts. The professor’s further point is that populations are easy to manipulate and control when people are set against each other. “That’s what it is like under totalitarianism.”

In the Soviet Union, the government was built on an atheistic worldview. Controlling people was part of their function. So too now in our culture. Don’t miss that. It’s not merely governments moving to control people; our culture wants to do the same. That’s the power play. Identity politics is not about equality but power.

Turning Scholarship into Slogans

The professor also highlights the elimination of reasoned discourse in academia. In the “Soviet Union when you were a student and assigned to write a paper, you knew that the thing to do was to go straight to the correct books in the library and copy the relevant articles, word for word, with no deviations. ...When I entered the university in Canada, the teacher really did want me to think for myself…It was so weird, but so liberating. Now, I’m seeing young people who are just like we were in the Soviet Union. They are afraid to think for themselves. They only want to know what the “right” answer is, and repeat it.” She laments that graduate students are not able to produce scholarship but only a “collection of woke slogans.” Students are not only incapable of critical thinking, but they’re afraid. If they come to an out-of-step conclusion, they’ll only be cancelled. Woke culture is cancel culture. If you don’t repeat their mantra, you’re anathematized. That’s our future.

What we need instead of the Sovietization of America is the Kingdomization of America. In one sense, it’s the rekindling of the old concepts of freedom of speech, religion, and association. It’s the notion of a truly pluralistic society rooted in old-style tolerance and liberty and justice for all. These are Kingdom principles for civil society – the outworking of the gospel. For those things we must labor.

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Originally published March 31, 2020.