by Asaf Romirowsky
Mark Lilla’s superb book, The Once and Future Liberal After Identity Politics, correctly describes the zeitgeist of identity politics in American society today especially, within left-wing circles. Lilla correctly observes that democratic politics is about persuasion, not self-expression. “I’m here, I’m queer,” will never provoke more than a pat on the head or a roll of the eyes. Accept that you will never agree with people on everything – that’s to be expected in a democracy.
One effect of engaging in social movements tied to identity is that you’ve been surrounded by the like-minded and like-faced and like-educated. Impose no purity tests on those you would convince. Not everything is a matter of principle, and even when something is, there are usually other, equally important principles that might have to be sacrificed to preserve this one. Moral values are not pieces in a puzzle where everything has been precut to fit.
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Prof. Asaf Romirowsky is a fellow of the Canadian Insitute for Jewish Research Fellow