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Showing posts from October, 2018

Kenan Malik’s critique of identity politics – a critique

This article follows a long Twitter discussion initiated by Sandy Starr, relating Kenan Malik’s review of Eric Kaufmann’s fascinating new book Whiteshift to the debate we had on my book at the Battle of Ideas in London on 13th October.

'The real problem, however, is not that the notion of white identity is racist but that it is meaningless.'@kenanmalik responds to @epkaufm's #Whiteshift in @ObserverUK.

Relevant to recent #BattleOfIdeas debate between @bencobley/@cricri42/@_HelenDale.https://t.co/xs5ND6W3aF — Sandy Starr (@sandystarr0) 21 October 2018
In this thread, Kenan linked to another article of his, entitled ‘Not all Politics is Identity Politics’ a beautifully-written piece in which he presents his critique of identity politics and through which I could see some avenues to explore the differences with mine.
Firstly, it’s probably worth explaining where we agree.
Kenan is a critic of identity politics, and from the left. As he says, “Most of us who criticize ident…

Questioning Diversity – speech for session on my book at The Battle of Ideas

This is the text of the speech I gave at the session about my book, 'The Tribe: the liberal-left and the system of diversity' at the Barbican, London on Saturday 13th October 2018. It differed a little in delivery. Further details of the session and the participants are here.


Hello Everyone. Thank you all for coming.

Also a special thank you to Jon [Holbrook] and the Academy of Ideas for arranging this session.

And another special thank you to Christine [Louis-Dit-Sully], James [Panton] and Helen [Dale] for agreeing to participate and for wading through this book of mine.

I hope we can have an interesting and lively discussion about it and the issues it raises.


“Questioning Diversity: discussing THE TRIBE” - at #BattleofIdeas - with @bencobley@cricri42@_HelenDale@jimpanton - packed out!!! pic.twitter.com/NJTAQrEUEY — The Great Debate (@greatdebateuk) 13 October 2018


So, let’s get into it. What is this book all about?

I’ve been reflecting on this and I think I could give a lot …

Postmodernism isn't to blame for our identity wars

I have been seeing a lot of people lately blaming postmodernism and ‘post-modernists’ for our current malaise with identity politics. But I think this neglects the knowledge base of identity-based ideologies, without which they would fall apart.
These ideas and claims seem to have reached a crescendo with the 'Grievance Studies’ hoax exposing how some identity-focused academic journals are happy to publish weapon-grade nonsense if it aligns to their own political, ideological objectives. (Anyone who is familiar with these ‘disciplines’ and not indoctrinated into them knew that anyway, but big credit to James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose and Peter Boghossian for demonstrating it for the rest of the world in such an entertaining manner)
"Postmodernists pretend to be experts in what they call “theory.” Lindsay, Boghossian, and Pluckrose expose this for the lie that it is. “Theory” is not real. Postmodernists have no expertise and no profound understanding."https://t.co/ntapmAi…