I think I know a Columbia humanities professor who is going to be shunned at the next faculty mixer. In this great article in the Wall Street Journal, Mark Lilia explains how liberals have lost a sense of common cause: "The Liberal Crackup
- Liberals should reject the divisive, zero-sum politics of identity and find their way back to a unifying vision of the common good
As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate.
What does this bifurcation and compartmentalization mean for the political Left? There is no call to collective action:
Every advance of liberal identity consciousness has marked a retreat of liberal political consciousness. There can be no liberal politics without a sense of We—of what we are as citizens and what we owe each other. If liberals hope ever to recapture America’s imagination and become a dominant force across the country, it will not be enough to beat the Republicans at flattering the vanity of the mythical Joe Sixpack. They must offer a vision of our common destiny based on one thing that all Americans, of every background, share.
Wrapping up, Professor Lilia writes: "Black Lives Matter is a textbook example of how not to build solidarity." Uh-oh.
The unintended timing of this "liberal identity politics" critique - Friday night of this particular weekend - was just perfect.
Although the professor was right-- certain conservatives were far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles.
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