Identity Politics in America

Hillsdale College was founded in 1844 to provide—to all who wish to learn—the education necessary to perpetuate the blessings of civil and religious liberty. In 2011, the College began producing free online courses in order to extend that mission. They aim to provide students with an education that pursues knowledge of the highest things, provides insight into the nature of God and man, forms character, and defends constitutional government.

In Lecture 9, Identity Politics Today, of the free online course, Why Civil Right Matter, Dr. David Azerrad provides a stirring case for why we need bold influencers of Judeo-Christian values to challenge identity politics in the public square. For our MindWolves work, we’ll train using this lecture, however if you’re interested, you can take the entire 9 lecture course here: Hillsdale College Online Courses.

America was founded with the understanding that the purpose of government is to secure the unalienable rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Civil rights, in turn, are derived from and serve to protect the natural rights of all American citizens.

Chief Justice John Roberts, US Supreme Court, 2007

Identity politics holds that America is fundamentally and irredeemably racist. This ideology, which has become dominant in American public life, requires discrimination in order to elevate and privilege the identities of the oppressed. Two key features of this “religion” are:

  1. It focuses on identity groups like race and sex.
  2. It privileges and elevates the identities of the oppressed.

The identity politics worldview believes in the moral superiority of the oppressed and everything else flows from there. It is a substitute religion for Christianity, in particular.

  • The greater the victimization, the stronger the moral case.
  • Evil exists in the world because of straight, white men.

The tenets of this religion are:

  • The original sin in America is slavery. It takes and modifies the Judeo-Christian teaching of original sin, and it no longer applies to everyone. Evil only exists in the oppressor group.
  • It offers no hope of salvation or redemption from sin. White males, the oppressors, need to atone for the sins of their ancestors in perpetuity.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, American author and journalist, 2017

Identity politics is divisive. It should be rejected not because it demands justice for those who have been unjustly treated, but because it poses a threat to republican self-government by corroding patriotic ties and demanding special treatment rather than equality under the law.

There is discrimination in America, and we have to deal with the legacy of past discrimination. However, the current approach is not reasonable because it pits Americans against each other.

Let’s watch Lecture 9. Runtime is 28 min.

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