Tag Archives: Identity Politics

Tony Groves

Identity Politics is only as limited as our ability to look at things through the eyes of others. The modern inability to engage with each other, without prejudice, is the hallmark of this age of echo chambers and pseudo intellectualism (myself included).

Mick Fealty, of the excellent Slugger O’Toole, introduced me to a terrific word; askholes. The askhole is an individual who seeks you out, asks your opinion and then promptly ignores it. Brilliant.

When Sally Kohn said “I’m a gay talking head on Fox News” on the Ted Talk Stage she wasn’t saying it as a victory for the Liberals. She wasn’t defending Fox News and the Right Wing media. She wasn’t excusing away the hate mail and tweets that she got.

Sally was railing against political correctness and asking liberals to park their moral superiority; she was talking about what she terms “emotional correctness”.

It is the, all too common, Lefty Liberal habit of being dismissive of anyone who disagrees with them. A situation loosely defined as being “politically right, but emotionally wrong”.

This, she concludes, is why the Conservative Right don’t like Lefty Liberals. It’s why we today have cognitive dissonance on Trump’s “many sides”.

We have people who feel social democracy and progressive values are exclusively the domain of the Left. The fact that an Taoiseach is a Right Wing gay conservative conflicts with the worldview that everyone who marches with a rainbow flag must be a Lefty Liberal.

But that’s not emotional correctness.

The blind spots aren’t the sole domain of the “left. There are hard right economic cliches that stop debate about the best way to tackle social inequality.

Get a Left Wing pre election manifesto, have it fully costed, third party reviewed, and even include a commitment to maintaining the 12.5% Corporation Tax Rate, and watch those on the Right (who haven’t even read it) dismiss it as Lefty Looney Economic Spoofing.

This week the OECD placed Ireland in the top bracket of Tax Transparency and Global Compliance.

Many on the Right, including Brian Hayes MEP, took to twitter to gloat and use this to bash the left. But as a ‘Lefty’, I wasn’t surprised.

Ireland is transparent and becoming positively crystal clear in its tax dealings. Our status as a low tax base for corporations is one of our main selling points globally.

We may as well run an ad.

Small Country, open to trying new things, seeks Corporation for No Strings Attached fun, maybe more. Phone Leo on 1890-LOW-LOW-TAX.

But that’s not emotional correctness.

When elements of the Right express racially abhorrent views about immigration just punching them won’t work. Nor will ignoring them.

Their views must be dragged out into the light, their fears addressed, their hate challenged positively and (where possible) their minds changed. That’s a lot easier to type than to do.

There is so much pushback masquerading as Centrism. We have pro-government Think-Pieces expressing outrage about the outrage of those let down by the government.

We have a Taoiseach who, when asked about the homelessness crisis, went on an ad hominem attack rather than answering the question.

We have powerful influential people who call themselves Centrists, and the only Centre they know is Dundrum Town. We could call them the Alt-Centrist, but that’s not emotionally correct.

There are mobs on “many sides”; high moral ground lefty loonies, far right tiki torch waving nuts and every hue in between. I’m not making false equivalences between any of them. There’s no need for finger pointing and chest thumping. Ad hominem attacks aren’t just a song on the Muppets.

We have countercultures bumping up against countercultures, that are fighting with their own subcultures. Honestly, if we each agreed to host a homeless person in our own little bubble then the crisis would evaporate overnight.

But that’s not emotional correctness.

So when we engage with, or raise our noses in displeasure against, the ‘other side’, try keeping it emotionally correct and leave your sense of political correctness in your pocket. If an idea is contrary to your group-think, ask yourself are you more groupie than thinky.

Try to find that common ground. Look for the areas where your Values Venn Diagrams overlap, and be optimistic. Always bear in mind that we risk becoming that thing we set out to defeat if we don’t engage at all.

Finally, if you can’t spot the Askhole in the room, it’s probably you.

Tony Groves is a full-time financial consultant and part-time commentator. With over 18 years experience in the financial industry and a keen interest in politics, history and “being ornery”, he has published one book and writes regularly aTrickstersworld

Previously: Tony Groves on Broadsheet