How did identitarianism gain such traction?

Some theories about why identitarian mythology has reached escape velocity. These thoughts were inspired, in part, by reading this blog post by Remi Adekoya.

1. The careers of identitarian mythology’s professional exponents (academics, intellectuals, journalists) are contingent on perpetuating it. They know it’s balls, for the most part, but have a vested interest in promoting it. Worth noting here that, according to HigherEdJobs, professors in Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender and Group Studies typically earn $15,000 a year more than professors in STEM subjects.

2. Members of the victim groups identified by the identitarians benefit from this mythology, or believe they do, and are therefore reluctant to criticise it even though they, too, know it’s balls. (They may not be mistaken about this, so it’s possible their behaviour is rational. Not cognitive dissonance so much as conscious dishonesty or enlightened dishonesty.) They are also reluctant to criticise it for fear of being demonised on social media and elsewhere by their friends and colleagues. For instance, sceptical, free-thinking African-Americans don’t want to risk being labelled ‘Oreos’ or ‘Uncle Toms’. Combination of self-interest and cowardice disguised as moral righteousness — a powerful cocktail.

3. Left-leaning intellectuals, academics and journalists who aren’t members of victim groups suffer from ‘white guilt’ (see this letter to the New York Times entitled ‘How can I cure my white guilt?‘) and similar maladies and are therefore anxious to advertise their ‘allyship’. The professional exponents of identitarian mythology are expert at playing on this guilt/anxiety.

4. The election of Donald Trump and the victory of Leave in the British EU Referendum have persuaded formerly sceptical victim group members and old-fashioned liberals that the hysterical warnings by identitarians about the racism and xenophobia of white Americans and white Britons are, in fact, not all that alarmist after all. In addition, the victory of populist, right wing candidates and causes in America and Britain has persuaded those on the moderate left who were sceptical of identitarian claims to put aside their differences with the regressive left and join the fight against their common enemy. This is known, colloquially, as ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome‘.

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