John Gilmore is, to put it mildly, a bit of a prick. Back in 2011, the right-wing activist and writer harassed two Muslim women on the street and when the police showed up to deal with him, he threw a temper tantrum and got arrested. The charges were later dropped but Gilmore has built his career on being this kind of anti-Muslim bigot. So, naturally, The Hill gave him a platform to preach from.
In his third posting, Gilmore is just outraged outraged that liberals have a problem with notorious white nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos signing a $250,000 book deal with Simon and Schuster:
Doubling down on identity politics, divisiveness and intolerance of opposing views, on the other and, is going to reinforce the public’s revulsion toward liberalism. More liberal intolerance is not going to help Democrats make it back from the political wilderness.
There's a lot to unravel there. The first is the myth that being intolerant of intolerance is a problem. The second is the myth that only liberals engage in identity politics.
It's long been a rallying whine from the right that liberals are the "real" bigots because they refuse to allow racists, homophobes and religious fanatics spew their hatred unopposed. It's been crystal clear to everyone except the press that when Trump and his supporters cry about "political correctness," what they're really upset about is having to face the consequences of being openly bigoted. They mistakenly believe they've won this battle but as the growing push back against Simon and Schuster shows, they didn't. At all.
Being tolerant means not turning a blind eye or, worse, normalizing, hate speech. Bigots have every right to espouse their hateful worldview and we have just as much right to denounce them and anyone that enables them in no uncertain terms. People like Gilmore cannot understand this since they think they have the God-given right to spread their hate unchallenged.
Good luck with that.
The second myth Gilmore indulges in is one that liberals should take note of. Ever since the election, there's been a tug-of-war over the direction of the Democratic Party over identity politics. Once faction is saying that the left needs to abandon identity politics altogether and focus on economic issues that appeal to the working class.
In other words, stop defending marginalized groups as a core principle; the same thing Gilmore is saying. It shouldn't need explaining that if your vision of the future for left-wing politics dovetails this neatly with a professional hatemonger, perhaps you need to reevaluate your life choices.
The problem with Gilmore's demand of the left is that it pretends that identity politics only applies to marginalized groups. But when Trump and Republicans (and the liberals that agree with them) talk about "the working class," they are talking about the white working class. It's the only context their spiels about identity politics make sense.
Hillary spent a very large part of her campaign talking about creating solid jobs for the middle class and working poor. She discussed dozens of ways to improve the life of the average American worker. What she didn't do was tell the white working class that she was going to do things just for them the way Trump did. Trump's entire campaign was about identity politics but since it was aimed at aggrieved white people, it doesn't count. Why? Because in America, we abide by the fiction that "White" is not an identity. It allows us to be racist as hell without actually admitting it out loud.
The bottom line here is that while whitelash is ascendant, it won't be for long. Those who enrich Gilmore, Yiannopoulos and the rest of their ilk by hanging onto their every word want us to stop holding them accountable for the hate they're addicted to. But those days are long gone. True intolerance, not the phony intolerance Gilmore accuses us of, is no longer welcome in America and it's just a matter of time until it's shamed back into the sewer it crawled out of.
- This article kills fascists
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