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Thread: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

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    Default Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    Given that there have been a fair few interesting conversations on here of late regarding the ins and outs of 'identity politics', and also that we have a pretty diverse community on here in terms of identity - I thought I'd post this as I've just read this new Fukuyama essay.

    Bit of context:Fukuyama is an American with Japanese heritage who has written a bunch of influential books in the political science/economics realm.
    His most famous book is probably the The End of History and the Last Man (1992) which anyone who has spent any time in academia will probably be aware of.
    Said book was massively influential in lots of ways, not least in (sort of) providing the (misguided) justification for a lot of the interventionist foreign policy of the US and Europe over the last two decades.
    Interestingly, Fukuyama himself has publicly said that some of the conclusions of that book were wrong too - which is quite rare for a public intellectual.
    You can read more about that via his Wiki entry here - Francis Fukuyama.


    Anyway - he's just published a new piece about the influence and consequences of what's known as 'Identity Poltics' which might be interesting to some of the people who post on here.

    You can read the full text here: Against Identity Politics


    WARNING - It's quite long (17 pages) but I found it interesting, not entirely sure how much I agree with but thought some other posters might enjoy reading it too.


    Feel free to do so and discuss.

    Or, go back to laughing about YouTube comments, whatever.

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    Reddit thread about here: In B4 'Go back to Reddit'

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    Interesting read. I've not read anything by him before but he gave quite a good overview of the politics of the last couple years in particular. It made me realise why I find identity politics so frustrating. It plays in to everyone's sense of victimhood that they belong to a subgroup that is misunderstood and underrepresented (even if it happens to be a culturally dominant group). There is always a way of playing into people's feelings of being aggrieved.

    He is right in saying that it is potentially easier to challenge reactionary or destructive identity politics in USA where they have a constitution that enshrines people's basic equality than in other countries with a longer ethnic, cultural tradition. But every country should try focus on identities that can be shared rather than those that divide or exclude. Anyway, enough highbrow chat. I'm going back to watching youtube clips ….

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by SotonJon View Post
    Interesting read. I've not read anything by him before but he gave quite a good overview of the politics of the last couple years in particular. It made me realise why I find identity politics so frustrating. It plays in to everyone's sense of victimhood that they belong to a subgroup that is misunderstood and underrepresented (even if it happens to be a culturally dominant group). There is always a way of playing into people's feelings of being aggrieved.

    highbrow chat.
    Glad you enjoyed it Jon.

    I found the bit about reinstituting some kind of 'national service' quite interesting too.
    For those TL;DR - it's not 'National Service' as in purely military service.

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    That was a good read. He sums up the American situation fairly well and makes me think that the political status quo of Democrats vs Republicans over there will contribute massively to more division in the future.

    This part I also agree with:

    Combating the pernicious influence of identity politics will prove quite difficult in Europe. Inrecent decades, the European left has supported a form of multiculturalism that minimizesthe importance of integrating newcomers into creedal national cultures.
    I really don't like the idea that just letting immigrants from countries with a lower standard of living come to live in your country just solves all their problem for them, it's just so naive and has obviously led to whole range of problems.

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    Good article and agree with a lot of it. Though the whole 'creedal national culture' thing seems like a good idea on paper I don't understand how (and he doesn't really offer any solution) this would begin to be devised and people encouraged to embrace it

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    It feels more like something that would have to organically develop rather than be enforced

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    It's kind of a new spin on civic nationalism I guess.

    As in, if you immigrate to a new country then the onus is shared between the host culture and the immigrant on enabling the individual to become a citizen of the new place whilst retaining their own cultural identity.
    Interesting to me on a personal level as the partner of an Asian immigrant too.

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by Haven_Hamilton View Post
    It feels more like something that would have to organically develop rather than be enforced
    I think part of his argument is that adopting a laisser-faire attitude towards 'integration' or whatever you want to label it as has clearly failed and has given too much voice to extremists on both sides.

    This bit is particularly telling as re Germany, especially considering the original nationality of the German immigrant suggesting it, given what happened ten years later and how Merkel/EU attempted to deal with it.

    "In addition to changing the formal requirements for citizenship, European countries need
    to shift away from conceptions of national identity based on ethnicity. Nearly 20 years ago,
    a German academic of Syrian origin named Bassam Tibi proposed making
    Leitkultur [13] (leading culture) the basis for a new German national identity. He defined
    Leitkultur as a belief in equality and democratic values firmly grounded in the liberal ideals of the
    Enlightenment. Yet leftist academics and politicians attacked his proposal for suggesting
    that such values were superior to other cultural values; in doing so, the German left gave
    unwitting comfort to Islamists and far-right nationalists, who have little use for enlightenment ideas"

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by anonymity View Post
    It's kind of a new spin on civic nationalism I guess.

    As in, if you immigrate to a new country then the onus is shared between the host culture and the immigrant on enabling the individual to become a citizen of the new place whilst retaining their own cultural identity.
    Interesting to me on a personal level as the partner of an Asian immigrant too.
    Yeah fair point, could see something along those lines working. Just feel it is also going to rely on convincing those that are already part of this 'national identity' and likely born in it to accept these new immigrants as actually believe in these values because they've taken a test or whatever

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by Haven_Hamilton View Post
    Yeah fair point, could see something along those lines working. Just feel it is also going to rely on convincing those that are already part of this 'national identity' and likely born in it to accept these new immigrants as actually believe in these values because they've taken a test or whatever
    Like I say - I think his point is that just pretending that any country can absorb massive numbers of immigrants from cultures with vastly different outlooks without doing anything to encourage/enforce/whatever 'citizenship' has been a disaster on various levels.
    He's not really talking about traditional routes for immigration either (tests etc) more so I think he's talking about it from the post-migrant crisis perspective (at least as far as Europe goes) where ID, proof of who you were, all previous rubric was thrown out of the window by Germany.

    Re my own experience - my wife had to sit a bunch of tests relating to knowledge of British culture, prove her English level, and pay an absolute fortune for the right to become a citizen of the UK.
    It seems odd/unfair/retarded that not everyone has to do that tbh.

    Fukuyama's credentials might actually make it possible for a rational debate on this one too without people immediately shouting about racism/cultural imperialism etc etc.
    Well you'd hope so anyway.

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by anonymity View Post
    Like I say - I think his point is that just pretending that any country can absorb massive numbers of immigrants from cultures with vastly different outlooks without doing anything to encourage/enforce/whatever 'citizenship' has been a disaster on various levels.
    Yeah totally agree


    Quote Originally Posted by anonymity View Post
    He's not really talking about traditional routes for immigration either (tests etc) more so I think he's talking about it from the post-migrant crisis perspective (at least as far as Europe goes) where ID, proof of who you were, all previous rubric was thrown out of the window by Germany.
    See this is where I'm getting confused, I don't really understand what he is proposing as a viable solution

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    Also, I think one of his suggested answers to how you involve people in the 'creedal national culture' is via his idea about 'national service' to create a bond between the new host culture and the newly-arrived person.
    Again - not 'military service' that isn't what he's suggesting.

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by anonymity View Post
    Also, I think one of his suggested answers to how you involve people in the 'creedal national culture' is via his idea about 'national service' to create a bond between the new host culture and the newly-arrived person.
    Again - not 'military service' that isn't what he's suggesting.
    Yeah good point and think that could help to some extent but still don't feel that is an all encompassing solution, people are going to drag their heels, get out of it any way they can...

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    Default Re: Francis Fukuyama - Against Identity Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by Haven_Hamilton View Post
    Yeah good point and think that could help to some extent but still don't feel that is an all encompassing solution, people are going to drag their heels, get out of it any way they can...
    If I move to let's say Indonesia and refuse to respect religious customs - what do you think will happen to me?

    Likewise - countries like Japan for example - are 95% Japanese, no non-Japanese person can ever become a citizen - you're welcome to move there, work there, pay tax there - but it's on you to try to fit in and you'll be given no favours.

    Again - speaking personally - despite my other half doing everything by the book and paying a small fortune for the privilege of indefinite leave to remain in the UK - she is entitled to precisely fuck all benefits (aside from free access to the NHS and child benefit for our kid).
    If I moved to Japan - that situation would be exactly the same.


    The subtext of Fukuyama's essay is quite scary really - as in without doing something at a state-level to induce cohesion within a culture - everyone will suffer - native born/immigrants etc etc.

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