Standing firm against identity politics

American essayist, novelist, and author Mary Eberstadt joined Peter Kurti, Director of the CIS Culture, Prosperity & Civil Society program, to discuss her book, Primal Screams: How the sexual revolution created identity politics, and how best we can respond to the threat posed by identity politics.

Liberal societies are retreating from a commitment to the individual in favour of giving priority to the group. This retreat is played out in the politics of identity – accompanied by a preoccupation with ‘harm’, ‘hate speech’, and microaggressions’ – marked by a state of perpetual outrage intended to expose the ideologically impure.

How did we become so divided against one another? US cultural critic, Mary Eberstadt, argues that humans have long forged their identities within the structure of the extended family. But many Western societies, including Australia, are faced with the unprecedented decline of the family.

Eberstadt argues that the fallout of the sexual revolution, especially the collapse of the family, lies behind the rise of identity politics. Generations of people set adrift from the family’s primordial ties now claim membership in politicized groups whose frantic irrationalism amounts to primal screams for familial loss.