The Communist Party presents its views as being those of all Chinese people – so if you criticize any policy, you are disloyally criticizing all of China’s citizens. Foreign residents daring to query where leaders have obtained their vast assets from don’t have their visas renewed, and citizens end up being ostracized.
This technique is evident in Australia. There are examples of men complaining about the Australian Labor Government, lead by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, being branded as misogynistic. And anyone daring to question the behavior of someone of Aborignal descendent is considered a blatant racist.
Mr Ryan’s 3-step guide to modern identity politics is as follows:
- Assert that because a person belongs to a particular racial, sexual or other identity group, their views on a subject cannot be questioned.
- Encourage members of an identity group to perceive their identity as synonymous with holding particular views, so that any attack on those views is seen as akin to a physical attack.
- De-legitimise and denigrate all those who disagree.
Are any bells starting to ring? Does this sound familiar? Look around and we can see this operating at many levels here in New Zealand.
A café owner politely trying to ensure customers’ peaceful enjoyment is reported on in the media, with complainants angrily branding him as “anti-mothers” or “anti-children”. While some people (parents or otherwise) might sympathize with the reasons for cafe owner’s actions, their views are not even canvassed.
New Zealanders raising concerns about how we are being priced out of land ownership by competition from wealthy, non-resident property purchasers have been branded as sinophobic. Would it hurt to put the name-calling aside and have a discussion about the pros and cons of limiting land sales to international buyers?
Then there’s “Maoridom” and here we have a totally irrational situation. Should you dare to support equality of all peoples before the law and “one person, one vote” (- you know, something Kiwis fought against the Nazis for in World War II, vigorously protested for in South Africa and our Government stridently demands for Fiji), then you are labeled a “redneck” or a “racist”.
“Que?” (As the poor, confused Manual used to say in the entertainingly frustrating TV sitcom, Fawlty Towers).
This refusal to allow questioning of anything “Maori” or anyone identifying as “Maori” seems to be embedded in our government and taxpayer-funded organisations. A recent debate held at Te Papa on the Treaty of Waitangi was rather radical in that there was only one opinion expressed. (Perhaps that’s the way they hold debates in North Korea, but I’d like to think New Zealand hadn’t reached those depths yet.) Some might consider the aggressive promoting of two separate peoples as contradicting both the written Treaty and Captain Hobson’s comment to each Maori signatory - “Now we are one people”. But this perspective wasn’t invited into the so-called debate.
The bottom line is that bullies employ identity politics. Their tactics prevent free and open discussion about the hot issues of the day. The power-hungry use this technique to “impoverish political debate” and prevent principles, concepts and ideas from seeing the light of day. This safeguards their status and income sources while ensuring that the good of the country and all its peoples is never at the top of the agenda.
Next time you are watching an interview, are involved in a discussion or see our political leaders in action, look for evidence of this technique. Be brave enough to ask questions. Be brave enough to insist our politicians, activists, friends and family focus only on the facts. Be brave enough to seek the truth. Surely you won’t be sent away to a re-education camp just yet.