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IPFS News Link • Political Theory

Identity Politics Will Not Lead to Freedom

• by James Devereaux

Some students were told to walk the long way around despite their effort to be otherwise uninvolved.

At times those coalitions form less around ideas and more around personal identities.

Unfortunately, this is but one example—on campuses and in the streets— of a rise in identity politics.


Identity politics is best described as organizing politically based on identity as opposed to ideas. If this sounds tribal that's because it is.

Political organization often relies on information shortcuts, such as heuristics, to signal and gather like-minded people into groups. Unlike a market, a political economy has no price system to provide information to participants. Instead, by and large, we rely on interest-based coalitions to convey information.

The major problem with identity politics is the fact that it treats outward identity as an information surrogate for inner politics.

Think of how freedom advocacy is often mistaken as a "dog-whistle" or code for distasteful brands of identity politics, such as white identity politics. Or similarly, consider the Salon headline, Libertarianism is for White Men: The Ugly Truth about the Right's Favorite Movement (Which is rather inaccurate).