Bulverism is a great word coined by C.S. Lewis in the 1940s that describes identity politics. An argument is not to be addressed by its evidence, reason or logic but by the identity of the proponent or opponent.  That identity may be the sexual desire or psychological repression of Freud, the economic class of Marxism, or the racism of Critical Race Theory.

We humans are complicated animals with various influences and individuals may respond to many influences on their identity, but what unites us is the enlightenment appeal to reason to think beyond our identities. Post Modernism which deconstructs our thinking from reason to identities is a process of relativism that dismisses the concept of a single knowable truth. Without some such element that unites us we splinter into ungovernable factions, unable to compromise.  The single uniting truth used to be religion and nationality, and both certainly had their shortcomings.  The uniting force of enlightenment reasoning seems to run afoul of a human need for personal recognition or glory.  Oppression theology bestows a value that is missing from our quest for equality.

There are correlations to the illiberal anti-enlightenment thinking of bulverism.  An argument will be rejected because of the political identification of the author. An argument made by a Republican will be rejected even if it is the same argument made by a Democrat.  The reverse is of course also true.  Such identity centered thinking makes compromise impossible.

This political identification carries to media sources.  A story is to be rejected regardless of content if it comes from Fox News or The New York Times solely because of the source.  Media draws more revenue from enraging its readers than informing them.  No longer needing to address a cross section of opinions it reaches for the clicks and shares of the committed and the converted.  The art of persuasion is abandoned to the cheap thrills of demonization..

The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s sought an equality that is distinctly different from the identity politics of today. No longer seeking to be ‘as good as’, identity politics seeks to be ‘better than’.  In the binary classification between the oppressed and the oppressor there is no equality.

Just as enlightenment thinking challenged the power of the church and the monarchs, it challenges the orthodoxy and the authoritarianism of the new woke ideology that is proving as intolerant of the evidence and reason of enlightenment thinking as were the churches and kings.