Identity politics & freedom of choice


“If identity is held as a given, it is off-limits to criticism or analysis. If, for example, I hold catholicism as my identity rather than my choice then I avoid moral accountability for the various beliefs and political stances go along with it. And if I demand that other people respect my identity as a catholic, then I demand that they accept without protest the policies that I choose along with my catholic identity, even while I pretend my catholicism is not a political choice, only a matter of identity. Identity politics is a stealth maneuver that demands, in the name of tolerance, that others do not challenge my politics.”
“It becomes easy to see how something as positive sounding as freedom of choice can be inherently supportive of privilege and power when we look at economic libertarians (who, by the way, tend to identify more closely with republicans than democrats). Economic libertarianism calls for freedom from undue governmental imposition on economic matters, so that strict libertarians oppose income tax, the minimum wage, indeed any constraints whatsoever on economic transactions. This means those who have money would not be constrained in any way from engaging in unfair work practices, and could pay laborers $1.00 a month if the laborers entered freely into the arrangement. Such “freedom” empowers those with power and prevents measures to empower the disempowered, like labor laws, fair wage laws, maternity or sick leave, and overtime pay. If an individual needs a job to survive, what power does she have to bargain with a corporation for a Iiving wage without labor laws or unions? It is easy to see how economic libertarianism empowers those with money and power to exploit those without.

Poor women have long criticized the freedom of choice argument about abortion as being fundamentally liberal: it retains the rights of those already empowered to have children to choose when to have their children, but does nothing to address those who are too poor to ever be in a position to care for the children they have or want to have.”


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