2. Individuality over Identity
During his recent unpleasantness, Jonathan Chait learned an important lesson about the nature of the modern Left. It turned out that his critique of political correctness was itself a violation of that code, not so much because of what he said, but who he is. Twitter exploded with the message that the white, straight, male scribe had no right to pen these thoughts. In the arts, this toxic blend of political correctness and privilege theory has become an epidemic. It’s not an accident that Chait’s article referred specifically to recent controversies around the plays “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” and “The Vagina Monologues.” These works, liberal on their face, have been the subject of censorship because of the color of their creators’ faces and the nature of their body parts.
In the Progressive arts, the demographic traits of artists affect not only how audiences are supposed to view the work, but how companies are to produce it. Recently, a consortium of Los Angeles-based theater companies discussed a plan to make 51 percent of employees people of color, women, or people under 35. The conservative counter-culture must be clear that we value artists for their work, not their skin color or gender. We must never foist expectations on artists based on the groups they identify with or with which others identify them. We must accept each artist and each work of art as individual. This is not to say not to grapple with issues such as race and gender, just that nobody should be excluded or put in a box for who he or she is.