But identity politics—and the backlash they inspired in the form of Trump—are not just a problem for the left: they concern us all. That’s because the idea that one’s interests are tied to one’s tribal affiliation is anathema to the libertarian worldview. In fact, there’s nothing less libertarian than the tribe—and the more tribeal our politics become, the less respectful of individual liberty they will be.
As an example, Trump’s victory is now calling attention to the plight of the supposed “forgotten man”—the struggling white working class. These people have formed a race-and-income-based voting bloc, and they support Trump because he says he supports them. Trump wants to bring back jobs from overseas, punish corporations that screw over workers, and halt immigration as a means of decreasing labor competition.
But just because a set of policies are good for the tribe—and it’s dubious whether the previously mentioned policies even satisfy that criteria—does not mean they are good for society, or enhance individual rights. Indeed, halting immigration would be both economically ruinous and a major human rights violation against immigrants, whether or not it makes the white working class happy. And of course, the white working class isn’t a sentient being with rights of its own: it’s an expression of a collective. Its members have rights, but those are human rights, not white-working-class rights.