you don't get to exempt your politics from conversation
Some months back I asked, quite earnestly, what we should call a particular school of politics, given that those who practice it hate every name it’s given - political correctness, identity politics, SJW, woke. Every time a new term is devised, those who fall under its umbrella quickly declare that it’s a slur. So a large, complex, and profoundly influential element in our political debate lacks a name that anyone within that element will answer to.
Well, at some point in the discussion of that post I saw the term “Voldemorting” used to describe this practice, a reference to Harry Potter and the evil wizard who you must not name. I find it a very apt phrase. I wish I could give proper credit to whoever came up with it, but I suspect that like a great deal of what’s made up on the internet, attributing a sole author would be beside the point.
Voldemorting has an obvious political purpose: that which you cannot name is made that much harder to discuss, and that which is harder to discuss is harder to criticize. That they would hide within these discursive tricks does not say good things about the content of their politics or their ability to defend them. What’s more, the people who act this way seem to think that there is no reason to give their faction a name because what they want isn’t politics, it’s just “the moral arc of the universe,” just progress, just the way things ought to be. There’s no need to talk about what they want because their politics are just right. What’s particularly weird is that they’re the same ones who think everything is political, everything is ideological. They find a culture war valence in everything, but they don’t want to be pinned down themselves. As they so often do, they exempt themselves from their own rules.
I still prefer the term “social justice politics,” as it seems the most direct and least inflammatory. Whatever term - come out into the light and fight like the rest of us have to fight. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to.